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Living Higher: Issue 934

Highlighting the care and concern of a true gadol b’Yisrael

Chol Hamoed Succos found families of rebbeim and mechanchim enjoying an exciting day of family fun and adventure in Keansburg Amusement Park, which had been rented out on their behalf by the Chasdei Lev organization. To complement the park’s in-house rides and attractions, Chasdei Lev hired a host of entertainers to perform throughout the day, as well as providing a succah with food aplenty for the honored guests and their families.

Yet even with all the pulsating excitement, the biggest thrill of the day seemed to be when the Staten Island Rosh Yeshivah, Rav Reuven Feinstein, entered the park to greet the rebbeim. He was driven in on a rented golf cart, chauffeured by Rabbi Naftali Miller, one of the founders of Chasdei Lev, and began dispensing chizuk to the crowds who gathered around to greet him. One rebbi wanted a brachah, another wanted to wish a gut moed to his rosh yeshivah, and a third wanted a picture of his family with a gadol. The atmosphere was joyous as cameras clicked and flip phones were held high, the audience intent on capturing the image of Rav Reuven radiating a true simchas Yom Tov.

After a few minutes, though, Rav Reuven turned to Rabbi Miller, and said quietly but urgently, “Naftali, I have to go. Please turn around and take me back to the car.”

Rabbi Miller was slightly taken aback — the Rosh Yeshivah had been scheduled to be in Keansburg for some time — but naturally, he turned the golf cart around and took Rav Reuven back to his car, where he was driven back to Staten Island.

Rabbi Miller had to get back to the park to run the event, but later that day he called the Rosh Yeshivah, and tentatively asked what was the urgent issue that had forced Rav Reuven to cut his visit short.

“A yungerman came over to me, asking that I daven for his wife, who was diagnosed with a disease,” Rav Reuven explained to Rabbi Miller, “and the fact that another Yid was in such tzaar was too distressing. I couldn’t bring myself to put on a smile, and I felt that it wasn’t right for me to continue greeting people when I wasn’t in the frame of mind to do so properly.”

A busy afternoon with the teeming crowds, flashing cameras, and lines of admirers all melted away when a Yid confided that he was facing a tzarah, highlighting the care and concern of a true gadol b’Yisrael.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 934)

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