May 27, 2024
Close this search box.
Close this search box.
May 27, 2024
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

I have been allotted five minutes. So as my grandfather would say, Therefore I will speak six minutes. No more. No less.

I have been very fortunate to have two of my grandparents with me into my 30s. It’s been such a blessing for me from when I was a little boy until now as I am raising my own little ones.

I remember growing up and going for Shabbat to my grandparents’ home in Pelham Parkway, and later coming to visit them here in Miami throughout high school and even college. I remember learning with my grandfather going over the Gemara from Rav Mendelson’s shuir in high school every Sunday. And calling every Erev Shabbat to wish both Bubby and Zaidy a good Shabbat.

Even though Zaidy spoke six languages, he still couldn’t spend more than five minutes on a phone conversation on Erev Shabbat.

But I would say mine and my wife, Tikki’s, greatest privilege was being able to live one floor above them for the last six months.

You see, in December of last year, we found out Tikki was placed as a PICU fellow at Miami Children’s hospital. My grandparents were one of the first people we called. We hadn’t gotten to see them much due to the pandemic and now we’d live so close to them.

After moving here into Tower 41, we made it a point to see them regularly and for them to get to see my children, Nash, Lily and Jesse on a regular basis. What a bracha it was for us to get to share that. And there was also the special relationship he had with Tikki.

There’s a family joke that I had always been Zaidy’s favorite. But the truth is, Tikki has slowly but surely assumed that role. And truthfully, this is something that is so special to me. To be able to see the relationship I had with my Zaidy flow and continue to my own family; my wife and children.

We’d bring food down to them on Friday and Bubby gave chocolate to my kids. Zaidy would ask us what was new: “Okay, but what else is going on?”

It was really special to get to have these last six months to be so close to both my grandparents.

I did not inherit his height, or his full head of hair. Or his photographic memory (I may be a little salty about that last one). But I for sure received his passion for Torah and for my Jewish identity.

The Midrash tells us that the Jewish people merited redemption due to keeping to their names, language (lashon haKodesh) and dress. My aunt was always Rachel Adleh and my brother was always Betzalel Chaim. Names were always something he would pay special attention to. And, obviously, language. But even dress.

So many people have mentioned to me over the years that they wear a tie to shul or on Shabbat because of him. They knew that if he saw them, they’d have to face the wrath of Rabbi Dulitz.

But what many don’t know was that he was very particular about his headwear. There is a difference, apparently, between hats and caps. If you didn’t know that, don’t worry, neither did the salesman at Century 21, who spent 20 minutes arguing with him while pointing at the baseball hats saying “these are hats” and Zaidy saying “No. These are caps. I want hats.” Suffice it to say, we left that day with no hats. Or caps.

Even in the last month, while in the hospital, he would always make sure he was wearing his kippah. Whenever it slipped off, despite his multitude of clips, he would ask me to put it back on, making sure I clipped every single clip back on properly.

These things may not be passed down genetically, but they are things that can cross over that barrier and be passed down father to son and even teacher to student.

My grandfather was always concerned with his legacy. What was he leaving behind? I would like to think that when he would hold my children on his lap, and they would sing him a song or answer a question about the parsha, he knew that this was part of his legacy.

As I look around this room, I see so many family and friends and students. He taught for almost 50 years. And as Rashi notes that Aaron’s sons were called Moshe’s own sons due to his having taught them Torah, I can see that his legacy continues on not only with our own bloodline, but with everyone who he ever taught.

I am sure many, if not most, here had some relationship with him in that regard. Maybe it was Gemara and Chumash. Or English and Shakespeare. Or maybe him patrolling Camp Raleigh at night screaming at you in the bushes, “Negiah negiah!”

But that fire for knowledge and wisdom, and identity and pride as a Jew, are etched into everyone who he taught, mentored or advised. Just watching him mentally flip pages of the Gemara in his mind made me want to further my own knowledge and growth.

Growing up in New Orleans, acing his exams and scoring highest in the city’s history, my Zaidy had been offered many scholarships to different universities. But he chose to go to New York and study at YU. Not having a strong learning background, he had to start from the basics. But in a short time he completed his degree and received semicha to boot. What an accomplishment, something I still don’t understand how he did. But he did it. And then continued to teach for nearly 50 years. And of course there was the teaching he continued with my siblings and me, both in Torah as well as in daily life advice.

I will never forget our talks. Nor your advice.

I hope that myself, my wife and children, and our siblings Tzali and Tali, Roni and Liba, and Shayna all make you proud and continue to make you proud. Maybe not in every way YOU say. But in each of our own unique ways.

I ask for mechila for myself and my family and hope that we can continue your love of your Jewish identity and Torah learning and make you proud for all the sacrifices you made to shape the people we are today. And we hope you know the major role you had in that modeling of our own identities.

We love you.

Moshe Dulitz grew up in Teaneck for 30 years before moving to Florida with his wife and 3 children this past summer. Growing up under the auspices of his grandfather, Rabbi Label Dulitz, Moshe hopes to continue his legacy and love of Torah.

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles