A boy in Bnei Brak, Israel, left Yiddishkeit and moved in with an irreligious cousin somewhere else in Israel. Unfortunately, things got worse and he became engaged to a non-Jewish girl. His irreligious cousin was quite upset but was unable to convince him to break up the engagement. However he did convince him that basically since he would be cutting ties with the jewish people and with his family, he should at least go home, and face to face tell his parents what his plans were.
He agreed and invited himself home for a Shabbos on “his terms.” Friday night was spent smoking on the porch and Shabbos day found him again on the porch on his iPhone. Shabbos afternoon his father approached him and invited him to join a lecture he was going to, given by Rav Aron Leib Shteinman (of blessed memory). Interestingly, he agreed to go.
After the lecture, his father brought him over to Rav Shteinman to say good Shabbos and informed the gadol that unfortunately his son is not shomer shabbos (Sabbath observant). Rav Shteinman looked at him and asked, “How long are you not keeping Shabbos?” The boy answered “Two years”. “And during that time did you ever have a hirhur teshuva?/thougth of repentance” “Yes, about four times.” “And how long did the hihur teshuva last each time?” “Approximately 10 minutes.” “Oh, so it comes out that for 40 minutes during the last 2 years you were in the matzav of b’makom she’baalei teshuva omdim ain tzaddikim g’murim yecholim la’amod (in the place that a person who wishes to return to G-d stands, even the most righteous cannot stand), and of that I am jealous. Gut Shabbos.”
The boy went home and returned to his cousins house. Rav Shteinman’s words left him no peace. The engagement was broken and from there, things turned around. Today he fully keeps Torah and mitzvos.
He was asked what made him go to the lecture that Shabbos. Here he was smoking and playing with his iPhone on Shabbos, and he went to a Rabbinic lecture?!
He replied that when he was in the fourth grade, his class went to be tested by Rav Aron Leib Shteinman. The teacher had obviously requested an easy test and the boys were asked very simple questions. Each boy, upon answering a question received a candy from Rav Aron Leib. When this boy’s turn came he did not know the answer to the question. So Rav Aron Leib asked him an easier question. Again he did not know. So the gadol asked him an even easier question which again he did not know. When the farher/oral quiz was over, everyone had a candy besides him. As the boys were respectfully filing out, Rav Aron Leib motioned for him to come over.
He told the boy, “In Torah and Yiddishkeit we reward for effort, not results. All the other boys put in an effort for one question so i gave them one candy; you put in the effort for three questions so you are getting 3 candies.” And with a smile, he handed him 3 candies....!”
Can you imagine how many candies Hashem Has put aside for you? Keep going strong!!
by Rabbi Yechiel Richard
Have a freilichen and enjoyable shabbas with all your kinderlach and think about their great potentials, Rabbi Yechiel Richard Rav of Pomona NY