A TRIBUTE TO THE LATE RAV LEIB KRAMER
Last Sunday evening (27 Teves), we observed the 50th Yahrzeit of the passing of my late dear Father – Reb Shmuel Shlomo b’Reb Aharon. This afforded me the opportunity to reflect on the life, deeds and accomplishments of my late dear father, and of the relationships he fostered during his short lifetime.
One of the individuals who stood out the most was your late dear father, Reb Leibel Kramer. Although, my father was not a Lubavitcher, their close, warm, mutual and family like relationship was truly unique – from the very first day your late father arrived in Montreal. I recall vividly the many meetings they had concerning the establishment of a Yeshiva in Montreal and; their final decision to establish two – the Lubavitcher Yeshivah and Merkaz Hatorah.
My late father had tremendous respect for your father. He considered him a true “Pikeach“, and often consulted and relied upon his advice both for business and personal issues. This relationship transcended the normal Rav/Bal Habas relationship. Theirs was one based upon love, warmth and mutual respect. In fact, your father was the only Rav whom my father would address by his first name.
The service which your late father provided the entire community, and for our family B’frat, is truly legendary. He was there both for the better or for the worse, in good times and in more difficult ones. A simcha was not complete without your father’s participation. I recall vividly (although It is more than 60 years ago) your father’s participation in my Bar Mitzvah as well as in all other family simchas.
This relationship continued, maybe even intensified, after my dad’s petirah. Your father would attend and participate in every Yahrzeit Syium that the late Rav Hirschprung tendered annually in memory of my late dear father. After the Seudah , he would each year, no matter how cold or how much snow there was, visit with my late dear mother to reminisce and to personally count the pushka proceeds that my mother put away so diligently throughout the year. Even after her peteriah, he would continue this annual pilgrimage at my brother Avi’s home.
On a community basis, your father’s accomplishments were truly both outstanding and mind boggling. He single handedly built the Yeshiva from a small institution having but a handful of students to a major Torah Centre, housed in a beautiful campus, and catering to hundreds of students. When built, It was probably the most outstanding institution which Lubavitch had in North America. For over four decades, he alone was responsible not only for raising the required funds to cover the annual operating budget, but as well to raise the necessary capital funds for the beautiful buildings which Lubavitch built. The family can really look back with a great deal of nachas and pride, that as a result of your late father’s tremendous work and efforts, thousands of Talmidin received a Torah education.
His efforts though were not limited solely to the Yeshiva. He catered on a daily basis to the personal needs of the community at large. Many came to him for personal guidance and to be “Shoel Aitza”. He was there for each and every individual at any time and at all times : day or night. His advice, guidance and recommendations were sought by many. He was not only respected and veneered by the Orthodox community, but by the entire community.
The family is most fortunate to have such “Zechus Avos”. However, this is also a challenge to each: to live up to and to continue his life and legacy to future generaltions. May his life and legacy be a blessing to all.
Malca & Louis Drazin
Montreal, January 12, 2011