Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Shabbos for Hashem

Rav Yissochor Dov of Belz, zt”l, was staying in Vienna with his father and he decided to go for a walk one Shabbos afternoon. He passed a small shul, and even from the street he could hear someone singing the words of the Gemara he was studying at the top of his voice. The Rebbe could not believe his ears, and moved closer to the shul so that he would be better able to hear the deep joy and yearning clearly audible in the stranger’s voice. He stood by the door so as not to disturb the masmid, but eventually he couldn’t hold himself back and decided to enter the shul. What he saw surprised him; the “masmid” was dressed in a simple soldier’s fatigues.

The Rebbe said, “Tell me, what brought you here, learning with such diligence?”

The soldier explained, “When I was drafted into the army, I begged Hashem to save me from chillul Shabbos. Miraculously, I was attached to the private staff of a certain officer who was willing to give me Shabbos off. I took upon myself that Shabbos would be devoted to serving Hashem, and that I would waste as little time as possible in bittul Torah. This is my time off, and I must use it to come close to Hashem to the best of my ability!”

Afterward, the Belzer Rebbe said, “Who knows if this soldier isn’t holding up the redemption since his sacrifice might be more pleasing to Hashem than the korban tamid! But this cannot be. Of course his dedication is only bringing the geulah that much closer!”

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