Hello dear readers,
I can't even believe that I'm writing this about rabbi baras as a memory of him!!! I never imagined in my wildest imaginations that I would do this and thinking about it breaks me!!!!!
But who are we to question hashem's ways??? We will never understand them. But what would be more painful would be to allow the time pass and forget about the greatness of this man and not write about him!!!!! So with this I start my story,
My name is menachem elkayam. I've learnt in yeshivas lubavitch Cincinnati for 5 years (from ayin beis till ayin vov) and it has been an amazing experience which I've grown from allot. My first experience with rabbi baras that I remember vividly was after elul, when I came back to yeshiva after tishrei break. At the end of that tishrei before I came back to yeshiva, I had this shtick of wearing a casket, (actually, now that I think of it, it was quite ridiculous!!) And I remember coming back to yeshiva wearing it instead of my hat. As soon as I entered the door, rabbi baras approached me with a very warm smile and told me "wow, menachem the casket looks so chassidish on you, it fits you perfect" It made such a deep impression on me. From the moment that I bought it till I came to yeshiva, I always had different comments regarding it, some good some not, but nothing was as real, deep and touching like rabbi Baras's!!! Without exaggeration he made me feel like a million bucks!!!! We see from this that rabbi baras would (ALLWAYS) be on the lookout to have a relationship with the bochurim in the small details and to uplift them and make them feel special!! Since then, for a while, I didn't really have any serious connection with rabbi baras yet. For the next while, the year continued on as usual. Right before pesach break is when I took him as my personal mashpia and that's when things changed drastically since then and my connection with him got allot deeper and more real!! Ive had my typical teenage hardships and rabbi baras helped me allot in them, guiding me in the right direction and giving me the right perspective and whenever we would talk he had the proper sense of tuning Into my personal issues and knew how to deal with them with the proper care!!! His wisdom was something out of this world!!!!!!!
But that's not (only) where his greatness shone, He wasn't just a caring man in my spiritual/ emotional needs, but also (and mainly) in my physical needs. When I was in shiur gimmel, some time before yud tes kislev, I had a terrible stomach ache and I went to the hospital right away. Baruch hashem that pain went away relatively quickly but soon after it came back and it ended up being a prolonged illness which had different symptoms. I happened to mention it to rabbi baras once not with the intention that he would know what to do or aid but just randomly mentioning it to my surprise, he was actually very interested in my personal little worry and he took it upon himself to help me and he went out of his way to spend his money and time to helping me!!!! His first attempt to help me was with buying these natural, expensive pills which he paid for. I started taking those pills for quite a while but to no avail, the stomach issues were still there. But to my amazement, he wouldn't stop with helping me. I found this book that's based off the rambam which has different diets for different stomach problems and I spoke to him about it and how maybe if I followed the diet I would feel better, but I didn't (unfortunately) have the money to buy food each week. amazingly and so selflessly rabbi baras would pay for my diet WEEKLY FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR!!!!!!!! something that looking back is just unimaginable!!!!!! Oh and btw, never did he give me the impression that I've used him up too much or that "how much can I help him allready?!" To be blunt, it was the exact opposite!!!!! He would care for me as his personal son who needs to be healed and he simply wouldn't make any calculations!!! Baruch hashem the diet helped and I would feel much better. I've always ( And still do) feel bad for all this trouble that he did for me to go out of his way for me and help me so selflessly but what can I do?? That's who he was, a man who wouldn't make evaluations when it came to caring for others. I really owe it to rabbi baras for all this that he's done for me (and much more)
I could write on and on about his selfless devotion that he had. This story is just a drop of the ocean. There is so much to write about his spiritual greatness also which maybe I'll write another time about.
The fact that rabbi baras is gone is such a terrible loss and makes no sense whatsoever!!!! His presence was so incredible and rare!!!!! A real gem that you just don't find. There is really nothing like him!! To be like him, I won't and I don't know if anyone will, but what we could at least do is to try to emulate his ways and to have that care and unlimited selflessness that he had. I miss him, very very much and it's very painful that he's gone. The fact that I can't talk to him again, discuss a maamar, ask advice or simplify chill with him, is heartbreaking!!!! He was one person who I poshut enjoyed talking with. He gave his entire self to the moment as if nothing existed but you.. All I could say is that we need moshiach NOW and then we will reunite with our beloved teacher, mentor, and father to his talmidim together with all the yidden in yerushalyim may that be very soon amen!!!!!!