Monday, December 21, 2009

A Surprise Visit

The love that Rav Meir Shapiro of Lublin, zt”l, demonstrated for his many students was remarkable. One time, a bochur in Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin fell ill. When the Rosh Yeshiva noticed that he was not in the beis midrash he immediately inquired as to his whereabouts, and when he heard the young man was ill he rushed to his bedside.
But when he entered the room he saw something quite shocking. Although he had heard that the young man had a mild fever and was feeling chilled this had not prepared him for what he saw. The student was literally trembling as if in fear or shock.
Of course, Rav Meir immediately calmed the young man and explained that he had nothing to worry about since he was suffering from only a mild ailment. He reassured him that he had simply come to visit and give the sick young man chizuk.
When the young man calmed down and began to smile, Rav Meir asked why he had been so terrified when he had first seen him enter the room.
The bochur answered, “I come form Lita and in most yeshivos the Rosh Yeshiva never visits a student who has merely taken ill. They only visit if the student is in very serious condition which is likely to be terminal. That’s why when the Rosh Yeshiva came in I was so shocked. I thought that my condition must be much more serious that I had originally understood. I thought that everyone must be hiding from me that my time had come!”
Rav Meir replied in his usually loving way. “The difference in approaches is easy to understand. In our yeshiva every student is like a son to me. Obviously, any father who hears that his son is ill rushes to his bedside even if he knows it’s nothing serious. He must visit to check his condition and encourage his sickly child, to help him recover!”

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