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Email CANDLE LIGHTING
6:29 PM in New Brunswick, NJ
Shabbat Ends 7:27 PM
Friday, 25 Sep 2020
Parashat 
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A Gift for Shabbat

It was Friday morning, during the early hours. Eyal Kaufman removed his Tefillin and began to put them away. Not long ago, he had taken upon himself the mitzvah of laying Tefillin every day. It took him some time to come to this decision, but once he made up his mind, he did not miss even a single day.

On this day, he was praying in the Chabad House in his hometown of Givatayim, Israel. This synagogue was one of the important milestones for Eyal on his path to Torah observance. The phenomenal Torah classes and the personal warmth of the rabbi, Yosef Yitzchak Bekerman, had drawn Eyal close and won him over to Chabad.

Eyal finished his prayers and prepared to leave the synagogue. At that early hour, he was the only person in the building. Suddenly, a city official with a sour expression on his face entered. "Who is the owner of this building?" he asked.

"I am," Eyal answered with a half-smile, without missing a beat. "Why do you look so serious?" he quipped, trying to break the ice.

 The official was not impressed. "Look," he answered to the point. "You hung up a poster on the outside of the building, without a permit." He pointed to a large sign, identifying the building as a Chabad House. He pulled out a pad, filled out a summons and handed it to Eyal. It was a ticket for 500 Shekel.

"Poor Rabbi Bekerman," thought Eyal to himself. "What a present for Shabbat..."

As Eyal stood there mulling over the ticket, a well-dressed, middle-aged woman suddenly entered. "I am here to see the rabbi," she said simply.

As the "owner of the building," Eyal was quick to identify himself. But he could not impersonate a rabbi as easily... "No, I am not a rabbi," he told the woman, "but I have a good idea for you. Turn to the Lubavitcher Rebbe."

Eyal gave over to the woman the words he had heard many times from Rabbi Bekerman: "The Lubavitcher Rebbe has published many books of letters, known as Igrot Kodesh. These letters were addressed to many different individuals, and cover practically every personal and religious issue."

The truth is that Eyal himself was not sure why he had decided to suggest this to the woman. From her appearance, she did not seem like the type to be interested in a mystical answer. But the words had already left his lips...

To his surprise, the woman accepted his advice with full earnestness. She sat down and composed a letter to the Rebbe. Before writing, she washed her hands according to Eyal's guidance, recited a few chapters of Psalms and accepted upon herself a good resolution. Eyal could not believe that he was guiding someone else in the process of writing to the Rebbe. He was more accustomed to being in the position of student.

When the woman opened the book of letters at random, she came to a page with three letters printed on it. The terminology and the religious concepts were unfamiliar to her, and she asked for Eyal's help in interpreting the letter.

Eyal's understanding wasn't much more advanced than hers. He could tell that the first letter was on the topic of faith in G-d, and the second was about faith in the coming of Moshiach. The third letter began with many unfamiliar acronyms, which Eyal could not decipher.

Just at that moment, a Chabad yeshivah student entered the Chabad House. Eyal pounced on him with the book and gave him the job of interpreting the letters for the woman.

As soon as the student began reading the letter aloud, the woman called out: "That's it! That's the person who pesters me all the time!"

 Eyal and the student looked at each other quizzically. No one else was in the synagogue. To whom could the woman be referring?

The woman pointed to the book. "Read it," she said to Eyal. "Read what's written here." The letter was one that the Rebbe had written to a young student, who apparently had written to the Rebbe to tell him that her teacher did not understand her and caused her many problems. The Rebbe wrote her a letter of encouragement and also asked her to show the letter to ths teacher, whose name was Mr. Pinsker.

 "Do you understand?" said the woman. "Pinsker is the one who is making me problems. For years I have been working on my doctorate in literature, and I have already submitted my work to the university. But one professor by the name of Pinsker keeps disqualifying my work. He does everything he can to prevent me from succeeding. I don't know what he has against me. Because of him, I came here. In my frustration, I was looking for a place where I could find spiritual solace and advice for how to rid myself of this nuisance called Pinsker."

The woman remained in the synagogue, reading and rereading the letter from the Rebbe. After a few minutes, she got up to go, and approached Eyal. "Please give this to your rabbi," she said, handing him a check.

Eyal glanced at it and caught his breath. The amount on the check was 500 Shekel... exactly the amount of the ticket that the Chabad House had just received.

"Now, this is a fitting present for Shabbat," thought Eyal with a smile.

 

 


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