Emulating Rav Shayala, Boro Park Residents Pay Neighbors’ Grocery Bills
by YS Gold
The name of the holy Rav Shayala of Kerestir has become synonymous with generosity and overflowing love for fellow Yidden. In communities throughout the world, Yidden could be seen feeding their fellow brothers and sisters with the words “Rav Shaya ben Reb Moshe” on their lips—hoping to invoke the merit of the great tzaddik who taught us that the greatest thing is to give to another Yid.
Monday of this week, which marked the yohrtzeit of Rav Shayala, found establishments and private individuals doling out coffee, food, and refreshments with abundance—which surely brought nachas to the ba’al hillula. But some took things up a notch, heading into supermarkets, groceries, and appetizing stores and anonymously paid down their neighbors’ food bills, so they could continue to feed their families.
An employee at a well-known Boro Park fish and appetizing establishment told BoroPark24, “The calls came in all day… some gave $10, some gave $20, and some gave $100 for us to apply anonymously to overdue bills.”
Meanwhile, a local supermarket reported that donations to their registers reached over $10,000 on Monday, while a Williamsburg yungerman posted that he raised $20,686 to pay down grocery bills l’iluy nishmas Rav Shaya ben Rav Moshe. An employee at Laundau’s Supermarket related that a generous donor had wanted to go into different stores to pay down bills, but it got late. “He asked me if I could take his credit card, and apply money to different accounts, and that’s what we did.” So saying, he pulls out a receipt for a $1000 donation to one of the accounts—one instance out of hundreds that were replayed all around Boro Park, brought about by the great tzaddik who lies interred in Hungary.
Rabbi Yisroel Besser, author of the bestselling book on Rav Shayala, told BoroPark24 about the time that a certain rebbe offered to teach Rav Shayala the secrets of kabbalah. “Reb Shayele answered, “I don’t know much about Chochmas HaKabbalah but there is a concept in Kabbalah called the “Yud B’milu’oi, the letter Yud written out with all its letters.” Reb Shayele explained to the Rebbe, “I know what Yud B’milu’oi means: When a yid comes here hungry and I feed him, then he is Yud B’milu’oi; a Yid who is full—he’s no longer hungry.”
There is no doubt that Reb Shayele looks down a century later and sees that this chochmah, the "kabbalah" of Yud B’milu’oi, is alive and well, a mesorah from him. And Rav Shayale certainly appreciates it.”