web analytics
October 31, 2014 / 7 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



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.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Yehudah Glick on the Temple Mount.
Yehuda Glick’s Condition Stabilizing, “He Was Very Lucky” (1:00 PM)
Latest Judaism Stories
PTI-103114

People love their GPS; just type in the address and it tells you exactly how to get to where you want to go.

Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

In the same way as a married woman is precluded from marrying another man without a get, so too is this widow prohibited from marrying another man without chalitzah.

Daf-Yomi-logo

The Ban Of The Communities
‘Impaired Chalitzah’
(Yevamos 26b)

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

“My mother raised us to independence, all of us,” Rivka says, which certainly plays itself out in the fact that all three children have taken a different path.

“ ‘We’re almost out of stamps,’ I said. ‘I’ll be happy to run over to the post office and pick up a supply.’ ”

Bris Bein Habesarim affirmed that Hashem gave the land to Avraham’s children. It does not specify for how long. It did not guarantee the Jewish people eternal ownership of the land

According to the Raavad if one who is uncircumcised breaks something he will be exempt from paying for it since he was chayav kares at the same time as he was obligated to repay for the item he broke.

Why does Hebrew refer to mothers-in-law as “sunshine” when society often calls them the opposite?

Having herself been victimized by Pharoah, Sarah should have been more sensitive to Hagar.

Avram’s father was not impressed with the cleverness of his son. In fact, he was so unimpressed that he took him to Nimrod the king, who pronounced him an enemy of the state and attempted to execute him.

How do the stories in Lech Lecha help us understand the central tension of Abraham’s life, legacy?

Abraham did not govern society but instead was the representative of God’s kingdom on earth.

Hagar grossly miscalculated her own merits and demonstrated a serious lack of gratitude for Sarai.

Noach was the lonely man of faith living in a depraved world, full of wickedness.

More Articles from Ann Goldberg
Goldberg-091214

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.

Lessons-Emunah-logo

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.

The GPS had not been invented when Shelly set off on a Friday afternoon many years ago to join the Bnei Akiva camp in the English countryside. The organizers always managed to find a farmer who welcomed young campers under adult supervision; thus they set up their tents and during the week took the opportunity to learn the halachot of building an eruv. There would be no problems on Shabbat and they would be able to carry within the campsite.

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

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: