This is my rough draft of my submission for my late husband’s memory book, to be distributed at his shloshim (month anniversary after his passing).
Gershon’s yiras shamayim left me constantly humbled. I was married to someone, who on the inside, if he was allowed to fully express himself hashkafically, would have probably sounded a lot like Rav Ovadia Yosef zt”l ironically.
He was a charif Gadol who masked himself constantly as the fun, all-loving, understanding and accepting friend and husband because most of the world was just not playing in the same ballpark as him and so couldn’t handle the level of emmes that he was emanating. It cut like a knife when looking up from a lower angle.
His gadlus (greatness) was being able to so clearly see the emmes and do it, yet hold himself back from expressing his views to others who were not in his league and so would be hurt by his hakpada (strictness).
He lived in a duplicitous world for the sake of shalom (ultimately Hashem’s will). He revealed himself when it was avodas Hashem and masked himself when it was avodas hashem. He attained true self-mastery. When something had to be done, he just did it. He never asked himself how he felt about it, physically or emotionally. If it had to be done, he did it – period. He thought of himself and his body last, unless the mitzvah dictated otherwise.
He was a loving and giving father, a kind and sensitive husband. A constantly growing and expanding person. Outside, he was fearful to ever make a move that would give religious people, and therefore G-d, a bad name. He never cut himself any slack when it came to Torah and mitzvos and middos. But, he was always able to go into the perspective of another person, and not judge them according to his own standards. When it came to disagreements, everything was irrelevant except for what was the right thing for him to do in this situation. Life was a lesson tailored for him to grow and not to teach others how to behave towards him.
He always seems to know everything, to have all the answers and to be silent most of the time unless he was sure that his words would be heard. He never spoke unless it was relevant to the person. His pursuit of Halacha and the exacting emmes felt unprecedented. He didn’t stop until he got to the end. He used every minute, and his ambitions for Torah and personal growth grew each day. I lived in fear of him taking on another peula (function) or learning seder – we were running out of minutes. Somehow he learned to stretch his day and accommodate his ambitions, without taking away what I needed. He was always there to help when I called. He always tried to make me priority number one.
If his personality was not conducive to avodas hashem, he changed it. He thought long and hard about everything he did. He took no shortcuts. He didn’t care about what other people thought unless it was a mitzvah to do so. He calculated every step he took. He sought Rabbinical council constantly and followed. He trusted his own Torah knowledge to lead. He gave his heart and his resources to his family. He gave his soul and his body to G-d.
He was a true eved hashem. He had no agenda other than what was right. Even if the entire frum world would have thought the opposite. His inspiration and foundation for Judaism came initially from Rabbi Deutsch and Ohr Somayach respectively, and his true actualization came from receiving a mesorah and becoming a talmid of Rabbi Green, and Yeshivas Bircas HaTorah to which he dedicated his life.