Since I heard the devastating news that took place on Shabbat with the loss of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, I have been scrambling to find a teaching of his that I can share with you that would summarize his greatness.
I did not merit to know Rabbi Sacks personally. Though I feel that I knew him from how deeply he affected those who learned Torah with me. From the members of our Shiviti Bet Din, to the congregants of Kehillat Shaar HaShamayim, his words were shared with affection and respect. Most impressive to me was the thumbprint of character refinement and scholarly wisdom he left so clearly on the Jews of the United Kingdom, evident in my experiences there in person and in the recent founding of our Shiviti Bet Midrash UK; you can tell when someone had the merit to bask in the glory of greatness!
I am writing this with the humble realization that there simply is no one teaching that can summarize the magnitude of this Torah personality.
Instead, I believe that you can see just who Rabbi Sacks was from the people he taught, touched, and inspired.
In seeing the flurry of incoming posts and articles of the last few days, which other Talmid Chacham can claim to have as varied and diverse a following as Rabbi Sacks?
Who else successfully crossed borders, broke down barriers, and overcame boundaries as Rabbi Sacks?
His ability to unite people of all walks of life with the relevance of his sophisticated Judaism and honest spiritual teachings should be a lesson for all, that unity – not just among Jews, but of the whole world – is most possible.
Let us honor his memory by committing to be successors of his majestic legacy.
Yehi Zichro Baruch. May his memory be for a blessing.