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I’m privileged for this opportunity to address you today as my parents are honored by the yeshiva, as my parents and the yeshiva have been the two most influential forces in my life, and carry much of the responsibility for who I am today.  I would like to begin by expressing my deep appreciation to the rebbeim for the caring, devotion and inspiration I received during my years in the yeshiva.  They have always been there to instruct, to teach and to help. What they did for me and continue to do for me is immeasurable and I cannot thank them enough. Beyond what the rebbeim do for individual students, the impact of the yeshiva’s presence on the community has been significant and deserves recognition. A considerable measure of the growth of Torah in Milwaukee during the past number of years could not have happened without the yeshiva.  All of this is only possible because of the selfless dedication of the rebbeim to us and to Torah as a whole. Even those of us who know them and have seen them working on a daily basis cannot comprehend how truly challenging their task is, yet they persevere.

This same dedication to building Torah life in Milwaukee has always been a very strong principle of my parents as well. Whether it was Torah education, starting a shul, or anything else they could do to achieve this goal, they would go to all lengths to do so. It is for this dedication that we are honoring them here tonight. The truth is that this dedication comes as no surprise. It is something that my father saw in his own father, A”H, who was very much involved in building his own community, specifically South Shore Yeshiva as well as many other organizations, and his father before him, my great-grandfather. This commitment to the growth of Torah is really only one manifestation of my parents’ general devotion to others and their attitude towards the Jewish people as a whole.  One of the things that has always amazed me about my mother is the importance each person holds for her. Whenever I mention a simcha to her, an engagement, the birth of a child, or what ever it may be, someone she may not even really know, she reacts as if it were her own simcha or that of a child.  So too, the pain she feels upon hearing of one’s suffering. Lo Alianu

Rabbi Elchonan Wasserman in his eulogy for Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagen, known as the Chofetz Chaim, made the point that people have no idea of the true greatness of Tzaddikim, righteous people, until the story of their private lives is told. Reb Elchonon went on to explain that a tzaddik does not do good to make an impression on others, rather because it is the will of G-d.  He therefore tries to hide his good deeds from the public eye not to detract from the purity. As a result, the more we enter a tzaddik’s personal life, the more we recognize his true saintliness.  This idea applies very much to my parents. The closer one is to them, the more he realizes the uniqueness they posses.

 I have been blessed with being raised in my parents’ home, which allows me the opportunity to see them in their private lives and to learn from their example, and many times just watch in wonder and amazement.  I would like to share some of the things that I witness as their son that many others don’t have the opportunity to see. The devotion to others including the concept of Chesed and caring for others, even when it is difficult, was always one of the most stressed principles in our home, both in words and actions. It is no secret that my parents are people of Chesed. There are countless instances in which people have been the beneficiaries of their chesed. Anyone who has ever stayed at our house knows the Hachnosos Orchim, hospitality, that takes place there.  My parents’ sensitivity is further portrayed from the fact that there is always an extra setting at our Shabbos table so an extra guest will feel as if we were awaiting his arrival. There was once a very prominent rabbi staying at our house for the weekend. As breakfast was being served Sunday morning, he commented that the Hachnos Orchim in our home is comparable only to that of Avraham. The hospitality is only one form of chesed my parents perform. They are constantly giving Tzeddakah in many different ways. If there’s someone that needs extra help, my parents always do what they can.

As great as what they do may be, to my parents it is really nothing special, it is just the obvious thing to do. All the chesed they perform is quite remarkable in itself, but what makes what they do so exceptional is the way they do it.  Our sages teach us that when Boaz fed Ruth, after she had not had food since the death of her husband, Ruth was doing more for Boaz than he was doing for her. The            explains                                                                        that even though Ruth’s happiness of having food for the first time in a long time was so great, the happiness that Boaz had from doing the mitzvah, the good deed, was greater. This idea is very applicable to my parents.  The happiness with which they perform chesed is incredible. My father and mother truly realize that the recipients are doing more for my parents than my parents are doing for them.

 

 

Other aspects that make my parents so special are that they have much integrity and are very unassuming. Upon meeting my father, one could not know that he was the same man that the Commissioner of Major League Baseball referred to as one of his best lawyers and one of the finest lawyers in the country.  When my father became Managing Partner in his law firm, his own children and parents only found out months later when my mother told us.

 

I have mentioned a few things about my parents and tried to give some sort of picture of who they really are, but there’s really so much more to say.

Abba and Mom, on behalf of your children and grandchildren, there is really no way for us to express how much you mean to us and how blessed and proud we feel to have you as our parents. Any words that we could say would only detract from our true feelings of love and appreciation.  We love you very much.

 

It is my pleasure to call upon someone who has been more than just a very close friend to me.  He was my roommate throughout my years in the yeshiva here and during that time really became a member of the Jaspan family, He made a special trip from San Diego to be here tonight.  Yehoshua Levine.