Skip to content


TorahAnytimes Newsletter Vayakhel-Pekudei

Parshat Vayakhel-Pekudei

Compiled and Edited by Elan Perchik


"The TorahAnyTimes" Newsletter

Parashat Vayakhel-Pekudei 5781                                         Print Version
29th of Adar, 5781 | March 13, 2021

Compiled and Edited by Elan Perchik

Rabbi YY Rubinstein
The Greatest of the Great

I remember the early years of the wonderful organization, LINKS, which helps support orphaned individuals who have lost a parent. On one of their annual Shabbaton events, the founder, Mrs. Sarah Rivkah Kohn, approached me and mentioned that one of the girls attending had a father who passed away from a heart attack when she was twelve years old. Now, three years later, her mother was diagnosed with liver cancer. She wanted to speak with me. Would I be willing to do so? Of course. Did I know that to say? Of course not.

I went on to speak with her for some time, after which we parted ways, though kept in touch from time to time.

Two years later, I was on a flight back from Israel, at a time when I felt flu-like symptoms and fatigue. When the plane touched down, I flipped my phone on, and received the news that the girl’s mother had just passed away. She was sitting shiva in New Jersey. I was in New York and not feeling well. But I felt compelled to go and see her.

The entire drive I pondered what I could say to this girl, who had lost her father, and now her mother. I figured that whatever came from my heart would need to be what I would say, if anything.
I entered inside, facing only her and her sister. Staring blankly, I didn’t know what to do. But, while I thought I had come to give chizuk, I had in fact come to be given chizuk. “Rabbi Rubenstein,” she said, “I know this is all from Hashem. Even if I don’t feel it.”

On occasion, we believe we are out to give something to someone else, yet often we find ourselves being given to by the other person. We are helping them, but they too – and sometimes even more so – help us in ways that deeply move us within.

When I lived in Manchester, the Rebbetzin of the head of the Beis Din, Rebbetzin Kraus, phoned me and mentioned that a young woman was expecting a child in just a few months and her husband had just been killed in a car crash. The family requested to speak to a rabbi, and particularly me. Without knowledge of the family or why they wished specifically to talk to me, I got in the car and drove twenty minutes away to a town on the outskirts called Whitefield.

I fully anticipated that this family, which I presumed were not religious, wished to vent their hurt and frustration of what had tragically happened to such a young man and his newlywed and expectant wife.

I could not have been more wrong.

All the mourners gathered in an inner circle, and simply wished to ask basic questions about Hashem and Judaism. Again, I believed I was going there to give them something, and there I was being inspired by the firm acceptance and strong belief this family exhibited, amidst this most tragic of times.

A year later, I found myself in Stenecourt, Manchester’s Great New and Central Synagogue, on Yom Kippur, and as I exited the shul to give a talk, I noticed a young lady helping what looked like her young daughter put on her coat and toggle its buttons.
The following day, I parked my car, and again caught sight of this same lady, who had now just finished buckling her daughter into her car seat. She stared at me with a look that spoke words for themselves. “You don’t remember me, do you?”

She was the woman who had lost her husband, while expecting her daughter.

“I just want to let you know that I’m getting married next week.” She indeed married and became, as I know today, a frum woman raising a frum family.

You might have thought that, under her circumstances, she would have given up on everything. Finished with Judaism and finished with G-d. But as she showed me, amidst the toughest of times, that is when we Jews produce our greatest.

And when we produce our greatest, it is the greatest of the great.

Rabbi Yisroel Majeski
Somebody Needs It

One Friday afternoon, a few months ago, I received a call from a fellow living in New York. He relayed that during the earlier stages of the Coronavirus, prior to Pesach, many families were in need of purchasing food for Yom Tov, but were at a loss to do so.

One particular storeowner had taken the initiative to contact this man, a noted askan who devoted time and energy to helping Jewish individuals and families with their financial needs, and asked that he do what he could to collect some money, which would be given to the storeowner, and enable him to freely provide needy families with whatever necessary and use the funding provided by the askan as payment.

The man got to work, and came back to the storeowner days later with a check for $26,000.

But just as he handed over the check, which was graciously accepted, the owner slipped in that eighteen more families had come to him, needing food for Yom Tov. Looking back at the askan, who had now shown his capability to raise needed funds, he requested that he go back for another round. “I don’t know what I can bring in, but I will try,” replied the askan.

Days later, on a Thursday afternoon, the man returned with a check for $18,000. The storeowner looked at him, a smile breaking out across his face. “Thanks, but no thanks,” he said. The askan was puzzled. “It might be hard for you to imagine what it took for me to raise this. Maybe you can just hold onto it, and if some other families need it, you’ll have it ready for them.” But the storeowner would not hear it. “Thank you, but I don’t need the money.” The man didn’t understand. The storeowner would need to explain.

“Monday afternoon, a woman was shopping and she paid in cash, and I was supposed to give her $50 in change. As I was gathering the bills together, she said to me, ‘You know what? Keep the change. I’m sure there will be another family who needs it.

“The lady standing behind and hearing our dialogue followed suit, swiping her card and telling me, ‘Add on another $300; I’m sure there will be somebody else who needs it.’

“People started talking to one another and, I don’t know how, but from Monday to Thursday, our store raised over $100,000 for people in need.

“As of now,” the storeowner concluded, “I don’t need your $18,000 check.”

Mi K’amcha Yisroel. Who is like our nation, the Jewish people.

Rabbi Yechiel Spero
Don’t Forget It

A special tzaddik by the name of Rav Gadola Eisner, the Mashgiach in the Gerrer yeshiva in Tel Aviv, was beloved by many. Having gone through the war, he not only survived, but helped other survive as well. You may assume it was his prayers or dedication to mitzvos, and I am sure he did both of that.

But one of the main ways he survived and helped others survive was… humor. Encouraging others to be upbeat when everything around them reminded them to be broken and sad.

One night, Rav Gadola laid down on a concrete slab along with eight others in the barracks. It was the middle of the night, and Rav Gadola, who was situated on one end, turned to his friend and gave him a little jab, right near his rib cage. The other fellow looked up, perturbed. “What do you want?” Rav Gadola let out a slow smile. “Pass it on…” “Pass it on?” the fellow questioned. “Yeah, go ahead…!”

Not probing any further, he went along and gave the fellow closest to him a slight nudge and passed along the same message. This went on until everyone awoke and looked to Rav Gadola. “Rebbe,” they all said even without speaking a word, their facing calling with curiosity, “what do you want?”

“In some time, we’ll all be out of here. We’ll be back at the Gerrer yeshiva, dining at a large tisch, basking in all the singing and delights we can imagine. We’ll be pushing and shoving, and squished like sardines. I don’t want you to forget what it feels like, so I gave you all a little push, a little reminder.”

They all let out a hearty smile and warming laugh, heading back to sleep, their spirits lifted.

When going through difficult times, one way to make it through is with an uplifted spirit. A positivity which looks towards great times ahead, and carries with it unrelenting optimism and belief that it is right around the corner.

Rabbi Yitzchak Oelbaum
A Change in Perspective

Year ago, at one wedding which Rav Pam was in attendance, the father-in-law of the bride had ordered a kesubah which was very expensive. Hand-made, it was a beautifully designed piece of art, which was a source of pride to the newlyweds and specifically the father-in-law.

Right before the proceedings of the wedding were to begin, however, a mistake was noted in the kesubah, deeming it invalid. An alternative kesubah was readily made available, yet it was not made by hand and was a far cry from the beauty of the previous kesubah. The father-in-law was unbelievably distraught, as his dream of having such gorgeous artwork hang in his children’s house would no longer be a reality.

Rav Pam, noticing what had happened, went over to the father-in-law, and whispered something into his ear. From then on, throughout the rest of the night, the man had a big smile on his face. Later, when asked what Rav Pam had said which calmed him down, the father-in-law related, “He told me that for some reason, it had been decreed in Heaven that my children would need to have two kesubos. There are two ways this could have worked out. Either she would receive a second kesubah because she would have gotten divorced or one of the spouses would pass away. Or, alternatively, as has happened now, a new kesubah would need to be written. Hashem provided you with the easier option, with one kesubah becoming unusable, so a second one would be needed. Once I heard this, I immediately settled down.”

A shift in perspective can change everything.

It is quite the common scene for crowds of people to be lined up waiting for a bus back home after Shabbos in Bnei Brak. Years ago, on one such occasion, close to one hundred people stood waiting for the 402 bus that would take them from Bnei Brak to Jerusalem. But as the anticipated bus did not show up on time, more people began waiting. But even at the next allotted time, no bus showed up.

Suddenly, a bus started driving down the road and pulled up. It was the 210 bus on its way to Ashdod. Of all the people waiting, one person who needed to go to Ashdod boarded. But he had the entire bus to himself, as everyone else needed to go to Jerusalem. Approaching the bus driver, they began begging him to take them to Jerusalem. “Please, we are stranded here!” But the driver had a job. “I can’t!” he said. “I have a job which requires me to go to Ashdod. I’m not able to just take people wherever they want. I have a strict route I need to follow.” But the crowd persisted. “There are so many people here waiting! You would be doing all of us such a favor if you could take us.” But the driver persisted. “I really can’t!” he reiterated. “I have a job, and I’m unable to go out of my way.”

But, the crowd eventually prevailed on the driver. “Okay, okay,” he acquiesced. “Don’t tell anybody. Tell the crowd to start boarding…”

Within minutes, the entire bus was full, and everyone was beyond thrilled, except the one man who actually needed to get to Ashdod. That one man knew the driver, and got up and approached it. “Let me ask you a question,” he said. “I know you; we’re good friends. You are a nice guy, but I don’t understand.

There is no way that you would be willing to go out of your way from Ashdod, and risk your job to take people to Jerusalem. Why are you doing this?” The driver looked back at the fellow. “To tell you the truth, I really am the 402 bus. But I realized that if I show up and announce myself as the 402 bus, everyone would be fuming and yelling at me. Look at everyone now. They’re all sitting down nicely, appreciative, happy and relaxed. I changed the number on my bus on my way here.”

A little shift in perspective once again, and drastically different results.

A Short Message from
Mrs. Ilana Cowland

I remember years ago entering my bathroom in the basement of a three-story house and noticing that I could bounce up and down on the tiles. Unsure what to attribute the unusual feeling to, I phoned a plumber, who informed me that the tiles were situated on top of a tiny water pipe which had burst and been leaking for at least ten years. The whole foundation was filled with water and had we waited a bit longer, the floor would have collapsed. As I heard the plumber relate this information, I realized one of the great truths of life. It had taken no less than a decade for this little pipe to make an impact, but it finally did. Consistently day after day it was leaking, and the problem eventually grew from something little to something big. In life as well, it is the small, consistent and daily efforts which create the biggest of impacts. And then, before we know it, those little efforts will have grown into something we never imagined we would achieve.

Picture of newsletter
100% free

Subscribe to our Weekly Newsletter

Timely Torah insights, stories, and anecdotes from your favorite TorahAnytime speakers, delivered straight to your inbox every week.

Your email is safe with us. We don't spam.