Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

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6 Teves 5760 - December 15, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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False Identity

by P. Chovav


Summary of the First Part: They called him Leibel'e Leibidiker. Happy with his lot but sad, especially because he could not find a mate for his only daughter. One day just before Pesach, at the height of the cleaning, he slightly damaged the rented car of a tourist who, it turned out, did not know what shehakol meant, did not know what gezel was and most certainly did not know what it meant to be a Jew. Just about six months later, he found out that Hakodosh Boruch Hu makes matches -- and how, as you will see in this surprising conclusion.

A few minutes after he had digested the good tidings, the Rosh Yeshiva turned to Reb Leibel'e and said: "I beg of you, it's such a great simcha, that I want to celebrate it here in my Sukkah. After all, I'm also a side in the shidduch. Please, I have enough room for all the guests who wish to come to wish you a mazel tov. And who won't come? The whole yeshiva will come."

"Nu. So be it. I agree, but on one condition."

"What is that?"

On condition that the Rosh Yeshiva lets me bring a picture which is very dear to me, and which is hanging on the eastern wall of our Sukkah.

"To remove a Sukkah decoration on chol hamoed? It's muktzeh."

"The picture isn't muktzeh. I made certain of that in advance. Erev Sukkos I stipulated that I wouldn't part with it all bein hashemoshos for the entire eight days, as the Shulchan Oruch rules."

"Nu, nu. If so, I accept the condition."

Leibel'e rushed home, but before leaving he turned again to the Rosh Yeshiva: "Excuse me, I also wanted to ask if the Rosh Yeshiva will let me bring the fish I cooked specially in honor of the simcha. The bochurim love my fish."

"There's no need Leibel'e. No need. The bochurim will be happy tonight even without fish," the Rosh Yeshiva tried.

"But the fish will be happy with the bochurim."

Barely half an hour after Mike and Brocho had decided to establish a bayis ne'eman beYisroel had passed, yet it seemed as if there was no house in Jerusalem which the happy news hadn't reached. From all corners of the city, people began to stream to the Sukkah of the Rosh Yeshiva. Nearly all of the students of the yeshiva and all its graduates felt a need to be present at Reb Leibel'e's simcha, which was actually the simcha of the entire yeshiva.

Mike sat at the head of the table, near the Rosh Yeshiva and Reb Leibel'e, and the large crowd flowed by the table of honor, in order to warmly congratulate all of the sides. The Rosh Yeshiva delivered a heartfelt speech, in which he praised the chosson very highly. Mike shook the Rosh Yeshiva's hand and said shyly, "Due to the many praises, I've begun to feel that I am at someone else's engagement."

Someone took out a trumpet, and the spirit in the crowded Sukkah soared.

"Now let's hear from our chosson," one of the boys declared.

"I'm a bit older than he is," Leibel'e announced with a smile. "Why not honor me first?"

"Why not?" the boy replied, and announced loudly: "The father of the kallah, HaRav Reb Leibel'e shlita, will say a few words in honor of the chosson and kallah. Shush!"

And then, to everyone's surprise, Reb Leibel'e, the shy and retiring, who had never before spoken in public, rose and began: "With the permission of the Rosh Yeshiva, shlita, with the permission of the dear chosson our Reb Mike, and with the permission of my beloved ones the dear yeshiva students . . . "

From the moment that everyone realized that Reb Leibel'e indeed intended to deliver a drosho for the first time since anyone there knew him, all the voices and the clamor stilled. A hush descended on the Sukkah. From all sides the bochurim drew closer to the new darshan, in order not to miss the historic occasion.

Reb Leibel'e stood erect, his eyes closed and brow furrowed. The atmosphere was tense. Scores of eyes focused on him. He remained still a moment longer, as if he were a well- schooled, veteran darshan pausing for dramatic effect. Then he took a long look at the picture which hung in back of him and began: "Moh oshiv laHashem, kol tagmulohi oloi."

He then took a deep breath and then, in a voice that trembled somewhat, he continued: "My dearest and most beloved friends. Let me tell you in brief, the things which have lain hidden in my heart for scores of years, things whose time to be revealed has only now arrived."

Silence. All strained to hear the secret Reb Leibel'e was about to reveal. He stood there, white as a sheet, his false teeth chattering from excitement, and began his story:

When the Nazis, yimach shemom, entered Vilna, I was a young boy, barely fifteen. My entire family was destroyed in those years of terror. My father, my mother, my brothers and sisters, my grandfathers and grandmothers, uncles, cousins -- all of them -- were led to Maijdanek and were murdered in the gas chambers. All of them. Only I remained out of my entire, formerly very large, family.

I owe my deliverance to a dear Jew named Reb Lipa Davidowitz, o"h. Reb Lipa had been my father's chavrusa, since their yeshiva days. They were attached to each other with bonds of love which defy description. I will never forget how they used to study together every day, with so pleasant and sweet a melody. Never in my life have I encountered such a friendship and such mutual mesiras nefesh.

Reb Lipa had an only son -- Avrohom Abba -- who was only a few years younger than I, but I barely knew him. During that period, he was lured into joining a group of Zionist pioneer youth, and this association took its toll. He stopped learning in yeshiva, and slowly began to draw away from his family and his faith.

Reb Lipa was brokenhearted over the fact that his only son was not continuing along Torah's path. But Avrohom Abba still went down, from day to day. He didn't dare to desecrate Shabbos or even to transgress any mitzvos in the presence of his parents; he even wore his yarmulke in their presence. But they knew. They knew and wept.

In the evenings, Reb Lipa would take the luxurious tefillin he had bought his only son for his bar<196>mitzvah, and which were no longer used, kiss them fervently, and utter a silent prayer that they would once again adorn the arm and head of his beloved son Avrohom Abba.

Before the Nazi invasion of Vilna, Avrohom Abba volunteered to serve in the Russian border police, and it was known that a number of Jewish families were saved through his efforts. However after that, nothing more was heard of him.

Throughout all of the years of terror, Reb Lipa shielded me, protected me and took care of me, as if my life were more precious to him than his own. We underwent many travails and I recall a number of times in which we managed to come out of life-and-death situations only by great miracles. But I haven't come here to tell you about that, especially not during a simcha.

The war passed and with Hashem's kindness, Reb Lipa and I were saved. At the end of the war, Reb Lipa made great efforts to ascertain what had become of the members of his family. After a short while, it became clear that his entire family -- including his wife, his parents and his in-laws -- had been sent to the gas chambers in Maijdanek, where they perished al kiddush Hashem.

From when Reb Lipa learned about the tremendous calamity which had befallen his family, he refused to be comforted. All of the vitality he displayed during the war, dissipated. He was broken and shattered. Deep inside him, he nurtured the hope that at least his only son was still alive, but all efforts to ascertain what had happened to him were fruitless. Avrohom Abba had disappeared, as if the earth had swallowed him. There was evidence about his activities on the eve of the war. But since then, his footsteps were lost.

I won't tire you, rabbosai, with a description of all the developments of our story. Nonetheless, at the end of those days of mourning and despair over the loss of his family, Reb Lipa decided to go with me to America. "It is forbidden to break," he told me. "Hakodosh Boruch Hu saved us so miraculously -- not so that we should break, but so that we should be able to face the new challenges that await us."

We went to America and, with Hashem's help, Lipa succeeded in his new life. He rose and blossomed, both in ruchniyus and in gashmiyus. In the beginning he started small in businesses, but he was successful. Slowly his business expanded and he eventually became very wealthy. He succeeded in just about everything he tried. He invested his money wisely. In short, he became very, very wealthy.

Before long he became known as one of the greatest philanthropists in the world, whose hand was open to every appeal and request. He donated sizable sums to all who turned to him, while he himself continued to live simply and modestly. In addition he also gave vast sums, in secret, to all sorts of sacred endeavors. He managed to conceal his great deeds from everyone. Since I worked for him, I was the only one who knew about his many dealings -- and I knew what was going on, inside out.

At that time, I lived in a small, private room that Reb Lipa had set aside for me in his spacious home. Even though a number of years had passed since our arrival in America, I had nothing of my own. All of my meager assets were in that modest room, which wasn't even mine. But I had no need for my own home, since I lived with Reb Lipa, who never stopped showing concern for me.

A short while later I, with siyata deShmaya, met my wife, the tzaddekes, and together we continued to live in Reb Lipa's home. "When you want, I'll buy you a home of your own, which will lack nothing. In the meantime, I'll take care of all your needs, as if you were my very own son," he told me.

In addition to everything else, he still found much time to study with me bechavrusa. He had an elegant study room, whose walls were packed with seforim. He would often say that when he entered that room to study with me, he felt as if he were in the beis medrash in Vilna. During those hours, his acquaintances knew that it was impossible to reach him. He would immerse himself in his Torah study, and not even pause unless something unusually urgent demanded his immediate intervention.

One day, while we were engrossed in our studies, the buzzer on the ceiling of the room rang fitfully and the voice of the guard at the gate was heard on the intercom. "Mr. Davidowitz, a strange man entered the building and ran in. I tried to stop him, but by the time I understood what was happening, he dodged me and entered. Please close the room well and take security measures."

The warning frightened us. Reb Lipa paled a bit and rose quickly to close the door. But he immediately recovered and said, "We were in the middle of an inyan now. We have to continue and to ignore all disturbances."

Reb Lipa continued to read from the gemora aloud, with a pleasant melody, as if nothing had happened.

Then, from across the hall, excited cries were heard. "Tatte, I hear your voice. Where are you? Tatte, where are you?"

Reb Lipa jumped up, ran over to the door and there in front of him stood Avrohom Abba, his only son.

The excitement which prevailed at that moment is indescribable. They fell in each other's arms and wept for a long time.

"Tatte, Tatte, how I searched for you!"

"Oy Avrohom Abba, my ben yochidel, my kasdishel. Ribono Shel Olom, what have I done to merit this?"

I stood there silently watching the stirring scene, and tears flowed from my eyes like water.

"How did you find me?" Reb Lipa finally asked in surprise.

"All sorts of acquaintances told me about a very wealthy man named Lipa Davidowitz, who was very generous to organizations and institutions. My heart told me that this man was you, but I wasn't certain. I hoped, but still I wasn't certain. When I entered this building, I still wasn't certain. But the moment I reached the hallway and heard your pleasant voice chanting a gemora melody, I knew it was you."

Father and son looked at each other and hugged and kissed each other over and over again. After a brief while, I quietly left the room so that they could be alone.

I returned to my own room in a very excited frame of mind. But one thing bothered me very much: Avrohom Abba was bareheaded. It hurt me that Reb Lipa's joy wasn't complete. His entire life he had spoken about those unfortunate Jews who did not merit to see their own children following in their footsteps. "What could be more painful to a Jewish father, than to raise a son who doesn't continue in his footsteps?" he told me countless times. That night, I didn't fall asleep.

The following morning, Reb Lipa asked me to come to study with him half an hour earlier, so that he could discuss an important and urgent matter with me.

I entered his room, and I was shocked. His expression had changed. Something had happened to him. Suddenly, he seemed older and more exhausted and more anxious than usual. He rose, shut the door, sat down heavily, and in a broken voice began to tell me what was on his heart: "You surely know my heart," he told me dryly. "When I saw my only son, my happiness was complete. But the sorrow I felt when I learned who my only son is, sapped all my joy in living. When I sat with him yesterday at dinner, he told me terrible things . . . Terrible."

Reb Lipa raised his tear choked voice and continued: "My precious son is mechalel Shabbos bepharhesia. Do you hear? Do you hear? My son."

His voice slowly became a heart rending shriek. "Do you hear what I am telling you? My son eats neveilos and treifos. My son, my only son. My kaddishel will not say Kaddish after me!"

Reb Lipa began to weep like a baby and instead of trying to calm him, I cried along with him. I couldn't help it.

After the crying came a prolonged silence. We just sat there together, and remained still, as if trying to think of how to return Avrohom Abba's heart to his Father in Heaven -- as if that was up to us.

A few days later Avrohom Abba arrived along with his wife and his belongings, and he settled in one of the wings of the spacious house. When Reb Lipa saw his daughter-in-law, he nearly passed out. He was only a little comforted a few days later when it became absolutely clear that she came from a kosher Jewish family.

From the moment Avrohom Abba moved in, I felt that it was difficult for me to remain there. I began, with added energy, to search for a different place to live quietly, with my wife. With siyata deShmaya, I managed to rent a small apartment not far from Reb Lipa's home. With Hashem's help, my only daughter -- she whose simcha we are celebrating tonight -- was soon born.

Reb Leibel'e stopped his tide of words for a while and sipped a bit of the drink before him. Then, from one of the corners of the Sukkah, someone who had decided that R' Leibel'e had finished his story began to sing, "Moh oshiv laHashem kol tagmulohi oloi." The trumpeter accompanied him with his golden instrument and all joined in a mighty song, as befitted the stirring story which had unfolded then and there.

When the song ended, the Rosh Yeshiva rose, silenced the guests and said: "My dear students, during all these years, all of us have held our Reb Leibel'e in much esteem. All of us admired his ahavas Torah, and his mesirus to the yeshiva students. But only now do we understand the remarkable roots of this illustrious tree.

"To you Mike, dear Mike, I say only this. You are a relatively new student in the yeshiva. I don't know why you have merited to marry into so illustrious and precious a family. But know, that there are no chance occurrences in this world. Hakodosh Boruch Hu fully rewards those who love Him and observe His mitzvos. If you merited to enter a home where such ahavas Torah abounds, this means that you have a special zechus ovos. Hakodosh Boruch Hu doesn't give out gifts for free. If so, all that we can say is: `Invei hageffen be'invei hageffen dovor no'eh umiskabeil.' "

When the Rosh Yeshiva finished speaking, a number of boys tried to break out into the melody for invei hageffen. But the Rosh Yeshiva hushed them. "It's late," he said. "Surely there are neighbors who have already gone to sleep. If someone still wants to speak, we will be glad to hear him. But we'll have to forego the singing."

Reb Leibel'e waved his hand in the direction of the guests, in a gesture which indicated that he was requesting silence. With an embarrassed smile on his face, he said: "I don't know why you think I finished. I ask my honored guests for a few more minutes until I complete my story, because everything I said until now was really only an introduction to what follows now."

The Rosh Yeshiva cast a perplexed glance at Leibel'e, who quietly replied: "The picture. The picture. I didn't bring it here only to decorate the Sukkah of the Rosh Yeshiva."

"Rabbosai," Leibel'e continued, "A few months after Avrohom Abba arrived in his father's home, it sadly became clear that Reb Lipa was suffering from a terrible illness. He underwent surgery twice. The best doctors prescribed medicines for him and he had the best treatments in the world. In shuls and yeshivos, many prayers for his recovery were recited. But the illness continued to spread throughout his body and he became weaker from day to day -- until the doctors stopped treatment and sent him home to remain there until . . . until the members of the chevra kadisha came, Rachmono litzlan.

At the beginning of the final Sukkos of his life, Reb Lipa still merited to dwell in the Sukkah even on his sickbed. In the middle of chol hamoed, he returned his pure soul to its Maker.

At the end of the shiva, a messenger arrived in my home with a large envelope. Inside the envelope were a number of Sukkah decorations -- among them this picture which is hanging in back of me and a letter in Avrohom Abba's handwriting.

Reb Leibel'e pointed to the picture.

This is the picture of Reb Lipa's father, Reb Zundel Davidowitz, who was an outstanding talmid chochom and one of the most prominent Jews of Vilna, he said.

I looked at the contents of the envelope and found it difficult to understand the meaning of that gift, until I read Avrohom Abba's letter which was attached to the envelope.

"These documents," Avrohom Abba wrote me, "were given to me at my father's final request. Before his death, when we were together in the Sukkah, he ordered me to give you either the huge house with all of its contents or else all of the Sukkah decorations. (Humor wasn't the strong part of my father's character, as you know.) Whatever the case, I am happy to fulfill his last will and testament precisely and am hereby sending you these Sukkah decorations. At this opportunity let me thank you for all of the nachas you gave my father during the years he was alone."

I opened the bag, looked at the old Sukkah decorations, and found it difficult to understand Reb Lipa's behavior. Why on earth did he give me Sukkah decorations and his father's picture, when I had never shown any interest in these items?

After much thought, I reached the conclusion that there was something behind all this. All my memories of my years with Reb Lipa, did not coincide with this strange last will and testament. I began to examine the decorations very thoroughly and soon everything became clear to me.

Reb Leibel'e' turned around, took down the picture, turned it around, and continued with his fascinating tale. "On the other side of the picture which was in a faded cardboard frame, rabbosai, Reb Lipa had written the solution to the mystery in his own handwriting. I honor the Rosh Yeshiva to read what Reb Lipa wrote."

The shock among the guests was complete. The Rosh Yeshiva rose, put on his glasses and began to read in an emotion- filled voice:

"Title: It's a mitzvah to fulfill the words of the deceased: I Lipa the son of Zundel z"l, hereby declare that the major part of my assets are in a hidden back account whose details are listed herein. I command you to make every effort to prevent them from reaching the hands of one who does not observe Torah and mitzvos.

"I also declare: If it becomes clear that my only son has done teshuva, please hand him this will so that he can make good his legacy.

"If he persists in his rebellion, I hereby bequeath you, by means of a full kinyan, all of the assets listed here with which you will do tzedoko and good deeds as you see fit.

"If, prior to the allocation of all of the wealth to tzedoko, it becomes clear that one of my progeny did complete teshuva, he will receive the remaining assets.

"Lipa ben Reb Zundel."

The Rosh Yeshiva finished reading what was written on the back of the picture, placed in on the table, and R' Leibel'e continued his story.

I read these words over and over again, and hid the picture quite carefully, so that it wouldn't get lost. Then I began to plan how to fulfill Reb Lipa's will.

However, two days later, a messenger who had been sent to my home by Mister Davidowitz told me that there had apparently been a bad mistake, and that I must return what I had received. I was very frightened and tried to cover things up a bit. I told the messenger that since the Sukkah decorations were of no special interest to me, they were no longer in my possession and I couldn't return them.

Avrohom Abba was not a fool. After thinking over his father's words, he began to suspect that there was something behind those innocent decorations and decided to check into the matter himself. Apparently, he had already discovered that he had no access to his father's main bank account. The large house which he had inherited was only a small part of the vast wealth which Reb Lipa had left behind.

Late that night, a loud pounding was heard on my door. I approached the door fearfully and cautiously asked: "Who's there?"

But instead of an answer the door was broken down with a mighty blow and four huge thugs entered the room. With some difficulty, I managed to understand what was happening. The thugs told me that Mister Davidowitz had hired them to get a special envelope from me, that was meant for him. I began to stutter and to tremble. I didn't budge. They stood there, facing me, as if all the time in the world was on their hands, and they were prepared to wait for me to hand them what they wanted. "Ribono Shel Olam," I whispered. "How can I hand them what they want, and lose the mitzvah of fulfilling the will of the deceased?"

Moments later, the head of the gang picked up a large china bowl which lay on the table, smashed it to smithereens, and said ominously, "We'll come back in a week for the envelope. You have enough time to find it. Don't do anything foolish in the meantime."

The four then left the house and disappeared into the darkness.

My wife and I stayed up that entire night, trembling like falling leaves. What should we do? How should we save ourselves from this terrible tzoro? I recalled the horror-filled days of the war. "Reb Lipa saved my life," I told my wife. "Can I repay his goodness by failing to fulfill his will?"

Three days later, we decided to flee as fast as possible to the other side of the world. This decision was very difficult because it was clear to us that Avrohom Abba would not rest until he laid his hands on us. The four thugs he had hired were only a taste of what he would do. If we added to this the desire for revenge that would burn within him, we could assume that we would know no peace or tranquillity wherever we hid.

We left the house very carefully, each one separately, making up to meet at the subway station. First my wife went out in the direction of the baby clinic, with the baby in her hands. She held an innocent-looking plastic bag with a sefer Tehillim inside it and a number of diapers, between which the precious picture of Reb Zundel was well hidden. After checking to see that she wasn't being followed, she left the clinic and got on the bus to the subway station. I arrived a few moments afterward, with my tallis and tefillin bag in my hand.

With Hashem's help we rode a number of stations, and then transferred to another train which was headed in a different direction and then to another that took us far away from the city. We got off the train and hailed a taxi which brought us directly to Lakewood.

We remained in Lakewood in the home of the gvir, Reb Meshulam Jacobs, until after Shabbos. With nearly all the money left in my pocket we bought plane tickets and flew to Jerusalem.

Upon our arrival in Jerusalem I came to this yeshiva and offered my services as an exterminator. I had experience in this profession from the days in which Reb Lipa and I had hid in Vilna, in all sorts of infested hideouts. The Rosh Yeshiva rejected my offer politely saying that there were no vermin in Jerusalem. As one who was also an expert in mending socks and sewing on buttons, I then asked to be the yeshiva's tailor. But this offer was also rejected. After seeing my determination to cling to the yeshiva at all costs, the Rosh Yeshiva finally agreed to accept me as a cook.

Since then we have been living in the yeshiva in Jerusalem, and have been trying not to leave the yeshiva's confines needlessly. The fear that the long arm of Avrohom Abba will somehow find us, is always there. Throughout the many years since our arrival here, we have been living in dread. Not one day passes in which I don't beseech the Ribono shel Olam that in the merit of the mitzvah of doing the will of my benefactor, the man who saved me, Reb Lipa olov hasholom, the long arm of Avrohom Abba will not find me, and that I will merit to see my dear daughter build a home of Torah and yirah.

Now you can see that my prayers have not returned empty. For more than thirty years, I have been hiding in the yeshiva as its cook, and have been managing to fulfill the will of the deceased. Perhaps on the merit of this mitzvah, which all the members of my household share, our kallah has become engaged to a true ben aliya, whose entire Torah and yirah were acquired with much mesiras nefesh. He is a person who left much wealth behind, because his soul yearns for Torah. He left all of his material wealth behind, in order to merit spiritual happiness -- the highest form of happiness.

These stirring words were apparently too much for Mike. He covered his face and began to weep silently. He had only done teshuva half a year ago, and was already witnessing such special Hashgocho protis.

The Rosh Yeshiva placed a soothing hand on the back of the agitated chosson and calmed him with words of encouragement and chizuk.

The students were also very agitated. They had never truly appreciated the worth of their Leibel'e, the modest man who could have spent his entire life as a very wealthy man, yet lived in dread of his pursuers.

"And so," Reb Leibel'e announced as a denouement, "I hereby declare that I am giving my intended chosson this picture which I have placed in a large and lovely frame. I am certain that he will know how to use this vast fortune for purposes of tzedoko uma'asim tovim, in line with the pure aspiration of Reb Lipa ben Zundel, of blessed memory, whose yahrtzeit is tonight."

Leibel'e turned to Mike and gave him the precious picture. Mike paused a bit and, before taking the picture, he rose to speak. His voice trembled quite a bit: "Now rabbosai, its my turn to reveal a secret. I want all of you to know," he paused a few seconds, "that my dear father-in-law to be, Reb Leibel'e Leibidiker, is not really Leibel'e Leibidiker. They call him that, but that's not his real name. He assumed that name so that it would be easier for him to hide. His real name is Yaakov-Leiber Lefkibeker."

Reb Leibel'e jumped up from his chair, pale as a ghost. His eyes were nearly popping out of their sockets as he shouted -- nearly screamed -- in fright: "How do you know? Hashem yerachem!"

"It's a fact that I know."

All of the guests were terrified by the surprising turn of events. R' Leibel'e tugged Mike's sleeve and pleaded. "How? How do you know? No one in the entire world knows."

"What do you mean `How do I know?' " Mike answered matter of factly. "My father told me."

"Your father?"

"Yes, my father. His name is Mister Abraham Davis. But that's not his real name. It was the name he adopted after I was born. When his father was sill alive, they called my father Avrohom Abba Davidowitz."

"You're the son of . . . ? That means you're Reb Lipa's grandson?"

"I guess so. All of my life I grew up in a home in which the most common words were `Yaakov-Leiber Lefkibeker.' All of the very vast amount of hatred in my father's home was focused on the name `Yaakov-Leiber Lefkibeker.' This story has been pursuing me my entire life. We were fantastically wealthy, but still my father did not rest for even one moment in his search for you. At first he thought that he would find you easily, when you tried to come to the bank to withdraw the money. Scores of detectives worked for him in order to catch you the moment you decided to take out the money. Every single one of the branches of the bank in the entire world was watched.

"But as time passed and no attempt was made to get to the bank account, he began to lose his mind. Eventually he concluded that you had been killed in an accident, and had taken his great secret with you to another world. This thought nearly drove him insane. He stopped working and fell into a deep depression.

"Over the years, my mother and I tried to persuade him to forget you. But these requests only angered him. We tried to explain that instead of enjoying the wealth he had, he was wasting his entire life in a passionate hatred and thirst for vengeance which was driving him crazy. But he couldn't or wouldn't listen to us. Hatred made him insane. My mother divorced him for that reason, and since the divorce his situation has only deteriorated. He derives absolutely no enjoyment from the vast wealth which he inherited from his father.

Mike paused for a moment, and continued in a sad and quiet tone. "His situation today is so bad that if he were to know what is occurring today, I am sure that he would totally lose his sanity."

A year later, early in the morning. Reb Yaakov-Leiber Lefkibeker is seated on the sandek's chair in the Sukkah of the Rosh Yeshiva, holding an infant. He hears the voice of the Rosh Yeshiva call out: `Veyikorei shemo beYisroel: Lipa ben Michoel. Zeh hakoton godol yehiyeh. Keshem shenichnas lebris, kein yikoneis leTorah lechuppah ulema'asim tovim." No one is surprised to see tears flow from his eyes.

Reb Yaakov-Leiber Lefkibeker joins the other guests for the seuda. He sees them tasting the fish which he has prepared with his very own hands, and ponders. He sits there as if in another world. Only the voice of the young Mrs. Davidowitz, heard from behind the curtain, cuts his thoughts short. He hurries to respond along with everyone: "Mi shegemoleich kol tov, Hu yigmoleich kol tuv seloh."

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