The Daily Portion / Far away from the spotlight: Two great men

One does not have to be famous to leave your imprint on this earth.

Sivan Rahav-Meir ,

מצליחה להביא את הטוב מכל המגזרים. סיון רהב-מאיר
מצליחה להביא את הטוב מכל המגזרים. סיון רהב-מאיר
צילום: אייל בן יעיש

For several days now I have been reading stories about two great men who passed away. These men are not known to the general public but perhaps especially for this reason it is vital to write about them.

Rav Shimon Biton was 53. He grew up in Migdal HaEmek and was a member of Relgiious Zionist Kibbutz Tirat Zvi. Wanting to affect social change, he moved to the city of Bet She'an where he served as head of the Darchei Eliyahu Beit Midrash.

He was known in Beit She'an and the environs for his many classes and for his multitude of charitable projects. Every Pesach he would organize a large Seder for families who lacked the means to have a Seder of their own. After he passed away, a woman phoned and asked: "Every Shabbat he brought us challahs and wine. Where has he gone?"

Rav Yitzcha Edels was 69. He was among the founders of the community of Atzmona in Hevel Yamit in Sinai. After he was evacuated from there as a result of the peace treaty with Egypt in 1982, he moved to Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip, and was later evacuated from there in 2005.

His students, including those he taught in Sderot, noted that despite having had his home destroyed twice, he made a deep impression on them with the faith and joy that radiated from him always. His devoted followers speak of someone full of humility who taught Torah -- especially the Torah of Rav Kook -- over many years to thousands.

Two rabbis, local leaders, who lived lives of Torah, simplicity, and loving-kindness, settling the Land in the North and in the South. They represent the unknown backbone of rabbis in Israel who are never revealed, not in the press and not on social media.

These two rabbis did not look for recognition. For dozens of years they built their life's everlasting work with faith and devotion, far away from the spotlight.

In their memory.

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin



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