Saturday, December 21, 2013
Saturday, October 26, 2013
Rabbi Lipa Durbrawsky was one of my very, very best friends. I think he also regarded me as a very good friend. Had I known of this blog before, I would have contributed to it right after his untimely passing. I only heard of it several days ago; hence the lateness of this contribution of mine to a massive outpouring of love for Lipa.
I don’t remember exactly when I first met this intellectual, spiritual and moral giant of a man. It must have been in the early or mid 1980s. At the time, I was working as an economist at the Fraser Institute, located in Vancouver, B.C. Lipa invited me to speak at his Chabad House (I always thought of it as his Chabad House, no one else’s). Like a skunk at the garden party, a chutzpanick, I gave a lecture criticizing the Talmudic view of business ethics in general, and of Maimonides in particular. Afterward, Lipa and I got into it a bit, on these issues. We both like to argue. One of the things I most admire in him is that when he engages in debate, it is always in an attempt to get that proverbial one millionth of an inch closer to the Truth. I never saw any ego involved in his participation in our discussions. It is my fondest hope that I may emulate him in this regard. At the time of my talk at Chabad House I remember him saying something like, “Well, we won’t be able to settle these issues standing on one foot.” By which he meant that we would need more time to do so, and he suggested that we have lunch together for that purpose. We did, and continued to do so for almost a decade, pretty much every week or two or so, until I left Vancouver for a job in the U.S. in 1991. But, since my family still lived in Vancouver, and my new job was an academic posting, I was back in Vancouver for about five months a year, and Lipa and I continued our regular meetings until his all too soon passing.
One of the things that sticks out in my mind about our intellectual jousts was not the differences between our two views, mine, libertarianism, his, of course, the Talmud, but the similarities. A lot of the reliance on economic freedom, private property rights, in my tradition came from John Locke. Much of Lipa’s, on these concepts and institutions, from Maimonides, and even earlier sages. Needless to say, I had to concede to Lipa that his sources came earlier in history than mine.
Sometimes, my son Matthew joined the two of us in our intellectual battles. Although his field (computers) is very different than, and seemingly far removed from, the issues Lipa and I discussed (ethics, political economy, Talmud, libertarianism), Matthew has several times told me that the rigorous logic employed by the two of us, me and my friend Lipa, was not only enjoyable for its own sake, but also, at least indirectly, helped him in writing code for computers. I suppose this phenomenon is similar to the study of music and mathematics somehow helping with each other. Matthew was not the only family member of mine drawn into Lipa’s orbit. Our entire families became friendly with each other. Neither of us had any relatives located in Vancouver, so our two families drew closer to each other than might otherwise have been the case. I know that my children, Matthew and Hannah looked upon Lipa and Dena as a sort of uncle and aunt; and that my wife Marybeth looked upon them and their many children in an analogous way. The four of us would go to the Dubrawsky home on a Friday night two or three times a year, and their entire gang would visit us in the wilds of North Vancouver virtually every summer for a picnic. One of the high points of the latter was our annual visit to the horse stable near our home, which featured, in addition to the equines, a very fat goat, a dog that did tricks, ducks, cats; ‘twas a real menagerie. There might have been 15 or more of us walking through the streets of Vancouver to get to that stable. I’m sure we made an interesting experience for our neighbors.
As it happens, Lipa and I were born and spent our early childhoods a few hundred yards from each other in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn. One of the high points in my life was when Lipa and I met at 770 Eastern Parkway, and Lipa introduced me to Rabbi Schneerson, who gave me a one dollar bill (along with everyone else). That night I saw Lipa truly in his element. The only real “problem” I had with Lipa when we talked at the Chabad House in Vancouver, was that we were often interrupted by people asking him for his interpretation of the Talmud, wanting to talk to him, wanting to be in his presence. Lipa was regarded as a sage in the “minor leagues” of Vancouver. But the same thing occurred in the “major leagues” of Brooklyn. People were continually coming up to the two of us, well, to Lipa of course, to congratulate him, to ask him questions, to pat him on the back, to be near him. He just had that effect on people. And he did so without even writing and publishing anything (I continually pestered him to do so; I never succeeded). However, his reputation for brilliance, for kindliness, for humility, for being a lovely person, somehow percolated out into the world without any of the usual literary props on which such reputations usually rest. Even more amazing in my view, but a great testimony to the goodness of his soul.
Why did Lipa invite me to give that initial speech at the Chabad House? I miss him terribly for much more than that, much much more, but I never asked him that question, so I don’t know the answer. I can only speculate. My thought is that I was a non-practicing Jew, and this was his way of reaching out to me. There are no t’fillen mobiles in Vancouver as there are in New York City and other such places, and this was one of his ways of substituting for that lacuna. I am very grateful that he did. He opened my eyes to a world, his world, that I would not otherwise have experienced.
My own motto when faced with tragedy is to resolve to do better. To be more productive. To be more kind. To be happier. Whenever I think of Lipa, that is what motivates me. I miss him terribly. He made me a better person. He is still doing so.
Walter E. Block, Ph.D.
Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair and Professor of Economics
Joseph A. Butt, S.J. College of Business
Loyola University New Orleans
6363 St. Charles Avenue, Box 15, Miller Hall 318
New Orleans, LA 70118
tel: (504) 864-7934
fax: (504) 864-7970
“It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a ‘dismal science.’ But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance.”
Murray N. Rothbard
I thought you would all want to see this. http://rabbilipablog.blogspot.ca/
Sunday, October 20, 2013
Saturday, September 7, 2013
This is the saddest news, I'm Mammosh in terrible Shock, I spent a year in Vancouver and saw first hand what a caring loving father he was, and at the same time he was so Ibergegeben to his Shlichus.
A Emise Yiras Shomayim,and he had a very special way of listening to people's problems and identifying with them, his children ( who should merit long happy years ) Should have the strength to go on and follow in his footsteps.
With much love from your friends and classmates
Our uncle was a true chossid , a real mensh .
How many tzadikim have to die until moshiach ?
Why hashem ? Why ?
well miss him
Hamokom Yenachem Eschem Bsoch Shaar aveiley Tziyon V'yerushalayim
Your pal Marvin.
What unbelievable suffering for the entire family!
Hashem should give strength to all those he's testing. And should end the 'tests' once and for all!
BDE he was such a caring, devoted shliach and he will be sorely missed!
What a terrific person :.(
As #24 so well said, just to know him was to love him, how tragic, may we all take a lesson as to how to behave towards others. Beautiful aidel person, what a loss.... so sad
I will take a hachlata right now to be warm and loving to all around me, in Reb Lipas memory, Please Lipa, go to the kisay haKavod and tell Hashem and the Rebbe enough waiting already, I know HKB"H will hear your voice....
redeem us now !!!
with love to all, Eliyahu...
i give all my brochos for the strength to go further
May all the families be comforted.
PLEASE HASHEM PLEASE!!!
There are no words...
Sara-Ester,George and family
i am totally in shock, i guess we will never be able to understand Hashems ways, its just impossible to understand he helped and inspired so many people in vancouver , he will be sorely missed
We'll all miss you
The whole family must be in entire shock.
We both cannot express words to describe who wonderful a rabbi he was. He was a caring husband to Dena, and the whole family.
May his neshama be elevated, and may his legacy live on through his wonderful children.
Vancouver, Richmond, and the whole world must be in total shock.
We need Moshiah now!!
He will be sorely missed by all who were fortunate to have known him.
May the family be comforted.....
Ronna and David Tobin
Dubrawsky home. Lipa was a gentle soothing light, that gave radiance and wisdom to any who cared to listen. Too soon for such light to leave us.
I will miss my friend.
Was a special man, he had that twinkle in his eye. I feel very lucky of met him
We love you Rivky! May Hashem, the only One that can comfort, comfort you among the rest of the mourners of our Holy Nation. My her and tears are with you. i have no no words. Ad Mosai!? Until when Hashem!?
This morning i thought of you and the comment you've made to me last week about tefillin, and this morning i put it on remembering your words: " if you are strapped for time, put it on quickly, but put it on".
Dena, thank you, thank you, thank you for being such an incredible partner to Lipa, such an amazing mother to all your children, and ..... Sorry cant see much from the tears in my eyes....
And for being an inspiration to many many mothers and wifes. Your family is the greatest example of what families can be like to many people and especially to my wife and me.
Dena, he is still with us and will be with us forever.
Dimitri, Elena, Matthew, Aliza, Daniel.
Our hearts are with you.
He was a real mentch
Never has a Rabbi sat so close to my heart. I attended his classes on Thursdays, and would become utterly intoxicated by his torah insight. I felt and believe he knew me better than any other, with only so few words ever exchanged between ourselves. And despite all my misgivings, he trusted my word, regardless of me being homeless and a goy. Even when someone who was concerned about my well being, asked him for advice in regards to what to do with myself (this fellow told me later about this), he said to not worry about me, as I know what I am doing.
While this may not seem like much; it is so easy to judge a fellow like me at face value, which makes his passing especially tormenting because he is the only one I have ever known to see past what seems to be obvious, and to be recognize the silver lining of my entire being. And for goodness sakes; he gave me the name which I go by today, so that I would not have to bare the burden of being named after a heretic. For this and much more, he is the Greatest Rabbi I have ever spoken to, and his passing has left me utterly devestated.
wishing your family only revealed good
May Hashem and the loving community who have expressed their feelings here give strength and comfort to his dear and sweet wife, and his close family, and in fact to all who feel broken today.
May his mentchlichkeit and behaviour be a lesson to all of us as to how to behave with each other, and to leave such a loving impression on all we touch....
Min Hashomayim Tinachamehu...
Easily one of the smartest and most talented Bochurim.
Der Oibershter Zol Rachmonus Hoben!
Hashem has once again taken the best people.
our thinks are with all of you
family azoulay from lyon
א זעלטענעם מענטש ביסטו גיווען
the gentleness of Rabbi that he had so generously spread on everyone that had come his way, his touching words that literally changed and still changing lives of people towards Torah values, his many years of faithful service to the community will stay with us for the rest of our lives. The pages of rabbi's book of life are too short but so inspiring – we will never forget his strength and energy for encouraging people to study Torah leading by example. Your lovely children that you raised together and your young grandchildren will always have Rabbi's features and spirituality to witness his special life.
May HaShem give you much strength to live through these difficult times. Family and friends will always be around and ready to lean on. Moshiach just earned another reason to come early!
PLEASE BE STRONG
An anguished friend
your friend from yeshiva lubavitch in toronto last year.
Never mind..HamokYnchSLM......how totally shocking!!!!!!
will not find anyone better than Am Yisroel.
Y.Orzech & family
nous avons perdu un grand tsadik
pls hang on strong, we will do whatever we can to help
hamokom yenachem eschem
Several posts spoke about his keen attention to people. He had the ability to make people truly feel special. I once asked him about this: "R. Dubrowski, is this some kind of act? If so you are an incredible actor!" His response was that every person has a unique set of experiences and that he saw every interaction as a learning opportunity.
I have tried to follow in his footsteps.
Dena, our deepest condolences to you and your wonderful family.Our hearts go out to you all.
Ben and Dalia
All the posts are testimony to amazing transformation of peoples lives thru goodness kindness mentchlichkeit eidelkeit and chasidishkeit.
What Lipa A"H has accomplished in a unassuming way with no tumult or fanfare is just remarkable!
Why must we need to become aware of all this only now, why aren't all of these wonderful acts publicized more often for all of us to learn a lesson how one individual can attain and accomplish GEVALDIG things if it's done with honesty dedication and devotion.
והחי יתן אל לבו
May his family be consoled by all those neshamos he affected in a most positive way. amen
I saw you almost every morning, always greeting me with the kindest smile, warmth eminating from you...
Your sincere concern for all those around you, words of encouragement, wisdom, hope...
I honestly have the most hollow sick feeling of grief when thinking of how your family and students will carry on without you. You had such a deep, profound and life changing effect on everyone you interacted with...
I will miss you and bid you well. I hope that those that called you Rebbe will find some comfort knowing that the suffering of this world is no longer a part of your peckel, and now that you are with Hashem and are reunited with your Rebbe, you will continue to work from your place to help bring about the final redemption, with the coming of Moshiach, in our time, Amen
Our deepest sympathies and prayers are with you, Rebbetzin Dena Dubrawsky and your children and grand children at this tragic and heart wrenching time, I can not imagine your grief, our love,
yosef vernon and family
Be grateful for the experience, for that which you had.
Be grateful for that which you have. Learn from his passing as you learned from him alive.
Live today as if it is special. None of us know how special.Make every day and experience meaningful. Take nothing for granted. .
Thank Rab Dubrovski to be our guide and return in the right way we will remember you forever and we will teach to our children because you we are in Hashems pad
Stay strong. I know you will; you always have.
A Bais Rivka High School Student.
He "lit the candle" in the darkness of many Jewish souls and may his memory be a blessing to his wife and children and to all of us who knew him.
Boruch Dayan Emes.
Enough is enough
- a classmate
May his memory be for a blessing.
Write an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
to post to the blog
The Eichenblatt families, Los Angeles and Yerushalayim
I will miss him greatly.
My condolences to his wife and family.
from Sally White
With love and pain
Tami and Shlomi Cohen
He will be sorely missed for his genuine love of teaching.
My heart goes out to his wife and family.
Life is sometimes NOT fair.
We shed real tears for your loss.
Very often the people we hear about, and those making the headlines (or marking sure they are in the headlines) are not the ones you want your children to emulate.
Every once in a while we get a glimpse of purity. A person whose light and sincerity breaks through all the negative in this world, giving us faith that the generations of truly chassidishe and caring people are not a thing of the past.
From what I have been hearing, this dear Shliach was one of them. A person who loved Torah, who cared about another yid, a person who aspired to live the truth and help others to do the same.
Too bad we hear about him only after his passing.
May his family and community find comfort in the fact that he is surely in gan eden now and has without a doubt helped prepare this world for the coming of Moshiach, when I will get a chance to meet him in person.
Ovad chosid min haolam.
Micha & Bracha
He lived in love
He saw us from love
He held us through love
He taught us with love
He called us to love
By love, he was called from us
In love, we mourn him
From love, we thank him
Through love, we honor him
With love and to love, we open again and again, and so remember him . . .