How does a person lead a productive life even when blindness
overtakes him in his early years? This portrait of a remarkable
individual offers insight into this question. Rabbi Wanefsky
eschewed the unearned utterance of "Barukh
Hashem" that fails to truly address the trials and
frustrations of a serious illness. At the same time, he did not
lapse into an ongoing resentful perspective towards his Maker
that prevents the sufferer from achievements and accomplishments.
In Rabbi Wanefsky’s life a due appreciation for his plight coexisted
with a sense of mission and the ability to enjoy life. As Rabbi
Carmy writes: "Schooled in adversity, he conceived of life as
a challenge and an opportunity, a long trial and an intense joy."
Rabbi Wanefsky learned in Chaim Berlin before receiving semikhah
and a doctorate at Yeshiva University. Despite losing his vision
in early manhood, he became a fixture on the fifth floor of the YU
library, where students availed themselves of his sharp wit and
to read the essay (PDF 110KB).