In the town of Halberstadt, Germany, over 100 years ago, lived the gaon, Rav Binyamin Tzvi Auerbach zt”l. He grew up in France and served as a rabbi in Darmstadt for ten years after earning s’michah as well as a PhD in philosophy and Semitic languages. While living in Frankfurt, Rav Auerbach wrote the sefer Bris Avraham in memory of his father, and also spent much of his time editing Sefer HaEshkol, written by the Raavad of Norvona in the 13th century. Years later, when he became the Rav of Halberstadt, he published his work as a commentary named Nachal Eshkol.

The Torah instructs us: “Be wholehearted with Hashem, your G-d.” Rashi quotes the words of the Sifrei as follows: “Conduct yourself with Hashem with simplicity and depend on Him... Accept whatever happens to you with (pure) simplicity, and then you will be with Him.” If one accepts whatever comes his way, Hashem will be with him, as well.

One of the first and most successful kiruv organizations in the US is Hineni, founded by the dynamic Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis a”h in the 1970s. The organization was an instant success, and the Rebbetzin was asked to speak and engage with people at many events all over the world. She recalls one very special event that she was asked to speak at.

For many years until his death in 1969, the Ponevezher Rav, Rav Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman zt”l used to visit Miami Beach, Florida, annually in order to raise funds for his yeshivah. He would come in late November and often remain in the warm sunshine of South Florida until February or March. Rabbi Berel Wein shlita, who was a congregational rabbi in Miami during that period, developed a close personal relationship with the Ponevezher Rav, and on numerous occasions, he would drive him around to the homes of wealthy members of his congregation to collect money. The Ponevezher Rav had a magnetic personality, and his love for every single Jew was clear and apparent at all times. As a result, these wealthy individuals enjoyed the time spent in their homes with the Rav and looked forward to his visits – often two or three times in the course of a few months – while the Rav was in town.

It was customary for people to travel to Radin to consult with the Chofetz Chaim, Rav Yisroel Meir Kagan zt”l, on any and all matters pertaining to Jewish life and halachah. In his later years, the Chofetz Chaim was quite old, and most people could not get more than a few minutes to spend with the tzadik, although they will tell you that those few minutes were worth more than the greatest treasure in their lives. Reb Leib, the son of the Chofetz Chaim, relates one notable exception. A talmid chacham came to Radin and asked to spend the holiday with his family; the Chofetz Chaim agreed to allow the man to stay.

Shimon was an 11-year-old boy learning in a Polish cheder, when Rav Meir Shapiro zt”l, the Lubliner Rav, came to test the boys and speak to them in learning. The children exceeded his expectations and the Rav told the children that, as a prize for doing so well, he was going to share with them a secret for life. He quoted the following words from the Ba’eir Heiteiv in the name of the Chinuch: “Whoever is careful to recite Birkas HaMazon with kavanah, word for word (from a bentcher), is assured he will never worry about where his next meal will come from, for his needs will be taken care of with respect and generosity all the days of his life.” The words entered Shimon’s heart and he decided, right then and there, to accept upon himself to always bentch with kavanah (concentration). It wasn’t easy. After lunch, while other children ran out to play, he stayed longer, taking his time, saying each word carefully, losing most of recess, but never relenting on his kabalah.