Ten year old Ezra Erlbaum doesn’t always enjoy being shlepped to the supermarket, but one shopping trip turned into a true example of Hashgacha Pratis (Divine providence).
As his mother paid at the checkout, the tall, elderly clerk took a look at Ezra and said, “A yeshiva bochur! I used to be a yeshiva bochur when I was a boy!”
The man, who showed no signs of Jewish observance, went on to explain that he had fond memories of his observant youth. “I used to wear tzitzis just like you,” he beamed.
When asked why he stopped upholding his traditions, he replied in a somber tone, “I was drafted to serve in the army [during the Korean war] and it was just too hard for me to keep it up.”
This gave Ezra an idea…
They went home, ordered a pair of tzitzis, and contacted Ezra’s Rebbe at Cheder Chabad of Philadelphia. Together they made plans to return to the store with his entire class and Ezra’s own grandfather. who fought in the very same war.
The scene that unfolded was one that truly touched everyone present.