THE SAGES (Yalkut Deut. 172; Deut. Rab. 1; Tanhuma Deut. 2), draw our attention, to a delicate distinction between the early period of the leadership of Moses and the latter part of his ministry. In the beginning we find Moses pleading lo ish devarim anokhi, "I am not a man of words" (Exod. 4:10). Moses maintained that he could not assume the responsibility of being the spokesman for his people, "for I am heavy of speech" (Ibid). As a matter of historic fact, Moses devoted the early part of his life to the task of liberating the people. He concentrated on the roles of goel —redeemer, and mechokek —lawgiver. In the first Four Books of Moses, one seldom finds words that could be described as outbursts of feeling and passion befitting the greatest prophet of all times. Kevan she—zakha la-Torah hitchil ledaber devarim. When he finished the task of teaching Torah to his people, Moses reached the full flowering of his maturity as a prophet. It is then that we discover a new and powerful dimension in the great teacher. The introductory phrase in the last book of the Torah, the sages aver, is indicative of his new role. Eleh hadevarim asher diber mosheh. "These are the words that Moses spoke" (Deut. 1:1). From then on he addresses his people not only as mechokek but as the navi , as the prophet par excellence. This is especially evident in the concluding sidrahs of the Book of Deuteronomy where one finds passages that for sheer force and sublime beauty are unsurpassed. They are words that fire the imagination—that move and stir, uplift and disturb.

One can speak of the various phases in the brilliant career of our beloved guest of honor, Dr. Samuel Belkin, President of Yeshiva University. To those who are close to the Yeshiva and who have followed the successes of Dr. Belkin's efforts for the past quarter of a century, two elements in his career stand out as beacons and sparkling jewels. He has been the Mechokek of the Yeshiva. We all know how he changed a small school into the greatest center of Torah and mada, general knowledge, in the Jewish world; how he attracted the finest galaxy of Roshei-Yeshivah with Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveichik at the head, that no Yeshiva here or abroad possesses.

The Torah says that in a crucial moment in the life of Abraham, Vayarek et chanikhav "and he armed his trained followers" (Gen. 14:14). Abraham provided his disciple with the klei-zayen —the armor—to combat the nefarious designs of the enemy. Similarly, Dr. Belkin's efforts have been used effectively to arm the chanikhe ha-Yeshiva with spiritual and moral weapons to champion the cause of Torah Judaism. One can meet these chanikhim in North and South America, in Israel, and elsewhere.

In the past several years we have witnessed the emergence of Dr. Belkin as the man of eleh hadevarim. In books, pamphlets, articles and addresses he has made a profound impression on the philosophy and thought of Judaism, and thus has helped make traditional Judaism attractive and fashionable in our times. Truly it can be said of him that he brought "the beauty of Japheth into the tents of Shem."

The famed Gerer Rebbe, known by the books he authored, the Chidushei ha-Rim, once said that of all the berakhot that a Jew recites during the day there are only two that have the name Yisrael associated with them. One is ozer Yisrael bi-gevurah, "who girds Israel with strength"; the other is oter Yisrael be-tifarah, "who adorns Israel with beauty." From which the Gerer Rebbe deduced that a true Israelite should wear an ozer —a gartel—a belt to divide the upper from the lower parts of man during prayer, and an oter —a headcover at all times.

While this is a fine Chassidic vort , there is also prost pshat —the ordinary meaning of these blessings—that is significant. These two berakhot , which constitute part of the morning prayers, point to two major qualities that an observant Israelite should possess, namely gevurah —determination and courage to champion the cause of Torah and mitzvot , and tiferet —spiritual beauty, which means leading a clean and exemplary life. He who blends and harmonizes the gevurah of Shem with the tiferet of Japheth is a true Yisrael, who is deserving of yet another blessing habocher be-amo Yisrael be-ahavah, "Who chooses His people Israel with love. "

We toast our great teacher and leader who has dedicated his efforts and talents to the training of a large corps of Jewish youth to evince both these qualities in the tradition of Yisrael sava. May God give him strength lehagdil Torah ulehaadirah, "to promote the teachings of Torah and to strengthen them."

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