The Sceptic Blog

Random thoughts of a random chappy

Rabbi Dovid Cooper o’h

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1.  Today sees the end of the shiva after the death last shabbos of Rabbi Dovid Cooper o’h, former Rav of North Hendon Adas Yisroel.

2.  This week’s parashah is a double parashah: acharei mos-kedoshim.  For most people, kedushah comes only “acharei mos” (sanctity comes only after death).

3.  All of us who knew Rabbi Cooper z’l even very slightly were in no doubt that we stood in the presence of a rare example of a living kedushah, which constantly inspired us: we came away from talking to him with a wish to do better.

4.  For much of his life his mind was of an extremely rare acuity: as his intellectual faculties diminished, the purity and elevation of his character were simply thrown into sharper relief.  We saw that genius belongs to this world, but its application to learning for the sake of Heaven refines the soul to a degree that, again, inspired us all.

5. Above all, Rabbi Cooper z’l taught me the beauty of simplicity.  Although his mind was capable of impressive feats of intellectual gymnastics, he did not indulge in rhetoric for its own sake, nor did he cultivate charisma.  He said what had to be said in a straightforward way.  He applied Torah rigidly, but his understanding of Torah included an appreciation of sensitivity and humanity.  Honesty and yashrus (“we bend over backwards, but we don’t break”) are commodities of which the world stands in much need: may his memory inspire us all to do a little better.


Written by Daniel Greenberg

April 23, 2010 at 4:27 pm

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  1. It needed someone who was good with words to express what you did in such a short but succinct way. Definately a case of “Kol Hamosif Goreah” (someone who adds, makes things worse. Many thanks.

    Henry Ehreich

    April 26, 2010 at 12:28 am

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