How do you portray close to a century of utter genius, unique humility, unparalleled diligence, profound caring — and, yes, loving warmth and a gentle sense of humor?
How do you capture the greatness of Reb Aharon Leib Shteinman, zt”l?
With true stories.
Reb Aharon Leib: The Life and Wisdom of Rabbi Aharon Yehudah Leib Shteinman, written by Rabbi Naftali Weinberger, author of the huge bestseller Rebbetzin Kanievsky: A Legendary Mother to All, and edited by Nina Indig, is a biography featuring hundreds of stories of Reb Aharon Leib, as well as many never-before published family photos and documents.
The source of many of these stories, particularly of his youth, was … Reb Aharon Leib himself. When he was in his nineties, Reb Aharon Leibs’s grandchildren took turns sleeping in his apartment. To show his thanks, Reb Aharon Leib, a master of gratitude, told them stories of when he was young, knowing how much they enjoyed them — stories of the Brisker Rav and Rav Simcha Zelig Riger, of the “potch” he never forgot, of the only time he made a “goral haGra,” which ultimately saved his life. Rabbi Weinberger spent many hours interviewing grandchildren and great-grandchildren, as well as talmidim and Rav Chaim Kanievsky shlita, discovering these treasures.
Moving past his youth, we see Reb Aharon Leib’s relationship with the Chazon Ish and other great men. We are amazed by his incredible patience and compassion in his “kabbalas kahal,” as he spoke to countless people looking for a berachah, an eitzah, or just some comfort.
We visit that legendary two-bedroom apartment on Rechov Chazon Ish, and meet the beloved and illustrious Rebbetzin Tamar Shteinman, who truly found her home — with its two propane burners, peeling paint, and backless chairs — beautiful and complete. We learn of her remarkable chesed and see how she raised a Torah-true family with the utmost simplicity — and the greatest simchah.
In the beis midrash, in his home, flying all over the world to bring chizuk to other Jews — wherever Rav Aharon Leib went, he strengthened the people he met in their emunah and their love for Torah. So it’s very appropriate that this major biography, too, will strengthen and inspire us.