Unparalleled Power: Inside Chevrah Lomdei Mishnah
Chevrah Lomdei Mishnah is an internationally renowned organization founded to provide surrogate Torah study and prayer services as a source of merit for the departed, as well as for those facing life challenges. In the years since its inception, Chevrah Lomdei Mishnah has been privileged to be a part of many extraordinary experiences in the course of implementing and carrying out its many programs and projects. Now, you can personally experience the heart and soul behind this soul-stirring work.
Prepare to be inspired, amazed and affected as you read these excerpts from the newly released Mishnah Memoirs.
A Different Kind of Shidduch
This is the story of a shidduch – of sorts – that was made through the offices of Chevrah Lomdei Mishnah. The thing about this shidduch was that while I was the “shadchan,” the whole thing was kind of an accident!
Back in the early days of Chevrah Lomdei Mishnah, I got a call from a Mrs. Katzler,* who was an avid reader of magazines and newspapers – both the articles and the ads. It seems she had picked out our ad and really the liked concept of what we were doing.
After using our services several times, she began to drop me a line every so often with ideas for some of our projects and ads and suggestions about publications in which we might advertise. Generally, these were publications based in the Brooklyn area, specifically in Boro Park and Flatbush, where the Katzlers lived. Not being particularly familiar with that area, I found her guidance helpful and insightful. She was quite enthusiastic about what we were doing – so much so that there were times when she herself sponsored ads in publications in which she felt it was beneficial for us to appear. By the time we actually met about a year later, I felt like I really knew her. Eventually, she invited my wife and me to her daughter’s wedding, as well as other family simchahs, and we included her in ours as well.
Susan Leibowitz lived in an out-of-town community far from the tri-state area and called us several times to sponsor learning l’zecher nishmas and as zechusim for several personal needs. She seemed like a nice enough person, but I really didn’t know much about her or her background. I guess she didn’t know too many people in the NY-NJ area, though, because one day she called me up asking for guidance on an unrelated topic. She and her husband would be staying in Brooklyn and were looking for a restaurant in Boro Park that served meals on Shabbos, allowing customers to pay for their meals before Shabbos began. Being as my knowledge of Boro Park is pretty limited, I turned to the best source for this information – Mrs. Katzler.
Mrs. Katzler heard me out and informed me that no such establishment that she knew of existed in Boro Park. Immediately, she spoke up with a different suggestion: “I’d be glad to host the Leibowitzes for meals at my home.”
That really wasn’t what I had in mind when I called her, but I gladly relayed this generous offer to Mrs. Leibowitz. She was absolutely floored that a total stranger would be so generous, but a little hesitant about accepting the offer. Being kind of stuck for another option, however, she and her husband decided to accept.
The truth is, between the time the invitation was extended and the time of the designated Shabbos, Mrs. Katzler and her husband began to feel a little nervous about the hastily extended invitation. They had no idea about the Leibowitzes’ level of observance – or anything else about them for that matter. They didn’t know these people at all, and I couldn’t tell her much about them either.
But the die had been cast, and the Leibowitzes were coming, come what may. You’re probably waiting with bated breath to hear about the, uh, interesting experience the Katzlers had that Shabbos, but the truth is, the Katzlers and the Leibowitzes ended up really hitting it off.
Not only did they feel at ease with each other, the Katzlers decided to really give their guests the “Boro Park experience.” Rabbi Katzler took his guest to daven at the well-known Emunas Yisroel shul, and after the seudah, they all went to one of the many tischen held in the area. From both ends, it was a wonderful, inspirational Shabbos.
To this day, both Mrs. Katzler and Mrs. Leibowitz tell me, the two women keep in touch. I can’t say we’ve added meal placement to our list of services, but I do like to think of this as a “Chevrah Lomdei Mishnah shidduch.” If only all shidduchim would be so successful!