Dear Aish Family,

With great joy we welcomed 40 new students to Israel this week. This is the first wave to come for many months. Usually we have rolling enrollment throughout the summer. Due to COVID-19 our students are only now able to enter the country.

We have spent much time preparing our facilities to ensure the health of our students and staff. Israel’s Health Ministry sent officials to spot check our preparations and make sure we were in full compliance. One of those visits turned special very quickly.

We had arranged parking at the Kotel plaza for the inspectors. Rabbi Nachman Elsant, Associate Director of our Yeshiva, went to meet them in the parking lot. As they got to speaking, one of the gentleman mentioned that the last time he had been to the Kotel and put on Tefilin was at his Bar Mitzvah. Rabbi Elsant suggested that they could go to the Kotel for a few minutes so he could put on Tefilin and pray.

After the inspection, Rabbi Elsant took them to the Kotel plaza to pray. It was very meaningful for the inspectors. So much so that we received the email below from the next school that he went to inspect. I will let their words describe the effect we had on the inspector:

“He was clearly in a very good mood and proceeded to tell us that the reason he was late getting to us was because he was coming from Aish in the Old City. This man told us he is from Tel Aviv, He then told us that in the last few months he has been through a few very difficult experiences and he has been thinking a lot lately that he needs to thank HaKadosh Baruch Hu for some good outcomes.  Then he showed us some beautiful photos of him at the Kotel, with those WONDERFUL RABBIS AT AISH who took him down and put tefillin on him and took the photos!! So great story right?  Yasher Koach to the Rabbis at Aish, You sure helped us along and made a huge Kiddush Hashem!”

There are so many ways to look at the difficult times that we are living through. Yet, the Almighty gives us opportunities every day to strengthen all the Jews around us. Rabbi Elsant could have easily looked at this government inspector as a nuisance sent to catch us doing something wrong. Instead he looked into the inspector’s heart and saw a fellow Jew whose soul needed to be lit up. May the Almighty give us the strength and wisdom to help our fellow Jews achieve spiritual greatness.


Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Steve Burg
Rosh Chodesh Elul
Connecting Our Brothers and Sisters to the Almighty

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