My father dancing above. REB Shlomo Zavel Ben Zakov Z'L
Read stories about my Pious Father Z'L and my families strugles.
Learn about the highest levels of Emunah and Bitachon in which my father taught
My father z'l was completely devoted to Hashem. When I woke up in the morning he was learning torah and when I returned from school, he was still learning. Tatti was not a Rav, he did not have smicha, he had Yiras Hashem and that alone. Aba was a simple Jew whom did not compromise anything for Torah. When my father z'l opened his brilliant peh all would look in surprise at the wisdom which would come forth. If my father learned it, he understood it. It was my fathers philosophy just like it was the greatest of Tzaddikim to perfect oneself in all of Tanach and Mishanah and that is exactly what he did. He said, he would not learn a word of Gemarah until he knew Tanach and Mishnah well and that is exactly what Aba did.
As I grew up, we became frum when I was just a boy of 5 years old. We were frequently a guest at many peoples homes for shabbos as I grew up. After we left each home for shabbos, the host was always in awe of my fathers brilliance in Torah. In the words of Rabbi Diskin, former principle of Bais Yakkov Baltimore, I don't know if he ever learned in a yeshivah or from any Rabbi but the level of devotion and strictness in doing Mitzvos was unbelievable. We were all in Amazement. Here this family lived outside the frum Jewish community and yet if they had lived in kehilah Baltimore they would be outstanding. Rabbi Diskin had said this at my sisters vort in Israel. I was shocked that he knew and could recognize what I had. The truth is most really didn't as they just didn't know what to think about his ways. They didn't know what to think because they didn't know him, he was a humble man in the true meaning of the word. The truth is, I didn't even know him.
Im going to share a story with you in which some of you may not believe but its the will of Hashem that this should be told. My father was sick in the hospital with locked in syndrome which is similar to a stroke. Mother almost never left his side for almost 3 years to his aliyah. She, the Tziddakis that she is, spent almost every moment in the hospital by his site. In Nursing homes and hospitals, mom fought her way with the heads to sleep next to him in a little chair or cot. She would leave for only a few hours in order to prepare food and things for a few more days and nights to spend next to him. Once there was an ice storm and we were late to get to him. When we finally arrived at the hospital I suddenly heard him calling, "moshe help, moshe help" but this was not a physical sound or was it? He was on the 3rd floor and I was outside. Inside I could hear him calling so I ran. I flew down the hall of the hospital and jumped into the elevator. I then ran down the 3rd floor hall past all the nurses and rooms. When I got to my father, he could barely breath. The nurse had left the bed flat with the tube of food going into his stomach. He was already past the choking stage and could not breath. Why could he not breath? Because his mask of oxygen was also off. I returned the bed to its place and the oxygen and mom finally caught up and got the nurse. It set him back a little but B'H if I had not run and walked he may have easily been gone. Father called me, he knew how to talk to my soul from so far.
When I used to visit my father in the hospital, I would come prepared to give over Divrey Torah which I felt was all he had to keep him going. So I used to prepare myself and I would not visit him unless I could tell over a smashing Divar Torah which would make him proud and give him the strength he needed. In truth, I knew that my father was one of the happiest men in the world because his being sick got me to daven and learn twice as hard. I was all my father had in the world to keep him going I believed so I made torah tapes and did everything I could for him but this was nothing compared to my mothers sacrifice. It was my job as the son to hold the family together and that is what I tried to do. I constantly spoke to everyone about emunah and showed how even in this horrible situation the Abishter was there. I had my moments though. Mom came home once only to find me laying on the floor with my tefillin on with puddles of tears around me. As a guy I didn't know how to cry until my father got sick. Unfortunately the tears have never stopped and its been three years now. It is so wrong that many of us don't know how to cry with all our hearts. The only problem is, you are supposed to be able to stop yourself. How can I as you see? So my friends, I would walk in to visit my father and I would ask my mother why Rabbi Moshe Meir Weiss or Avigdor Miller was not on the cassette and she would respond, "He didn't want to be disturbed, he is learning". My father had no sefer in front of him, how was he learning? I will let each of you answer that in your own level of belief in Torah and Yiddishkite. I will tell you that quite a few doctors whom my father had are now Frum orthodox Jews. The impression my father and mothers emunah left on each and every place was remarkable! Nuns and priests even came in to see this man whom could not move or talk fight constant infections and pneumonia countless times with a breeze. I cannot tell you how many times I was told my father was going to die that day. lol I always said, have some faith, my father is strong. I can't tell you what it was like to get phone calls at 3am to rush down to the hospital as he was going and took another turn for the worst. We were startled out of bed at least 30 times in the middle of the night. The problem was that many times if we did not beat the ambulance from the nursing home to the hospital in time they could have easily set him back further as we were the only ones whom could keep up with his medical history. This little tiny car of mine disguised as only a cylinder must have spiritually been a Porsche 911 turbo. We always got there in time and the grade A low profiles were hot to the touch. Tehillim in both passenger seats and Avraham Fried's Rifoani tune on my lips. It was like we were living a constant rollercoaster ride. Help from others was minimal and we felt alone with Hashem on this one. At one point the doctor threatened to take us to court to pull the plug on my father. You see, he communicated to us by blinking and many doctors couldn't believe what they saw. To go through all this at only 18 was really hard. I got a call from my mother motzie Shabbos that they are amputating my fathers legs. I screamed to Heaven and jumped into the car shaking from the pain of such a thought. When I got there the doctor explained that he would take away both legs to save his life. I argued with him for a long time and questioned him like we would a page of shas. Finally I made him find a solution to save at least one leg. You know people have snubbed their nose at me with shidduchim for not having a pedigreed yeshiva background. So why you guys were in yeshiva or seminary, I was arguing why an extra leg is so important to a person who cannot move. Rabbi's, Rav's and friends all told me to leave my family and learn in yeshiva that I had to take care of myself but I said no. There were right as I had paid once again from shidduchim. I have lived a hard life but I have learned Torah from the best teacher. I saw the emunah of a man whom could not move. I saw his face glow with the 613mitzvos. I saw torah in his eyes. Faith in the eyes of a man whom had nothing to keep him going. I will repeat to you what the nurses thought and those FEW whom came to visit. How can he last like he is, all he can do all day is think there in bed. Well, my family knew what he was thinking about and only Hashem knows how. I was just in the supermarket the other day and the manager came over and said, "Your mother just walked out. I knew you were her son as you look like your father." This women barely ever knew my parents and it had been 7 years since she saw my father but know one could ever forget him. He was a Jew that was for real. Torah was a fact and a way of life to give 100% too. As I carried tatti to his final resting place, I said to the Rav next to me, "IM carrying as sefer torah". The truth is that is all he knew of my father as like I said, know one knew him. He was too humble and my family is to quiet to tell up until I told you now. I was a guest at a holy Tzaddik whom remembered my father and he asked me about him. When I told him he even had a bit of Ruach Hacodesh, he was not surprised. I have really told you almost nothing. I miss tatti's musical ability, as aba had perfect pitch and could play any instrument in a matter of moments. Our Organ was built just from a kit. Tatti was an expert in electronics and woodworking. The truth is, he was a jack of all trades especially avodas Hashem. Computers, inventing, college professor, photographer and he could even draw cartoons but he didn't. He could have conducted an orchestra with his musical talent. I miss it all! So much you cannot even imagine. The house is quit, it is lonely. We haven't even touched on his midos but I must stop somewhere:)
May my father have an aliyah in Shamayim and may I follow in his footsteps. Amen!
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