I find Yaakov Guttman’s story inspiring because he pulled himself up from an abyss of tragedy and walked the winding path of life. It could have been easy at many points of his journey to drop or lie down and never get up. But he didn’t. It was not an easy road, it never is.
I associate with his life because I lost my father as well and have gone through times when I felt like just giving up. I can’t say that every time I faced a problem I conquered it at all. However, I would like to think that over time I will improve and seeing how Yaakov was able to do so, I gain hope. Because that is what a hero is, someone who you see yourself in their past. You look at them for inspiration and advice to prevail like them. But because every person passes challenges differently, using different techniques and methods, it won’t be exactly the same. That is what truly makes us unique.
His name, I feel, is very fitting. In the Torah, Yaakov Avinu suffered many trials and tribulations, ranging from having to leave his home to confronting his brother Esuv, yet he kept going. So too, Yaakov didn’t give up either, be it trying to become a firefighter, a sniper, or just a better person, he kept going. Through the challenges he didn’t stop, always trying to find his true calling, not taking a less than optimal position and sticking to it instead of just saying it’s enough.
Also, I feel that Yaakov realized that to excel at life you must play by your strengths. That was what he did, as he found his calling as a fireman, using his skills that Hashem gave him to help others and become a better person. Even though it was hard to get to being a firefighter, he didn’t fall victim to the common mistake that if you fail at something you should just give up.
That is why I admire Yaakov Guttman and take inspiration from him: Through hardship he persevered, through challenges he continued, and through difficulty he found his calling. That is why when I look at him and see myself, I feel hopeful and optimistic for my own future.
By Yisroel Newmark, SINAI sophomore