Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Inside Outside

Yisrael Kenig

With a loving heart and an embracing kehillah, Dayan Rav Moshe Shtesel is rekindling chassidish souls that have gone cold

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

 Mishpacha image

Rav Moshe Shtesel’s secret: Don’t look for happiness at the end of the road; instead, find joy in every moment of the journey, even in the hardships (Photos: Flash 90, PR Production)

S hea M., a chassidic young man who lives in Boro Park, remembers the first time he met Rav Moshe Shtesel, the man who would change his life. At the time, he was part of a quiet yet growing group who still looked chassidish on the outside, but whose sense of detachment from Yiddishkeit was growing daily.

One local askan, a man with a noble heart and a passion to help these estranged bochurim and young marrieds, tried to form a type of chaburah where they would learn with idealistic avreichim while enjoying good food and occasional inspirational speeches. But the young men didn’t really connect to their learning, and many of the avreichim, inspired as they were, didn’t really want to get into deep discussions about a world that was foreign to them. The askan eventually decided to dissolve the group, but wanted to make sure their final meeting together would give some type of spiritual food for thought.

“I wasn’t really into the group by then, but they said it would be the last meeting, like a farewell get-together, so I figured I could manage that and show my face in a goodwill gesture,” Shea remembers. But then Rav Moshe Shtesel arrived.

“Every Jew has a holy neshamah, and we can’t judge another person’s challenges or feel superior to the spiritual level where he’s holding. Our job is to be there for them”

“The truth is that we weren’t even interested in listening to speeches,” Shea recalls. “We had come from work, and we were tired. We didn’t know anything about him, and we didn’t really care. But when Reb Moshe began to speak, it took exactly two minutes for me to find myself drawn in. He didn’t talk about spiritual avodah. He didn’t make us feel that our lives were rotten, or that we were nebachs and drowning and needed spiritual chizuk. He gave us the tools to make quality choices, the kind of direction you’d pay a fortune for from a top coach.”

Shea’s friend Yoeli, a young married man with a few kids who he sent to the “right” mosdos, was also there for the farewell party — actually, he showed up at the very end, conveniently missing the program. “I got there just before Reb Moshe finished speaking,” he recalls. “Just before his usual concluding sentence, ‘May Hashem help… that we will see the arrival of the righteous redeemer.’ I said ‘Amen.’ I was pleased with my timing — I’d shown my face at the event, and I had also escaped listening to a speech. I went inside to talk to the chevreh, have something to eat, and ask my friend for a ride home, since I’d come straight from the city, without my car. But then, just as I was leaving, Reb Moshe came over to me and asked if I had a car. I told him I was getting a ride with a friend, and Reb Moshe asked if he could come along.

“I didn’t think it was a good idea — the last thing I wanted was for some ‘mashpia’ to ruin my night, but I didn’t have the nerve to say anything, especially since it wasn’t my car,” Yoeli continues. “I knew it was a bad idea, because before we even got underway, Reb Moshe said from the passenger seat, ‘What do you think about having a daily chavrusa?’ He was addressing the driver and me together. I was about to ask him to get out of the car, but my good manners told me to give him a chance.

“Look,” I said, “the two of us come from good homes, but today Yiddishkeit doesn’t really speak to us. What makes you think you’ll succeed where others have failed?”

Rav Shtesel, however, wasn’t fazed by the question. Instead, he asked them equally directly, “Why don’t you have a connection to Judaism? You know what, give me 15 minutes a day for one week, and we’ll work out the things that are disturbing you.”

The two bochurim answered, “Okay, you have one week.”

(Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 702)

Related Stories

Hassle-Free Shopping with Kids

Rachel Atkins

It’s pre-Pesach season, when most women spend an inordinate amount of time shopping. How to make you...

Hard Truths about an Ancient Doctrine

Machla Abramovitz

Harold Rhode began his study of Islam nearly five decades ago. His prescription for the West? Never ...

Dreaming Big in Mexico City

Binyamin Rose, Mexico City

Mexico City’s Orthodox Ashkenazic Jewish community doesn’t measure itself by its size, but by its am...

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
What’s in a Name?
Shoshana Friedman “What does Writer X have to say this week?”
Atonement — Fake and Real
Yonoson Rosenblum White confessionals and faux rituals
Four Walls Coming Full Circle
Eytan Kobre All the while, there’s been a relationship in the offing...
And Yet We Smile
Yisroel Besser We are the nation that toils to be happy at all costs
Out of This World
Rabbi Henoch Plotnick Dirshu Hashem b’himatzo — we are in Hashem’s company now...
Steven and Jonathan Litton
Rachel Bachrach The co-owners of Litton Sukkah, based in Lawrence, NY
Tali Messing
Moe Mernick Tali Messing, engineering manager at Facebook Tel Aviv
Sick Note
Jacob L. Freedman “Of course, Dr. Freedman. Machul, machul, machul”
Avoiding Health Columns Can Be Good for You
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Only one reliable guide for good health: our Torah
Endnote: Side Notes
Riki Goldstein Most Jewish music industry entertainers have side profes...
Me, Myself, and Why
Faigy Peritzman Where there’s no heart and no love, there’s no point
Can’t Do It Without You
Sarah Chana Radcliffe When you step up to the plate, you build your home team
Eternal Joy
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz The joy of Succos is the fruit of spiritual victory
The Appraiser: Part III
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer Make sure your child knows his strengths
Hidden Special Needs
Rena Shechter You won’t see his special needs, but don’t deny them
Dear Wealthy Friend
Anonymous There’s no need for guilt. I am truly happy for you