Maaseh Avos Siman L'banim by Rabbi Baruch
Salanter, one of the greatest Rabbis of his
generation, was set to say mourners kaddish in
shul. At that shul, in those times, the custom
was for only one mourner to say kaddish at each
service. Reb Yisroel was designated for that
particular service. Saying kaddish for a parent
is a crucial and extremely emotional moment.
There was another man in the shul that day who
wanted very much to say kaddish, but he couldn't
because it had already been given to Reb Yisroel.
When Reb Yisroel saw how forlorn the other
person was, he gave up his right and allowed
that other man to say the kaddish. When asked
how he could give up the opportunity to do that
important mitzvah for his parent, he said, "The
chesed (kindness) of allowing that other man to
say kaddish was a bigger mitzvah for my parent."
heartwarming when we see the lessons of our
sages practiced by our youth, as the following
true story, submitted by Barry Itzkowitz,
documented in Good Shabbos Everyone,
Newman began to prepare for his Bar Mitzvah. For
six months Binyamin practiced reading the words
and the proper sounds of his Parsha, so that on
the Shabbos of his Bar Mitzvah he would be able
to read it from the Sefer Torah perfectly.
six months were up, not only did Binyamin know
it, so did everyone else in his family! On the
bright and sunny morning of the Bar Mitzvah
Shabbos, the Newman group - grandparents,
greatgrandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, and
friends - gathered at the shul for davening
(praying). Then Binyamin's big moment arrived.
Torah was taken out of the Aron HaKodesh (the
holy Ark) and placed upon the Bimah, where the
Torah is read. Binyamin and his father began to
walk towards the Bimah from one side of the shul.
surprise, at the same time, another Bar Mitzvah
bochur Shlomo Pam and his father began walking
to the Bimah from the opposite side of the shul.
The Pams were new in the neighborhood, and Mr.
Rutkin, the Gabbai charge of the shul's affairs,
realized with a shock that he had completely
forgotten Shlomo Pam's Bar Mitzvah was also that
Shabbos. The Gabbai stood between the two Bar
sorry, I forgot that there are two happy
occasions this Shabbos," he said. "You both have
practiced many long hours in order to be able to
read parsha. Let's divide the parsha between
you." Binyamin saw the disappointment in
he said, "I would like Shlomo to read the whole
the Gabbai, surprised.
all....I won't be any less a 'Bar Mitzvah
because I did not read," said Binyamin with a
smile. Then he leaned over, shook his new
friend's hand warmly and said, "Mazel Tov,
heart was filled with relief. "Shlomo worked so
hard...," whispered Shlomo's mother Mrs. Pam to
her sister, "The move to the new neighborhood
has not been easy for him. He would have been
devastated had he was denied his Bar Mitzvah
heart was filled with pride. Binyamin's mother
Mrs. Newman whispered to her mother, "My 'tzaddik.'
One who says 'What is mine is yours, and what is
yours is yours, is called a 'righteous' person
(a tzaddik). Thank you, Hashem, for helping us
bring up our son Binyamin to be such a man..."
Torah reading, Mrs. Pam rushed over to Mrs.
Newman. "I can't thank you enough for your son's
chessed (good deed). May Hashem repay you and
your family many times over."
Herb & Bette Shatoff in memory of their parents.
Congregation Kehillas Torah, San Diego, CA