CTN Torah Minute by Rabbi Moshe Katz – February 15, 2017


Jewish Inspiration in 60 Seconds or Less, by Rabbi Moshe Katz

Hope you’re having a great day.
… Unfortunately, I need to share some very sad news.
We lost my amazing nephew Rabbi Yehuda Simes.
Yehuda passed away last week at the age of 49.
(For those who are new to the Torah Minute?
Yehuda was married to my niece Shaindel.
Six years ago, their family was in a horrific car accident.
And Yehuda was left a quadriplegic.)
Over the years I’ve shared stories of his deep faith.
And how he used his challenge to inspire thousands of people all over the world.
(And about his amazing wife!)
I’m sure I’ll be sharing more about him in the future.
For now?
Instead of me trying to tell you how special Yehuda was?
I’ll let you learn about life directly from Yehuda.
He was far more eloquent than I am.
And you can join me in becoming Yehuda’s student!
…This is taken from his personal blog.
And what did this incredible young man call his blog?
The blog that he wrote while paralyzed and confined to a wheel chair?
And that he wrote with his eye gaze computer?
“The Rolling Rabbi”!
This piece was called “What’s Important to You?”

… “Well, if you are willing to listen to my humble opinion?

I have some life experience I can impart.
One of the life lessons I have learned from quadriplegia is a whole new world view.
I now found myself rearranging priorities.
I found out that instead of worrying about what I DON’T have?
I am grateful for what I DO have.
This is not just cliché, this change inside of me actually occurred.
When I was faced with a near total loss of control over my body, I could have wallowed in self pity.
Instead, I found it prudent to take what G-d dealt to me and make peace with it.
Acceptance for me entails throwing away what I no longer have and no longer can do.
And embracing what I do have and what I can do.
In my case, I realized anew the tremendous blessing of sight.

For where would I be if I couldn’t see?
As well the unearned gift of hearing. I used to love to sing.

Especially tunes of Shlomo Carlebach and Rabbi Baruch Chait.
For the past five years when I could no longer sing, because my diaphragm is paralyzed?
Ever since the accident, I revel in listening to my favorite tunes!
My life would be depressing without the gift of hearing!
I also have the unexpected gift of sensation throughout my body!
I can feel when my children hug me and sit on my lap!
Plus, I am blessed with many G-d inspired man-made inventions which keep me alive and comfortable!
For example, my trach which is attached to my respirator!
You see, my lungs are so scarred that I need my respirator to artificially breathe for me!
I also have a ceiling lift which makes it possible for me to transfer from my chair to my bed and vise-versa!
It should be apparent what kind of gift this is!
Also, I have an accessible van which allows me to sit in the front passenger seat!
What a gift that is!
And of course, I am blessed with my eye gaze computer!
This makes it possible to communicate and to send out blog posts to you!”…

… I was reluctant to begin with my usual, “Hope you’re having a great day”.
Was I going to ruin your day by sharing very sad news?
I’m sure that’s not the case.
Because I’m sure that Yehuda has reminded us how much we have to be thankful for.
He’s reminded us all…
That we are having a great day!
All the best,


Rabbi Moshe Katz | Director | rabbikatz@torahnetwork.org
Chicago Torah Network | THE CTN CENTER | 2832 W. Touhy Avenue | Chicago, IL 60645
773 761 0400, ext. 201 | fax: 773 761 9262 | www.torahnetwork.org


  1. susan schulman · · Reply

    He was a remarkable man.

  2. Mendel Gottesman · · Reply

    Dear Rabbi Katz,

    Thank you for sharing your nephew’s words. I was zocheh to know Yehuda in high school. He was an amazing individual even then. I remember Yehuda always greeted others with a great smile and a kind word.

    May his memory be for a blessing.

    Mendel Gottesman
    Neve Daniel

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