A Letter From A Ben Torah

A Letter From A Ben Torah

Tuesday, January 18th, '11

From: gavriel yadgarov [mailto:@yahoo.com]

Sent: Monday, January 17, 2011 1:40 PM
To: Rabbishapiro@baismedrash.com
Subject: melavah malkah

Hi Rabbi, it was a real big surprise when you presented the award to me. I was mildly shocked at first, and as result of that I wasn’t able to put my words together especially when you handed the microphone to me. When we left the restaurant, I was asking myself why you picked me for the award and how do you know that my life is good? And then all kinds of different thoughts were flooding my mind and my past life flashed before my eyes.

Somewhere in the Torah Moshe warns Kalal Yisroel that if they will forget that they are Jews then the nations of the world will remind them of who they are. I believe that this reminder started for me early in my life. Back in the days, when I was a happy, worry free child, enjoying the sunny winter day, when least expected, I got hit with a pebble to the head. The kids who threw the pebble at me were shouting “You are a dirty Jew!” I got scared and with tears in my eyes, I asked my mother why was I called a Jew and what is a Jew? So my mother with a pitying face explained to me that we were Jews and those kids were right. I protested and told her “If I speak Russian then I must be Russian!”

Since then I was constantly reminded in similar ways that I was a Jew. Each time I would try to make myself look like other kids, I would be beaten up. Once I came to my teacher in second grade with a bloody forehead and complained that kids were beating me up for being a Jew. Her response was, “It is your fault!” and then she walked out of the classroom. I was shocked and hurt. Very often I would be sent to the store to buy a loaf of bread. Usually in those days we would have long lines in front of bread stores. One time when I was standing in a line, a lady behind me asked me “Are you a Jew?” and I told her that I was. She responded with pity in her eyes “Don’t worry, you will be alright. Jews are also human beings.” These are only a fraction of examples in my life.

Now the question arises: How is my life good? Then it occurred to me: maybe the reason I had this kind of experiences in life because G-d has personal interest in me. Or maybe it’s called a good life because of G-d’s guidance. Each time when i drifted away, He pushed me back in line.

Forgive me if this letter isn’t appropriate but I needed to share it with someone. Thank you for paying special attention to me.

Sincerely, Gavriel Yadgarov


From: Yaakov Shapiro <RabbiShapiro@Baismedrash.comt>
To: gavriel yadgarov <                    @yahoo.com>
Sent: Mon, January 17, 2011 2:07:28 PM
Subject: RE: melavah malkah

Thank you so much for these wonderful thoughts.

Yes, you are correct – Hashem did give you special attention, and to the extent that we can understand why He does what He does, it is because He knew that if He would invest in you, He would get back enormous returns.

And so He has.

You grow and grow daily. After you spoke, someone told me that you approach him every Shabbos after davening asking him to explain my speech.

Such displays of interest in His holy Torah are, to Him, priceless.

And so His investment paid off, for Him, in spades. Hashem knows where to invest His energies, kavochol.

……Question: Since you didn’t really get a chance to speak at the dinner because you were taken by surprise, would it be OK if I were to post this letter of your on our Shul website? I believe it would be a great encouragement to everyone in Shul.

Thank you.


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