| In Sights |

In Sights: Issue 991      

Our gedolim have refined their hakaras hatov to a level that spans generations and generates limitless opportunities for growth


hen I first left to learn in Eretz Yisrael at age 16, I promised my father ztz”l that I would pay a visit to one of his close rebbeim, the famed posek and rosh yeshivah of Yeshivas Torah Ohr, Rav Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg ztz”l, within the first two weeks of my stay. I had never met the Rosh Yeshivah, but I had heard so much about him. And from my very first visit to his home in Mattersdorf, through which hundreds passed each day, I was treated like a long-lost son who had returned home after a long trip.

My first visit was on a Friday afternoon after morning seder. When the Rosh Yeshivah heard my name, he quickly called in his Rebbetzin a”h and asked her to prepare a bed for me, insisting I was going to be their guest that Shabbos. No amount of protest on my part would change the Rosh Yeshivah’s directive.

I stayed that Shabbos, and the one after that, and many more after that. His home was always open to me. I began my weekly Friday visit presenting hundreds of sh’eilos to him, in both halachah and hashkafah, and he never asked me to come back another time, despite the incredible responsibilities weighing on him. I never gave it much thought, though, assuming that since my father had been his talmid, he felt that connection to me as well.

After more than a decade of visiting Rav Scheinberg, as well as other gedolim, and asking them hundreds of sh’eilos, I decided to commit them all to writing and publish them in a sefer. I consulted with Rav Scheinberg, who greatly encouraged me, even offering to help. Ultimately, the Rosh Yeshivah didn’t just help with the project, he completely took it on himself. He reviewed the entire manuscript three times, including one time when he sat with the proofs on a flight from Eretz Yisrael to New York and did not stop from takeoff until landing. He made many valuable suggestions, and when the sefer was eventually published, his imprints were on every page. Still, again I just assumed the Rosh Yeshivah’s magnanimity stemmed from his good nature, as well as his connection to my father.

It was only a few years later that I learned the real story. I met the Rosh Yeshivah’s grandson in Eretz Yisrael and I shared with him how much hakaras hatov I had to the Rosh Yeshivah for all the time and effort he invested in me over so many years.

He smiled at me. “It’s funny that you mentioned hakaras hatov,” he said. “Some years back, I asked my zeidy why he spends so much time with you, despite his myriad responsibilities.

“My zeidy answered, ‘How can I not give him unlimited time? I have hakaras hatov to his grandmother. His paternal grandmother had a bakery in Bensonhurst called Ginzberg Bakery, and when I started my yeshivah in the early days, we had no money to feed the bochurim. His grandmother would send us fresh bread every morning so the bochurim would have what to eat, even though we didn’t have the money to pay for it. How could I not always be available for him, as hakaras hatov for what his grandmother did for me and the yeshivah so many years ago?’”

All those years in which I was zocheh to such an incredible connection to Rav Scheinberg and benefited so much from his Torah, I didn’t realize it was because of the chesed my grandmother had performed a half-century earlier, because of her love for Torah and all who learn it.

Our gedolim have refined their hakaras hatov to a level that spans generations and generates limitless opportunities for growth.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 991)

Oops! We could not locate your form.