He then asked his father to pass him his wallet. Boruch pulled out an old folded creased piece of paper and showed it to his father. “This is the paper that Rabbi Morgenstern gave me,” he said. “I want you to know since that day I kept this paper in my wallet and whenever I doubted myself I would take it out and read it. That would always lift me up. This letter is what helped me grow and be successful. This is how I climbed the ladder of life. Rabbi Morgenstern really believed in me. He saw my unique qualities and talents.”
A few days later Boruch passed away and Rabbi Morgenstern was the only non-family member to eulogize Boruch. Later, Rabbi Morgenstern came to pay a shiva call. There were many people at the shiva house including many of Boruch’s classmates. Someone asked Rabbi Morgenstern why he was the only one to give the eulogy. Rabbi Morgenstern just shrugged off the question, but after a nod of acknowledgment from Mr. Hirshberg, Rabbi Morgenstern related the story. As he was finishing his tale all of Boruch’s old classmates reached into their wallets and pulled out their precious pieces of paper.
Now we can understand why Yaacov Avinu’s name is changed to Yisroel. He had battled and overcome the greatest challenges that the spiritual world could offer, the threat to lose sight of our potential gadlus, the greatness that is latent in each Yid waiting to be brought out. The yetzer harah realized the best way to defeat Yaacov was by obscuring his vision of who he really is and could be. The key to Yaacov’s success is his clarity of vision of himself.
This is an eternal message. Our neshamos are carved out from the Throne of Glory; we each have a potential to reach great heights. Each and every one of us has an image in Heaven which represents our true potential, our goal is to straighten our deeds, speech and thoughts until we see that our image below mirrors it.
Our job is never to lose focus of who we could be. And we can learn from Rabbi Morgenstein that the greatest gift we can give to others people is helping them see their greatness and encourage them to reach their potential. We have this opportunity every day with the people in our circles: our spouses, children, friends and co-workers. Love them, encourage them, compliment them and most of all believe in them. And believe in yourself!
About the Author: Rabbi Baruch Bodenheim is Associate Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Passaic Torah Institute, Passaic, NJ.
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