By Rabbi Moshe Meir Weiss
Let me share with you how it all started between Miriam Libby and me. My Hebrew birthday is the 12th of Av. On my 21st birthday I went to my Rebbe, Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt”l, zy”a, and asked him if I should start dating. And, he told me no. (It is important to remember that this was not a general psak-halachic decision, but rather specific to me). So, when I was 22, I again asked him on my Hebrew birthday if I should start dating and once again he told me no. On my 23rd birthday, I was already inpatient, having friends who were already married with children. I think I was a little pushy and I said something like, “I should start dating by now, right?” And he gave me kind of a pareve answer, like, “Nu nu.” But I didn’t pick up on it. And that year I went out with a dozen young ladies to no avail.
On my 24th birthday, I asked him for a blessing and he gave me a hearty wish to become a chossen. At the same time, I had just come back from a trip to Eretz Yisrael, where I went to the Amuka, the grave of Rav Yonason ben Uziel, which is supposed to be a segula to become a chossen. Now, fasten your seat belts for what happened next.
I was in Camp Yeshiva of Staten Island, in Kerhonkson, New York, together with Rav Moshe. Families would come up for the weekend to spend time in the proximity of Rav Moshe, the beloved leader of world Jewry. One such family was the Saftlos family. They sent up their provisions ahead of time with the Zines family. The Zines’ vehicle caught on fire as it arrived at the yeshiva camp and all of the Saftlos’ possessions got burnt. Mrs. Malky Saftlos has a best friend in the yesheiva, Rabbetzin Yehudis Neuman. She was distressed for her friend, and went to Jamesway to replace what was lost. At that time, my father, A”H, Mr. Heshy Weiss, managed the Sheraton Regal Inn in Piscataway, New Jersey, which was owned by his brother, Helu Weiss, OBM. I got from my father blankets, pillows, and towels for the entire family. At the same time, as I was sort of in charge of the medical needs in the yeshiva, I administered First Aid to one of the boys who got burned in the car fire. Mrs. Saftlos, who had observed me in the past bringing food to Rav Moshe, was so moved by the blankets, etc., that she decided to try to make a shidduch for me. She had seen Miriam Libby when she was a second grade teacher in Torah v’Daas and knew about her reputation as a Baalas Chesed. So, she went to Rebbetzin Neuman who knew me and the two friends conspired and the rest is history.
Thus, a car had to explode so that acts of chesed could be connected and, as the saying goes, “MeiHashem yatzah hadovor – From Hashem came this match.” We should always realize that when we put ourselves out for people in need, Hashem will repay us magnificently as was the case in this match made in Heaven.
In the merit of giving, may Hashem bless us with long life, good health, and everything wonderful.
Please learn, give tzedaka, and daven l’iluy nishmas of Miriam Liba bas Aharon.
Sheldon Zeitlin takes dictation of, and edits, Rabbi Weiss’s articles.
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