*Details have been changed to preserve the bochur’s privacy.
It was a regular day in the beautiful and historic beis midrash of the Breslov Yeshiva in Mea Shaarim, when a young man in tattered, ill-fitting clothing entered sheepishly. He sat by himself in a corner of the room, quietly learning to himself. All who saw him assumed that he must have some connection to the yeshiva. That was, however, not the case. He was on his own completely, and the young man, just 19 years old, had come to the beis midrash to catch a glimpse of the Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Yaakov Meir Shechter shlit”a.
The bochur had heard stories for years of talmidim who travelled far and wide to be close to the Rav. He came hoping he might learn some Torah, perhaps even receive a bracha. As the evening dark began to creep in, and the bochur knew he had no place to sleep that night, he was tremendously relieved to see the Rosh Yeshiva walking in his direction.
The Rav asked the boy his name, and if he needed anything. What spilled forth, much to the bochur’s surprise, were the tear-stained details of his life thus far. He was not typically so quick to share, but a kindness in Rav Shechter’s eyes told him that he was safe.
The bochur told Rav Shechter that he has lost his parents when he was a young boy, and that he had spent the last decade staying for brief periods of time with different foster families. “I have no parents to turn to,” he said, pain filling his heart, “and now that I am 19 I am completely alone. I don’t even have a place to live.”
The bochur spent his nights working in the local grocery store, but he longed to learn Torah.
It was not long before the bochur and Rav Shechter were close, and the Rav began to refer to him as a beloved chassid.
There was great joy in the yeshiva the day that the bochur got engaged. Though there was a noticeable absence of family at the l’chaim, the yeshiva stepped in to fill their void. However as the drinks were poured and the young men sang, all who were present knew: It would not be an easy journey to the chuppah.
It is a deeply painful thing for a young man to not be able to provide for his wedding, or his kallah. To not be able to afford a suit for the simcha, or rent for an apartment after marriage. It is even more painful when that lack is because of a traumatic and tragic loss. Each time the bochur thinks through the wedding basics he cannot afford, he relives the sting of attending his own father’s levaya.
The bochur has, however, one shining ray of hope: Rav Yaakov Meir Shechter has made it his personal mission to get the boy married off with dignity. Rav Shechter has penned an emotional and impassioned letter to the public [click here to read] on the boy’s behalf. Funds are being raised now to make the wedding, which is scheduled for less than three weeks from now. No one knows the bochur’s desperation better than the Rav, which is why he has taken personal responsibility for making sure this special soul gets what he needs. Those who donate receive Rav Shechter’s powerful blessing for brachos and yeshuos, and will have their names added to his personal prayer list.
Raising the money is, however, a challenge. There is unfortunately a great deal of need in the world, and it is not guaranteed that they will be able to procure the young couple a place to stay, appliances, or other basic supplies. If they fail, it will be the latest in a long line of painful humiliations.
Those who are inspired by this special story of a Rebbe and his talmid can give now for a limited time.