Yaakov’s story is inspiring because the way he grew up, and became the man that he is today, showed how someone like him, someone who had a harder time than I have had, was able to become a very important person. I thought I was struggling, but after hearing his speeches, I thought to myself “If someone who has more difficulties in certain areas than I do was able to achieve great things, by pushing past their limits, why can’t I?” The answer is, “I can.” With help, and support, I can go past my limits, and I will achieve great things, because if Yaakov can do it, so can I.
Although Yaakov has a different disability than I do, I feel like we have something in common. We both struggled in school when we were younger, and we both didn’t know what we wanted to do, or how to succeed in high school. As a child we both took lessons out of life. After learning that his father performed chesed and became a pillar of the community, he learned that he wanted to help others too. After a lot of thinking and experiences, I want to be a cook. I also thought about being a fireman, because I want to save lives, but I wasn’t so sure if it was the right choice. After seeing how happy Yaakov was when he told us about how he saved many lives I said to myself, “I want a job that shows who I am, and if just thinking of saving lives makes me happy, I can’t imagine how I would feel when saving a life, so maybe being a fireman is the right choice.”
What I learned from Yaakov is: At times you want to give up, whether it’s because you can’t do it, or you don’t want to do it, and sometimes it’s both reasons. Yaakov had both reasons, he even felt depressed, but that did not stop him. He fought and fought, pushing his boundaries, taking one step at a time, until he became the man he is today. No matter what challenges he faced, he faced them head on, and beat them. And for this reason, Yaakov Guttman is my inspiration and my hero. Yaakov said to live life with your heart and this essay is my heart.
By Tzvi Freedman, SINAI senior