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He Didn't Win, But He Was a Winner

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He Didn't Win, But He Was a Winner
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Revach L'Neshama

Rav Issur Zalman Meltzer tells over the following story. Rav Eizele Charif, one of the Gedolei HaDor, was looking for a shidduch for his daughter. In his quest to have a fine young talmid chochom as a son in law he traveled to the famed Volozhin Yeshiva. Knowing that he will not be able to meet every single boy personally, he walked up to the Bimah in the Bais Medrash and asked a very difficult question, offering that the boy who comes up with the correct answer can marry his daughter.

After asking the question he went to the home where he was staying and over the next few days received many boys vying for the chance to become the son in law of one of the gedolei hador. To his dismay he did not find a single Lamdan to satisfy his expectations. Disappointed he packed his bags and left Volozhin. On the way he suddenly heard a young man chasing the wagon and screaming for the wagon to please stop. As the young bochur walked up to the wagon Rav Eizele was sure that he wanted to suggest an answer to his question. But that wasn’t the case at all. The bochur admitting defeat said that he came running because although he didn’t know the answer, he wanted to hear Rav Eizele’s answer to the question.

Rav Eizele eyes lit up and said “You are the one I want as a son in law. You have a great quest for torah. You are not concerned with tests and rewards. You are only concerned with the question. You will be my son in law.” And so it was. Rav Yosef Shlofer, who later became the Av Bais Din of Slonim, became the son in law of Rav Eizele Charif and later published his seforim.

I heard this story numerous times from one of my Rebbe’im. He would always say that his descendent, Rav Benzion Schiffenbauer, who back then even as a young boy under the age of Bar Mitzva displayed great hasmada and “ernstkeit”, would one day grow to be a Gadol BaTorah like his ancestors, Rav Yosef Shlofer and Rav Eizele Charif. V'Kach Hava!

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