web analytics
July 28, 2015 / 12 Av, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Love The Stranger

Lessons-logo

A pale young man shuffled into the small Jerusalem yeshiva during kriyat haTorah one Shabbat morning.

He walked over to the bimah, stood next to the gabbai and watched him. He started to copy his every movement. When the gabbai moved his feet, so did the stranger; when he pushed his hat back or scratched his face, the young man did the same. The yeshiva boys were having difficulty concentrating on their prayers. Stifled laughter could be felt if not heard.

When Mussaf began he moved and stood next to one of the boys. The young man copied the yeshiva boy’s every single move – moving his feet backwards and forwards, bowing and swaying. He didn’t appear to be mocking the boy, but he quite obviously wasn’t praying himself. The yeshiva boy had tremendous difficulty concentrating once he realized that he was being watched and imitated. So as soon as he finished davening, he fled the room to release his bottled-up laughter.

Yet again, the visitor took up a position next to another boy, and watched and copied him.

The boys didn’t know what to make of him, but their natural friendliness and hospitality led them to invite him for the Shabbat lunch in the yeshiva. He said nothing as he followed them into the dining room.

The mealtime followed the same routine as the praying. The stranger, who had still not yet said one word, simply copied the person he sat next to. He ate what he ate, and wiped his face when he did. It was as though he had no personality of his own and needed another person to emulate in order to exist. The boys tried to engage him in friendly conversation, but to no avail.

Suddenly, toward the end of the meal, he gave a tremendous wail as though he was in terrible pain. His body crumpled and he started sobbing. Nothing could stop him. His sobbing and wailing continued unabated for some time. When he finally stopped, he plunged once again into silence. One of the boys offered him his bed so he could rest. He wordlessly accepted the offer and lay down on the bed, his eyes remaining open the entire time.

The boys conferred with the rosh yeshiva about the visitor, as he didn’t seem at all inclined to leave after Shabbat. Realizing that the young man was obviously going through some tremendous personal crisis, the rosh yeshiva told them to leave him alone, give him a bed, let him stay, make him feel welcome – and see what the next day would bring.

He awoke early and one of the yeshiva boys, realizing that the young man had arrived on Shabbat with nothing, found him a towel and clean clothes so he could shower before davening.

After his shower he went back to bed, spending the rest of the morning there. In the afternoon he started to talk to one of the boys who sat with him and relayed a strange story of how he came to their yeshiva that Shabbat morning.

He had spent the last few weeks in a very oppressive yeshiva, but he didn’t elaborate as to why he was there. On Shabbat he realized that he could no longer accept the tremendous demands and excruciating criticism of his every move and thought in the yeshiva; he thus decided that he had to leave. But where could he go?

He walked out of the yeshiva and resolved to follow the first person he saw, for wherever he would go was bound to be better than from where he had come. He lost track of the first person he saw, turning his attention to the next person he saw in the street. This happened several times until he found himself in this story’s yeshiva. That was all he would tell of his background.

In the evening he suddenly appeared at the doorway where the rosh yeshiva was giving a shiur and insisted on speaking to him immediately. Realizing the importance of the boy’s decision to talk, the rosh yeshiva excused himself and at once took him into his room. They spoke for over an hour. The young man began to let down his guard slightly to the kindly rosh yeshiva, and started to disclose to him some of his inner turmoil and pain.

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 “Love The Stranger”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Ambulance parked on the side of the road near an army jeep. (archive)
Israeli Ambulance Attacked in Hebron Hills
Latest Judaism Stories
Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

Before going in, I had told R’ Nachum all of the things we were doing in Philly, and how it was very important to receive a good bracha on behalf of our newest venture, a Russian Kollel.

Q-A-Klass-logo

Question: When a stranger approaches a congregant in shul asking for tzedakah, should the congregant verify that the person’s need is genuine? Furthermore, what constitutes tzedakah? Is a donation to a synagogue, yeshiva, or hospital considered tzedakah?

Zvi Kirschner
(Via E-Mail)

Destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem

(JNi.media) Tisha B’Av (Heb: 9th of the month of Av) is a fast day according to rabbinic law and tradition, commemorating the destruction of the First Temple in 586 BCE by the army of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and the destruction of the Second Temple in the year 70 CE by the Roman army led […]

Rabbi Avi Weiss

Devarim often parallels the stories in Bereishit but in reverse & can be considered as a corrective

‘Older’ By A Month
‘…Until The Beginning Of Adar’
(Nedarim 63a)

We realize how much we miss something only after it’s gone.

Because the words of Torah gladden the heart, studying Torah is forbidden when Tisha B’Av is on a weekday, except for passages in Scripture that deal with the destruction of the Temple and other calamities.

On Super Bowl Sunday itself, life seems to stop. Over one hundred million people watch the game. About half of the households in the country show it in their living rooms and dens.

Moses begins Sefer Devarim reviewing much of the 40 years in the desert & why he can’t enter Israel

While they are definitely special occurrences, why are they cause for a new holiday?

Torah wasn’t given to be kept in Sinai; Brooklyn or Beverly Hills-It was meant to be kept in Israel!

“When a king dies his power ends; when a prophet dies his influence begins” & their words echo today

In addition to the restrictions of Tisha B’Av, there are several restrictions that one may not perform during the week that Tisha B’Av falls in.

The word “shavat” in the first kina of Tisha B’Av morning indicates a sudden suspension and cessation of time that accompanied the Temple’s destruction.

The two decided to approach Rabbi Dayan. “What is the halachic status of conquered territory?” asked Shalom.

More Articles from Ann Goldberg
Lessons-in-Emunah-new

They had realized they would be far from civilization and kosher food and had packed plenty of fresh and canned food as well as making sure there was a microwave in their room which they knew how to kasher.

Lessons-in-Emunah-new

He was deeply saddened by the thought of her going to her final resting place alone and that it appeared as if she knew no one and had no family who cared about her.

There will always be items that don’t freeze well – salads and some rice- or potato-based dishes – so you need to leave time to prepare or cook them closer to Yom Tov and ensure there is enough room in the refrigerator to store them.

It’s written, it says, with all the segulos for shalom bayis and you gave it as a gift to a chassan and kallah.

One thing Meir couldn’t abide was machloket. He would fight wholeheartedly on behalf of his pupils in a situation involving a dispute – but not so if it was political, educational, or religious in nature.

If your home fits the chaotic description but you’d love to change it to the calm one maybe you should think about joining the ever growing Chatzos Movement – a group of ladies whose goal is to have all the main preparations for Shabbos over by chatzos, the middle of the day on Friday.

Meital and Aharon, married for several years, were thrilled to discover that Meital was pregnant. But within a few hours of their son’s birth, it was painfully apparent that things were far from all right medically.

I knew it wasn’t the right attitude to have but Tisha B’Av 30 years ago was one of the happiest days of my life.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/lessons-in-emunah/love-the-stranger/2013/04/10/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: