Are the loss of the two gedolim (meaning Reb Moshe Feinstein and Reb Yaakov Kamenetsky zichronom l'ivrocho) an omen?
Everything is an omen, and nothing is an omen. I don't believe just in manufacturing omens, and being superstitious for nothing. When an old gadol dies, how long do you expect them to live, to a hundred and fifty years? They have to die someday. However, we utilize the opportunity, because to us even if the gadol would be a thousand years old, it would be a tragedy for us. When Reb Yochanon passed away at a very advanced old age, so when they made a funeral hesped for him they said, it's like the sun set in midday! It's too early for him to die, no matter how old he is, because we don't want him to die.
So it's not an omen, but we have to learn lessons from that. We have to learn the importance of great men, the importance of training young men to become great, somebody has to take their place. We have to learn the necessity of listening to our great men as long as we have them. We have to utilize our great men. Now when they were alive, many people ignored them. After they died the people said ooh he died… where were you when he was alive? Did you come to listen to him?
Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky was sitting every Friday night in Monsey teaching Chumash for many years, in a little place, a little shul in a basement. It should have been packed, but it wasn't packed. Monsey! Ir v'eim b'Yisroel! I'm not blaming them, they had plenty other things to do. But Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky is teaching Chumash, most likely it was something worth listening to. Then he passed away and tsk, tsk, tsk ... Where were you when he was alive?
And so there are a lot of lessons to be learned, there are a lot of omens that we make, there's not any special omen that we can say because it's part of nature that people get old and pass away.
However we should utilize the opportunity for teshuva and maasim tovim.
Good Shabbos To All
This is transcribed from questions that were posed to Harav Miller by the audience at the Thursday night lectures.
To listen to the audio of this Q & A please dial: 201-676-3210