Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Gaon's Midos

The Torah Temimah, zt”l, told the story of a certain elderly man named Reb Binyomin whom he had once met as a child. This Reb Binyomin was of exceedingly old age, and it was well known that he was not particularly cautious about getting chilled or overheated. In other words, he didn’t take the normal precautions that even younger people do to safeguard their health, much less the great care that is normally taken by the elderly.
His acquaintances once tried to bring the matter to his attention, but to no avail. Reb Binyomin responded, “Unlike other people, I am not concerned about such matters. People, with good reason, worry that they might get overheated or catch cold and die, but I am confident that the blessing that was fortunate enough to receive from the Vilna Gaon, zt”l, will ensure me of a very, very long life.”
“I was a little boy when the Gaon was still alive, and I used to go to pray in his beis medrash. One time, after the prayers, the Gaon paced the floor of the beis medrash sunk deeply in his thoughts. On that day, I too was pacing the floor deeply immersed in reciting Tehillim, and without realizing it, the Gaon and I ran right into one another.
“I was completely dumbfounded that I had knocked into the holy Gaon, and stood there paralyzed in shock. Little did I realize that the Gaon could not move away from me either—because I was standing on his tzitzis! Eventually, the Gaon saw how confused and terrified I was and he had pity on me. He placed his hand on my shoulder and said lovingly, ‘You should live long, my son, but please…let my tzitzis go.’
“When the matter became known in the beis medrash and later in the city, people looked at me as if I was a rare find—a child that had been graced by the attentions and the blessing of the great tzaddik. My parents even made a great celebration that day and distributed charity to the poor!”


Anonymous said...

i love this

Micha Golshevsky said...

Glad to hear it. It is beloved to me as well.