Dear Friend,

As I’m making my way back home from New York, it is with tears and pain that I finally took the courage to write to you the following few lines.

This past Sunday, our community was shocked and devastated to receive the news about the sudden and tragic passing of our beloved Rabbi Lipa Dubrawsky, of blessed memory.

It just seems too unreal and so sad that I wish we could just wake up from this terrible nightmare . . .

Rabbi Dubrawsky, or as I called him affectionately, “Lipa,” was my teacher, my mentor, my rav; but above all he was my friend, my dear friend.

As a child, I still remember his radiant and kind face when he came to visit his sister and brother in-law Rabbi and Mrs. Gurewitz, directors of Chabad in Lyon, France. But it was only a few years later, when he played a central role in introducing me to Malky, my dear wife, that I got to know him personally, and knew that I had found a mentor as well as a very special friend.

Whenever anyone talked with him, he truly listened. Gently, and with his unique refined way of speaking, he asked a couple of questions, making sure that he understood you properly, and at the same time making you feel that you were truly heard.

He was the kind of person who made you feel so at ease when talking with him, or while just sitting next to him.

He was always there when you needed him, always! His unconditional love and support, his thousands of priceless pieces of advice and pearls of wisdom, will continue to inspire my life and the lives of so many others.

But life will never be the same again.

Oy, I miss him so much…

I personally think that his legacy can be found in the learning of Torah. This was his true passion. He always had a sefer in hand. He simply loved learning! And he equally loved teaching.

As a librarian of the Rebbe’s library in New York, and a nephew of the late Rabbi Zalman Shimon Dworkin, rabbi of Chabad-Lubavitch in New York, for whom he worked and who mentored him for many years, Reb Lipa was a person who Vancouver was privileged to have as our rabbi during the past 25 years.

It brought him so much nachas when people came to study at one of his numerous classes. He always used to tell me how happy it made him . . . I just wish more people had benefited from the great teacher that he was.

Anyone who knew him well, knew how knowledgeable he was, both in Torah matters and secular studies.

I had the privilege to spend a lot of time in his company, and throughout the years we had many conversations on a broad range of topics, both in Torah subjects and in life issues in general.

He was an analyst. In his unique way, he analyzed the situation from every angle, getting to the core essence of the issue, and then counseled you with such a clarity that made you feel so much better, confident and peaceful.

But he was able to relate to the great mind as well as to the simple person who came to seek his guidance. And he made both of them feel equally important, always with a smile and a unique wise sense of humour.

And everything was so hidden, so quiet, so humble, so gentle and noble. Only time will reveal the life-changing impact and inspiration that he had on the thousands of people that he loved and was selflessly dedicated to.

Reb Lipa was what we call in the chassidic lingo a real tamim, complete and perfect inside and out.

We don’t—nor can we—understand G‑d’s ways. As pained as we may be, deep down I know that Rabbi Dubrawsky o.b.m. would want us to continue forward. May we find the strength and comfort to continue his legacy and honor his memory.

And may G‑d give his dear family, Rebbetzin Dena and the children—whom he loved so much—the strength to find comfort in these times of grief.

I encourage you to express your condolences to the family and share your memories in tribute to the Life of Rabbi Lipa Dubrawsky at this blog, set up by the family.

“May G‑d console you, together with all mourners of Zion and Jerusalem."

Rabbi Binyomin Bitton