Monday, January 6, 2014

Divrei Hesped for Rabbi Efraim Greenblatt, ztz"l

I remember walking into the Anshei Sphard Beth El Emeth Congregation for the first time and noticing the slender man with the long white beard and black kapota standing near the mechitzah a few rows up from the bimah on the left hand side.  It was clear from his seat and the way that he carried himself that he was intending to be inconspicuous.  His garb, though, set against the deep purple and metalic silver of Anshei's unique decor made doing so rather difficult.

My first instinct was that this must be a visitor.   A rabbi, perhaps, visiting the mid-South from New York or maybe from Yerushalayim.  After seeing him interact with the rest of those who had come to Anshei to daven that Shabbos - a wonderfully eclectic mix of Jews from all backgrounds and of all levels of observance - I realized how mistaken I had been.  I was the visitor.  This was his home.  This was Rav Efraim Greenblatt: famed sage, student of Rav Moshe Feinstein, and one of the greatest poskim of his generation.  This was Rav Efraim Greenblatt whose erudition and acclaim didn't prevent him from spending decades, alongside his wife, teaching Torah to Memphis's youngest children in the school I had then just come to run.

Last week, the Torah world lost one of its most brilliant minds and the Memphis community lost one of its most cherished teachers: Ha-Rav Ha-Gaon Rav Efraim Greenblatt, zecher tzaddik le-vrachah.

It is an honor and a privilege to share with you these divrei hesped, words of eulogy, written by Rav Efraim's son, Rabbi Menachem Greenblatt, rov of Agudas Israel of St. Louis.

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