Last week I spent Shabbos with my brother Rav Eckstein, a rav in a yeshiva in central Israel. He was planning a special Oneg Shabbos for his talmidim with the honored presence of the rosh yeshiva so we knew that our Shabbos seudah would be shorter than usual to allow him to get back to the yeshiva in time.
We were asleep when he returned, but the next morning, although he claimed that the Oneg Shabbos had been a tremendous success, it was obvious that something was bothering him.
As I’m also the menahel of a boy’s school he decided to confide in me and ask my advice.
A few weeks ago a group of boys had decided to organize their own Oneg Shabbos. They had bought some drinks and snacks and after they had finished learning on Leil Shabbos they went into a room and sang together for a while. The Mashgiach who happened to be there heard them and joined them, and together they spent an inspiring evening singing and telling divrei Torah into the early hours of the morning.
Rav Eckstein decided to ask Shimon, who seemed the leader of this group of boys, to be in charge of organizing their upcoming class Oneg Shabbos. He gave him money and his credit card in case it wasn’t enough and instructed him to buy some cakes, nuts, nosh and some drinks apart from energy drinks and to set it all out in the room where they would be holding the Oneg Shabbos. He had heard that at their previous Oneg Shabbos they had all been drinking these energy drinks which were definitely not suitable for an official yeshiva Oneg Shabbos.
When Rav Eckstein arrived back at the yeshiva on Leil Shabbos, he opened the door and to his horror he saw the table nicely laid with an energy drink next to every place setting. He immediately called Shimon over and, although he was seething inside at the boy’s chutzpah, this wasn’t time for a confrontation; the rosh yeshiva was due any second, so he simply told him to get rid of all the cans of drink. He and his friends opened all the cans and poured the drink into the waiting cups and threw all the cans away.
Apart from that, the Oneg was a great success with inspiring divrei Torah and singing until late.
“But what should I do?” my brother asked me. “Apart from the outright chutzpah of the boy in buying something I distinctly told him not to buy, those drinks also cost a lot of money, far more than the usual drinks we have on such occasions.”
I told him he was right not to make a big scene at the Oneg itself. By having to get rid of the cans, all the boys had understood that these drinks were just not suitable for such an occasion without him having to hammer it home and it wouldn’t happen again. What to do about the boy? I suggested he waited to see what he says when he returns his credit card and the receipts on Sunday.
On Sunday afternoon my brother called me and said, “You’ll never guess what happened. Shimon brought me back my credit card and the receipts for what he’d bought. As I feared, it was quite a hefty amount. I asked him why he had bought the exact drinks I had told him not to buy. He stared at me totally blankly as though he didn’t understand what on earth I was saying. So I repeated, I told you to buy any drinks apart from those energy-drinks. And in any case, didn’t you realize just how expensive those drinks are.Ann Goldberg