Thursday, November 22, 2007

"Is Your Rebbetzin Perhaps Here With You?"

Story from Warmed by Their Fire received via e-mail from Menatzpach:

The sage with the shining face alighted from the train, drawing glances of admiration from the waiting crowd. His radiant countenance, his regal bearing, his warm smile combined with the brilliance of his words to draw the adulation of Yidden everywhere. He was a respected Rosh Yeshivah, an influential community leader, a passionate voice in the halls of the Polish parliament on behalf of Jewish causes, a rav of one of the most celebrated kehillos in Poland. What made him a household name, however was the ingenious and innovative plan that he had conceived: a plan that had drawn Yidden everywhere closer to each other and to the words of Torah that had been their spiritual sustenance for so long; the Daf HaYomi.

The people thronged around Rav Meir Shapiro and lined up to introduce themselves as he smiled warmly, sharing and encouraging word with each.

One of the Yidden in the train station that day was a distinguished young rav, who took the opportunity to say "Shalom" to the Lubliner Rav.

He introduced himself as the son-in-law of the Shotzer Rebbe, a name close to the heart of Rav Meir, who had grown up in the town of Shotz.

Reb Meir looked at him thoughtfully, and asked a strange question. "Is your Rebbetzin perhaps here with you?"

The young talmid chacham replied that in fact she was.

Reb Meir said that he wished to speak with her. The young man hurriedly called over his wife.

The Lubliner Rav stepped to the side and lowered his gaze, and for a moment, the look on his face was like that of a child.

He addressed the woman that stood before him.

"Do you recall how as a small child I would learn with your father, in your home?"

The woman replied that she remembered those days very well.

"Do you recall how I would play with your siblings and yourself?"

The woman again replied in the affirmative.

Only a most astute listener could have discerned the slight tremor in the Rav's voice as he continued.

"Do you recall how I would share my grandiose plans about how one day, all the Yidden in the world would learn the same daf of Gemara, a Daf HaYomi, and thus be connected in the most powerful and meaningful way? And maybe.." the Rav's voice dropped to a whisper, "you recall how all the children would laugh at the idea, and mockingly call it my 'dach hayona,' deriving immense satisfaction from the joke?"

The woman didn't reply.

"Do you know that I came very close to losing confidence in the place and dropping it entirely as a result of those taunts? This is the reason that I asked to meet with you… I wanted to tell you one thing.

Never laugh at the dream of a child."

(Picture courtesy of


At November 23, 2007 at 12:15:00 AM EST, Blogger Mottel said...

A beautiful message.
Of note, a talmid of R' Meir Shapiro's once said that had R' Meir been alive today, they would not have invited him to the Siyum Hashas. v'dal.

At November 25, 2007 at 9:06:00 AM EST, Blogger yitz said...

What an awesome story!!! Thanks so much for sharing it with us!


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