Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Rav Michael Katz, Zt'l

When R' David Lifshitz passed away over ten years ago, I went to the funeral, held at YU's main campus, with my father, who'd been very close to him (he married my parents). It was in the middle of the summer, a broiling hot day, but we, being kohanim, couldn't go inside to the Beis Midrash, where the funeral was held, or to the auditorium, which they opened, with loudspeakers, for the overflow crowd. So we stood out front with all the other kohanim, which happened to include a number of YU Roshei Yeshiva, and listened over the outside loudspeakers.

One thing sticks out in my mind from that day above all else: Rav Michael Katz, who'd been my father's ninth grade rebbe back in 1950 and was by then a senior YU Rosh Yeshiva, standing with all of his kohen colleagues for the duration of the funeral. Seats were provided, but he, already in his seventies, I think, somewhat frail, in his hat and jacket- in that heat!- refused to sit down. I think eventually he was literally placed in a seat by his students.

Unfortunately, I never got to learn with him. I only met him once, when he drove me to a bar mitzvah or some similar event. I remember him being so...real, I think, is the right word. Almost like he wasn't one of the world's top talmedei chachamim and I wasn't some kid.

He passed away last night. Baruch Dayan HaEmes. At his funeral today, I'm sure that he will rightfully receive kavod of the kind that he gave to others throughout his life. T'hei Nishmaso Tzrura B'Tzror Hachayim.

1 comment:

Liz said...

Snif! Wonderful.