An Israeli taxi driver worked more hours than most other members of his neighborhood Bnei Brak shul. When he arrived home at about 8:30 each night, he quickly ate and headed out for a shiur in Gemara that his Rav gave for one hour each night. After five minutes or so he was sound asleep in his chair, slumped over the Gemara. The next moment of awareness came when a member of the class recited “Rebbi Chananya ben Akashya omer…” as a prelude to the Kaddish said after learning. Drowsy and somewhat dazed, he headed home with barely enough energy to get into bed. This was his daily “keviut itim” (fixed time) for Torah study.
One day this driver had the fortunate opportunity to have the Steipler Gaon, Harav Yaakov Kanievsky, zt”l, as his passenger. The Gaon asked the driver if he learned Torah, and the driver honestly told the Rav about his “problem” staying awake more than five minutes. What he could say proudly was that he attended nightly without fail. The Gaon said softly, “When a ‘nefesh — soul’ shall bring a minchah (flour offering)…”
The Gadol Hador was saying in his terse manner that one who gives all one can is looked at as giving his “soul” for the sake of Hashem. The Steipler was teaching the driver the principle brought by Rashi (Vayikra 2:1) on the word “nefesh” which is only used in referring to a poor man’s offering. Although his offering to the Alm-ghty is simple and modest, it’s all he’s able to afford. The response from Above is: “This man has sacrificed his entire being.”
Do ALL you can, always!
One More Second: Another Thought for the Day
When your baby wakes in the night crying, it’s not the easiest thing to get up and take care of him. But when it happens, you don’t think of it as an annoyance. You go to him with love and joy. This is your baby! … Well, the same applies to your husband. When something disturbing occurs, deal with it with love. This is your husband and soul mate! It is only because he is so close to you that you are annoyed. (Rabbi Eliyohu Goldschmidt, Dear Daughter, p. 91)
Rabbi Raymond Beyda serves in the Sephardic Community in Brooklyn, N.Y. He lectures to audiences all over the world. He has distributed over 500,000 recorded lessons free of charge. He is author of the book 1 Minute With Yourself: A Minute a Day to Self-Improvement, Sephardic Press, 2008.