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    Rabbi Sacks died on the Shabbos of Parshas Vayera, surely one of his favorite parshos — I have no doubt this is a kavod acknowledging his leadership and wisdom and underscoring the many qualities he had in common with Avraham Avenu. The exchange between Hashem and Avraham about Sodom and Gomorrah fascinated Rabbi Sacks. His reading of these pesukim shaped his vision as a Rabbi, a moral philosopher, and a community leader. “Strangely,” he observes, the conversation doesn’t start with Hashem speaking to Avraham. Instead, Hashem is described as thinking aloud, allowing Avraham to eavesdrop on His thoughts. Avraham’s response was “astonishing,” and it formed the foundation of Rabbi Sacks’ philosophy and his approach to life. Indeed, he began his book, To Heal A Fractured World — a book he called, “part-payment of a debt I incurred to [the Lubavitch Rebbe] — with this analysis of this story because Avraham was the first to teach and demonstrate ethics and morality. First, Avraham responded — he was not silent, he took initiative and didn’t let the opportunity pass. Second, he protested against Hashem’s decision — he didn’t accept injustice even when the one committing it was the G-d he committed his life to and whom he loved. And finally, Avraham pleaded on behalf of all humanity — he didn’t respond for his family, or on behalf of Jews, he pled for all who were righteous, for all humanity. These are the lessons that animated Rabbi Sacks. This was the platform for his towering intellect, engaging personality, and tireless dedication. Like Avraham, Rabbi Sacks was not silent: countless lectures, television and radio specials, a steady stream of d’vrei Torah, 35 books, and a forthcoming translation and commentary on the Torah. Like Avraham, Rabbi Sacks was not afraid to speak truth to power. He protested declining ethical and moral behavior. Speaking to governments, intellectuals, colleagues, and lay audiences, he diagnosed causes and proposed solutions. He didn’t hesitate to challenge those who thought that Judaism and science were incompatible, or to reason with atheists and agnostics. “The crimes of religion,” he wrote, “involve making G-d in our image, instead of letting him remake us in his.” And perhaps most importantly, Rabbi Sacks recognized that Avraham challenged Hashem on behalf of all people (and that he was the first to do so). This was a message that helped shape his audience. He was loved and respected by observant and non-observant Jews, practicing and non-practicing Catholics, Muslims and others as well as by agnostics and atheists. Avraham’s response (reinforced by an interaction with the Lubavitch Rebbe) was the source of his insistence on framing all solutions as “we” not “I” initiatives. He taught Torah to humanity with breathtaking clarity: “The story of the Hebrew Bible as a whole, extending across a thousand years in real time, is of the progressive withdrawal of divine intervention and the transfer of responsibility to human beings.” “The message of the Hebrew Bible is that serving G-d and our fellow human beings are inseparably linked, and the split between the two impoverishes both.” Will Our Grandchildren Be Jewish, the first book Rabbi Sacks published after becoming Chief Rabbi reveals his priorities. One metric describes his impact: the proportion of anglo-Jewish children attending Jewish day schools rose from 25% to more than 65% during his tenure. Rabbi Sacks loved music. The Chief Rabbi’s house is near the Beatles’ recording studio on Abbey Road in North London. He wrote about the thrill of crossing Abbey Road on his way to shul and about a private tour of the studio. But his heart was drawn to a special type of music: “music,” he commented, “is the language of the soul and the Siddur is its libretto.” Working with the Shabbaton Choir in England and his new translation of and commentary on the Siddur, Rabbi Sacks helped breathe new life into davening and prayer. Rabbi Sacks mused that he was concerned about being held to account for the many hours of davening that were missed by people who read his weekly d’vrei Torah in shul. I hope he is held to account for this because the ledger balances overwhelmingly in his favor! Remembering Rabbi Sacks for his eloquence and erudition and the power of his message is easy. Unfortunately, few got to experience his warmth and spontaneity — it’s the addition of these traits that transformed a towering personality into a kiddush Hashem. Many years ago I davened at the Western Marble Arch Synagogue in Central London when Rabbi Sacks was the pulpit rabbi. My sons, 6 and 3 years old, were beside me when Rabbi Sacks stopped the procession taking the Torah from the Aron to the Bimah. He greeted me, turned to Eric and Michael, and asked if they like chocolate. As he expected their response was enthusiastic. He told them that he had a surprise for them and asked them to meet him at the kiddish. I don’t recall if he found them or if they found him but the meeting happened on schedule and Rabbi Sacks handed each of them the best piece of chocolate cake they have ever had! More than 20 years later when I had the opportunity to remind Rabbi Sacks of his generosity and thank him for giving my family such a positive experience, he smiled. “Alevei,” he said, “I hope that when I die I am judged as the one who gave chocolate to children. Alevei.” To that, I say, amein!