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Wednesday, September 27, 2023 - 12 Tishrei 5784
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Direction in Life

Rabbi Meir Bostomsky grew up in a suburb of Haifa, Israel. After completing his army service, he attended university and attained a degree in engineering. However, Meir felt different from his friends--more serious and more focused on the deeper aspects of life.

Meir was introduced to Chabad Chassidism through the rabbi of his community, Rabbi Michel Katz. Through Rabbi Katz, he was also introduced to Rabbi Yechiel Michel Dobruskin, a great scholar and sharp-witted chassid, and later became close to the legendary Rabbi Reuven Dunin, who also lived in Haifa. These men all had a strong impact on Meir and guided him in his first steps in the world of Judaism.

Meir's progress was slow, but thoughtful and well-internalized. He never liked to do anything with haste, and despite his strong attraction to this new way of life, he did not want to throw everything else by the wayside. He completed his studies and only then did he turn his full attention to his spiritual pursuits.

Following the advice of his mentors, Meir traveled to the Lubavitcher Rebbe in New York. He arrived towards the end of the month of Tishrei (October) 1966, and stayed in 770, the Lubavitch headquarters, for eight months.

An unforgettable moment for Meir occurred during one of the prayers in the small synagogue upstairs. The Rebbe looked at him penetratingly for a long moment, and Meir felt that the Rebbe was examining him from within and without.

The atmosphere in the Rebbe's synagogue won Meir over. During his time in New York, he threw himself in to his studies at the Yeshiva. For the first time, he experienced the depth and intellectual clarity that comes from studying Talmud; he also spent many hours in contemplating the penetrating themes of Chassidic discourse.

A month before his planned return to Israel, Meir set an appointment for a private audience with the Rebbe. During the audience, one question Meir brought up was about the beard and kippa that he had recently begun to sport, as a symbol of his new-found adherence to Chassidism. His father was elderly and had a weak heart, and Meir worried that the changes in him would disturb his father and affect his health.

The Rebbe responded unequivocally: He first offered his blessings for health and success for Meir's father. Afterwards, the Rebbe told Meir to be wary of going home with a "wishy-washy" approach. Rather, he should return with pride and firmness in his chosen direction in life. If Meir's family will see that he is secure in his path, there will be less recrimination and resistance, and also no ill effects on his father's health, G-d forbid.

 Indeed, the Rebbe's blessing was fulfilled in full. Despite his illness, Meir's father lived another 20 years and reached the age of 84--something that none of his doctors would have predicted.

Meir's final question was regarding his future employment. He held a degree in engineering, and planned to find a job that would assure him of a decent livelihood. Meir wanted the Rebbe's consent and blessing.

The Rebbe's response threw him off somewhat: "If livelihood and money are your greatest concerns, then you have a profession for yourself. However, money isn't the most important thing in life. You should work in education."

After returning to Israel, Meir consulted with respected Chassidim. All were in agreement that he would be suited for a profession as an educator.

Much later, Meir found out something that proved how accurately the Rebbe had sized up his character and aptitude. As a high school student, Meir had taken a psychological test, but at the time, his father had refused to show him the results. The test had shown that Meir was more suited for spiritual pursuits than material ones. His father, however, wanted him to complete his studies in university and have a profession, so he chose not to reveal this.

While Meir was in college, although he was a diligent student he never felt particularly drawn to his studies. He did what he had to do to achieve good grades, but nothing more.

When Meir's father heard the Rebbe's advice, he couldn't conceal his amazement, and told Meir what the test results had shown.

To this day, Meir maintains the path in life that the Rebbe had suggested for him. He serves as a very successful principal of the Tzemach Tzedek school, a Chabad elementary school in Petach Tikvah.



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