The Human Side of the Story

For the week ending 6 March 2004 / 13 Adar I 5764

Happy Birthday Surprise

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

When Knesset Member Rabbi Avraham Ravitz (United Torah Jewry) was on his way home one evening last month after a long, hard day in Israels parliament, he was accosted by Rabbi Moshe Frank, chairman of the Jerusalem branch of Degel Hatorah, which is a major component of the religious party Ravitz represents. Both of these respected political figures served in the past as heads of the Israeli Department of Yeshivat Ohr Somayach and have a special place in their hearts for this institution. So when Rabbi Frank told Rabbi Ravitz that a big philanthropist was now visiting Ohr Somayach and Rabbi Ravitzs services were urgently required to help influence him into financing a major project he agreed to make the effort.

When they arrived at the Yeshivas dining hall Rabbi Ravitz was greeted by a singing crowd of former students and ex-colleagues, and only then realized that a surprise seventieth birthday party had been arranged for him and that he was the philanthropist being honored for having done so much for so many people returning to their Jewish roots. One look at the large crowd of alumni gathered in the campus where their return from assimilation began was enough to perceive that the best birthday present Rabbi Ravitz could ever receive was the knowledge that so many of his students of the past have become distinguished scholars and teachers of Torah and that the Israeli branch of Ohr Somayach continues to produce such wonderful products.

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