Thursday, Aug 5, 2021

“Ich Hub Eich Leeb”

Rav Aharon Schechter, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Rabbeinu Chaim Berlin, was once heading home on a Shabbos afternoon after Minchah. As he made his way down a Flatbush street accompanied by a small group, he encountered three Jewish boys smoking cigarettes. Rav Aharon, still surrounded by his coterie, continued for another block or so when, suddenly, he turned around.

  It was clear that Rav Aharon preferred to walk alone this time, as he headed back to the boys he had just passed. He approached them by himself, so as not to embarrass them, and with a fatherly smile he told them, “Boys, ich hub eich leeb! (I love you!) Please come by and discuss anything you want. My doors are open to you 24 hours a day.”

 With that, the rosh yeshiva bid them farewell and headed home. One week later, one of the boys showed up at the door of the rosh yeshiva’s office. Rav Aharon proceeded to spend much time with this boy he did not know.

 Not always do Jewish youth appreciate the beauty of Shabbos Kodesh. Sometimes, the onus is on us to convey the special nature of the day. Rav Schechter demonstrated one approach, utilizing the most meaningful words a troubled youth will ever hear: “Ich hub eich leeb.”

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