web analytics
July 23, 2014 / 25 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



And Therein Lies A Story

Lessons-logo

Like many religious Jews, our bookshelves contain a variety of sefarim. Among the sifrei Mishnah, the Gemara, the Chumashim, among others, there is one sefer that has special meaning to my family and me.

It is a book written by a religious Jew who wanted to share the love of Shabbat that is felt by so many Jews, both those who are religiously observant or not. Within its pages there are Shabbat tefillot, some laws governing Shabbat, some minhagim, and songs traditionally sung on Shabbat.

In addition, the author quotes Jews from different streams of life. One will express thoughts regarding Shabbat that represent the views of well-known authors like Shai Agnon, poets like Chaim Bialik and philosophers like Martin Buber. There are also thoughts from the Berdichover Rav, Rav Yosef Chaim (also known as The Ben Ish Chai) and Rav Nachman of Breslov, to name a few. One can see how the author is trying to convey that Shabbat belongs to all Jews.

Though the book is not typical of the other sefarim on our shelves, it is a book that stands on its own for a very personal reason. Upon opening the book, there is a personal note Scotch- taped inside. It is a thank you note addressed to my family. And therein lies a story.

Several years ago, someone from my husband’s family asked us for a favor. This person was in possession of a very old pair of tefillin. As the origin of the tefillin was not known, someone had asked our relative to send it to us here in Yerushalayim.

The tefillin were not being used and were in terrible shape. The man who asked for it to be sent to us had a specific reason for his request. He was willing to pay whatever it cost to repair the tefillin so it could be used again. He did not want it returned to him once fixed, but wished for the tefillin to stay here in Israel and be used as we saw fit.

We followed the man’s instructions and the tefillin, now fixed, looked like new. We held onto it, figuring that it could be used as a back-up pair for someone who had lost his pair, or for someone whose pair was being repaired. Over time, it was forgotten in a drawer beneath our sefarim shelves.

A few years passed until one day I saw an ad that reminded me of the treasure I still held. Rivka, a woman in my neighborhood, was looking to borrow a pair of tefillin for a young man who had started to show an interest in the idea of putting on tefillin every day. This was someone who had never been religious, but was getting more and more interested in keeping the mitzvah of tefillin.

When I gladly gave her the spare pair, she told me it would be returned in three months. She felt that that would be enough time for the young man to decide if he wanted to continue observing this mitzvah. At the time, I discussed the issue with my husband and we agreed that if the young man failed to return it, we would try to accept that fact – as long as he continued to wear it daily.

After five months, I felt that perhaps I should remind Rivka of our deal. I had come to realize that I did not want this young man to be doing a mitzvah while holding onto something that did not belong to him.

I told the woman that the young man should continue to use the tefillin, but after one year I would like it returned. I specified that I did not want this to be a reason for the young man to stop doing the mitzvah of putting on tefillin, and if that were the case I would be willing to forgo any rights I might have to the tefillin and let him keep it.

After the year was up, this woman brought over the tefillin to my house. She also brought a sefer wrapped in shiny paper. Inside, there was a note of thanks written to my family:

Dear Diament Family,

Thank you for helping me to get closer to the world of Torah.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “And Therein Lies A Story”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
UN Secy-Gen Ban Ki-moon and outgoing Pres. Shimon Peres. Wednesday July 23 2014
Peres Warns Qatar to Stop Funding Terror in Gaza, Praises UN’s Ban
Latest Judaism Stories
PTI-071814

Perhaps, just perhaps, we can relate to this: whenever we feel distant from Hashem, that is the Churban.

Parshat Matot

Over the next 2 weeks covering portion Matot and Maasei, Rabbi Fohrman will bring order to confusion.

Lessons-Emunah-logo

Our home is in the center of the Holy Land, surrounded by (what else?) green hills and valleys.

Business-Halacha-logo

“Sound fine,” said Mrs. Schwartz. “In the middle, paint their names, Shoshana and Yehonasan. He spells his name Yehonasan with a hei and is very particular about it!”

Question: I recently returned from a trip abroad and wanted to say HaGomel. When I mentioned this to the officers of my synagogue, however, they told me – as per the instructions of the synagogue’s rabbi – that I would have to wait until Shabbos to do so. I was not given any reason for this and did not wish to display my ignorance, so I quietly acquiesced. Can you please explain why I had to wait?

Name Withheld
(Via E-Mail)

We may not recognize the adverse affect of eating forbidden foods, but they leave an indelible imprint.

There are several rules that one must adhere to when making a neder.

Important message for Jews in the Diaspora: In times of need run to Israel rather than from Israel.

The negotiation between Moses and the tribes of Reuven and Gad is a model of conflict resolution.

Once again we find ourselves alone – a little lamb among wolves.

When we return to our routines, things don’t have to go back to exactly the way they were.

The Three Weeks determines the “who we are and how we live” as Jews.

Sometimes when Chazal say that two different people are really one, they do not mean it literally, but rather figuratively.

The midrash says that Pinchas, (this parsha), and Eliyahu, prophet of Kings, are one and the same.

More Articles from Debbie Garfinkel Diament
Mother of Naftali Frankel, Rachel Frankel, seen crying over the body of her son, during the joint funeral for the three murdered Jewish teens, in the Modiin cemetery, on July 1, 2014.

Loving tears shed by Jewish mothers for their beloved children from Rachel Imeinu to Racheli Frankel.

Lessons-Emunah-logo

A few seats away, I noticed a man with a Mishnah in hand, talking intently into a cell phone. I soon realized the man was participating in a Daf Yomi shiur, utilizing his traveling time well.

I insisted that one decoration, a dancing sevivon (dreidel) man, remain hanging in recognition of the chag. Some in my family questioned the appropriateness of this decision. Was it proper to have decorations hanging in what would soon become a house of shiva?

Shimon’s early years were not easy ones. His mother struggled to support both of them. She never acquired the knowledge needed to help her son through school years filled with homework and tests.

Chaim (not his real name) was walking down the street, feeling very discouraged. It seemed that lately, the news was filled with stories depicting the disparities, distrust and dislike between the different streams of Jews living in Israel. Much of it revolved around the different religious affiliations or non-affiliations that people adhered to. There were times when Chaim felt the situation was hopeless, with no way to bring people together as a cohesive group – despite their differences.

Like many religious Jews, our bookshelves contain a variety of sefarim. Among the sifrei Mishnah, the Gemara, the Chumashim, among others, there is one sefer that has special meaning to my family and me.

The rav was not a wealthy man, but earned enough to live comfortably. He earned his money by serving as the rav of a religious community in Yerushalayim. He also received some royalties from sefarim he had written over the years. He was well known, and many people approached him for a berachah, advice and help. They were not turned away.

Like many children, some of my grandchildren tended to rush through the berachot they recited each day. Somehow, the first few words were inclined to run together. The last few words often got swallowed up, especially those that were part of berachot made before eating something they really liked.

    Latest Poll

    Israel's Iron Dome Anti-Missile System:





    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/lessons-in-emunah/and-therein-lies-a-story/2013/06/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: