End of “Endless” Story – Zucker Learns a Lesson

July 15, 2010

Thank you Chavi for a beautiful winning entry:

Within thirty seconds a father and his three sons had walked through the door. They looked up and asked if Silver and Zucker were waiting for a minyan. Their eyes lit up when they heard the response. They had just arrived back from England on a delayed flight and had not gotten to daven yet. Two minutes later a prestigious looking man walked in with the same question. He was a surgeon who had been stuck in a surgery with various complications that kept coming up. Another minute passed before two drenched yeshivah boys came in. They had gone to the north for the day and had gotten very lost on the way back and had been so nervous that they had completely forgotten to daven. In the next five minutes, eight of the nine assembled men kept glancing anxiously at the door. But Silver just smiled a reassuring smile.

And then, a young businessman walked in. He was excited to see the assembled minyan. He had worked extremely late that night in order to make a deadline and was going to daven by himself when he remembered that it was his father’s yahrtzeit.

Zucker’s mouth dropped open. It was less than ten minutes and eight other ordinary people with ordinary stories had walked in to complete their minyan. How had Silver known it would happen?
The next morning, after their early meeting, Zucker asked Silver to explain what had happened.

“Well, it’s nothing really unusual. When I was much younger, business was really bad for me. I couldn’t make ends meet. It was a tough life for me, and I felt like I needed to change something in my life.
Then, one Shabbos afternoon I went to the regular shiur that my rav gives before minchah. He told us a number of stories of how people had committed themselves to certain mitzvos and would never deviate from their commitment. He told us how these people’s lives were saved in miraculous ways, or how their lives simply improved. And, he mentioned how even in the most unlikely situations they were always able to fulfill that commitment. Whether it was kiddush levanah, saying tefillas haderech from a siddur, or simply having more kavanah while saying the brachah of Asher Yatzar.
I thought about that. I knew that I needed to commit myself to something.
You know how something will suddenly ‘hit home’ for you? Well, after minchah I sat down to say pirkei avos. I came across the mishnah ‘Al shlosha devarim ha’olam omeid. Al haTora, al ha’avodah v’al gemilus chasadim.’ That just resounded within me and I started to think. Torah. I’m not very good at that. Well, I can say tehillim and mishnayos. That’s what I was doing every day. But, if I can start to support Torah, now that would be a different direction I could take, but couldn’t afford. Avodah. Well, we all daven. I wanted something unique in that department. I was already working on my kavanah. And then it came to me. I would commit to always daven with a minyan. It was something I’ve tried to be careful about, but never committed to.

And so that is what I did. It wasn’t always easy, but with time things did in deed change. As I began to prosper, I took it upon myself to try and fulfill the rest of the mishnah to the best of my ability. I started to support Torah institutions and do various chasadim secretly.

Once I had made that commitment I’ve found that I never have to wait more than ten minutes for a minyan, no matter how unlikely the situation.”
Zucker was intrigued. Indeed, he needed help in his life to. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to finally settle down and start a family.
Silver noticed his thoughtful distraction throughout the rest of their trip. He, also, was not surprised at Zucker’s new commitment to davening with a minyan.

He was, however, just as surprised as everyone else, when four months later Zucker had gotten engaged.

And the real ending…

Keep Reading…

“Endless” Story – Zucker Learns a Lesson

June 24, 2010

by Kobi Levy

BUSINESS WAS GOOD for Mendel Silver, the well-known philanthropist from the United States. He seemed to have that golden touch, and whatever he did was blessed with success, baruch Hashem. He could purchase an old, decrepit hat shop in an alley in New York City and transform it within half a year to a bustling wholesale enterprise. Why, ten years ago, he purchased a shoemaker’s workshop in Manhattan, and within a year it had expanded to a sandal factory with worldwide sales! Word was that he had at least ten profitable businesses, although no one could say for sure. Yes, things were going very well for Mendel Silver.

Despite his wealth, Mendel Silver was a simple, roly-poly, folksy type; he had a ready grin and a rolling laugh and lacked the regular airs most wealthy men put on. With him, there was no hanging around in the waiting room of his office for two hours for a measly ten dollar donation. His veteran secretary, Margalit Sheninson, had strict instructions: “Anyone who comes for a donation gets a minimum of one hundred dollars, even if he looks like a faker. And if I’m in the office, even in an important meeting, don’t make him wait more than five minutes. Let him into my office; I’ll talk to him and give him what he needs.”

Silver was a generous philanthropist, but he was no fool either. From time to time he would fly to Israel and make the rounds to several kollelim and yeshivos in order to verify that his donations indeed went towards supporting the Torah world. Incidentally, he never informed anyone that he was coming; he simply landed in Israel, settled down in a beis medrash there, and observed the goings-on.

His personal assistant was a young, energetic fellow by the name of Naftali Nachman Zucker. He accompanied Silver on all of his trips, taking care of the logistics. The two complemented each other well; Silver was a bit scatterbrained and disorganized, while Zucker was methodical, organized, and straight as an arrow. Keep Reading…

End of “Endless” Story – A Kick in the Jungle

June 24, 2010

AND THE WINNER IS… PINNY! Here is what he wrote:

“May Hashem forgive you, Mr. Golan,” Yossi’s voice said coldly, “and halevai, you should merit to do teshuvah.”
“Yeh, maybe my granddad will come back from the grave and meet me in Africa and convince me to do teshuvah!” rang out Avi’s voice.
And then, after the burst of ruckus laughter from the other boys, an ethereal voice could be heard saying, “I will.”
“You see,” explained Avi, “I was extremely close to my paternal grandfather. He was a zookeeper. He wasn’t religious at all. And then, as far as we were able to tell, he went crazy. He woke up one day and told us all that the night before he had been at the zoo very late. He went to check on the giraffes because one of them was due to give birth. When he got to their enclosure, the youngest giraffe came up to him and told him that he must take a trip to New Zealand and he had decided to go. We all tried to persuade him to stay, to explain that it must have been a dream. It’s not possible that a giraffe spoke to him. But he was adamant on following his giraffe’s orders.
He left a few days later. We could not seem to get a hold of him in New Zealand no matter how hard we tried. He seemed to have disappeared. We assumed there must have been some accident. My parents and uncle tried everything to trace him, but to no avail. We came to live with the knowledge that we would never know what happened.
And then, 7 years later we were contacted about his death. It was a rabbi from New York calling. He told us he would be accompanying my grandfather’s remains back to Israel. But, he wanted us to know what a special man grandfather was. That it’s not everyday that someone finds the strength to do teshuvah when they are in their late eighties.” Avi paused, as the other boys sat spellbound.
“I always held that rabbi responsible for the loss of my grandfather.” Avi’s voice quivered. “I knew he wasn’t the reason he died, but I did know that he was the reason I did not hear from my grandfather all those years. He knew that there was no way anyone in my family would ever be able to accept him as a ba’al teshuvah. My memories of my grandfather went from being warm and cozy to bitter. He had betrayed me and my family. I could never forgive him for that. I also knew that I would never be able to forgive that rabbi for brainwashing my grandfather, for making him into someone I couldn’t love.”
They sat for a few quiet minutes. “And now,” continued Avi, “he has come back to me. And on my initiative.”
After some subdued conversation Yigal and Yossi left. They speculated the affects of what they had just heard. There was no doubt that they would all be changed people from then on.


Keep Reading…

“Endless” Story – A Kick in the Jungle

June 9, 2010

by Kobi Levy

Avi Golan was your typical secular moshavnik, raised in the lap of luxury on an affluent moshav surrounded by verdant citrus orchards. Avi and his brother Moshe, one year his junior, were the only two children of their enterprising parents, whose business interests extended far beyond their farmstead on the moshav.

Avi was twenty-three years old. He had completed his army service two years earlier, and was now bored to tears with his life. He had already satiated his curiosity of Israel’s natural wonders by touring and hiking the entire length and breadth of Israel, and now he decided to set his sights abroad, like practically every other Israeli young adult. Avi wanted to travel to remote locations in Asia, Africa, or even South America—and he wanted to take his younger brother Moshe along, too. After consulting with professional hikers and tour guides from all over the world, Avi and Moshe settled on a trip to the jungles of Africa. This was going to be the trip of a lifetime!

Two days before the two brothers took off for Africa, Avi spent an evening out with some of his old army buddies. Yossi Pelach, from south Tel Aviv, who had been the army division’s cook, also joined. But he was no longer the same Yossi; now his face was framed by a neat beard, and a large knitted yarmulke, embroidered with “Na, Nach, Nachma, Nachman” in blue thread, adorned his head.

As the evening progressed, the conversation turned to the meaning of the mystical words embroidered on Yossi’s yarmulke, and, as could be expected, the “discussion” soon evolved into a bashing of the “brainwashing that the Chareidim and rabbanim do to innocent guys, who then become baalei teshuvah“. Yossi was left alone to contend with Yigal from Kfar Shmaryahu, Baruch from Ramat Gan, Itzik the kibbutznik, and Avi. Truth to be told, Yossi didn’t have much ammunition with which to return the others’ fire. He had only become a baal teshuvah half a year earlier, and his knowledge of Torah and mitzvos was still rather scant.

Then, at a certain point during the conversation, Avi suddenly launched into a diatribe against G-d and rabbanim, using language unfit to be printed on paper. Yossi felt like he would explode with fury and was on the verge of a most unseemly reaction. To preclude any physical confrontations, he picked himself up and bid his friends a good night. Keep Reading…


June 9, 2010



May the best man/woman/boy/girl win!

Here’s how it works:

1)      Log on every other week for a new short  story.

2)      Read through the story until you get to the “end”. Note that the story does not quite end….

3)      Tell us what YOU think the end of the story should be! Either tell us your idea in a few short lines or actually write out the entire ending of the story, as you would like it to appear.

4)      Be creative! All sorts of endings – whether humorous, serious, as close as possible to what you think the real ending is, or as far away as possible! – all will be read and considered by our panel of judges. (Please, no off-color or improper responses.)

5)      The best entry will be announced and will win a free book or books from our website, up to a $50 value! Oh, and we’ll show you the real ending of the story, as well….