A rare hug from Rabbi Sacks


I am deeply saddened by the passing of a man so proud of his Judaism; a man who really inspired me spiritually, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks זכר צדיק לברכה.

He had many virtues that defined him; the Jewish passion that characterized him, together with the conceptual wealth that he possessed. All these characteristics made up a unique and wonderful person, a legend and one of a kind.

His elegant way of presenting ideas together with his touch of genius were evident in his prolific writings which are saturated with intellectual aesthetic. His creations almost always gave me heavenly spiritual pleasure and for this I owe him a part of my mission and belief.

I was worthy to experience some unforgettable moments in his presents:

Once, at the end of the prize ceremony for the unity of Jerusalem, I approached him and told him that every Shabbat in my home we have a discussion based on his ideas. I will never forget how the rabbi hugged me spontaneously. After that his wife whispered to me “I’m a witness that you merited a rare hug!”

Another time when I visited his home in London, I asked him, what he felt about acting as the chief rabbi of Israel? The Rabbi responded “here in London you can act as the Chief Rabbi for many years because the position holds no authority but lots of responsibility. In contrast, in Israel, the position has authority but no responsibility – which can easily lead to corruption.”

Rabbi Sacks was interested in spiritual and civil leadership and gave much of his time to do so. He believed that man has the ability to do good and correct what’s wrong.

The books he wrote became the strongest foundation in the world of knowledge and spirit. In his rich language and breadth of knowledge that always defined him he could conceptualize the abstract with his refinement of language.

Rabbi Sacks was an elevated human being who left value and meaning in this world. He excelled in his ability to bridge between two worlds. The same combination of traits that bound Rav Soloveitchik and the Lubavitcher Rebbe, merging Jews and Gentiles, holiness and the mundane, faith and science, new and old. He strode in between with calculated intellectual steps, creating a unique creation with his refined taste and in the image of his pure soul.

He had a rare combination of heavy thinking and sharp humor; he had both majesty and glory and his presence drew respect.

His body surrendered to a horrible disease but his spirit will continue to live among us and to breed life. Many people owe their spiritual awakening to him.

I miss him very much.

About the Author
Rabbi Menachem Bombach is a community leader and educational entrepreneur in the Haredi community. He heads the 'Netzach' Haredi educational network, which he founded, and which combines religious and secular studies, and aims to educate students to become observant, Torah-loving Jews who are also prepared for practical life. He also heads the Hasidic girls’ seminary affiliated with the network. Menachem has served as principal of the award-winning 'Le’Zion Be’Rinah' high school; founded the preparatory program for Haredi students at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; and directed the youth department of the Beitar Illit local authority. Menachem studied at the Vizhnitz “Ahavat Yisrael” yeshiva and at the Mir yeshiva, and holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Moreshet Yaakov College and a master’s degree in public policy from the Hebrew University. He lectures in Israel and abroad on education and society.
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