Rosh Hashana 5783
This story was told by R’ Yosef Panet Shlit’a, Rav of Beis Medrash Meor Hatefilla in Boro Park, on Shabbos Shuva.
This story happened to a mispalel in his shul on this past Rosh Hashana 5783 [September 26-27, 2022].
The Doeihu staff reached out to Rav Panet to get a firsthand account of this powerful story.
Following is what Rav Panet shared:
Rosh Hashana night after Maariv, everyone filed past to give and get a l'shana tova.
In the crowd before me was also R’ Yankel (*not real name). After I wished him a l'shana tova, he looked at me with pain-filled eyes and asked me to give him a bracha for parnassa tova [a good livelihood] as well.
I know R’ Yankel who is part of my kehilla for many years. He has a few successful businesses, and to top it off he has a large Amazon selling business.
I knew that in the past he was doing very well, but from his tone and expression I realized that something was going on.
He doesn’t usually ask for such a bracha, and especially not in such a manner.
I watched during the Rosh Hashana davening the next day he wrapped himself deep in his tallis and davened with unusual kavana as if oblivious to the world.
Noticing his pain and worry, I decided to approach him right after Rosh Hashana and ask him if he needs any financial help for yom tov, or if there is anything else I can do.
Before I even opened up the conversation, R’ Yankel told me that he wants to share a personal story.
“The Rav knows that I have a large Amazon account from which I make a nice parnassa. A few weeks ago I got an email from Amazon informing me that due to suspicious activity on my account they were not going to give me access to the money from any transactions on my account. In other words, I could continue selling without earning. Whoever is in this line knows that if Amazon shuts you down, trying to get them to reopen your account is like talking to a brick wall.
"I had a huge bill from all the merchandise that I had bought for the coming season, which I started to pay off with my side businesses. But while sales were continuing on going, money was not coming in, aside from the fact that Yom Tov bills were piling up. I was in a huge dilemma.
"Finally, I managed to get a zoom conference meeting with Amazon for the Monday before Rosh Hashana. The meeting showed me what I was up against. They drove me crazy about minor details, asked to see very many documents and proof, and nitpicked wherever they could. They were not here to help me out at all. I thought that, after all the documents I showed and the questions I answered, that I had proved my innocence and proof of identity, but they felt otherwise.
"They decided that they can only open access to the money in my account if I send them every invoice from every transaction I ever made on Amazon from day 1. After that, I met with a major Amazon consultant in this field to see what steps I could take to save my account. He explained that usually when they nitpick on every invoice, they are not satisfied with what they get. Apparently, what they want to see and the way that our community does business doesn’t mix well. He told me to send what I have and hope for the best. From his tone of voice, it didn’t sound like he expected good results.
[Note: The "way our community does business" means we aren't available on Shabbat or chagim to deal with business issues & orders. I've heard before that Amazon penalizes anyone who isn't available to deal with issues within 24 hours, and a lot of shomer Shabbat sellers struggle with this. This goes back to how the Internet hates boundaries: hi-tech-hates-boundaries.html — MR]
"I was watching my whole business come crashing down. I was shipping out goods and not getting back any money for a few weeks now. To continue this way would bring me to bankruptcy. I decided that I would first do my best to daven for a good new year on Rosh Hashana and send in my documents only after making that hishtadlus.
"Now the Rav knows what was behind my request Rosh Hashana night. With all I was going through, I was barely holding myself enough together to make a seudah. ”
R’ Yankel continued,
“Rosh Hashana morning it happens to be that I daven Musaf in a different shul. Before tekias shofar, the Rav got up and gave over some divrei hisorerus [words to ignite spiritual arousal]. Particularly, he spoke passionately about technology and the importance of filters. He ended by encouraging everyone to make a kabbalah in the area of technology at whatever level they are on. I was very inspired, knowing what I was up against and the yeshuah that I needed, and I made my kabala right then and there to install a filter on all my internet devices, and as well to fully block Instagram (*see Editor’s note below) with the hope that this would bring a yeshua to my business.
"Yom Tov passed in a daze of fervent tefillos. I davened harder than ever before in my life. And then came Motzei Yom Tov, terrified about what I am about to go through.
"An email from Amazon was waiting in my inbox…. I opened it with trepidation to find good news! It said that my account had been cleared and they were going to forward my money very soon. The email had been sent the first day Rosh Hashana at 1:07 PM. Exactly the time that I made my kabala before tekias shofar!”
Rav Panet concludes,
“The story is not yet over! One day later, R’ Yankel went to Tag to fulfill his kabala and he got a call as he was sitting in the Tag office. It was a buyer who he was after for a while and never was able to get him to buy from him, but today the buyer reached out to him, and wanted to place a huge order. It was clear to R’ Yankel that the immediate turnaround in his company came about as a result of his kabala in technology.”
* * *
According to halacha and the ruling of all Gedolei Yisroel a filter on a computer is a necessity.
Therefore, even if one does not need a particular yeshua one must put on a filter.
However, when people hear such stories it’s like a wink from heaven, a sign from Hashem that this is the right thing to do.
These stories give people chizuk to overcome what gedolim are saying is the challenge of our generation. וממנו ילמדו וכן יעשו.
(*A note from the editor: Instagram itself cannot be filtered, therefore having it open is considered having unfiltered internet. And, as mentioned many times, one "must" put a filter on all internet devices, which means that keeping the Instagram app (site) etc. regularly open is assur - because it is open, unfiltered internet (and leads directly to immodesty).
In addition to providing clear halachot for behavior in the office and other places, Doeihu also provides stories like the above, true stories about regular frum people and their struggles in the work place.
They don't always show huge results like the above.
Sometimes, it's baby steps, like following the correct halacha when it's mildly uncomfortable, yet obligatory.
Many times, there is no fantastic ending (i.e., "And then I found a shidduch, managed to buy a luxury home, got super rich, and finally had a baby!")...but simply the basic satisfaction of doing things right.
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