On Taking Vacation from Yeshiva – Rav Yisroel Zev Gustman Story from Rabbi Yeruchim Silber

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gustmnAs you may know, I spent five years learning under Rav Gustman between 1979 and 1985. Suffice to say he changed my life. My youngest son Yisroel Zev, proudly bears his name, and I say kaddish every year on 28 Sivan 

I could relate countless personal stories but I will tell you one that really stands out. When I got married my wife had never been to Israel and she bravely followed me as we began our married life there. We arrived in the summer of 1982 and she needed to find work almost immediately as I was in kollel, so we really did a minimum of touring then. Our first son arrived in the summer of 1983 and with a newborn in the house it was not really an appropriate time to properly vacation and really see the country.

Throughout the next year we eagerly anticipated the summer of 1984, when during Bein hazmanim, my wife would take vacation from her work and we would really be able to spend quality time with our young son touring the country. Well much to our chagrin that summer, my wife’s boss announced to his whole staff that they needed to take their vacations in July as he was sponsoring  an important international conference in August and he needed his entire staff present. That year bein hazmanim came out in August which meant our long anticipated plans were in jeopardy. As you can imagine it was devastating news to us. My wife suggested I ask the Rosh Yeshiva for permission to take a week off from yeshiva, but I told her that I don’t have the nerve to even make such a request from him. Undeterred my wife went in herself to see him. She explained to him our  situation that she came to Israel, never having been there before, because she knew I could shteig best there , went to work immediately to enable her husband to learn, and at our first opportunity after two years her work schedule precluded us from our long anticipated tour of the country.

When my wife entered his office she introduced herself as Mrs. Silber to which the Rosh yeshiva replied to her-“No you are Rabbanit Silber”, indicating his immense respect to what she was doing. After listening to her carefully, Rav Gustman called me in and said to me in Yiddish”Yeruchim nem dein veib oif vacation zee is entitled” . He just asked that I come back on Thursday for the shiur. which of course I did. He then asked me if I needed extra money for my trip, to which I replied that B’H I have what I need, and then he suggested a good restaurant in Tzfas to have dinner in. I have told this story many times and everyone who hears it is amazed by the thoughtfulness and compassion he exhibited.

You can spread this story to your list in my name if you would like.

Yeruchim Silber

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