‘Apologize to the Girl You Dated’

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By Rabbi Lazer Avtzon for COLLive

Having grown up in Detroit, I flew there this week with my sister Dina Borenstein to comfort the family of veteran educator, Rabbi Shmuel Kaufman zt”l, the beloved teacher in Yeshiva Beth Yehudah in Detroit.

Sitting there, I was given additional details to the incredible Yechidus he had with the Lubavitcher Rebbe resulting in the bracha to him and his wife to have children. I also heard another amazing story that is equally mind-blowing.

This story was originally printed in the Kfar Chabad magazine a while back, but some details were not verified.

Reb Shmuel came to Detroit as a single bochur to teach at Yeshiva Bais Yehudah, a Jewish day school consisting of two campuses at Southfield and Oak Park, Michigan. It serves boys and girls from pre-kindergarten to grade 12.

Thursday nights and Shabbosim, Reb Shmuel would spend at the home of my parents Rabbi Meir and Cheyena Avtzon. He remained close after he got married to his wife Risha and their return to Detroit.

After several years of being married and not being blessed with children, my father suggested that they travel together to New York and see the Rebbe for a bracha.

Initially, he refused, but after visiting all the other Gedolim of the time and still no yeshua, Reb Shmuel finally relented and came with my father to 770 Eastern Parkway.

After detailing his situation and asking the Rebbe for a bracha, the Rebbe turned to him and asked whether he ever unintentionally hurt a girl’s feelings to the point she might have a ‘kpaida’ (grudge) against him.

Reb Shmuel answered, “No, to the best of my recollection.”

The Rebbe then asked again, “Is it possible you dated a girl and led her to believe you were interested in her and then broke up without asking Mechila (forgiveness)?”

Again, he said he does not recall.

My father, who was present at the Yechidus, intervened at that point. “If the Rebbe is asking you twice, you should think hard and remember, because there has to be something!”

After further thought, Reb Shmuel remembered being on a date and loaning the girl a sweater to warm her from the cold. He later decided it was not meant to be and merely informed the Shadchan that it was over.

The Rebbe replied, “You must ask Mechila with a full heart.”

“How do I even find her?”

The Rebbe replied, “If you really try, you will see how easy it is.”

The Rebbe then blessed him and said, “Once you ask Mechila and she truly forgives you, you will be blessed with children.”

“And what if she doesn’t want to forgive me”? he asked.

The Rebbe replied, tell her that if she forgives you with a full heart, she will soon find her bashert (her own match).

The Yechidus then turned to another subject with the Rebbe asking him what he does and learning that he is a teacher.

The Rebbe asked, “Do you tell stories of Tzadikim?” and he replied that he does not because he considers it Bitul Torah.

The Rebbe answered, “telling stories of Tzadikim is in itself Torah! Tell stories!”

* * *

After leaving Yechidus, he searched and searched and ultimately found the phone number of a brother of the girl. He called and spoke to the brother and asked if there was any way for him to get in touch with his sister.

“Why would you want to speak to her now after all these years and after breaking her heart?” he answered.

Unbeknownst to Reb Shmuel, the girl had felt strongly that by his loaning of the sweater during the date that he really liked her. She was so grief-stricken from being left cold-turkey that she bore a tremendous resentment towards him.

Her brother then said, “She’s actually here visiting me now but she doesn’t want to talk to you!”

Reb Shmuel begged and said, “I just came from Yechidus with the Lubavitcher Rebbe and was told that the reason my wife and I were still not blessed with children is because I hurt your sister and must ask Mechila. Trust me, I had no idea and am terribly sorry.”

A meeting was arranged, the girl initially did not agree to forgive him. When he told her that the Rebbe said that if she forgives him it will open the doors of blessing for her as well, she agreed and said I forgive you with a full heart.

Some 3 months later, my mother called Reb Shmuel at 6:00 AM and wakes him to share the great news that the girl he had dated was now engaged to be married.

One month later, his wife became pregnant with their eldest sonYona. Over the years, they were blessed with another 6 children.

But even more amazing than this story is the fact that Rabbi Kaufman is remembered as a devoted and beloved teacher and the one who inspired thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of students to live lives of Yiras Shamayim.

What was his secret ingredient? Stories.

Throughout his career in chinuch, Reb Shmuel told stories like you never heard. When he told a story, you felt you were there witnessing and a part of it. He brought to life the characters, the setting and the pure faith they exuded.

The Rebbe told him to tell stories and assured him that not only is it not Bitul Torah, but that it’s Torah itself. From that day onward, he never ceased to tell stories.




  1. Nice story ,
    But Rabbi Shmuel Kaufman zt”l,was rather far from being a Lubavitcher

    Could any descendants verify this story?

    • I am a grandson of Rabbi Kaufman, I cannot verify every detail but the main story is true. I also cannot verify about the fact that he didn’t say stories before ….it’s hard to beleive it as he loved saying gedolim stories.
      To number 1 and to anyone else, he was a very strong minded person and he may not have had the same views as lubavitch but he certainly loved everyone regardless of their minhagim. So I don’t think it’s a very good zchus for him to post that reply to this article as is obvious that he was open minded to go to the Rebbe

  2. Sounds hard. Maybe knowing who might be hurt and praying harder is more intelligent. Contacting previous dates may be unwanted.

    Funny strange story

  3. “Do you tell stories of Tzadikim?” and he replied that he does not because he considers it Bitul Torah.
    VERY hard to believe this part of the story [especially since he as was a talmid of reb feivel mendlowitz zt”l]

  4. This is mismatch. Holy outcomes are marriage. Moving the eye of another lady prior to is not asking the worth of the joy to be wrong. If you have done wrong, you might have to apologize to her father. Joy can see this is not hopeful experience but restitution.

    Guard your soul. Not yireh.

  5. its so interesting. i have been hurt by people, and they’re doing fine. guess some people’s feelings count more than those of others.

  6. Yasher koach Matzav. This is an amazing post. Thank you for sharing. Please post more of these stories. IMO, they are truly needed to give chizuk to all especially in this upside world we live in.

  7. Rav Pam used to say (from his mother) that a reason you fast on the day of the Chasuna is to do teshuva for all the people you hurt during the shidduch process when you said no to them.

  8. It was printed somewhere else that his brother r yosef Kaufman went to r ahron ztl for a bracha and soon after they had their first baby

  9. yankel, how do you know they are doing fine?
    Maybe they are going through a tzara that you don’t know about?
    Try to forgive

  10. #1, because of people like you the Bais Hamikdash was destroyed. It amazes me how people are so hateful toward other Yidden. I am sure you do not take haircuts or listen to music in the 3 weeks yet the main reason why we have the 3 weeks you simply disregard! What a Chosid Shoitah you are!

  11. I know someone who at 19 met a girl on his own and got engaged to the girl for a couple of days. His parents were furious and make him break the shidduch and he ended up marrying someone else. After a few years of not having children someone told him to go ask the first girl mechila for embarrassing her. He went and she refused to be moichel him and to this day at least 25 years later he still never had kids.

  12. beautiful story!
    Rabbi Kaufman was warm and close to everyone and he was very close in heart to all chassidim including lubavitch, he just didn’t advertise it. yehi zichro baruch!!!!!!!

  13. I am shocked at the comments here. I read the story and was moved to tears. You forgive someone else and it brings bracha into your own life.
    Whats with the nastiness in the comments?
    And to comment number one, this is what you write in the three weeks!? Shame on you.
    You are probally a kid, and I have seen more Gedoilei Yisroel then you will ever see. Yes there is machlokes Lsheim shomayim, but there is a time and place for everything, other wise its machlokes korach vadoso…

  14. I am R’ Kaufman’s nephew. The story about the brocha from the Lubavitcher Rebbe is true. I heard it from him personally. The story about his considering story-telling bitul Torah until the Rebbe told him to tell stories is missing some details. R’ Kaufman used stories to convey a message and be mekarev long before he met the Lubavitcher Rebbe. I checked with family members to verify this. Perhaps, his discussion with the Rebbe concerned relating stories during class time. But he undoubtably was a story teller from a very young age.

  15. Oh, she was so still so angry not to take his call, after a few years, b/c of a sweater? I say good thing he didnt marry her! She sounds like a nut-cake. He should have said Baruch Sheputrani
    (oh, and she was right there just when R Kaufmann called the brother? That’s another miracle!) Bubbe Mysiss

  16. All u people are nuts just let them post the story, read it and move on the internet doesn’t have to hear ur “bright” ideas

  17. I wrote this story on a family chat without the intention for it to go viral. Within our family we all knew the story, but there was question on a few details so I wanted to clarify them with my family after coming back from the Shiva.

    The 2nd story about telling stories I had never heard before and heard it from his son Reb Yona at the Shiva
    Later I was told that this story too was retold by Rabbi Kaufman many times over.

    Perhaps as his nephew points out I missed the detail that it was a question of telling stories in class and that he was a story teller long before. But it still does not take away from the impact telling stories in class as a horaah from the Rebbe had on tens of thousands of his Talmidim.

    Anyone who knows anything about Detroit knows the very close and personal relationship between my family and the Goldsteins, Friedmans, Kaufmans and I fact all of the old time Detroit Jewry despite our differences of Hashkafa and backgrounds.

    The story was meant only to further inspire people and not to Chas Veshalom stir up any controversy or hurt anyone. And most certainly not to fuel Sinas Chinam from ignorant people.

  18. I am a grandson of Rabbi Kaufman, I cannot verify every detail but the main story is true. I also cannot verify about the fact that he didn’t say stories before ….it’s hard to beleive it as he loved saying gedolim stories.
    To number 1 and to anyone else, he was a very strong minded person and he may not have had the same views as lubavitch but he certainly loved everyone regardless of their minhagim.


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