The following is an excerpt from Rabbi Shlomo Riskin’s book, Listening to God, regarding his last conversation with Rav Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman before he passed away. R’ Kahaneman was the Rosh Yeshiva and one responsible for re-establishing the Ponevezh Yeshiva in B’nei Brak, one of the largest yeshivas in the world:
It seemed to me , whilst standing at his bedside, that he was depressed, and I said to him, “I hope the Rosh Yeshiva understands what a zechut, what a merit it is for me to have gotten to know the Rosh Yeshiva. After all, everyone dreams, but how many people are able to realize as many of their dreams as the Rosh Yeshiva was able to realize? What was accomplished at Ponevezh is a glory to behold. Most people are fortunate if they realize 10 percent. The Rosh Yeshiva must have realized 90 percent. The Rosh Yehshiva must have had great merit to have had such accomplishment.”
He looked at me and smiled. He then took my hand and said to me, “Nein, nein, Rav Riskin. True, for most people only 10 percent of their dreams are ever realized. No one died unless 50 percent of his desires remain unrealized, is what our sages of the Talmud say. But in my case, it was also only 10 percent that was realized. I just had greater and loftier dreams.”
More than anything else, I learned from Rav Kahaneman the importance of dreaming for Torah and the importance of trying to realize those dreams no matter what it takes. If you believe in God who is invisible, you may well dream the incredible. And if you dream the incredible, with God’s help you may achieve the impossible…, but make sure to set your sights high; at the end of the day, even the most privileged live to see only 10 percent of their dreams realized.