By Yosef Tropper
Before I even write a word, I must preface by stating that I come not to provide any answers or explanations. I am speechless at this tragic news. We can only have answers when Mashiach arrives.
Over the past number of years, I was one of many patients to have been privileged to know Dr. Lesser.
He was a warm and dynamic man, with patients represented by all religious groups of the community. He had remarkable character traits and true sensitivity; you never felt rushed when asking him for advice. He was a true professional, yet always relaxed and it was a pleasure to chat with him as he caught up with your life since the last visit. He was a genuine and sincere person, someone with much understanding and true feeling for life.
I would like to share some memories and sentiments as I struggle to come to grips with his sudden passing.
It is most chilling to me when I think about the very glasses that I presently wear. He determined their prescription; his patience and expert hands arranged them to sit comfortably on my face.
I once asked him if eye doctors could check their own eyes. He responded with a very serious, “no”. “Even if you are the best Optometrist in the world, you still need someone else to examine your own eyes for you”. He then went on to say that he was lucky to have learned this very early in his career after examining an elderly eye Doctor who had spent his life checking his own eyes. Dr. Lesser found him to suffer from some very serious eye problems. Had these issues been caught earlier, they could have been treated. He then went on say that he always tells this advice to eye doctors he speaks with.
This story summarized what Dr. Lesser stood for. He was a thinking person who took to heart the lessons he learned and was always looking to share his experiences to help others.
He was filled with warmth and compassion. I always knew from the way he described his family, that he was a model husband and father. I understood that he had a beautiful and deep relationship with his loving wife and children. I know that they love and appreciated him as well. This thought makes his passing even more painful for me.
Whenever I entered his office, I witnessed how he treated every single customer with the utmost care and respect. Jews and non-Jews flocked to him and received his sweet smile, professional counsel and undivided attention. I once waited impatiently as he explained to an elderly woman the difference between all of the sunglasses in his store and which would be best for her. I was in disbelief as to how calm he remained as he repeated himself to her for the third time. He had one goal, to listen to her and to serve her needs. It was only when he finished with her and went on to help reshape my glasses, repeatedly, with patience and care, that I understood why he gave so much time to all of his customers. He truly loved helping people.
My last interaction with him came at my yearly eye exam at the beginning of last month. He came out to greet me with his usual friendly smile and we began chatting as if we were resuming our last conversation. He told me about where to find the best eye drops and how not to get fooled by advertising ploys. He was very respectful and encouraging of all my new endeavors that I shared with him. He was more than a Doctor, he was a compassionate and loving soul.
Indeed, Dr. Lesser dedicated his life to caring for and helping people to see properly. It is most apropos that his death, which has shook us to the core, has also challenged us to take a good look at life and gain 20/20 vision in realizing what is really most important. Dr. Lesser’s lesson of love and devotion will live on in all of us. He has inspired us with a new look at life.
My prayers and condolences go out to his dear family, friends, and entire community.