It just feels wrong, like: "This wasn't so supposed to happen!"
While I knew he wasn't well, he sent out reassurance that it wasn't serious. So I davened for him, but not with the heart and kabbalot that I would've had I known his illness really was so life-threatening. (And maybe he didn't really realize until the end either.)
I just sat staring at the message in disbelief. Then I cried a little, then felt ill, then cried some more.
Hashem blessed Rabbi Wallerstein with unusually strong energy, drive, and raw honesty — and he used these qualities to save Am Yisrael, both physically and spiritually.
Hashem also blessed him with the ability to call a spade a spade and to see the seedier side of things—most people like that turn cynical & harsh—but Rabbi Wallerstein simultaneously could also see people's holy & pure neshamot and also honing in on what they COULD be.
Our generation desperately needed someone who could combine seeing people and situations as they are while also seeing what they could be AND what they were right now underneath it all.
And Rabbi Wallerstein was one of the few who could do all that.
I'm heartbroken for his wife Rebbetzin Estee and all his offspring who must feel his loss most intensely.
Thank You for Saving Me From Social Media, Rabbi Wallerstein
Right about the time I started feeling social, family, and parnasa pressure to go on Facebook (before Twitter and all the rest), Rabbi Wallerstein repeatedly attacked Facebook in such a compelling & uncompromising manner, he convinced me not to do it.
Maybe a minority of people legitimately need it, but I know I'm not one of them.
So I'm grateful that Rabbi Wallerstein made me avoid social media (which is so hard to get off once on).
And I know I'm not the only one he saved from social media.
It should always be a zechus for him.
The Ideal Tatty & Knight in Shining Armor
Privately, many felt like he was the father they never had, but always wanted.
And I mean women WITH fathers. I'm not talking about orphans.
Rabbi Wallerstein felt so strongly about the kavod of every single bat Melech. He exhorted against any hefkerus of bnot Yisrael, including exhorting bnot Yisrael not to be mafkir themselves at any stage and to recognize their inestimable worth & value.
And he was willing to fight for the kavod & safety of a bat Yisrael.
Women and girls across the board sensed and appreciated this. Even regarding the ones for whom it was too late to save personally, many found it healing to encounter someone like Rabbi Wallerstein (even just hearing him through earphones).
Just as one example of how this played out:
As a secular girl of thirteen, a friend of mine ended up in a relationship with a 21-year-old guy. Not sure how it initially started, but as expected in her modern ultra-liberal progressive society, he felt the right to more physical engagement (to put it delicately) & directed her to acquire the means to prevent conception.
Not knowing how to say no on her own, this 13-year-old girl repeated the guy's directive to her committedly liberal, educated, and progressive mother, secretly hoping her mother would rescue her from this much older and bigger male.
But her well-meaning mother acted according to the doctrine of the times and promptly took her daughter to the doctor to get the contraceptives.
Where was her father in all this?
I don't know. While she had a decent relationship with him, he wasn't involved in this particular parsha between his daughter and his wife.
Maybe he knew, maybe it didn't, but he wasn't involved. And therefore, he never fulfilled that all-important protective role of a father for his daughter.
Despite becoming contentedly frum later, including marriage and children, my friend always carried this pain with her, this feeling of having been violated as a naïve, helpless, confused young teen by a full-grown man with the full consent of her parents and her society.
And whenever she talked about Rabbi Wallerstein, something came through indicating part of the reason she felt so attached to Rabbi Wallerstein is because had HE been her father, this particular trauma NEVER would have happened.
(And also, Rabbi Wallerstein would have rearranged the guy's face just for trying to get it on with her. This thought is also incredibly comforting to those who've felt violated.)
Not to mention the people who need him in the future.
I feel like we've been left orphaned & devastated by Rabbi Wallerstein's passing.
And I guess that's all there is to say for now.
Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein | TorahAnytime.com