The Jewish Eye
Pirkei Avos - How Do Our Superstars Measure Up?
If you look at almost all societies of the world you will notice that the people in society that are most looked up to are usually top rate physical specimens and are respected for their natural talents and abilities, be they entertainers or athletes. Cripples, blind people, and people with other kinds of handicap are usually shunned. Even the so called "stars" lose popularity as they get older. Not so by Klal Yisroel. Look at the religious newspapers and all you see are older men who are not known for any physical prowess. Yet they are sought after and idolized by the masses.
This is how the Shevet Mussar explain the strangely phrased Mishna in Pirkei Avos (4:6). Rebbi Yosi says, he who honors the Torah, his "Guf" is honored by the people. Why does it says that his body is honored? Why not that "he" is honored? He answers that our claim to stardom is solely based on Torah and middos. Those who possess it and excel in it are honored regardless of their physical appearance or stature. Even if they are blind and crippled it wouldn't make the slightest dent in their popularity and the respect shown for them. If fact help will come in all directions totally absolving them of any handicap.
No one ever thought twice about the physical appearance or capabilities of Rav Elyashiv or Rav Chaim Kanievsky or Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman, or Rav Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz or Rav Shmuel Auerbach etc. They are our superstars and their whole being is the standard for perfection and not a subject of critique. Why because they carry the torch of the Torah for our generation and therefore their bodies are respected.
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