The office of Minister Yitzhak Wasserlauf updates this morning (Sunday) with a special announcement that "with great sorrow we announce the passing of Rabbi Issachar Wasserlauf, father of the Minister of the Negev, Galilee and National Security, Yitzhak Wasserlauf."
Rabbi Issachar, was a rabbi and educator who was the head of the high school yeshiva "Ahavat Haim" in Kochav HaShahar.
Details of the funeral and shiva will be announced later.
In an interview with Srugim in the year 2020, Rabbi Issachar Wasserlauf ZTs"L spoke about his son, who was then a social activist in South Tel Aviv, leading the 'Achiad' Association.
"When Yitzhak informed me that he's getting married, the thought immediately arose in me that considering he's the youngest child in the family and was very close with many people in the Jewish quarter where we live, I saw it as a natural thing for him to continue living in the neighborhood even after the wedding, near the holy places and the synagogue. As he was accustomed to regularly praying at the Western Wall and participating in the monthly city wall walks," he said. "I simply thought he would live here."
So, what happened?
"When Yitzhak was in the advanced stages leading up to the wedding, he informed me that he wanted to live in South Tel Aviv. It greatly surprised me, 'What's with you and this?' I said to him. But he was determined in his decision."
Did you understand where it was coming from?
"'What is it, Dad.' Yitzhak sat down with me for a deep conversation and said, 'Father, it's true that I'm near the holy places and the synagogue, but I want to build a dwelling place for God in my heart and help those who are distant and assist people in need. I don't feel comfortable sitting comfortably in Jerusalem when they are suffering there.' I understood that this came from a very deep ideological and idealistic place, so I gave him my blessing."
"Today, Yitzhak is at the heart of the action in South Tel Aviv and feels a responsibility towards all the people there who have been abandoned to their fate—elderly individuals, the destitute, and needy families. He took it upon himself to establish the 'Achiad' Association that will care for these people and has set as its goal to address their material needs by providing food packages every week. But it's not just about the packages; Yitzhak and the other activists visit homes, genuinely care about the well-being of those they are assisting."
"Anyone who understands a bit about human nature knows that the very fact that a person feels they are not alone and not abandoned provides immense strength and encouragement. When people knock on the door of an elderly person and inquire about their well-being, bringing along food packages accompanied by a smile, it is highly uplifting and even contributes to longevity."
"Yitzhak dedicates a significant amount of time for the activity, and he's constantly concerned about how the association will secure the necessary funds each month to provide these packages. As someone involved in education, it truly moves me that my son has taken it upon himself to care for others. Both materially and spiritually—organizing lessons, showing interest in people, offering them company, bringing light into their homes—all these things are truly significant."
"It's deeply moving that within the people of Israel, there are those who, alongside their private lives, take responsibility to look after individuals who are emotionally and economically vulnerable, with unique needs, elderly or ill. To say 'I want to care for these people' and to actually mean it, and then proceed to do it, is a tremendous undertaking," says Rabbi Issachar Wasserlauf with profound emotion. "Anyone who can participate and be a part of this endeavor, I am confident that it brings great satisfaction before the Creator of the World, and I'm also certain that there will be significant heavenly assistance for the strengthening and expansion of the association. Everything will be for the good and for blessing, for the neighborhood and the city."