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Section: Stories   Category: Story Corner
The Steipler Gaon's Unique Sales Strategy

An avreich in Lakewood, who as a bochur learned for several years in the Mir in Yerushalayim, told over a story which occurred to him in which he learned the importance of retaining one's minhagim, while maintaining one's ahavas habrios. While he was learning in the Mir, he used to travel occasionally to Bnei Brak to see the Steipler, z'tl.

The time had come for the bochur to return to the States, and his flight was scheduled for early in the morning after Yom Kippur. On Motzei Yom Kippur, he traveled to Bnei Brak to buy the Steipler's sefarim, and receive his bracha for the final time.

When the bochur entered the Steipler's room, he saw that he was still dressed in his Yom Tov clothing, was wrapped in his kittel, and was reciting tehillim. Quietly, he approached the table, and handed a kvittel to the Steipler, who had problems with his hearing. In the kvittel, he requested to purchase several of his sefarim, and to receive a bracha for success before returning overseas.

The Steipler read the note, and answered, "I'm sorry, but I can't sell you the sefarim right now. I'm dressed in Shabbos clothing, and I have a minhag not to conduct any business in Shabbos clothes, so that I won't inadvertently put money in my pocket, and be machshil, chalilah, in chillul Shabbos."

The avreich, however, was not willing to give up his one remaining opportunity to purchase the sefarim. He wrote another note stating that the matter was very urgent since his flight was at five in the morning, and he had no intention of returning to Eretz Yisrael in the near future. He added that he would take responsibility to watch that Rabbeinu would not put any money in his pocket. The Steipler read the second note, and he apologized that he was not prepared to deviate from his minhag for any reason, and offered his brachos to the avreich.

The bochur wrote a third note in which he again promised to stand guard that the Rav would not put the money which he received in his pocket. This time the Gaon looked at the young man, and requested that he wait a few minutes until he returned. When twenty minutes passed, and the Steipler failed to return, the bochur began thinking that there was a misunderstanding, and the Steipler was not intending on returning. He began leaving, and suddenly he saw that the Steipler had returned, dressed in weekday clothes. The Gaon hurried to find the sefarim which the bochur had requested to buy. (Chaim Sheyash Bahem)

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Visitor Comments: 1

ys, 2008-01-12 13:33:47
interesting story. what is the moral?

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