Kinder Torah

For the week ending 4 May 2013 / 23 Iyyar 5773

Old Boots and New Ones

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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Rabbi Simcha Wasserman was not only a great Torah educator and pioneer in Torah outreach, but also a bridge to the Torah legacy of pre-war Europe. He inspired his many disciples with stories about the Chafetz Chaim and his own great father, Rabbi Elchanan Wasserman, the Rosh Hayeshiva of Yeshiva Baranovich who perished in the Holocaust. The following story about father and son is taken from "Reb Simcha Speaks" by Yaakov Branfman and Akiva Tatz (ArtScroll):

"Once my father zt"l had to travel from Baranovich and I was accompanying him to the station; we were walking together and I was carrying a small suitcase. He was wearing new boots that my mother had bought for him, which he had refused to wear until my mother gave away his very old and worn shoes to the girl who carried the water buckets through the snow, explaining to my father that the girl had no shoes and therefore needed them. Only then had he agreed to wear the new ones. I could see that something was bothering him. After a while he said, 'These boots are bothering me.' My father never spoke without a specific reason, so I knew that I was about to learn something. 'What is bothering me is that they have laces, and I reckon that it is going to cost me half a minute a day to tie and untie them.' He was teaching me the value of time."

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