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Thursday
Jan172019

WHAT IS THE BIG RUSH?

PART I

The large group of hundreds of young men hung on every word said by the renowned Chassidic mashpia, Rabbi Avrohom Elimelech, known as Meilech Biderman. As is his way, R’ Biderman spoke sweetly and pleasantly, yet deeply and penetratingly, words that inspired his listeners to cleave to the ways of emuna and Chassidus, with lofty feelings and pure faith in Tzaddikim.

Some of them had their eyes partially closed; others did not take their eyes off the mashpia whose hoarse voice opens hearts. He raised his hands to emphasize the message. This time he chose to talk about people rushing. Especially these days, people are constantly on the go, they have no time nor patience and jump from place to place without peace of mind, without knowing that sometimes, the running causes a person to get farther away from the place he wants to be.

R’ Meilech was silent for a moment, allowing his listeners to digest what he said.

“Sometimes,” he said in his rich Yiddish mixed with Lashon HaKodesh, “a person hurries because he needs to be somewhere at a certain time. Or he is rushing to meet someone. And it all ends up achieving the opposite result.  He shouldn’t get upset, irritated or angry. He should believe that there is Someone in charge and nothing happens on its own. It’s all perfectly calculated for the benefit of those whose lives He governs.”

In order to underscore his point, he told a story that happened recently, and when R’ Meilech Biderman tells a story, you cannot help but be riveted by what he says. He lays out every word just so and brings the events to life as though it is happening right now, before the eyes of the listeners.

PART II

In the heart of B’nei Brak, in the middle of Rechov Rabbi Akiva, is the Lishka Halacha L’maaseh, which is directed by the Mara d’Asra, Rabbi Moshe Leib Landau. For decades now, the Lishka has been a source for thousands of people who want to buy Stam – mezuzos, tefillin and sifrei Torah. Like everything under R’ Landau’s supervision, the work is done with great care and under strict supervision, with G-d-fearing scribes and magihim.

Rabbi Yosef Daskal runs the Lishka. He devotes himself day and night to promoting the finest beauty and quality standards for all holy written scrolls.  No wonder then, that the Lishka has earned a reputation as a reliable place not only for residents of B’nei Brak but for the entire country.

***

It was Erev Sukkos 5778 when R’ Naftali (a pseudonym) was traveling and lost his bag containing his tallis and tefillin. At first, he thought that the precious bag was lost; but then he realized that it had been stolen from him. The thief had taken advantage of his momentary distraction and took off with the loot.

Naftali was tremendously upset not only because of the theft, but because he knew that his tallis bag had no identifying signs on it, no name. The tefillin too had no particular sign and so, the chances of his recovering his tefillin were slim or nil.

After he calmed down a little, he realized he had no choice but to buy two new pairs of tefillin, Rashi and Rabbeinu Tam, and a tallis, and bags for them. It would be a significant expense.

In the middle of Chol HaMoed, Naftali called R’ Daskal and said he wanted to buy two pairs of tefillin, Rashi and Rabbeinu Tam, “four by four” as is the custom in Chabad, and in the Alter Rebbe’s writing. These are very expensive, about 5000 shekels for each pair.

Said R’ Daskal, “Sorry, but on Chol HaMoed the Lishka is closed. I understand your situation, so come in right after Yom Tov and I’ll be happy to help you.”

Needless to say, Chol HaMoed, “time of our rejoicing,” was not that happy a time for R’ Naftali. He had no choice but to wait.

Right after Yom Tov, he ordered the tefillin. Two weeks later, on the Tuesday of Parshas Noach, he went to the Lishka to pick up the new tefillin.

As is customary in B’nei Brak (for those who know …) parking is at a premium and the parking enforcement officers are diligent. Not surprisingly, Naftali was uptight when he walked in and wanted his tefillin right away. To his disappointment, he found out that the tefillin were only partially ready. R’ Daskal took out the tefillin and from a drawer removed a pile of new black straps and began working on cutting them to size and tying them (for there are many details involved in this as well) in the proper manner.

Meanwhile, the phone rang. R’ Daskal went to answer it but Naftali, who was impatient, asked him not to answer it and just concentrate on the task at hand because he was in a rush. R’ Daskal, who knew that it would take him some time to tie the straps, decided to answer the phone and continue working as he spoke, since he was an expert at the work.

“Did I reach the Lishka Halacha L’maaseh?”

“Yes,” answered R’ Daskal as he continued working.

“My name is Yehuda and I am from Rishon L’Tziyon. A few days ago, I found a bag with tefillin inside near the garbage bins. The tefillin have no identification. I looked and looked and there is no identifying sign except for one thing. In Elul 5775, two years ago, these tefillin were checked in your place. Do you have a list of who gave in tefillin in a certain month? That’s why I’m calling, because yours is the only place that might give me a way to return these lost tefillin.”

R’ Daskal replied, “Thousands of tefillin pass through here year-round and Elul is especially busy because more people check tefillin and mezuzos then. How can I know whose they are?”

The man on the phone sighed in disappointment. Before hanging up, R’ Daskal asked him, “Are you sure there is no other sign?”

“There is something,” said the man doubtfully. “There is a Gemara in the tefillin bag, but it doesn’t have a name in it. In the margins of the Gemara there are some handwritten notes and chiddushei Torah.”

Naftali was antsy. He looked at his watch impatiently and tapped his foot in annoyance, “Nu, how about hanging up and finishing my tefillin?” he begged.

R’ Daskal finished the conversation as he continued making the final adjustments to the black straps.

In order to calm his customer down somewhat, R’ Daskal told Naftali about the call he just took. A small spark of hope lit his heart.

“What did the man say?” he asked R’ Daskal.

“He told me there is no identifying sign, but there is a Gemara with the tefillin.”

Naftali’s heart began to pound.

“Is it a Bava Kama?”

R’ Daskal immediately called the person back. “Is it a Bava Kama?” he asked Yehuda.

A moment later the answer was, “Yes.”

Naftali said, “On page x there is a chiddush that I wrote like this …”

After a brief delay the answer was, “Exactly!”

In tears, Naftali looked questioningly at R’ Daskal and the tefillin he had just finished making. He did not have to say a word; R’ Daskal returned them to the shelf. “I’m leaving the tefillin here,” he said as he returned the pile of postdated checks to Naftali. “Here is the man’s phone number. Meet with him and get your tefillin back.”

PART III

R’ Meilech finished his story and said, “Dear brothers! If R’ Daskal had listened to him and did not answer the phone, he never would have gotten his tefillin back, since they had no simanim. That is why Hashem in His goodness and kindness made it happen that the tefillin were not ready yet and the person had to wait, in order that he should not have to lose out.  The wonders of divine providence arranged that the caller made the call at the very moment the buyer was standing in front of the seller, not a moment before and not a moment later. 

“From this we should learn that not every disturbance that comes to a person is meant to hold him up and cause him problems, because there are times that therein lies his salvation.”

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