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But this move paled next to the slap he was dealt when he was barred from the daily shiurim that routinely followed morning prayers and of which he had been a longtime devotee.
Those who did not view R. Menashe Ber’s “wrongdoing” as catastrophic were few in number. Their argument that his son-in-law could be a fine and good Jew despite his pursuit of a secular education was lost on the majority. Even children passing him in the street took to mocking him.
Since the rav hadn’t been well during this time, he’d missed out on the maelstrom of resentment and subsequent fallout – until R. Menashe Ber himself, unable to withstand the emotional assault, came to him in tears to ask if his sin was indeed so grave as to justify the suffering and endless shame he was made to endure at every turn of his daily existence.
R. Menashe Ber explained how he could not afford the dowry that would have rendered his daughter a viable shidduch candidate among his peers, and that when an out-of-town shidduch was proffered for his daughter, one who perceived her worthiness and imposed no specific dowry demand, he had made inquiries that verified the young man as shomer Torah and mitzvos and agreed to the match.
Rabbi Assad commiserated with R. Menashe Ber and made every attempt to sway the people close to him into recognizing that the poor man’s “folly” was not as ghastly as they would have it be – and conceding that they never would have consented to taking his daughter for any of their boys had it meant forgoing a dowry.
As the month of Elul approached, the rav lectured one and all about the need to ask for forgiveness and the importance of resolving the man-to-man conflicts for which Yom Kippur would not atone. The reaction was an incredulous, “What? He should forgive us?”
Elul went by, as did Shabbos Teshuvah. Erev Yom Kippur was upon them and one could count less than a handful of the locals who bothered wishing R. Menashe Ber a g’mar chasimah tovah.
Rabbi Aharon Shmuel Assad was beside himself with agitation. How could those who chose to ignore their brokenhearted brother expect Hashem to forgive their own sins?
That is when it dawned on the rabbi to switch roles: he would daven Kol Nidre and the ba’al tefillah would lead the closing service of Yom Kippur.
His voice tore through the air as he began, “Ohr zarua la’tzaddik u’leyishrei lev simcha” – “Light is sewn for the righteous, and for the straight of heart joy” – and then the haunting liturgy of Kol Nidre, three times over. When it came time for “Selach na la’avon ha’am hazeh” – “Please pardon the sins of this nation” – the rabbi became mute; he uttered not a sound, alarming the congregants.
The one standing closest to the rav saw tears beginning to flow from his eyes. When asked if he was feeling ill, the rav simply shook his head and pointed to the words “Selach na ”
Reb Sholom was a sharp-witted talmid chacham and caught on immediately, the Rav’s tears instantly dissolving the anger he had harbored in his heart for R. Menashe Ber – to whom he quickly strode over and said, loud enough for everyone to hear: “Reb Menashe Ber, here and now in this holy place, I beg your forgiveness for everything I have done to you and for having waited this long ”
Reb Sholom’s moving act inspired others to follow suit. Slowly, those who had snubbed and rebuffed the poor man made their way to him to ask mechilah.
Benevolently, R. Menashe Ber replied that he forgave them all and that he asked Hashem to forgive them.
The rav’s tears did not let up, but they were now tears of joy and he had no trouble enunciating: “Please pardon the sins of your nation ” A loud chorus of voices rose to a crescendo as the answer came thrice in succession, “Va’yomer Hashem salachti kidvarecha” – “And Hashem said, I forgive you according to your word.”
* * * * *
A chassid once approached the Chozeh of Lublin and asked for advice on how to do teshuvah.
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The War projects to lower Israel’s 2014 GDP 0.5% but will have little influence on foreign investors
It is in the nature of the Nations of the World to be hostile towards the Jewish People.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad are actually fighting to “liberate Jerusalem and all Palestine.”
The congregants, Ethiopians spanning generations, were beaming with joy and pride.
The withdrawal from the Gaza Strip nine years ago did not enhance Israel’s security.
How does a soldier from a religious home fall in love with a soldier from a non- religious kibbutz?
In 19th century entire ancient Jewish communities fled Palestine to escape brutal Muslim authorities
Responsibility lies with both the UN and Hamas, and better commitments should have been demanded from both parties in the ceasefire.
But the world is forever challenging our Jewish principle and our practices.
If this is how we play the game, we will lose. By that I mean we will lose everything.
Reportedly, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have formed a bloc that seeks to counter Islamist influence in the Middle East.
One wonders how the IDF could be expected to so quickly determine the facts.
Known by all as a happy-go-lucky fellow, Yossel’s lackluster parnassah never got the better of him. His dejected-looking wife, however, hardly shared his simchas ha’chayim and Yossel would often attempt to cheer her with words of chizuk.
The girl who had remarkably survived the accident had previously not led a religious lifestyle – which unsurprisingly changed after this event.
Readers who have kept up with this series since its inception will have noted a consistent emphasis on the role women have played in our rich heritage.
On this Shabbos Parshas Mishpatim, we bentch Shabbos Mevorchim Adar Rishon, Rosh Chodesh falling on Friday and Shabbos (January 31 and February 1). Mishenichnas Adar Marbin B’Simcha – with the beginning of Adar rejoicing is increased… by virtue of an extra Adar, our jubilation is extended this year.
The month of Shevat, according to the Sefer Yetzirah, is associated with the letter tzaddik. A Tzaddik is, literally, a righteous person, one who eats to live, to have the energy to serve the Ribono shel Olam – versus the gluttonous, insatiable kind that live to eat, to satisfy their corporeal cravings.
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