The following is a eulogy that was given at the Evening Beis, a nightly Torah study session in London, England:
It has been almost two weeks, but the pain is still very great. It really is hard to believe that Rabbi Druckman isn’t here with us anymore.
I had the privilege, Thank G-d, of studying for eight years with Rabbi Chaim Druckman of blessed memory at Or Etzion. In my last two years at the yeshiva, I also had the privilege of serving the rabbi in his office during lunch breaks and as a personal driver in the evenings. This is how I gained a special closeness with him. Also, after that, during my five years of my studies at Kollel Eretz Hamada in Jerusalem, I still had the privilege of speaking with Rav Druckman, meeting him every now and then, and listening to his classes.
There is so much to say and what to tell about my rabbi Rabbi Druckman because, really, the rabbi's work expanded to all areas of activity that there are. It is appropriate to apply the words of the sages -
"Say little and do much. The righteous say little and do much; as we learned from Abraham, our father, peace be upon him when the angels came to him. What does he say, please take a little water [etc.], and I will take a mouthful of bread, etc.?"
The righteous say little and do much for the Torah, as Rabbi Druckman single-handedly established the world of the religious Zionism Torah in the land of Israel. Dozens of yeshivas, boys' yeshiva high schools, Midrashas (post-high school academies for girls), Ulpanot (girls' high schools), and more. There was nothing before he started.
My rabbi, who, while we were going around the country, every spare minute that he had (that wasn’t used for teaching or meeting someone), would ask me for the little red Chumash with Rashi that I always had in my bag, so that he could learn a little more.
My rabbi who once, when we came home at 01:20 after a particularly busy evening when even I was already exhausted, entered the house, sat down on the chair, and opened a Gemara.
My rabbi, who understood the need for Talmidei Chachamim to learn the writings of the sages, so he took it upon himself and learned it, getting to a stage where he could quote Midrash, Psikta, Mechilta, Zohar, and much more. Afterward, he used that knowledge to show how the Torah that we learn today about Geula (redemption) and the state of Israel is all rooted in the sages.
The righteous say little and do much for the Land of Israel, as we saw Rabbi Druckman fighting for it with his very body, with his own hands and sore legs, whenever and wherever he was needed. The first Passover Seder night in Hebron after the Six-Day War was held by Rabbi Druckman with great joy.
"Gush Emunim", which is in charge of most settlements in Judea and Samaria today, was established in his home. He led the fight against the eviction of Yamit in the Sinai peninsula and also the attempts to prevent the evacuation of Gush Katif. This is why he arrived to rally against the evacuation of Amona at the age of 85 in the freezing cold and wearing slippers because of the pain in his feet. This is why he arrived only half a year ago to give a shiur at the yeshiva in the Homesh, even though he was already very ill.
The righteous say little and do much for the People of Israel, as we learned and saw the rabbi devoting his personal time to every person who came to him with trouble or distress, may it be the trouble of masses or the trouble of an individual. In complete contrast to manors of famous and well-known people, he would always return every phone call, no matter who it was from, and always in his special opening, “Chaim Druckman speaking”. Not rabbi, nor any other title. "Chaim Druckman". Every public figure, every organization, every official, everyone knew that Rav Druckman had a listening ear.
My rabbi about him, Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, said that although it is really very difficult to love all of the Jewish people, he loves Rabbi Druckman, and Rabbi Druckman really really loves all of the Jewish people, and then it stands for him as well.
The righteous say little and do much for the State of Israel, as we found Rabbi Druckman doing whatever was necessary for the good of the State even if he didn't want to. He was asked to be a member of the Knesset; he didn't want to but went. Was asked by Bibi Netanyahu to lead the conversion system - done.
My rabbi, who would spend many hours advising the decision-makers in the State of Israel, politicians, military personnel, police personnel, and more. My rabbi, who as students in yeshiva, we would always try to guess who the important personality calling the rabbi at 23:30 while we were there listening to a class was, and the Rav would answer, "Now there is a class. Please call back in half an hour." Just like that, even to the prime minister.
The righteous say little and do much for Jews in the diaspora, as we have found in Rabbi Druckman, the ultimate Shaliach (emissary). In his younger years, he was a Shaliach to the USA three times, and for several years he would come here to the UK in the summer to teach Torah at the Bnei Akiva seminar.
My Rabbi, who sent countless numbers of his Talmidim as emissaries all over the world, was sad about me leaving yeshiva, but there wasn't a person more proud of him for the choice we made.
The righteous say little and do much for the beggars, the poor, and anyone who needs support, as we found Rabbi Druckman opening his home to anyone who needed a roof over their head or a listening ear to their troubles.
My rabbi, whose children and grandkids describe seder night at home, where in many years they didn’t know many of those present, who gathered at the table with the Rav and his wife.
The righteous say little and do much for the joy of Geula (redemption) because whoever did not see the joy of Yom Ha’Atzmaut (Independence day) in Yeshivat Or Etzion, and the majesty on the face of my rabbi has not seen joy and majesty ever.
My rabbi repeated, again and again, the danger lurking for us in being "daydreamers” at the time of redemption so that we don't notice the huge miracle that happened before our eyes in the last decades.
The righteous say little and do much for their students, as Rabbi Druckman would invest everything in his students in such a way that so many people felt that two weeks ago, they lost a father. The father is 90 years old.
My rabbi used to come to every wedding, brit or joyous event, and G-d forbid other events. We were led by a rosh yeshiva who would come to celebrate with the students on their recruitment day and give a hug and a kiss, and when on my day of recruitment, he was delayed in traffic, and I had already boarded the military bus; he stopped the bus and did not let it go until he got on to greet and bless all the recruits. I didn't get a kiss that day, but what a lesson in education.
The righteous say little and do much to show how to get up from failures and hard times, as we stuck to Rabbi Druckman, who was saved from certain death four times, and about this, he would say that "a life that was given as a gift, we must do something meaningful with it".
My rabbi, who would repeat the verse, "This is a time of trouble for Jacob, and from it, he will be saved,” and cite the sermon of the sages: "And from it", from the bad time itself, we will grow and thrive. If I hadn't fallen, I wouldn't have gotten up.
My rabbi, who fell ill so many times in the last few years, and always rose with renewed strength. Until the last time.
The righteous say little and do much for Shabbat, as Rabbi Druckman would give between nine and ten regular classes every Shabbat, depending on summer or winter, so that the Shabbat would be full of Torah.
My rabbi, whose tunes are engraved in his students' minds, and the memory of his special tune on Shabbat night saying the "Ribbon Kol Ha’Olamim" prayer conveys a sharp pain in the heart.
The righteous say little and do much for the unity of the Jewish people, as Rabbi Druckman was accepted by all people. Rabbis and students, in a way that a short search on YouTube of the words "Rabbi Druckman memorial" leads to tens of dozens of results from yeshivas, synagogues, organizations, and more, that on another day it would be difficult to find anything they have in common. Rabbi Druckman was what they had in common.
My rabbi, who never uttered an obscene word about any person in the nation of Israel, and when he spoke harshly, he would say, "I’m sorry for what I’m going to say, but it's a shame" (Chaval).
The righteous say little and do much in order to have as much influence as possible, as Rabbi Druckman was the head of Or Etzion, Torat Etzion, Orot Etzion, Oz Shlomo, Or Me’Ofir, the head of the Bnei Akiva yeshivas and Ulpanot, headed the Union of Hesder Yeshivot, headed the Bnei Akiva movement in Israel, and headed the Bnei Akiva movement worldwide.
He was the rabbi of the Rabbis, the Rabbi of the students, the rabbi of the working people, the rabbi of the soldiers, the rabbi of the policemen, the rabbi of the politicians, the rabbi of the poor, the rabbi of the sick, the rabbi of the weak.
The rabbi of anyone who wanted.
The rabbi of all Am Yisrael.
The righteous say little and do much, and My rabbi Rabbi Druckman did indeed do much.
The sages teach us that G-d saw that the righteous were very few, so he planted them in every generation.
Our generation needed this special tzaddik to be revealed in our generation. Rav Druckman was planted in this generation and grew to become a magnificent tree whose roots are based in the sages' words, whose branches spread to influence all parts of the nation of Israel, and from whose seeds many small seedlings emerged, but with enormous powers and endless abilities.
Now, it is our turn, the seedlings, to live the will of our rabbi.
Say little, do much. Add good.
May the soul of my rabbi be bundled in the bundle of life.
Rabbi Avichai Goodman is the Rav Shaliach to Bnei Akiva UK