E’s Story: Three Times the Charm?
As I walked away from the Kotel for the first time in June 1980, my sister, who had already been to Israel twice, noticed someone on his way toward us. My sister said he would invite me to classes on Jewish philosophy. Indeed, after the requisite asking if I had the time, Reb Meir did just that. I agreed to meet him at Jaffa gate the next morning but got a “better offer” that night so I didn’t keep the appointment.
In October that year, I was at the Kotel with a friend when Reb Meir approached and invited us to the Aish HaTorah Beis Medrash for some coffee. My friend told Reb Meir he remembered when he had previously approached him. This time, before our quick “escape” to go see the Chagall windows, we “blundered” by letting Reb Meir get our kibbutz addresses and he wrote us
letters inviting us back any time.
A month later, I decided that I really wanted to check things out. I figured I could rule all this “religion” stuff out and live a fully unfettered life from that point on. I arrived at the Kotel on a Wednesday evening with no idea of what I would do if Reb Meir wasn’t standing there. But, of course, he was.
He took me to the Aish office and, while he was out arranging a place for me to dorm at Ohr Somayech, I arranged to stay at Aish. I remember thinking that someday a verb would be added to the Hebrew language, l’hit’shas’tair, to be “schustered” – i.e. to have been brought to learn Torah by Reb Meir Schuster. I stayed at Aish for five months, then three years at Shor Yoshuv, in Far Rockaway, before marrying and moving to the Midwest where I’ve been for the last 27 years.
A few times, I had the zechus of driving Reb Meir around when he visited our city, but then did not see him for many years. One morning, a few days after having been laid off from work for the first – and so far, b”H, the only – time in 20 years, I saw someone davening in my shul that I did not recognize. I went over to say “shalom aleichem” and it was, you guessed it, Reb Meir. I asked him for a bracha and all I can say is that I had sufficient parnassa until I found new employment.
Hashem has blessed my wife and myself with wonderful children, and a wonderful son-in-law.
R’ Meir has a cheilek in all this. May Hashem bless him with a refuah shlaimah, and arichas yomim v’shonim and may he be able to return to his avodas ha-kodesh.