My Poor Friend Made It!

Thursday, 16 December, 2010 - 4:37 pm

This week a stone was lifted from my heart as a story came full circle. It took a long time, and even though the beginning is filled with long pain, the end is in itself a beginning of a new, and very happy stage.

The story started some twenty years ago, when I was a child of ten. It was the time when many Immigrants came from Russia. Many of them were not in the most financially best state, and even much worse than that. Every Friday I would go for a drive with my mother to give out packages of food to the homes of the needy families, who were mostly from the former Soviet Union.

Many of the families were elderly couples. At each address, I would jump out of the car, put the package at their door and head back to the car.

It always went well.

There was one stop which I was always afraid of. It was the only young family on our route, who had 2 children, a boy and a girl. The boy was my age and not just that, we also went to the same school and the same class…

When I would put the package at their door, I was always afraid that he might see me and be embarrassed. The truth is, no one ever told me that I must be careful; it was just some kind of instinct. And so, every Friday, I would run from the car to their door as quickly as possible, put the package down and “fly” back to the car. I didn’t even dare to look back.

It happened one Friday, I remember it so clearly. It was a wintery friday, and as every week, I walked towards the building quickly. It was a big building with quite a few apartments. I got to their door, prayed that no one will open the door, put down the package and was about to leave, when…. the door opened, and there stood my friend…

I just ran away as quickly as I could while still hoping that he didn’t see or recognize me. The last thing I wanted, was to make him feel bad. That entire Shabbat I felt terrible. When I went to school on Sunday, our eyes crossed, but he didn’t say a word. Until today I don’t know if he saw me or not.

20 years have passed…

It has been years since I last spoke with him. And here it came this week, while looking through the cultural news from Israel, my head started to spin. I was reading an article about an Israeli, who’s name sounded extremely familiar. It is a young Jew who emigrated to Isreal from Russia at a very young age, and this week he earned an important degree in the Israeli Music world. This is a level in music which people usually get to at a much older age.

Then I realized, and also saw the picture. Although his face has changed, I saw those familiar eyes. It was my classmate, the boy from the poor family. I couldn’t believe my eyes, and called my mother, who is still in touch with this family. She confirmed the story.

It turns out that the boy, despite all the hardships which he grew up with, developed his talent for music and was very successful, even more than he ever imagined.

What can I tell you? Maybe this is what our Sages meant, when they said in the Talmud:

“Beware from the sons of poor people, maybe Torah will come out from them”

My friends, the potential we have, is much stronger the what we can even imagine.

Rivky and the children join me in wishing you a Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Chaim


Comments on: My Poor Friend Made It!

Anonymous wrote...

Chaim, toda raba for your blog, also this week the story is amazing and fills us with a lot of hope for all the things that don't seem so clear at the moment.
You have a really nice writing style...;-) I really enjoy reading your blogs!