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A student teaches a lesson

Many times the most heartwarming letters come from the most unexpected places, such as the one I received last week:

A woman in the community, who attends school in Victoria, was scheduled to take a major exam on April 16. When she realized that it was the second day of Pesach – it was clear to her that she wouldn't write a test on the holiday. She presented her request to her instructor who told her that it would need to be approved by the department chair. To make sure that the school would accommodate her, she asked me to send an email to support her request. I was obviously very happy to do that, and I sent it immediately. Here is the response I got shortly after:

“Thank you for responding so quickly. Having received your confirmation, I am happy to provide L.  with an alternative time to write her exam. I will copy you on my email to her, but wanted to write privately to both thank you and to express how much I enjoy reading your blog and other articles posted on Chabad of Vancouver Island. Faith is an area of many lives – my own included – that does not receive the attention that it should. I’m pleased to support that in one of our students.”

Turns out the standing true to your faith, not only is it the right thing to do, it is a source of inspiration to all.  

A Lesson in Commitment

Last month, we suffered a great loss with the passing of Dr. Melvin Weisbart, a prominent and respected member of our community. Today, I'd like to share a little story with you that I told at his Shivah Minyan since I believe that this incident describes best the character of this man, whom I'm honoured to have called my friend.

mel.JPGJust over two years ago, Mel, together with his wife our dear friend Marilyn, traveled to Israel. In preparation for their trip, Mel asked me if there was anything I'd like to send to my family. I thanked him for his generous offer, and moved on since I usually don't take people up on these offers. My family lives in Tzfat, which is not a place where most people spend too much time, and I really didn't feel like burdening friends with an additional parcel. But, Mel was persistent. He called me a couple of times to remind me that he would like to take a package for my family, so finally I agreed. Mel came to my house to pick up an envelope. I wrote the mailing address on it, and I explained to Mel: “this way, if you run out of time, you can just send it in the mail…”.

A few days later, I got a phone call from my brother-in-law telling me about the lovely couple who came by to deliver an envelope. “When I heard that they had made a special trip to Tzfat just for that purpose, I was sure that there must be some very important information inside, and I was pretty surprised to find it contained some family pictures and printed material..”.

This was the way Mel conducted himself in his personal life, family life, and community life. He never offered something that he wasn't prepared to do, and when he committed himself, nothing got in his way of his keeping his word.

In a society in which 'I'll try my best' means 'don't count on me', Mel was a very tall figure.

May his memory be of a blessing. 

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