My heart was deeply saddened this week when I learned that Rabbi Rodal OBM had passed away. Rabbi Rodal A”H was a respected and much loved educator. Our children who attended Yeshiva (Chabad) in Pittsburgh all adored him. My eldest son (Rabbi Jonathan Hirsch, Hollywood,FL) was shocked and saddened when I informed him of Rabbi Rodal’s passing. I had the pleasure of studying Yiddish at Pittsburgh’s JCC with Rabbi Rodal. It was amazing to watch how Rabbi Rodal was able to relate to every student in the class (the adult students in that class came from all shades of Judaism). He answered all of the class’s questions with expert knowledge, respect for the the questioner and of course his own brand of humor (when applicable).
I fondly remember when Rabbi Rodal came to our home (in December 1983) to serve as the Cohain for our son Jonathan’s pidyon ha-ben. This was an unusual pidyon ha-ben. I was not raised in a religious home and at the time of Jonathan’s birth, I was unaware of the need for him to have a pidyon ha-ben. Only after enrolling Jonathan in Yeshiva Day School (and attending various classes) was I made aware of what a pidyon ha-ben was. Because I “missed the boat” when Jonathan was a baby, it was decided that Jonathan would have to do his own pidyon ha-ben once he became a bar mitzvah. We had a lovely pidyon ha-ben (at our home on Hobart Street) and Rabbi Rodal OBM was the Cohain for the ceremony. He carefully explain everything and Jonathan had his long overdue pidyon ha-ben. Rabbi Rodal A”H was a unique man and an amazing educator who truly loved teaching and was able to see the good in all of his students.Most of all, I remember that Rabbi Rodal OBM always had a wonderful smile on his face and that his happy demeanor easily spread to everyone around him. May we all emulate Rabbi Rabbi OBM and may his memory always be a blessing for all of us.