Nov 13, 2009

Do you think you're too old to try?

Rav Dovid Kviat zl, who passed away this week, was one of the last of the Alter Mirrers - those who were in the Mirrer Yeshiva and travelled to China to remain throughout the war. He was a maggid shiur in the Mirrer Yeshiva in Brooklyn. He was the rov of the Agudah of 18th Avenue in Boro Park.

Rabbi Yair Hoffman wrote:

"Rav Kviat wrote under enormous difficulty. Since the 1960s, his hands would shake, and yet he overcame this physical impediment and continued to write his chiddushim. Soon, very few were able to decipher his handwriting. The galleys could no longer be typed by those who normally did them. Undeterred, Rav Kviat was able to locate someone in Yerushalayim who could still read his writing.

"And then, a few years ago, Rav Kviat’s handwriting deteriorated further. Now, no one could decipher the handwriting - not even Rav Kviat himself. Undaunted, he continued to write, because writing helped him crystallize his Torah thoughts. True, now no one would be able to read it, but because it helped him further his understanding of the sugya, he continued to write.

"And then someone suggested that he learn how to type on a computer. His initial reaction was that he was too old to learn a skill. He was almost eighty and the shaking in his hands was significant. His eyesight was poor. Nonetheless, he “jumped in.” In a matter of days, he was typing a few thousand words a day. His cheishek (desire) for Torah propelled him to nearly do the impossible, and in the process, inspire others to learn new skills at an advanced age. How many of us decided we are too old to learn something new? How many of us embarked on it anyway solely on account of our love for Torah.

"The computer had to be adjusted to accommodate his special needs.  He could not use a mouse, but he would be able to use a touchpad. Rebbi mastered the melacha. Whenever he encountered the person who taught him to type, he would jokingly say, “Mein Alef-Bais rebbi!”

"A few months and a few seforim later, he called the person who taught him to type and said, “Ich vill a leptop!” (I want a laptop).  He wanted to purchase a laptop to afford him greater mobility, so that he could learn outside and also travel with his “limudo b'yado” in hand."

What a refreshing, inspirational approach! It beats those who resignedly refer to their "senior moments," those who seem ready to retire to their rocking chairs (in their 40's!). We ask Hashem in Tehillim 71:9 "Do not cast me off in time of old age, when my strength fails me, do not forsake me."  Let us not forsake ourselves!

No comments:

Post a Comment