Over 100 hundred years ago, in the very beginning of the 1900’s, there was a young girl, with the last name of Shiff, who had a most beautiful and amazing voice. Her talents were nothing short of professional. She was the talk of all those that knew her. For a religious Frum girl in Vienna, Austria, coming from a traditional Torah home, professional singing was not an option.
News spread of her amazing and potential talent to a famous agent, who offered this young potential star, a very lucrative opportunity and career. Thrilled, she decided to discuss the matter with her parents. When the parents heard about this terrible news, they agreed they will do all within their power, to not allow it to be.
The young girl refused to listen to her parents. Her father then took his daughter to their Rav, Rabbi Shlomo Baumgarten, who tried to convince the girl to abandon this career. Reb Shlomo, sensing that he had not swayed her, suggested that they go to Rabbi Yitzchak Meir - The Kapichinitzer Rebbe, who was in Vienna at the time. Immediately, the father went with his daughter to see the Rebbe.
Upon arrival, the frantic father poured out his heart to the Rebbe. The Rebbe then spoke with the girl. “Tell me, my dear Jewish daughter, why do you want so badly to go into this line of work”?
The girl answered honestly. “It is because of the fame that I will find. I’ll be known throughout the world”.
The Rebbe closed his eyes, deep in thought, contemplating the aspirations the girl had just expressed. After a few moments, the Rebbe opened his eyes and began to speak.
“Listen closely, my dear daughter. It is the dream of every young Jewish woman to be blessed with a child who will illuminate the world through his Torah learning. I give you my promise that if you now sacrifice your chance at fame, there will come a time when you will be blessed with a child who will light up the world. He will become the one of the Greatest Halachic authorities of his time, a Posek Hador. Your fame will come, but it will be through him, your son”.
The young girl wiped away her tears and thought deeply about the magnanimous promise the Rebbe had just made to her. She was a fine, young Jewish girl and so, after considering the offer, she accepted the Rebbe’s proposition.
Rabbi Don Segal found this most earth shattering and amazing story if the Sefer Kehilot of Austria and decided to pursue the rest of the story. Rabbi Segal discovered that this girl eventually got married and had a son by the name of Shmuel. This Shmuel grew up to be, none other than, Rabbi Shmuel Halevi Wosner, author of Shevet Halevi, the Av Bet Din of Bnei Brak and a Posek Hador. Rabbi Shmuel Halevi Wosner Halachic opinions are sought out by Jews worldwide.
Incidentally, Beli Ayin Hara, Baruch Hashem, on Thursday August 8, 2013, Rabbi Wosner had just celebrated his 100th Birthday.
On this momentous day, Rabbi Wosner maintained his regular daily learning schedule. He made a L’ Chaim with his family members to thanks Hashem for All His great kindness. May Hashem grant Rabbi Wosner 120 years in full health and strength, AMEN.
When Rabbi Don Segal approached Rabbi Shmuel Halevi Wosner to question the validity of the story, Rabbi Wosner became very emotional and with tears in his eyes replied, “It all makes sense now. When I was young, my mother always encouraged me to learn well and be an ehrliche Yid.
She always said, ‘You cannot imagine what I sacrificed for you’”.
First published on 4 August 2014, on Jewish P.O.S.T. - the Jewish Voice for the People Of South Tottenham (now defunct).