The Promise That Materialized

The Promise That Materialized

For many years, I used to receive the public in Vienna, Austria, in the home of Mr. Papa, may he live long. Then, for four years, I stopped this custom.

Mr. Papa consistently pressed me to come again, saying, “Why doesn’t the Rav wish to visit? The Jews of Vienna await his arrival. Why does he refuse to come?”

I always came up with some sort of excuse and did not make an appearance.

But I had a reason for not coming. The last time I had visited, a man who had been married a number of years came to me. He had not yet been blessed with children. He visited me often, relentlessly begging me to promise him a son.

The key to life is in Hashem’s hands alone. I promised to pray on his behalf and blessed him in the merit of my holy fathers. But He insisted that I explicitly guarantee him that he would have children.

In his state of pain, he told me, “I refuse to leave the Rav’s presence until he promises me a son. And I hope that the next time the Rav visits our city, I will come to greet him with a baby in my arms.” To these words, I replied, “Amen! So be it!” But he continued in his obstinacy, “But, Rav, I want a promise from you!” He left me with no choice but to guarantee him a son.

  1. The Bar Mitzvah celebration of R’Eliyahu Kornberg’s son. To the left of the Rav, is Rabbi Ari Papa

Skeptical as to whether or not my promise was fulfilled, I ceased my visits to Vienna. I was afraid the man would approach me with the grievance that my promise had not had effect.

With time, I forgot about my promise. After four years, I accepted Mr. Papa’s invitation and visited Vienna again. I was invited to attend the Bar Mitzvah of a member of the community and accompanied Mr. Papa to the hall.

Suddenly, I noticed the man who had asked me for a promise for a son four years earlier. I turned to leave before he saw me, but Mr. Papa stopped me, asking in surprise, “Why is the Rav leaving?” I replied, “There is a man inside the hall who asked me to promise him a son, which I did. I am afraid to meet him, because he may not yet have been granted a baby.”

Mr. Papa rewarded me with a huge smile. “Come with me into the hall. This man has good news to relate to you.” As soon as I entered, the man came running toward me. Amid hugs and kisses, he related, “Honored Rav, in the merit of your blessing, last Friday, my wife gave birth to a boy! This is just as I told the Rav, that the next time he arrives, I hope to have good news to share with him!”

I was extremely happy to hear that he had merited a son, after so many years of waiting. My joy was increased by the fact that I was guided by Heaven not to say anything untrue. After four years, my words had effect.


The Promise That Materialized

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Ask for a blessing from the rabbi