By Rabbi Mark Borovitz
Last night I had the privilege of being with Rabbi Edward Feinstein at a dinner honoring his 20 years of service to and at Valley Beth Shalom Temple in Encino, California. Ed is my best friend and teacher, Rabbi and mentor. We have a special bond and it was an honor to be asked to write about him for the journal and to be with him, his family and so many friends/congregants to say thanks for the past 20 years and looking forward to the next 40!
What does this have to do with Redemption? Everything! As I was reflecting on Ed’s career as a Rabbi and a person, some powerful images leapt out at me. The Image of Rabbi Yochanan was first and foremost (as I see myself like Resh LaKish).
Ed Feinstein is the person who can see the soul of others and know who, where and how they should be living. Ed is certainly my Rabbi Yochanan! He met me and taught me and inspired me to rise above “ex-con” and “recovering alcoholic” to learn Torah, Talmud and Jewish Literature. Ed has taught a generation of Rabbis how to be a Rabbi. He has spoken all over the country and taught all over the world.
Why am I writing about this? Because of what Ed teaches. Ed teaches about the brokenness of the human being. He teaches and lives this brokenness and he teaches the cure for this brokenness, a life of a Living Torah! Ed brings the stories and lessons of Torah to life and how to live a more (w)holy life through these lessons. For Ed, as for Rabbi Yochanan, Torah is not dull, boring and irrelevant. Torah is alive, vibrant and necessary in order to breath.
Ed Feinstein welcomes everyone into his life, his tent. Ed believes that everyone needs to do T’Shuvah, no one is perfect, not him, not other Rabbis, not anyone. Ed lives a life of redemption by helping others redeem themselves through the Spirit of Torah. He helps all of us redeem ourselves by reminding us that we all belong to him, his shul, the Jewish People and to the world. Ed believes that we CAN NEVER THROW ANYONE AWAY. Ed not only preaches this, he believes it to his core and he lives this way each and every day of his life.
I ask you all to join me in honoring Rabbi Edward Feinstein by redeeming yourself and at least one other person in some way this day.