It’s been a little more than ten years now since my late relative, Rav Avrohom Genechovsky zt”l, passed. Some thoughts came to me to remember someone who lived in a different realm. I remember close to when I met Rav Avrohom, I entered the apartment and he was having a voluminous conversation with someone in a room.
Though I didn’t know much about him, I already knew his ways were totally sweet. I would soon learn that he was involved in something he had been involved in a lot: settling disputes between people. He had the gift to bring shalom between many people.
I recall also that I was once leaving his apartment and his upstairs neighbor passed me and asked how I knew Rav Avrohom. I mentioned I’m a relative. He said, do you realize he has kol hatorah kula in his hand? I used to travel around the country with him when he gave bein hazmanim shiurim. He approved of me taking notes with a shinuy.
When we would return to Bnei-Brak, he would read over my notes, making a young man feel special, with me knowing I couldn’t really understand the depth of everything he said. I often had rabbis from my yeshiva ask what he said over.
One time he wrote out one of his Friday night drashas for a rebbe of mine. I remember a certain story, that when I was leaving from Israel, I had a large duffle bag to bring to the airport. As I began to pick it up, he said, no, no and lifted it and threw it on his shoulder. I insisted that he can’t. But of course, I lost the battle. The gadol was walking on the streets in Bnei-Brak saying hello to every passerby while carrying a large weight on his shoulder.
Often on Friday nights, during the meal, a top Ponevezh bachur would come to talk in Torah with him. Interestingly, the rebbetizin told me at a later time that Ponevezh asked him many times to be rosh yeshiva but he had an affinity to the Tschebiner Rav.
He often said that when his wife said something it was like a psak. I will never meet such a person again. But his memories push me to be a better person.
Perhaps out of the many words of Torah I remember from him, one that stands out is a drash he presented on the Gemara (Sukkah 21b) that says, “Afilu sichat chulin shel talmidei chachamim tzrichim limud - Even from the ordinary talk of talmidei chachamim one can learn.” In drash, he explained: what is the ordinary talk of talmidei chachamim? Tzrichim lilmod: one needs to learn.
As Rav Avrohom conveyed to me, doesn’t every expert need to keep learning in his field to stay up to date and maintain his expertise? Well, the same goes in learning, one can only continue to grow through continued learning. Yehi Zichro Baruch.