The following extraordinary, inspiring story contains a
unique message about the exactitude of din in the
Upper Realms, the obligation to be wary in money matters and
how someone who followed the halochoh exactingly all his life
received Divine assistance even after he left this world,
during the first twelve months after his petiroh.
Last Av a prominent educator in Bnei Brak, HaRav Chanoch
Segal Hy"d was murdered in Jerusalem in the bombing
attack on the Bus #2, while returning from the Kosel. A veil
of heavy mourning and sorrow descended on his students, who
had imbibed Torah and yiras Shomayim from him. Ever
since he was asked by HaRav Chaim Friedlander zt"l to
serve as an educator at Talmud Torah Toras Emes four decades
ago, he taught thousands of talmidim, many of whom
remained strongly attached to him even after he left the
HaRav Segal was known for his ability to instill his
talmidim with superlative middos and a love of
Torah using various means, including his unique
shiurim on Parshas Hashovua. He also ingrained
in them the obligation not to allow a single day go by
without learning mussar, gemora or halochoh.
His talmidim say these foundations remained rooted
in them throughout their lives.
He saw his task of educating tinokos shel beis rabbon
as a holy endeavor and indeed HaKodosh Boruch Hu gave
him the merit to teach many talmidim, with tremendous
dedication to the singular goal of elevating the students in
Torah learning and yiras Shomayim. He also dedicated
himself to his own Torah learning with fixed chavrusas
for in-depth learning of sugyos in Shas.
A booklet called Chanoch LeNa'ar currently being
prepared for publication contains lessons on education and
guidance learned from his ways, describing the system of
education he passed on through his exerted efforts to build
the soul of his talmidim.
About two weeks before Lag B'Omer this year, about nine
months after the tragedy, one of his family members had a
dream in which he saw the late Rav Segal calling him to come
into the living room, escorting him in and showing him where
an envelope was hidden on one of the shelves of the bookcase.
On the envelope was a certain name and the digit "5." In the
dream HaRav Segal said, "Please take 14 shekels and return
them to [the person whose name appeared on the envelope]
because I want to return the money to him."
Waking up from the dream in alarm the family member quickly
inquired whether HaRav Segal had any ties with someone by the
name on the envelope. It was soon discovered the name was of
a man from Bnei Brak whose sons had been HaRav Segal's
talmidim at the talmud Torah many years
earlier. When he was called on the phone he did not remember
any such debt but at the Segal family's request he agreed to
take the money, saying also that if HaRav Segal owed him any
money he forgave the debt wholeheartedly.
Meanwhile the family began to ask the sons, today heads of
families, whether they recalled any money HaRav Segal might
have owed. Several of these avreichim, all admirers
and former talmidim of HaRav Segal, said they
remembered nothing until a few days before Lag B'Omer one of
them called and said excitedly that he remembered exactly
Twenty-four years ago, he recounted, before a class trip on
Lag B'Omer, HaRav Segal collected money from the
talmidim, keeping a precise list of who had paid and
who had yet to pay. Shortly before the trip HaRav Segal told
the talmid, "I am reminding you that still have to
pay." The talmid insisted he had already paid. HaRav
Segal checked his list again and said, "I'm sorry, but my
list indicates otherwise. I'd like you to bring the money
tomorrow." The cost of the trip was 10 liras.
The boy went home, asked for the money again and paid, though
he was sure he was paying for the second time. "I remember it
as if it were yesterday," said the avreich, "because
at the time I took it very hard that I had to pay twice."
The Segal family was unsure whether they could verify the
exact value of 10 liras back then in today's currency.
Eventually they decided to pay the amount HaRav Segal
mentioned in the dream and asked the former talmid to
say out loud that he forgave the debt.
The number "5" written on the envelope remains a mystery. The
boy may have paid five liras, therefore his name was not
crossed off the list.
The man noted an important point many other Toras Emes alumni
also mentioned: HaRav Segal would always stress to them the
obligation to be careful in money matters. His family members
also recall how he himself was very particular in financial
affairs and how in paying back debts taken out at the time of
his wedding, for years he was never late in his payments to
gemachim, but would always pay early to avoid missing
the date. Likewise he was always upset upon hearing
gemach directors say some people don't keep their word
and found it hard to believe merchants suffered from
frequently bounced checks. His trustworthiness and his fear
of sinning in financial matters went above and beyond normal
Because he was so cautious in these matters he had the merit
to be spared from remaining indebted even in a single case in
which he may have erred--a powerful lesson on the
punctiliousness of the din in Beis Din Shel
This story has been told by mashgichim and other
speakers, providing great his'orerus that is sure to
stand as a merit for HaRav Segal who, even after his
histalkus, continues to inspire many Jews to yiras
Shomayim in general and zehirus in money matters