The Vishnitzer Rebbe zt'l, R' Chaim Meir, once noted
that when a pot is bubbling on the stove top, one can usually
guess what is cooking inside just by passing nearby and
taking a good whiff.
The same can be said regarding a person's mouth. From what
issues from one's mouth -- one can intuit what a person is
thinking inside . . .
Old From New -- Progressive and Regressive
A Jew once came to the Admor R' Sholom of Vassely zt'l
asking for a blessing that his son succeed in the entrance
examination for an advanced secular education (gymnasium).
The Rebbe naturally began talking earnestly to him to
convince him to change his direction and send his son to
study Torah instead.
The Jew brazenly held his ground. "Those are antiquated
concepts from previous generations. My son and I belong to
the new progressive generation where it is impossible to get
anywhere without a secular education."
Replied R' Sholom, "So you relegate me to the antedated
generation, as well? Well, you should know that you are the
ones who are behind the times! Does it not state, `In the
beginning, our ancestors were idolaters, but since then,
Hashem brought us close to His service?' "
His Staff in Hand
There was a young man who constantly attended the Gaon R'
Shmuel Rozovsky ztvk'l and lived in his home. One
evening, he asked permission to leave to take care of a
personal matter. When R' Shmuel asked him when he intended to
return, he replied that he didn't know.
At that time, the yeshiva was studying Sanhedrin and
involved in the subject of people with evil intentions:
rodef and `thieves in the night.' R' Shmuel noted,
with a smile on his face, "I will wait up for you until one
o'clock, but if I hear someone at the door any later, I will
assume that it is a burglar and go forth with a broom to
defend myself . . . "
Shimmush Chachomim: Don't Be Late
Maran HaRav Yaakov Kamenetsky ztvk'l told that when
Maran R' Yitzchok Elchonon ztvk'l was in the midst of
preparing his writings for publication, he was approached by
a rich man who wanted to share in the privilege of
disseminating Torah and offered him a considerable sum to
underwrite most of the expenses.
R' Elchonon rebuffed him sharply and said, "When I was a
young student, I attended the yeshiva in your city. I was
very poor and when my shoes reached a state beyond repair, I
approached you for money to buy a new pair. You turned me
down and, as a result, I caught cold and became very ill. I
lost out several weeks of study because of my illness and I
cannot help but conclude that had you helped me then, you
would have shared in the reward of my Torah study for those
lost few weeks.
"Now that my chiddushei Torah are ready for
publication, it is too late. You forfeited your opportunity .
. . "
R' Yaakov: Principles of Emunah
HaRav Yitzchok Hutner zt'l once said that he heard
from a reliable witness that Maran the Brisker Rov
ztvk'l would not always receive those who came to him
with their questions or chiddushei Torah. And these
people, you can assume, were very many and came from near and
far. There were some visitors whom the Brisker Rov agreed to
see and hear through, and others whom he put off.
When the subject was on matters of emunah, however, he
was always willing to hear the visitors out. He listened to
their questions with avid interest and would not let them
leave until he was certain that they were satisfied with his
clarifications and replies.
(R' Yitzchok Ulster -- Moriah 5742)
From Generation to Generation
When the Baal Hahaflo'oh, came to serve as av beis din
of Frankfurt in 5532, the heads of the community requested
from HaRav Nosson Adler ztvk'l to come to the main
synagogue during the Sholosh Regolim to bless the
congregation together with the other kohanim, since a
blessing coming from such a saintly, revered man as he, was
deemed a tremendous merit for the people.
Since the Baal Hahaflo'oh was, himself, a Levi, the trustees
prepared a pitcher and basin made from pure gold for the
libations before the bircas kohanim. The president
would bring the filled pitcher and basin before the blessing
of Retzei and place it before the Rov, who sat at his
designated place. R' Nosson Adler would leave his seat and go
to the Rov to have his hands washed.
How awesome and inspiring was the scene of the saintly Levi
washing the hands of the saintly Kohen, both sanctifying and
being purified by this act. People would look on,
Morenu Zekel zt'l used to tell over the sichas
chulin which he heard from Rabbenu the Chasam Sofer
zy'o as he noted:
"Whoever saw the Kohen and the Levi in their greatness and
humility, and saw, in contrast, this present generation,
could not possibly understand how they could possibly be
living now . . . "