My husband grew up in a poor immigrant neighborhood in Eretz Yisrael and attended the local co-ed mamlachti dati (government religious) school.
But for most of high school, he wanted a more Torah environment.
So the day after graduating, he made his way to a large Litvish yeshivah.
Wearing his dark beige pants, a non-white shirt (with no suit jacket), sneakers, and a knitted kippah, he headed toward the yeshivah office and asked to enroll. The person there took one look at him, assumed my husband made a mistake in his choice of yeshivah, and politely rejected him on the spot.
Despondent, my husband trudged out the door and plopped himself down on the yeshivah steps, wondering where he could possibly turn now.
At that moment, the Rosh Yeshivah arrived up those same steps and looked at the glum Moroccan teen sitting there in his knitted kippah and non-yeshivish clothes.
The Rosh Yeshivah asked my husband if he was okay and what was wrong.
My husband replied that he tried to enroll in the yeshivah, but was rejected on the spot.
The Rosh Yeshivah pondered this for a moment, then asked, "When was your last day of school?"
"Yesterday," said my husband.
Knowing that it was customary for recent high school graduates to spend days or weeks after graduation living it up and touring around (rather than searching out a yeshivah), the Rosh Yeshivah said, "You're accepted. Come with me."
And he escorted my husband back to the yeshivah office, where he enrolled.
My husband spent the next few years there shteiging away in front of a Gemara.
Sometimes, it takes a true talmid chacham to see past the externals and into a soul thirsting for Torah.
And if you really want the right thing for the right reason, Hashem helps.
For a related post of how true talmidei chachamim notice and care about others (rather than being holier-than-thou snobs), please see:
The Behavior of Truly Great People