Rabbi YY Jacobson once shared a heartbreaking and devastating story. It seemed his father was suddenly orphaned at the young age of fourteen. However, what made his circumstances even more distressing was the fact that he now had to take care of his seven-year-old brother, Gershon. Not only was his father faced with the grim task of carrying on without their parents, but he also had to find a way for his younger brother to have a healthy and good upbringing.
One day, a very affluent Jewish couple who could not have children, offered his father a huge amount of money if he would allow them to adopt Gershon. When he first heard the offer he thought it was a miracle. He would then have enough money to live a comfortable life, and his brother would grow up in a loving home and would be given anything he wanted and needed. He knew he had to go see the Rebby to get his bracha (blessing) and then everything would be smooth sailing thereafter.
However, when he got to the Rebby’s house and told him about the wonderful offer he had received, he could not believe his response. With his piercing eyes burrowing through him, the Rebby said to him in Yiddish, “Your brother is not for sale! This would be the couple’s only child and it would be their goal to make your brother forget his past and build a new life as one of them. Your visitations would be limited and eventually, you would barely have a relationship.”
The Rebby advised him that his brother needed a very warm and loving family with many brothers and sisters.
He said, “I will help you find a local family that would be willing to take on this important mitzvah and raise your brother. However, you will need to get a job and pay for his living expenses.”
Rabbi Jacobson’s father took a little time to process what the right thing to do was and what his faith required of him, in addition to what his Rebby told him to do. This would demand a tremendous amount of sacrifice on his part to give up a small fortune and take on a back-breaking job in order to support his younger brother.
However, being a true Chassid who never second-guessed his Rebby, he got a job on a local farm doing a lot of difficult physical labor. Every Friday, he would come and visit his brother and spend quality time with him.
Years later, one Friday night, his father could not make his weekly visit to see his brother. Suddenly, one of the girls from the family who took care of him, found herself asking her mother why Gershon’s brother did not show up for his weekly visit? That very sweet girl suddenly realized that she had feelings for the visiting brother and who later turned out to be Rabbi Jacobson’s mother.
Chasidus asks the question, “Why is the shofar that we blow on Rosh Hashanah bent and not straight like a trumpet?”
Chasidus explains that as Hashem’s ambassadors in this world we must understand that life is full of struggles and many times the world looks and feels as if it is bent out of shape.
Do not get fooled by the sight and sound of a golden straight trumpet.
Have patience and strength to make it past the bent and dark places. Cry out and expiate your pains through personal sacrifice.
Exult in the knowledge that the greater the darkness, the brighter the light that follows. May that light come swiftly in our days to come.
Have a wonderful Shabbos and a sweet New Year.