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Sivan Rahav-Meir / The Daily Portion / The Revolutionary Rav Yeshayahu Heber, Z'L

By Sivan Rahav-Meir/Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Posted on 04/12/21

Parshas HaShavua Divrei Torah sponsored by
Dr. Shapsy Tajerstein, DPM - Podiatry Care.
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A year ago, at the height of the lockdown, only a few people were allowed to accompany Rav Yeshayahu Heber to his final resting place. Heber was the founder of the Matnat Chaim (Gift of Life) organization and passed away at the age of 55 from the coronavirus. Yesterday, many more people attended the memorial service that marks one year since his death. Rav Heber is not only responsible for the revolution in kidney donations in Israel and he did not only save the lives of 1,000 kidney recipients. He brought about several other revolutions at the same time:

•    "You alone can change the world" revolution. Do you have a worthwhile initiative? Do you have a dream? Just get moving and make it happen. Don't wait for the government, the establishment, or financial backers. Just begin and perhaps, little by little, you will change the world.

•    Caring revolution. Rav Heber discovered the anguish of those seeking a kidney donation when he found himself in that very situation. After receiving a kidney, he could have just returned to his previous life. Instead, he decided that the solution to his personal problem should be available to the public at large. This is greatness. Not to be content with an individual solution that is beneficial only to yourself, but rather to change the accepted way things are done so that all may benefit from your experience.

•    Peer pressure revolution. We talk a lot about negative peer pressure that causes people to be swept up by unhealthy trends and activities since "everyone is doing it." But Rav Heber created positive peer pressure, Suddenly, "everyone is donating a kidney" so perhaps you too should get in on the fashion? This is proof that it's possible to create a campaign that's all about giving and selfless dedication. In the community of Eli, in which many kidney donors live, there's a joke going around about publication of the following announcement:  "A support group is now forming for people with two kidneys."

•    Jewish unity revolution. Jewish unity is expressed each time a charedi kidney is transplanted into a secular body or a leftist kidney is transplanted into the body of someone on the right.  Rav Heber explained this phenomenon as follows: "I don't ask anyone to give a kidney to a stranger, because the recipient is not a stranger. He's your brother."

In his memory.