Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

7 Sivan 5764 - May 27, 2004 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











HaRav Chanoch Segal, Hy"d
He Came to Him in a Dream Saying "Please Take 14 Shekels and Pay Him Back"

By G. Safran

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 talmud Torah.

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 what transpired.

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 standards.

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 Maaloh.

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 in particular.


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