Stories & Memories of Rabbi Zalman Baras

By: Ya'akovah (Mrs. Eliyahu) Weber, mother of Cincinnati mesivta student Menachem Mendel Weber (5775 through 5778) March 24

Humble and patient

During a phone conference about my son when he was learning in mesivta in Cincinnati, Rabbi Baras made an impression on me about being patient and humble, in discussing his relationships with the mesivta talmidim who came to him for guidance.

He told me that at first, he often listened without necessarily offering much comment, simply paying attention to them to get to know them. Early on, some of his talmidim would show a certain sense of "Does he really 'get' me?" because Rabbi Baras wasn't immediately coming out declaring pronouncements and directions for their lives. To them it sometimes seemed, at first, that he was "very nice, but clueless."

Rabbi Baras continued by telling me that it absolutely didn't bother him one bit that the talmid might mistakenly think this, perhaps even arrogantly. I saw that if the talmid nevertheless kept talking with him, generally it soon became abundantly clear that Rabbi Baras had actually forged a meaningful connection with him by being more of a listener at first. He indeed deeply understood. I know that these talmidim came to see that Rabbi Baras listened, with a supremely wise heart, to each individual talmid.

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