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Back at home, Adina (Dini) continued to cry, her tears pulling at Zeidy’s heart


IT was a Sunday, the third day of Chanukah, and Savta and Zeidy were spending the day with their grandchildren in Ramat Beit Shemesh.

The Bais Yaakov had no official classes; activities and projects were the order of the day. When it was time to pick the girls up from school, Zeidy joined his son to get them.

As father and grandfather arrived at the school, Adina emerged among the crowd of girls, each clutching a half-eaten sufganiyah.

But Zeidy saw that Adina was not her usual happy self. Tears ran down her cherubic face as she pulled her father to her.

“Why are you crying?” he asked.

“A girl wrote something not nice about another girl on the board, and I told her to erase it. When she wouldn’t listen, I took the eraser and wiped the board clean. Then the girl said something not nice to me and made me feel bad.”

Tears cascaded from behind her glasses.

Back at home, Adina (Dini) continued to cry, her tears pulling at Zeidy’s heart. Zeidy took her aside and asked her to tell him exactly what happened.

She related how she stood up for another girl who was being bullied, and then she became the target of the same girl’s bullying.

“Did you say anything back to the girl who made fun of you?”

“No. I told her I was sorry if I made her feel bad, but she didn’t say ‘I’m sorry’ to me!”

Her tears continued to flow.

Her zeidy looked at her with pride and told her that Hashem was so proud of her.

Dini looked at Zeidy in disbelief.

Zeidy continued, “The Gemara teaches us that those who are hurt by others but do not ‘give back’ and do not answer are considered great tzaddikim and are admired and loved by Hashem. You should know that by not answering back today, you made Hashem very proud of you in Shamayim. Especially now, when Klal Yisrael needs achdus, you gave Hashem so much nachas.”

Dini’s tears began to dry up. She was now listening intently as her zeidy continued. “Dini, I am so proud of you. The great mitzvah you did today needs to be rewarded. Let’s go to the toy store right now and get you a special prize for the beautiful mitzvah you did!”

Dini’s face brightened as Zeidy asked to borrow his son’s car. Equipped with directions, he and Dini made a beeline to the local toy store. When they entered the store, Zeidy said, “Dini, you can buy whatever you want. The mitzvah you did today of not answering back is priceless and deserves any prize you want.”

As grandfather and granddaughter made their way through the seemingly endless choices of dolls and games, Zeidy wondered what doll or item would catch Dini’s fancy.

After passing high-priced American dolls and various games and gadgets, Dini asked, “I can really get whatever I want?”

Zeidy confirmed that, indeed, such was the case.

After looking at more expensive items, her eyes landed on a small plush monkey that cost less than 25 shekels.

Monkey in hand and with smiles on their faces, Zeidy and Dini arrived back home.

A few minutes later, Dini emerged from her room. She had made a little house for her new friend, with a bed and a piece of felt as a blanket.

Dini proudly showed Zeidy her new friend’s “dirah.” She then pointed to the inscription her eight-year-old hand had written on the blanket: “Zeidy Kanah Li” [Zeidy bought this for me] — along with a heart pointing to Zeidy.

It was now my turn to cry. I had bought Dini a small stuffed animal… and she gave me back boundless love.

As always, I received much more than I gave.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 995)

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