At the end of the hallway at the main entrance to Lubavitch World Headquarters in Brooklyn, is a small office not even ten-by-ten. You would not have known from the room's simplicity that the man who occupied it for the last four decades was one of the prime architects of the post-war renaissance of Jewish life. It represented its occupant, Rabbi Chaim Mordechai Aizik Hodakov, a person of silent determination, intense devotion and a never ceasing commitment to the welfare of the Jewish people.

It was Shabbos, Friday night, April 23 that he returned his soul to his maker after 73 years of self sacrifice for Jewish education, social service and renewal.

Born in the Russian town of Beshenkowitz in 1902, Chaim Mordechai Aizik moved with his parents to Riga, Latvia at the age of two. His leadership qualities were already recognized at a young age. He built a school and became it's principal at 18 and was appointed director of Jewish education for the Latvian Ministry of Education while in his early thirties.

In the late 1920's, Rabbi Hodakov became a close follower of the previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn who took him along to America at the beginning of World War Two.

During the 1940's, Rabbi Hodakov became the director of the prime Lubavitch organizations, Merkos L'inyonei Chinuch, Machne Israel and Kehot Publishing Society, today the largest Jewish publisher in the world. Later he was appointed Chairman of Agudas Chassidei Chabad Ha'olomis - International Association of Chabad Chassidim. In this role he supervised the growth of Chabad-Lubavitch into the largest network of Jewish education and social service in the world.

While a man of great vision, he never lost sight of the details. For instance, in 1976, while briefing two Rabbinical students in advance of a summer outreach project to countries behind the Iron Curtain, he told them not to forget to bring kosher candy to give to Jewish children along the way and to verify that lard was not being used in the bakeries.

He demanded a total commitment for the welfare of the Jewish people. When a young couple would be sent to a community as permanent Chabad-Lubavitch representatives, he would instruct them with great passion of their responsibility for every Jew, regardless of background or affiliation. If that Rabbi would return to Brooklyn for a holiday, Rabbi Hodakov always would ask if all the needs of the community had been taken care of before he came to New York.

Rabbi Hodakov's devotion to the present Lubavitcher Rebbe was the pillar of his life. They first met in 1928 in Riga and their lives became permanently connected in Brooklyn 13 years later. Rabbi Hodakov was head of the Rebbe's Secretariat and served as a role model for every Chosid of allegiance and faithfulness to the Rebbe.

The world lost one of it's righteous on the recent Friday evening. There are many millions that will never know how their lives where enriched by Chaim Mordechai Aizik Hodakov. For those who had the special merit to have known him first-hand, we will all carry in our hearts his love and commitment to the Jewish people and the Torah.