The Human Side of the Story

For the week ending 29 July 2006 / 4 Av 5766

A Heroine’s Hospitality

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

“White or rye? Creamy or chunky?”

This was the response of the late Rebbetzin Yocheved Wein, o.b.m., to the strange request for Shabbat hospitality from an American studying in Jerusalem. This former student of her husband, the renowned Torah scholar and historian Rabbi Berel Wein, had indicated that he only ate bread and peanut butter.

Not at all flustered by this rejection of her cuisine, this extraordinary practitioner of hachnasat orchim (inviting guests) prepared for her unusual guest the most exquisite plate of a peanut butter sandwich surrounded by the most delicious vegetables and appetizers. He enjoyed this meal so much that he asked to be invited for the next Shabbat as well.

This touching story was part of a moving talk given by Rabbi Wein in Yeshivat Ohr Somayach, where he teaches Talmud and Jewish history on a regular basis. It took place a month after the shiva visit to Rabbi Wein, where the heads of the yeshiva heard from him that the day his wife suddenly passed away she was scheduled to visit Ohr Somayach to see the Sefer Torah that she and her husband had dedicated to the yeshiva in memory of their parents. Although that visit never took place, the yeshiva decided to do something symbolic about it. The morning after the aforementioned talk, Rabbi Wein was given an aliya in the Ohr Somayach Beit Midrash so that he could make a blessing on the very Sefer Torah that his unforgettable wife had inspired him to find a home for in Ohr Somayach where he teaches.

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