This week, I was involved in an unfortunate, but highly meaningful and educational event. The grandfather of a very, very close friend of mine passed away. Although I had just met the man within the calendar year, I learned a tremendous amount from his life both while he was still alive and once he passed on.
I also had the privilege of visiting him in the hospital just days before he passed. What he said on that day encompassed all that I had known about him until then and was reaffirmed throughout shiv'a. He quoted to me a pasuk from Tehilim - "Mi haish hechofetz chaim, ohev yamim l'r'os tov?" (Which man desires life who loves days of seeing good?) - Tehilim 34.
This man was the paradigm of this pasuk. He lived for life. He always claimed that he had beaten Hitler ym"sh. He survived the war and went on to publicize it through public speaking - without a formal education past the fourth grade.
He built his family up from the nothing with which he came to America, and left behind a legacy in this world that most of us can only imagine, that is unless you were one of those lucky enough to hear one of his speeches. In that case, you would KNOW the legacy he left. Just today, a group of third graders that were lucky enough to hear him speak two years ago came to be menachem avel. He was able to touch them just as he was able to touch high school students, college students, middle age adults and anyone who came into contact with him. This means non-Jews as well. He was the sounding board for anyone who wanted to talk.
Last week, the world lost a great man. His legacy will always live on.