Ben* contacted me to be upgraded in his Torah studies. Highly intelligent, Ben had been a BT (Baal teshuva) for several years. Although he had attended yeshiva in Israel for Baalei Teshuva, he knew he was still missing some of the foundational skills necessary for learning, due to his having been “fast-tracked” into the system.
I proceeded with an evaluation followed by several sessions tailor-made to address the deficits I had noted. Ben improved rapidly. He was so blown away by the program, he wanted his father to try it. Ben’s father, Dan* had not had much Jewish education. Now that Ben’s son was in cheder, he thought his father, a retired teacher, would relish the opportunity to learn with his grandson, if only he had the skills. Dan, however, remained unconvinced. Going back to basics for such an educated and intelligent man was understandably embarrassing.
Ben needed to put his sessions with me on hold for some time, for personal reasons. Last week he contacted me to restart. It was 11 months since we had last worked together. I was delighted to have him back but even more thrilled when he shared the wonderful news that his father was also ready to take the plunge and start working with me.
“It’s a miracle,” Ben told me. “He was so resistant to the idea”. Naturally, I asked Ben what had brought about this complete change of heart.
“It is all because of my four-year-old son” explained Ben “My father was helping him with kriah, and my little boy told my father that he was reading incorrectly and that he does not know the alef beis! At that moment my father told me: “I have to start with that rabbi.”
When I heard this incredible story, I was immediately reminded of what the prophet מלאכי says will happen at the end of days. מלאכי ג:כג.כד הִנֵּ֤ה אָֽנֹכִי֙ שֹׁלֵ֣חַ לָכֶ֔ם אֵ֖ת אֵלִיָּ֣ה הַנָּבִ֑יא לִפְנֵ֗י בּ֚וֹא י֣וֹם יְהוָ֔ה הַגָּד֖וֹל וְהַנּוֹרָֽא׃
וְהֵשִׁ֤יב לֵב־אָבוֹת֙ עַל־בָּנִ֔ים וְלֵ֥ב בָּנִ֖ים עַל־אֲבוֹתָ֑ם פֶּן־אָב֕וֹא וְהִכֵּיתִ֥י אֶת־הָאָ֖רֶץ חֵֽרֶם׃
Behold, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before the coming of the awesome, fearful day of Hashem.
And he will turn back to Hashem the hearts of the fathers with their sons and the hearts of the sons with their fathers. (Bring them back to Yiddishkeit), so that, when I come, I do not strike the whole land with utter destruction.
I saw this prophecy come true before my very eyes.
Hi Rabbi Abenson!
Yes – my father LOVED the session with you! He’s so excited! Thank you!
I’m also reignited!! I will be in touch next week about my next session.
I am pleased to hear that but, please do not thank me rather your 4-year-old son. He is the one you must thank because, without him, your father would not have come.
*Names has been changed
ASK THE RABBI is a new forum where readers are welcome to submit all questions on subjects regarding Jewish education to Rabbi Abenson and he will answer them in a timely fashion through TheLakewoodScoop.
Rabbi Dovid Abenson can be contacted at: Tel. 15147393629, Cell/Whatsapp 15149935300, Email: [email protected]
Rabbi Abenson is the founder and director of ShaarHatalmud, a unique yeshivah-based online program, which incorporates learning all Kodesh subjects, from Kriah up to learning Gemara, Rishonim, and Shulchan Aruch. He also conducts evaluations, remediation, and training, and consults with Roshei HaYeshiva and Menahelim to improve students’ underdeveloped learning and textual skills.