The Rabbi’s Advice: 5 Minutes
The daughter of Rabbi Chaim Aharon Weinberg zt”l, director of Yeshivat Ateret Torah, shared the following surprising story about her father (from the article by Estie Florans for Binah Magazine)
My father worked in Camp Rayim throughout the summers and my family resided there during those months. I didn’t stay with my family, though, because it’s a boys’ camp; instead, I went to a nearby girls’ camp. My father made sure to come to my camp every Friday to give me a blessing.
My younger sister, Mrs. Hindy Katz, cherishes the memory of her once-a-week trip with our father to the ice-cream store that he managed to arrange despite his busy schedule in camp, in order to spent individual time with his young daughter every week…
One day during the summer, when I was visiting my parents in camp, we heard the terrible news that a staff member’s wife was R”l diagnosed with cancer. I vividly recall standing next to my father when a few women approached.
“Rabbi Weinberg,” one woman began, tears welling up in her eyes, “we would like to take upon ourselves a kabbalah, something great that would serve as a merit for Mrs. Klein* to have a complete recovery.”
My father didn’t hesitate for even one moment. “Accept upon yourselves to spend five minutes alone with each of your children.”
“No, Rabbi Weinberg, you don’t understand,” another woman pleaded. “We want something big, something monumental. Tznius [modesty], shemiras halashon [avoiding gossip]…tell us!”
“Try it…five minutes,” he said. “Then get back to me.”
They did get back to him shortly afterward. “Rabbi Weinberg, we never realized how powerful five minutes could be!”
My father also stressed the importance of five minutes of undivided attention to his school’s parent body. “And,” he made sure to add, “homework time is not included in the five minutes.”
My father practiced what he preached. he regularly picked up my brothers from yeshivah instead of sending them home by bus in order to spend that special “stolen” time with them.