Monday, March 23, 2009

Elevating a Departed Soul

During the year that Rav Kovalsky ztz”l (Rosh Kollel of Sochatchov, and one of the students of the Chazon Ish ztz”l) was in mourning for his father, he arrived at the large shul one morning wanting to pray at the amud. It being the case that many minyanim follow one after the other there, and many people have a “chiyuv,” one naturally has to wait his turn, to grab an amud that isn’t already spoken for, and to wait there until the minyan finishes up so that a new one can begin. Rav Kovalsky stood and waited his turn, but in the meanwhile, he caught sight of an elderly man who had just finished davenning, who had very slowly removed his tefillin and folded his tallis, and who was now standing and asking someone, anyone, to help him home. But who has time for that on a busy morning, when everyone is rushing to finish up their prayers so they can get their day started? And this poor old man was looking at all the people streaming by him with pleading eyes and outstretched, trembling hands, but they ignored him. Rav Kovalsky pulled himself out of line, approached the old man, and gently took him by the hand. The elderly Jew took hold of it with his shaking hand, and they began their walk home together.
It was quite a long walk, they took a round-about way, and the old man walked at a snail’s pace. All the while, Rav Kovalsky murmured under his breath, “This should be for the elevation of my father’s soul…” Finally, they reached the old man’s home. He offered an emotional thanks to Rav Kovalsky, but the Rav’s job wasn’t yet over. Rav Kovalsky graciously supported the old man on his slow walk up the stairs. It was only when the man was safely inside his home that Rav Kovalsky turned back to the shul to catch the very last minyan, where another man had already taken over leading the prayers. This was the only time that Rav Kovalsky ever missed leading the minyan when he had a chiyuv to do so.
That night, Rav Kovalsky’s father appeared to him in a dream. “I’m willing to forgo every prayer of yours before the amud,” he said, “…as long as you do mitzvos like that in their stead!”


Devorah said...

Beautiful !

Yaakov said...

yasher koach!

Micha Golshevsky said...

Thank you both for the chizuk!