The Human Side of the Story

For the week ending 28 January 2012 / 3 Shevat 5772

Bread or Stockings?

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

One of the great chassidic leaders of the past generation was Rabbi Yekutiel Yehuda Halberstam, the Klausenberger Rebbe.

Scores of legends have been related and written about this extraordinary sage, especially about his experiences in a concentration camp and the encouragement he provided for his fellow sufferers during the war and after their liberation. Assuming the role of surrogate father to surviving orphans, he consented to offer each of them, boys and girls, the parental blessing customarily given before Yom Kippur.

After blessing one such girl he gently urged her to wear stockings for the sake of feminine modesty. When she asked in return whether her severely limited funds should be used for buying bread or stockings, this warmhearted Torah giant quickly removed his own stockings and gave them to her.

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