Toras Avigdor Junior
Meeting Good People
Avraham and Totty walked into Shul to learn together before Mincha. As they took two Gemaras off the shelf, they noticed that Tzadok “Hatzadik” was walking around the shul picking up tissues that had been accidentally dropped on the floor.
“Good afternoon, Tzadok,” said Totty. “How are you? Is this a new segulah you came up with?”
“Oh no,” said Tzadok. “Rav Volender, the Rov of the prison, got me a subscription to Toras Avigdor Junior and I read two weeks ago all about how even a choshuv person like me should do humble things like cleaning up the shul.”
“No, not that,” replied Totty. “I was referring to the fact that you’re kissing each dirty tissue that you pick up off of the floor.”
“Oh yes, that is my latest segulah!” Tzadok said proudly, picking up another tissue and giving it a big loud kiss. “You see, these tissues were used by people while they were davening and learning Torah, so they have kedushah. Kissing them is a segulah for me to live a long and healthy life!”
“I’m not so sure about that,” Totty said slowly. “Those are covered with other people’s germs. It looks more like a segulah to get sick.”
“Oh,” Tzadok said, his face falling.
Totty noticed a tear sliding down Tzadok’s face.
“What’s wrong, Tzadok?” Totty said, concerned. “Did I insult you?”
“Oh, it’s just that everything always goes wrong for me,” Tzadok sobbed. “Every segulah I invent turns out to be a bad idea! I work so hard and nothing ever works out – I don’t know what Hashem wants from me. I don’t want that much – I just want to be Moshiach!”
Totty pondered this as Tzadok continued.
“I spent years of my life inventing segulot that nobody ever heard of. I searched every cave in Eretz Yisroel looking for animals from the Makos and the hairs from Bilaam’s donkey. And where did it get me? I just ended up getting thrown in jail twice! Why does Hashem keep punishing me? The only person who was ever nice to me was Rav Volender, and even that only happened because I keep getting arrested and sent to jail.”
Tzadok collapsed into a nearby chair and buried his face in his arms.
Totty quickly grabbed a clean tissue and handed it to Tzadok.
“Tzadok, Tzadok,” Totty said, sitting down next to him. “Listen to me. What if I told you that Hashem was actually trying to help you?”
“Trying to help me?” Tzadok asked, wiping the tears from his face with the tissue. “How is sending me to jail ‘helping me’?”
“Have you ever heard of Chizkiyahu Hamelech?” Totty asked.
“Of course,” Tzadok answered. “He was my great-great-great-grandfather!”
“He was?” Totty asked, surprised. “How do you know that?”
“Well he has to be, if I’m going to be Moshiach,” Tzadok said.
“Tzadok, it’s Moshiach ben Dovid, not Moshiach ben Chizkiyahu,” Totty said.
“Oh well, then maybe he’s my cousin,” Tzadok said thoughtfully.
Totty ignored this and continued.
“So Chizkiyahu once got very sick. And Chazal tell us that the reason he got sick was so that Yeshayahu Hanavi would come to visit him.
“Actually, there’s an example of this in the Parsha this week! Do you know about the Metzora?”
“Oh yeah, that’s someone who gets sick because he talks too much lashon hora so he needs to go to the doctor,” Tzadok replied.
“No, not to the doctor,” Totty said. “The Torah says he has to go to the Kohen.”
“But Kohanim work in the Beis Hamikdash, not hospitals,” Tzadok said, puzzled. “Why would the Metzora go to a Kohen?”
“The same reason that Hashem made Chizkiyahu Hamelech ill,” Totty said. “You see, sometimes Hashem makes things happen to us that seem bad for a good reason, because he wants us to get close to tzaddikim. Chizkiyahu became sick so that he could get close to Yeshayahu Hanavi. And it’s very worth it! Because when you have an opportunity to be near tzadikim, it’s an opportunity to learn good things and become a better person!
Same thing when Hashem gives a Nega to the Metzora; He does that so that he could get close to the Kohen and become a better person. And so what seems like something bad is often actually an opportunity for us to grow.”
“Okay, so what does that have to do with me?” Tzadok asked.
“Well,” Totty said. “Did you ever think that maybe the reason Hashem sent you to jail was so that you would meet Rav Volender?
“Think about it. Had you never got arrested, you would have never met him. But now you know him and he introduced you to Toras Avigdor Junior which teaches you weekly how a Yid is supposed to behave.”
“Wow,” said Tzadok, feeling better. “I never thought about it like that. I’m kind of like the person who gets punished with tzaraas and Rav Volender is the Kohen.”
Totty smiled. “It is important to remember that even when things don’t seem like they are going well, Hashem is actually helping us and bringing us closer to Him.”
And with that Totty said goodbye to Tzadok and sat down to learn with Avraham.
Have A Wonderful Shabbos!
Takeaway: Sometimes what seems like bad luck was Hashem’s way of connecting you with good people.