R’ Moshe Feinstein: Blessing the sun – and a child

The following was outright copied from Da’as Torah, a blog maintained by R’ Daniel Eidensohn (who, among other things, is the compiler of Yad Moshe, the index to Rav Moshe Feinstein’s responsa, “Igros Moshe”). It was just too beautiful not to repeat:

Every 28 years there is a special blessing made on the sun. It is in commemoration of the sun returning to the position it was in when the world was created. On one of those special occasions a large crowd gathered in front of Rav Moshe Feinstein’s apartment building on the Lower East Side of New York. It was just before sunrise and they had come to say the blessing with him.

However shortly before the designated time for saying the blessing, a father brought his young son to Rav Moshe’s apartment to receive a beracha from the great sage. Time was short but he just wanted to take advantage of this opportunity. Rav Moshe greeted them warmly and then seemed agitated about something. “I am sure your son – like other children – would like to have a candy but I can’t remember where my wife put it.”

He started opening and closing the kitchen cabinets trying to locate the candy. The crowd was getting impatient and yet Rav Moshe kept looking. Rav Moshe was focused on one thing – the happiness of that child. However being short in physical stature he couldn’t reach the upper cabinets. So he climbed up on the kitchen counter to reach them and he continued systematically searching. Finally he found it and climbed down from the counter.

He quickly gave the child the candy – and a beracha - and then hurried downstairs. The opportunity to bless the sun – while important – could wait a little while. The greater importance was making sure that the child had a pleasant and memorable experience meeting a genuine talmid chachom.

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