I am saddened by the news that Rabbi Label Dulitz, zt”l has passed away. He was a legendary rebbe in MTA (YU’s High School for Boys) for many decades. On a number of occasions he taught three generations within a single family. I had the honor to learn in his shiur in my sophomore year of high school. We also benefited from a personal relationship; living in the same neighborhood, Pelham Parkway, we would often give him a ride home from YU, and had the benefit of schmoozing with him on Shabbosim.
Rabbi Dulitz was a student of Rav Soloveitchik, zt”l, and was known for his photographic memory and mastery of Talmud, Shakespeare, many languages and everything in between.
Rarely did a teacher go beyond his regular duties to show such concern for his students’ well-being as Rabbi Dulitz did. On one occasion I received a decent grade on a Gemara or halacha exam, but Rabbi Dulitz knew it wasn’t my best effort. He verified this by checking on my concurrent grades in history and science. I saw in his eyes (and through his cross examination) that it pained him that I didn’t put in the same energy in my religious studies, a mistake I was careful to never make again.
Another time he stepped off of the New York subway mid-commute to call me from a payphone, though he was in an extremely dangerous neighborhood. He was most concerned about something he read about me in the yearbook (intended as a joke) and it worried him so deeply that he couldn’t wait until he arrived home. After he kept me on the phone for several minutes, I was “saved” by the time limit allotted per call. Nonetheless, Rabbi Dulitz persisted, continuing to deposit quarters into the phone until he could say his piece. I can recall no other teacher who was so capable of simultaneously giving over such effective rebuke coupled with so much love at the same time.
They don’t make rebbeim like this anymore.
Baruch Dayan HaEmet, may Rav Aryeh Leib ben Moshe’s pure neshama be received in the world of truth with great fanfare and proper recognition for the countless lives he changed for the better.
Rabbi Shaanan Gelman is the rav of Kehilat Chovevei Tzion in Skokie, IL, and the president of the Chicago Rabbinical Council. He is a member of the Rabbinical Council of America, and serves on the executive board. He is on the board of the Associated Talmud Torahs of Chicago.