ABOUT FACE

In Navardok, the home of the famous Yeshiva of the same name, there were no dormitory facilities, the young men had to rent rooms in town. Most landlords were happy to have yeshiva boys as tenants since they were clean and considerate. One woman, a widow with a young son, had a large twenty room house. She was very bitter, and made all sorts of trouble for the boys. She often yelled at them and ridiculed them. On some Friday afternoons, she turned off the water supply, so that there was no hot water for bathing. Other times, she turned off the electricity for no apparent reason. After a while all the boys moved out. Only Yosef Geffen remained.

One morning, as Yosef was walking home, the woman saw him coming and began to scream at him, "You must be crazy! How can you still stay in my house? You see that all the others boys have moved out -- why do you insist on staying? Why not get out like they did?"

He paused and answered her gently. "I stay here for your sake. I realize that you live alone and I fear that one night you might fall or become ill and call out for help and there would be no one to hear your cries. I understand that you are only yelling at us because of your frustration at being widowed and because you struggle to support yourself."

Her demeanor immediately changed. She turned pale. She had expected a sharp remark. She fell to her knees and begged his forgiveness. Afterwards, she never said anything but kind words to the yeshiva boys. She was no longer mean and nasty, and the boys started moved back in until the house was filled.

Yosef however, even though he continued to live there, always sneaked himself in the side door. Whenever the landlady would see him, she would begin to apologize profusely all over again.

Source: Around the Maggid's Table, R. Peysach Krohn