Dr. Ari Friedman penned a touching tribute to Rav Ozer Glickman, z”l, last week (“Rabbi Ozer Glickman, z”l: Loss, Lessons and Tu B’Av,” August 15, 2019). Dr. Friedman shared some of the benefits he gleaned from the rav-talmid relationship he had with Rav Ozer. Some of us who knew Rav Ozer had the benefit of his greatness in learning and in middos without being his talmidim per se. That benefit has resonated far and deep in many communities.
In addition to being a rosh yeshiva at Yeshiva University, Rav Ozer filled many other roles in the years we were blessed to have him with us. One of those was as the baal tefilla in the “beis medrash minyan” at Congregation Ahawas Achim B’nai Jacob & David in West Orange, the community that was Rav Ozer’s home for many years. It is almost gratuitous to say that Rav Ozer was an excellent baal tefilla. That he was a master of Torah learning (and shared an informal rav-talmid relationship with many who davened at that minyan) gave him a unique ability to inspire when he led davening on the Yomim Noraim.
I was a direct beneficiary of that, and I regret to this day that I did not tell Rav Ozer how I benefited (I have told it to his family since his petira). For the last four years that Rav Ozer served as the baal tefilla in the beis medrash minyan, I had the honor to serve as the baal tokea. That first year I served, people in that minyan learned that I was precise to ensure that the tekios are longer than the middle notes they surround (even the shevarim-teruah). This meant that the kolos were perhaps longer than the kahal was used to hearing. Some slight murmuring ensued, but when Rav Ozer made it clear to those who asked him in that first year that the length of the kolos I was sounding was proper, the murmuring ceased – never again to reemerge.
It meant that I went into every Rosh Hashanah after that first year with nachas ruach, a tranquility of spirit, undergirded by the support of the most respected man in the minyan, who gave that tranquility to me with less than a sentence. The minyan has benefitted – a baal tokea with nachas ruach is more likely to sound the 100 kolos as they are to be sounded. That is just one of the many legacies of Rav Ozer.
If there is a final thought I hope to convey, it is that I urge everyone reading this to take the principle of baal t’acher to heart. Don’t delay. If someone by effective words has benefited you, make the effort to thank the person promptly and thank the Ribono shel Olam for the opportunity to do so.Gary Eisenberg