AS: Quite a zechus, to work so closely with Rav Grossman. What was it like, meeting with a “Living Legend”?
RNS: Out of this world. He is without a doubt one of the most unique and special individuals I have ever had the good fortune to meet. Sometimes when you meet famous people — even those with a well-deserved reputation — you can find yourself disappointed by how they are in real life, away from the cameras. But not here. Rav Yitzchok Dovid Grossman is completely authentic and himself — no matter where he finds himself.
AS: What goes into writing such a far-reaching book, covering more than half a century of amazing accomplishment?
RNS: Lots of hard work. Hours and hours of interviews — of making sure that we covered as many aspects of his life as possible. Rav Grossman has accomplished so much and has such a fascinating life, that it’s almost impossible to cover everything in one book — which is why we will probably have to write another one ….
Once the book was written, there were countless rewrites to ensure that all the details of these incredible stories were accurate. We also had more than 300 photographs to choose from, with close to 200 photos actually making it into the book
AS: What are some of the takeaways that “regular people” like us can get from reading about Rav Grossman’s life?
RNS: Smile at every person you meet. Greet them with love. Treat them like a friend. Give them respect. You’ll be surprised by what you can accomplish by doing those four things.
AS: Briefly, what story (among so many!) touched you the most?
RNS: “The Rosh Hashanah Murder,” when Rav Grossman saved Migdal HaEmek from a lynch mob.
“May These Letters Be a Shield,” when he brought 700 Israeli soldiers to Migdal Ohr on the eve of their going into battle, treated them like his own children, and blessed them to return safely — which each and every one did.
And, of course, the story of how a young Meah Shearim Yerushalmi walked into a Migdal HaEmek disco, with his beard, peyos, and Chassidic garb, and managed to captivate the young, irreligious, and angry teens — not to mention the crime boss of the town!
I can go on and on. There are so many stories that I love. And that’s why you are going to have to read the book.