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2020-07-19 02:56:59 PM



From the desk of Rabbi Yosef Sanders

A Slap for the Ages
Shalom Shul family, 
It was in the times of the horriffic Cantonist decree, wherein the Czarist government would snatch young Jewish boys away and forcibly conscript them into the army for 25 years, hoping to relieve them of their religious beliefs along the way.
Troops arrived in the city of Brisk, and all who could made themselves scarce, so as to avoid capture.
The local Melamed, teacher, was a very holy man. He was known as "der blinder", the blind one, because he would habitually shut his eyes when in the street so as to spare himself from seeing anything impure. "Der Blinder" was studying Torah with a group of young students, and in marched one of the Czar's soldiers, demanding compliance with this evil decree.
The Rebbi was upset at having his lesson interrupted. He walked over to the individual responsible for disturbing, and gave him a sharp slap in the face!
This was viewed as an insult to the Czar himself, and it was only after much effort that the community leaders were able to secure a release for the Melamed from this seemingly unpardonable crime.
When it was all over, the esteemed Rabbi of Brisk, Rabbi Yosef Dov haLevy Solovocheichik, approached the teacher and asked him how he had the temerity to do such a thing.
The Rebbi did not seem to understand the question. "We were in the middle of a passage of Talmud, and this man had the Chutzpah to interrupt!"
Years later, this man's grandson studied under the sainted Chafetz Chaim, who told him that his Zeidy's slap will stand by his descendants until the Messiah arrives.
In our times, Jewish traditions are not forcibly challenged by armies and soldiers. But the forces that are at work today to erode our Jewishness are not less threatening; perhaps even more so. 
We must draw upon our internal  - and eternal - reserves, and deliver a determined, figurative "slap in the face" to everything that seeks to shift us away from the path and destiny entrusted upon us.
Shabbat Shalom!
Thank you, 
Yosef S





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Fri, September 25 2020 7 Tishrei 5781