Sunday, August 9, 2015
Summer Chizuk - Reprinted with permission from Yated Ne'eman
Summer is a time we can use to be mechazeik people in a way we can’t during the year. For example, on Monday, Rav Yeruchim Olshin, rosh yeshiva of Bais Medrash Govoah in Lakewood, used the opportunity presented by bein hazemanim to visit Shalom Mordechai Rubashkin in prison. But it wasn’t that simple. Reb Yossi Ostreicher, who accompanied the rosh yeshiva and drove him to the jail, worked hard to arrange this visit. Shalom Mordechai was so excited that the rosh yeshiva would be coming to visit him. Imagine this Yid sitting alone in jail, cut off from the outside world. Imagine when he hears that the Lakewood rosh yeshiva is coming to visit him. He couldn’t contain himself. The rosh yeshiva was equally happy that he would be able to be mesameiach the locked-away, humble Yid. I spoke to each of them on Sunday and was happy that the visit was going to come about. Then, Sunday evening, Rav Yisroel Meir Yagen zt”l, a Lakewood kollel yungerman and son-in-law of Rav Gershon Ribner shlit”a, was tragically niftar. Rav Olshin would have to forgo the visit to Shalom Mordechai. He would be devastated, but how could the rosh yeshiva not be at the levayah? How surprised I was when Shalom Mordechai called me Monday afternoon. I learned a serious lesson in middos and in mesirus nefesh for another Yid. I learned a lesson in gadlus ha’adam more potent than a mussar shmuess. Rav Yeruchim woke up pre-dawn, davened vosikin, got into the car for the 2-½ drive to Otisville, NY, stayed with Shalom Mordechai for twenty minutes and then headed back to Lakewood to attend the levayah. He had the best excuse not to go. Who would not understand that he couldn’t make the visit? He had to be at the levayah. Anyone could accept that. Shalom Mordechai, the Lubavitcher Yid he had never met before, would surely understand. But instead of forgoing the five-hour trip on a difficult day, the rosh yeshiva chose to be moser nefesh to raise the spirits of a Yid. They only spent a few minutes together, but every time Shalom Mordechai ponders his fate, he will be emboldened because of the gadlus of a person who used the opportunity presented by summer to lift up a fellow Jew.