Thursday, April 7, 2011

How Sweet It Is

This past Tuesday, my not-yet-religious relative went to do some quick grocery shopping. She saw a religious man, with nice, kind eyes, small white peyot, a long white beard.
They were both picking out some grapes from the produce section.
"How are the grapes? Are they good?" The religious man asked my relative.
"I think so. Why don't you taste one and find out?"
"No, I can't. It wouldn't be right."
"But you're tasting in order to buy them! Why not?"
"No. I can't. If I'd like to taste it, I have to first ask permission from the seller."

My relative was sure that the seller would refuse.

The man came back a minute later and said "yes, the seller permitted me to try the grape." He tried one, liked it, and bought the bunch of grapes.

Shocked, this relative told me "you know, it never even occurred to me...that a person has to ask. I was so proud of him for conducting himself in such an honest way. Kol Hakavod."

In the Shacharit tefillah of "Ahavat Olam", we ask HaShem to help us "lilmod u'lelamed" - to learn and to teach.
Our actions are the best teachers. Always attempt to act in a straight, rightful way because your actions are examples. HaShem is always watching us, but there are also people watching and learning from even your simplest decision.

A friend of mine recently shared a fantastic concept with me. Simply put: "every time you say no to something, you're saying yes to something else. Every time you say yes to something, you're saying no to something else."

I wonder if any of them made grape kabobs. That picture is making me hungry.

Shabbat Shalom u'Mevurach!


  1. This is now the second time I am writing this story because it did not work the first time.

    A non-religious man took a trip, for the first time in his life, to Israel. He went one day to the kotel and started looking around. He noticed a chassid davening right up against the wall davening with a lot of kavannah. The man just stood there for a while just staring at the chassid. Because of this encounter the man decided to become religious. The first thing he did when he got home to Texas was give a large donation to a yeshiva ketana that was having a hard time staying open.
    Just think, when this chassid goes up to shamayim he will get schar for thousands of people in Texas who are keeping Torah and Mitzvot all because of his small act of davening one time with kavannah.

  2. Azriel Tzvi - wow, that is beautiful!

    One of my favorite stories is about a non-religious man who was hanging around in Tel Aviv at night. He saw a religious man walking and keeping shmirat enayim, making sure not to look at anything inappropiate. The non-religious Jew looked at him in admiration and said "wow. I want to learn how to have that type of self-control." He became frum and years later, he ran into that frum Jew who inspired him and told him the story.

  3. Midrash Rabah, Kohelet, chapter 1, paragraph 34:

    Since the tribes of Reuben and Gad distanced themselves from theft, the Holy One Blessed Be He gave them a land in a place where there is no theft.

  4. Wow, that is such a great story! I love it!

    It's amazing how a simple action on the part of this man made such an impact on your relative - this is a prime example of a kiddush Hashem! Sanctifying Hashem's name in front of other Jews so they feel lucky to be part of our nation!

  5. Devorah - yes! It really made me think twice. Who do I influence? And how?