Jan 15, 2015

Not so Poshut

In R' Dovid Kaplan's fourth "Impact" book, called Lasting Impact! he tells of a couple who had a baby boy and decided to name him after the mother's grandfather.  But then she began to have second thoughts.  "My grandfather was a very nice man and a fine person," she said to her husband, "but he wasn't a talmid chacham.  He was just a poshute Yid (plain Jew).  Maybe we should name the baby after someone great."
Her husband consulted with his rav who asked, "When did her grandfather live?" When he answered, "He came to America in the 30's," the rav asked, "And where are his children today?"
The husband answered, "All of them are frum and all his grandchildren are bnei Torah."
The rav then said, "Anyone who lived in America in the 30's and 40's and raised a family that produced bnei Torah is not a poshute Yid! Name the baby after him."
The same week I read this story, someone told me that when her husband's grandfather was bringing up his children at some point, when he lost a lot of money (see story that follows) he went to Rabbi Levy to take his girls out of Beis Yaakov.  Rabbi Levy asked him why he was taking them out and when he heard that it was because of money he said something to the effect that money has nothing to do with this and made sure that they remained free of charge! The P.S. to that story is that when the grandfather had more money in later years he repaid the money.

As to how the grandfather lost a lot of money -  he built a dry cleaning business from scratch with partners, with the intention that it would be a shomer Shabbos place.  When it was ready to open, the partners decided that Shabbos was the busiest day for business and that it would have to be open on Shabbos.  At that point, the grandfather pulled out of the business at a great loss of money. A daughter of his remembers the hard times that she went through at that time and how she went to the bank with her mother to redeem a bond so that they would have a little more money.
People like this are not famous, they don't appear in our Jewish history books, but they are far from being "poshute Yidden."  They are Jewish heroes.

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