Matis Abarbanel


5th of Teves (Didan Notzach), 5773

Dear Rabbi Gafne,

Given the constraints and limitations of dibor, I would like to attempt to
express my deepest gratitude and appreciation towards you and Ohr Tmimim. As is
known by the initiates of the concealed and secret aspects of the Torah, the greatest
good that G-d can possibly bestow upon man is the ability to experience G-d Himself.
We know that when the ultimate purpose of creation, Yemot HaMoshiach, is fully
manifest in the world, the sole occupation of the world will only be to know G-d.
Because of your guidance, mentorship and teachings the two years of my life that I
attended Yeshivas Ohr Tmimim (5765-66) enabled me to experience and to
continue enjoying a ‘taste’ of the joy, serenity, and completeness a Jew can only
attain through the path of getting to know G-d. How much more so, through the
zenith of tools available for us to do so, Chabad Chassidus. Before Hashem blessed
me by guiding me to Ohr Tmimim I thought I reached the pinnacle of what life had
to offer. Fully submersed in the tivas of Olam Hazeh, and living the “American
Dream”, I would never have believed of one day becoming a Torah observant Jew,
but as the saying goes, “we plan, G-d laughs”. After climbing the ladder to success I
realized that the promises of true happiness and fulfillment couldn’t be found in a
world devoid of some deeper meaning and purpose. I left my life as a successful
lawyer in America and set out on a soul-searching journey the led me across the
world to Buddhism, mediation, and Yoga, amongst other things, in an attempt to fill
the void that secular materialism could not. I searched and searched, but what I
sought was nowhere to be found. Nietzsche, Kant, Confucius, Aristotle all fell short,
and it seemed like my quest for truth would remain unquenched until a two week
trip to Israel turned into a four year stay. I tried several other yeshivas, but non-
seemed to reach me, and when I just about had given up, G-d sent me the lifeline
that truly saved me.
It seems like yesterday when I first met you at your house in Bnei Brak.
Your kindness and humbleness brought me comfort after what seemed like an
exhausting and never-ending journey. I must admit when I first came to Kfar
Chabad I was in total shock, and thought I was in Amish country. I clearly remember
telling you that I agreed to try out the Yeshiva, but there was no way I
would ever wear “one of those black and white penguin suits.” You gave me a
reassuring smile, as if you somehow new where I was going to wind up before I
even started, and invited me to give the Yeshiva a try. I definitely had my share of
trials and tribulations at Ohr Tmimim, but despite the many obstacles that got in my
way, ultimately your guidance and mentorship kept me on track. They say that
trying to explain to someone what it feels like to be connected to Hashem is like
trying to explain what a sunset looks like to a blind person. I feel the same way
about trying to speak about my time at Ohr Tmimim. It was truly an invaluable, life
changing experience that I will never forget. I am really blessed for the deep
connection that we have established over the years, for the merit I had of
accompanying you on trips to the Rebbe MHM, and to have you as my mashpia.
The ultimate goal for a Chassid is to have hiskashrus with his Rebbe, and I
truly believe that without my hiskashrus to you, the connection I share with the
Rebbe MHM would not be possible. For that I am eternally grateful, for that is
something that has not only changed my life for the better, but has enabled me to
get married and raise a family who know what it means to be Chabad Chassidim,
and to carry out the will of the Rebbe MHM by doing everything we can to bring
about the coming of Moshiach now!
May you only have Chassidic nachas from your family and extended Ohr
Tmimim family, and may Hashem bless with revealed blessings b’gashmias
v’ruchnias 1,000 fold for all the goodness and kindness you have done for us all.

Yechi HaMelech HaMoshiach,

Matis Abarbanel