Yeshivas HaMasmidim of Queens, a project of the Agudath Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, celebrated Chanukah with a lively chagigah this past Thursday evening. Over 40 boys, all from local yeshivos in grades 3-6, spend an hour on Monday evenings furthering their Torah learning in a beautiful display of kiddush Hashem.

Rabbi Elliot Hecht, Hebrew Academy of Nassau County Middle School Principal and proud father of a masmid, was invited as a guest lecturer to share a powerful story: At the Kosel HaMaaravi, a man named David, who was dressed in a religious manner, encountered Shlomo, an individual who appeared non-religious, crying relentlessly at the Holy Wall to his Creator. David lent a welcomed ear for Shlomo to share his struggles and soon they parted ways.

For David, the story faded with the passing of time, as he had no way to contact Shlomo. Two years later, David once again visited the Kosel and noticed an individual dressed in a white shirt and black hat continuously staring in his direction. Hesitantly, the man called out, “It is me, Shlomo!” David was simply astonished at this transformation. Shlomo revealed that on the night they originally met, he was supposed to return to America and went to the Kosel filled with intense pain, unsure where his life would lead. “When I saw how a religious man like you cared so much to spend time with a non-religious boy like me, I wanted to emulate your ways,” divulged Shlomo.

Rabbi Hecht elucidated on the tale. If we encounter someone who seems to be in a bad mood, we should not turn our backs on him; rather, ask if we can talk despite how weird it may feel. The Torah tells us that the butcher did not remember Yosef and Yosef, in turn, forgot the butcher. The question is asked why both statements are required. It is explained that Yosef had intentions to put his faith in the butcher, but when Yosef realized that the butcher would not be of help, he placed all his emunah in his Creator. Always remember to have full belief that Hashem will guide your path.

Rabbi Aliezer Shedrowitzky, Rav Emeritus of the Agudath Israel of KGH, joined the festivities alongside Rav Moshe Sokoloff, the shul’s mara d’asra, and Nochum Shmuel Hartman, its president.

Various prizes were awarded to raffle winners, highlighted by 3rd grader Moshe Sarles (pictured) who won a new Shas.

By Shabsie Saphirstein