Here is an absolutely amazing story of a Jew in Belgium. I just read this story in last weeks Mishpacha newspaper.
The writer, David Daman, says he heard the story from the Chabad rabbi, Rabbi Shabsai Slovtitski (sp?).
One Sunday, the rabbis approached by a "secular" jew who had just recently accepted upon himself to start keeping the mitzvos (that being the case, I don't know why it calls him secular, but maybe he appeared so). The fellow says to Rabbi Slovtitzki that he needs to do teshuva.
"What happened? Teshuva for what?" The rabbi asks.. the strange answer is that he skipped the morning shabbos meal, and for that he has to do teshuva.
The fellow tells the rabbi how it came to be that he skipped the shabbos meal. He is the owner of a successful jewelry store located in the main strip of the jewelry section in Antwerp. Most customers come shopping in the area over the weekend, and Friday - Saturday were his biggest days for sales. As soon as he decided to start keeping shabbos, as he was becoming more religious, he knew he would be giving up the busiest day of the week for his business.
One shabbos, after just a few weeks of keeping shabbos, he had an idea that he would go down to see his store after davening. not open it and do business, chas v'shalom - just to go look and see what is happening.
When he got to his store, he saw the store to the right was doing a brisk business, and the store to the left was also full. He started to feel regret for all the business he is missing out on. He is making calculations in his head how much he is losing by not opening his store.
This Jew, who had just started keeping shabbos, is debating in his mind what to do. Open or not open the store? go or don't go? He then realized that staying there another moment and he will likely give in and open the store, he turned around and ran away as fast as he could. He got home, he didn't see anything - not his wife, kids the meal waiting for him, nothing other than the long line of customers he was missing out on. All those customers who only would be there today and would not return tomorrow.
The fellow continues relating his story to the rabbi.. He says he didn't know what to do. He had this debate raging in his head, and he knew that at any moment he could lose and decide to go back and open his store. He says he had no choice but to take the following action: he opened his cabinet, took out a bottle of strong vodka, drank the whole bottle, and collapsed in bed. When he woke up, Shabbos was already over.
Rabbi, he cried, I need to do teshuva because I missed the shabbos meal.
Rabbi Slovtitsky said, when relating the story to Daman, that he did not know what to say to the man. He cried as he realized that he did not know who really needed to do teshuva. The simple fellow who is a tzaddik or us? What is more important in heaven? My shabbos meal with song and divrei torah or the drunken sleep of that man.
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