A young man from a fine family, replete with outstanding midos and a yearning for Torah study, was having difficulty finding a shidduch. It wasn’t hard to figure out why: Although he was an otherwise good-looking boy, he had a bright red scar running down one side of his face. The scar was unmistakable and the moment anyone looked at him, the first thing that was noticed was the big eyesore on the side of his face. Many shadchanim proposed matches for him based on his reputation as a talmid chacham and a fine, upright bachur. However, the moment any girl would take one look at his face, she would invariably become uneasy and avert her eyes. In fact, most anybody who met him for the first time would display the same reaction. No girl would ever agree to go out with him on a second date.
Quite some time went by, and the young man became discouraged. Would he ever meet a girl who could look past his physical blemish, he wondered, and see him for who he really is? The next time he found himself in Bnei Brak, he decided to voice his misgivings to Rav Chaim Kanievsky zt”l and receive a brachah and some practical advice.
When he entered Rav Chaim’s room, he broke down in sobs. With a broken spirit, he explained to the Rav how he had gone out on a quite a few dates (“p’gishot”); however, not even one of the girls ever agreed to a second date. He was sure it was because of his disfigurement and there really wasn’t much he could do about that.
Rav Chaim looked at the young man’s face and uttered a few short words: “Why don’t you just tell them how it happened?”
The boy was surprised at Rav Chaim’s suggestion. “I generally try to avoid talking about it,” he said, through his tears. “It is surely not something I want to discuss on a date – especially on a first date.”
But Rav Chaim was insistent. “On your next date, the first thing you must do when you meet the young lady is to tell her the story of how you came to have this scar. Don’t wait until a later time – tell her immediately!”
Well, Rav Chaim said it, so the boy would do as he was told. When he met a young lady on his very next date, he did not hesitate and immediately opened up. “I want to tell you how I came to have this scar on the side of my face. It goes back a number of years ago. One night, I was walking in Yerushalayim, and I heard some frightful shrieks coming from a nearby alley. I turned to see what the commotion was all about, and there was a Jewish girl being chased by a large Arab man. He had nearly caught up to her and she was screaming in terror. I quickly ran after the Arab and literally threw him to the ground. Baruch Hashem, the girl ran away, but the Arab began fighting with me. He pulled out a sharp razor and began slashing at me. In the dark, it was hard to see, and the depraved Arab cut up this entire side of my face. He ran away and I was lucky that someone found me and brought me to the closest hospital, where they treated me as best as they could.”
The young man had never revealed his story to anyone on a date before, and he was unsure how the girl would react. For good measure, he concluded, “This is why I look the way I do. I just thought you should know.”
As he was speaking, the girl began to blush and then tremble with great excitement. She could barely control herself, as she spoke in a tone of great emotion. “It was you! For all these years, I have been hoping to be able to personally thank the Heavenly Angel who came out of nowhere to rescue me from that crazy monster. Now I know who you are, and I am so fortunate to be given this opportunity to meet you and thank you!”
What a stunning turn of events! The two began to recount the amazing details of her rescue and how she could not believe that someone would put himself in harm’s way to save her. The disfigurement that he had been so self-conscious about on other dates was a non-issue. It was then that the young man realized how the advice of Rav Chaim Kanievsky was much more than a helpful suggestion. It was actually a blessing, which allowed him to succeed in his mission.
The siyata diShmaya was obvious, and the couple eventually married and is raising a fine Jewish family.