Forum Replies Created
Sure, keeping a picture of your Rebbe (not just any rabbi) might protect you – from sinning! And that’s only if you think of him looking at you, not some magical segulah.
A few weeks ago someone sent around a video/photo story about a person who parked illegally near a shul, and the rabbi thought he was going to get a ticket, even though he had a picture of R’ Shayele Keresteirer on his dashboard. After davening, the Rabbi saw that the ticket the guy got was mistakenly written to a non-existing address, and was so impressed that the ‘segulah of R’ Shayele’ worked! And then someone sent around the ‘Moifes’ to hundreds of people, including pictures of the invalid ticket with the wrong address.
Later, some smart person used the photo to look up the perpetrator’s license number on the NYC Parking Violations website, and discovered that the fool apparently parked illegally every day and got tickets. So he had 200 valid tickets, but the one time he got an invalid ticket, it was a miracle due to the picture on his dashboard? More like the inevitable occasional incompetence of the traffic cop.
A friend of mine is a Mashgiach for a large Kashrus organization, and was once sent to China. He has many fascinating stories to tell from just that one trip. One of them is very relevant as one possible answer to this question.
He visited a factory that uses cabbage to manufacture some food ingredient. Trucks come in the gate of the factory and stop near the building. A man then unloads the cabbage from the truck and carries it 20 feet to a hopper, where he dumps them in to begin the processing. He asked the boss why he doesn’t just install a conveyor belt that goes from the trucks to the hopper?
He answered that a conveyor belt would cost $12,000 and if it broke down, the entire production would be held up while waiting for repair or parts. The man OTOH gets paid $100 per month (!) and he can therefore feed a man and his family for ten years for the same cost as the conveyor belt. (No payroll tax or health benefits obviously.) And if the man should break his leg and be unable to work? The boss pointed to gate of the factory, where a few poor unemployed men hung around all day, just waiting for that to happen so that they could immediately replace him.
So ironically, in this model, people are cheaper than machines! And the factory owner is a hero for employing people instead of replacing them with machines.
Since someone mentioned how in some circles, Work is a 4-letter word, let me quote from a recent edition of Rav Miller’s Q&A from the Toras Avigdor foundation. It is one of my favorite responsas:
Q: The Rav has spoken to us often about common sense being an important part of how we approach certain questions. Wouldn’t common sense tell us that one has to work in order to make a living? So is sitting in kollel common sense?
A: You have to know that you have touched on a very important subject. If a person has funds or his wife is an idealist and she prefers to work so that her husband can sit and learn, then as long as she prefers that, it will be a mitzvah to continue to learn in the kollel. But if she does not want or is not able to work, then he is michuyav, he is obligated, to support his wife. He made a kinyan when he got married. He committed himself. “Ana eflach.” I am going to work. “Ana eizan.” I am going to support my wife. He’s michuyav to go to work.
It’s impossible for a decent man who doesn’t have any income to continue learning when he doesn’t have any way to support his family. Certainly he’s a choiteh! Certainly he’s a sinner; no question about it. And those people who dodge their responsibility and they therefore live in poverty and they’re suffering all kinds of troubles – just because they’re not willing to go out and support their families – those people are “asidin li’tein es ha’din.” No question about it. To be in kollel when it’s possible to be in kollel is a beautiful ideal. But when it’s not possible, it becomes a cheit, a sin.
TAPE # E-189 (June 1999)August 1, 2018 2:43 pm at 2:43 pm in reply to: The failures of lottery winners don’t mean that winning the lottery is bad. #1567982
There were some great tzaddikim that bought lottery tickets. Not everyone agrees, but certainly Yesh Al Mi Lismoch, so it can’t be totally assur or a P’sul.
Certainly it must have only been occasionally, because Leis Man D’Palig that buying it regularly is a waste of money.
There is a Chassidishe legend about a certain tzaddik who learned and did chessed every minute of the day. Once every few months when funds ran low, he did his ‘Hishtadlus’ by buying a lottery ticket (and winning apparently.) But I think no one today is on that level of bitachon and Melumad Binissim (a Baal Mofes).
See tosafos, who posits that perhaps ballet slippers are not shoes. Thus we can reconcile the two views by the greengrocers. But we should also consider whether one of the greengrocers was a talmud of Shammai and the other of Hillel…
Or one of them came from a town that has non-slip sidewalks, so public safety was not diminished by allowing personal freedom.July 18, 2018 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm in reply to: How important is it to you to have a nice mailbox? #1560901
I am not complaining, I enjoy your detailed explanations. Especially because of your profession and education, you include details that no one else would, with legal and historical reasons.July 18, 2018 11:42 am at 11:42 am in reply to: Question on Brachah of a certain Derivative of an Unspecified Plant #1560855
Swallowing something does not mean it’s a ‘consumable’. You can swallow tissues too. The purpose of swallowing unflavored tablets or capsules is to get it inside your stomach, without providing any enjoyment or benefit to your mouth or throat. That is why we don’t make a brocha on medicine. If oral medication has flavor and sweetener, it might indeed need a brocha (and a hechsher too.)
Salt is not eaten by itself, and if eaten by itself for health reasons (?) will indeed need a brocha – unless it is harmful. in which case it is not ‘supposed to be consumed.’
In any case, my point was just that the OP was so vague, that I failed to understand what he meant. I proposed a few possibilities.July 17, 2018 8:13 pm at 8:13 pm in reply to: How important is it to you to have a nice mailbox? #1560496
“My neighbor broke my mailbox with a screw driver.” – Shulem, you had a mailbox with a screwdriver? I can’t picture that. It’s a shame that your neighbor broke it. How did it happen?
This innocuous thread has had me laughing all the way from the start. Sorry CTL, but Joseph was funny, even though not very polite. And your response did not disappoint, at least in the depth of detail and history, even though it was modest. You even managed to get the word Grandfather in there!
And Lightbrite’s question, though innocent, just made the joke that much funnier.
All this was only funny because I knew exactly what the joke was making fun of, right from the title.July 17, 2018 8:13 pm at 8:13 pm in reply to: Question on Brachah of a certain Derivative of an Unspecified Plant #1560378
Maybe you mean chocolate. Chocolate is widely accepted as Shehakol, even though there are some good arguments that it should be a Haeitz.
Or maybe you mean beer. Tosofos asks why we don’t make a Mezonos on beer, but concludes that we make only shehakol on liquids (except for wine.)
Perhaps you meant instant mashed potatoes or Pringles. These are a machlokes, Rav Moshe holds that they are Ha’adamah, while many others hold that they are Shehakol.
Besides, you said “There is a certain consumable good upon consumption of which a brachah is required.” – what ‘consumable good’ DOESN’T require a brocha?July 17, 2018 1:43 pm at 1:43 pm in reply to: Two Children Caught With Radios In Catskills Interfering With Hatzolah Life Savi #1559677
IDK why the first part of my post never made it here. I found a news report from Lakewood in October 2013 that warned about kids playing with these radios. The picture here on YWN of the radios is the same one used in that article. The title was “Kids on 2-Way Radios Interfere With Emergency Calls”.
So it is not a new problem that Hatzolah has to start telling the world about.July 17, 2018 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm in reply to: Two Children Caught With Radios In Catskills Interfering With Hatzolah Life Savi #1559640
Of particular significance, the news reporter says “Police say the radios were taken away from the kids and later returned to their parents”.
Ah – the age-old question that was addressed in Pirkei Avos. How did they make the first set of Tongs, without Tongs! The Mishnah teaches us that Hashem created them (Yesh Meiayin) and presumably gifted them to mankind.
Then again, even given Tongs, would you know what to do with them? How did they know to add salt to their food? or bake bread, grind wheat, or even to eat the fruit and not the wood and leaves of the tree?
Animals are born with a certain instinct for whatever they need to survive, including what type of food they eat and where and how to find it. My guess is that mankind was also created with a certain amount of necessary knowledge. It must be, because they were created as full-grown adults and never had parents to teach and care for them.
Bowls and lids were around at the earliest times of man. They are even mentioned in the Torah. I assume the other basics like rope and buckets came along with the tongs.
Flush toilets (or toilets themselves)
Snaps, Elastic (socks!), Plastic anything, razor blades, electric hair clippers & shavers, sneakers, dish soap, water filters, ballpoint pens, eyeglasses, telephones,
You really ought to define some narrower parameters, such as inventions of the last decade / century / millennium. The list is really endless. If you went back 1,000 years in time, you would not recognize anything and would almost not be able to function. OTOH, if people from then came to our time, they would think we are wasteful and pampered.
LittleFroggie – Moshe Rabbeinu didn’t Record the RBSO. He transcribed his words. But I had the same thought when I saw the tile.
Seriously though, if the OP still needs the answer, my son will have it. He is a ‘musicologist’, studying the origins of old Jewish music, especially anything originally released on Record.
Is it okay to put your kids in a cage – if there are no (other) wild animals there?May 9, 2018 11:04 am at 11:04 am in reply to: Complaining about poor people not being poor enough #1518484
Halevai the mispalelim would wait until the end of davening!
If someone wants to make an appeal and asks the Gabbai for permission, he is told to wait until after davening. By then there is barely a minyan left. The rest of the collectors just walk around freely. That is typical for a busy shul in the middle of Brooklyn.
Note that locking the door is not an option, because just like there is barely a minyan by the end of davening, there is also barely a minyan at the beginning. People continue to walk in late, and very late.
The saddest part is that the first 10 to arrive and the last 10 to leave are mostly the same people!! To paraphrase Shabbos Zemiros – Hameachrin Lavo U’Meharririn Lotzais…
Since you mentioned a Bobov records – my son, who collects old Jewish records, mentioned that Bobov was the first Chassishe music recorded on a record. (He gave me some history about it too.)
A lightbulb in my head lit up, and I asked him –
Did they make it in BOBOV 45 and BOBOV 33?
(You have to know what a Record is to get the joke.)May 8, 2018 1:33 pm at 1:33 pm in reply to: Complaining about poor people not being poor enough #1517756
I don’t think the judgement is necessarily applied to normal ‘poor people’.
I can picture it in a situation where you want to decide if a person claiming to be poor is telling the truth. For example:
On every Wednesday (I don’t know why specifically that day) I am faced with 20+ collectors during shachris. I cannot afford to a) give all of them a decent donation, and b) cannot interrupt my davening so many times. I therefore feel the need to dismiss/ignore some of them if possible. Almost all of them are ‘regulars’ who come every week.
There is one in particular who wears gold rings, a fancy watch, and drives a very nice car.
Does that mean I am complaining that he is ‘not poor enough’? Rather I assume he is not as needy as the other people that I choose to give my money too.
It helps that he is rude, does not know how to answer Amen and does not even know not to ask people for money during Shemone Esrei. Maybe the next CR discussion can address whether they are “not Jewish enough”!
I don’t know about any album, but the words to EIZEHU MEKOIMAN are in every siddur… and in Mishnayos too.
Little Froggie: My son is an expert on Old Jewish Music. There have been so many bands in the past with funny names. I can’t name them all like he can, but a few come to mind:
Rashi and the Rishonim (The band leader was Rashi Schapiro – that is really his first name.)
Last week I said the Selichos of Yom Kipper Kotton, and when saying the Viddui portion, I remembered a question that comes to my mind every year on Erev Yom Kipper. We say “That which you Assered, I was Mattir, and that which you were Mattir, I Assured. Where you were Lenient, I was Stringent, and where you were Stringent, I was Lenient.” Since I am not a Posek, and certainly not purposely twisting the Halacha, when does this apply?
That night, in middle of the night, the answer occurred to me. Some people might have Minhagim that are the opposite of Halacha – whether it is L’Kullah or L’Chumra.
To The Little I Know – yes, when it comes to repairing a washing machine, you go to an expert. But when asking advice – even if it is social and not directly halacha related, one should still ask Gedolim. Their way of thinking is conditioned by all of the Torah that they learn, and their advice is what we call “Daas Torah”. That term doesn’t refer to a Halachic answer, which is a psak. It means an opinion from one who is infused with Torah.
Even when it comes to washing machine repair, you could ask your Rav (assuming you are not just wasting his time.) The sage advice he will give you would be to call a repairman! He might also point out what sins you could be doing that lead to such unfortunate breakdowns of appliances! (Today’s equivalent of stains on a Beged that won’t wash out – like Tzoraas?)March 14, 2018 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm in reply to: MAILBAG: Reader Upset With YWN Story About Hillary Clinton Falling #1489348
Thank you “The Little I Know” for that very insightful explanation. Although I am not positive that I heard it before, it rings true, so I will try to verify it with my Rav. But very interesting! And very relevant, coming just after Purim.
I do seem to recall R’ Avigdor Miller advising us to mock Reshaim so that they lose face in the eyes of others that might be swayed to them.
This is a quote from him:
“I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail,” he said. “There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”
Would you say he is in for a surprise??
Some of them might even be very old brands. Like ‘In-Sink-Erator’.
How about ‘People Pops’.
Borsalinos must be really cheap – many of the Meshulachim that come to my shul are wearing them…
But seriously, I have been very happy for years using Forster hats on New Utrecht Ave in Brooklyn. Cheap is easy to find, as is good. Both together is the challenge.
If the milkman delivers milk and the the mailman delivers mail, what do the Firemen and Garbagemen deliver?
The same question should apply to every other piece of technology that gets outdated each year or so. Where did all the previous models of Canon Cameras go, when the stores only sell the latest models? Or Sanza Clips, iPods, Cellphones, Laptops, and everything else.
Where do all of yesterday’s newspapers, and last month’s Reader’s Digest go?
If you want to stick to Yeshivish – where are all of the giant Chosson Shas’s, Rambams, or Shulchan Orachs that were still in the old print – not from Oz Vehadar, Frankel, etc…?February 21, 2018 3:06 pm at 3:06 pm in reply to: You are the conductor of a train 🚂 and you have a split second decision-what wou #1473799
A kite-flier or fisherman might pull a Cord, but a Conductor controls the Chords – with his baton!
Also let us not forget the old famous line – the Conductor minds the train, but the Melamed trains the mind!February 13, 2018 1:30 pm at 1:30 pm in reply to: Are Reiki and similar “therapies” consider Avizrayu D’avoda Zara? #1467894
Rabbi Yisroel Reisman gave a shiur on this topic a few weeks ago. His opinion is that almost all of these ‘alternative cures’ ‘are not only totally Assur, they are also completely fraudulent.
The gist of the issur is that Avodah Zarah means ‘serving’ – by attributing any power to ‘zarah’ – any being, creature, or spirit other than Hashem Echad.
So therefore, using any ‘method’ that involves tapping in to the hidden/secret/invisible/spiritual/virtual/imaginary power of’ [insert wacky name or concept here] is almost always going to be real Avodah Zarah. It might not even matter whether you actually believe in it or not, if the practitioner or inventor believes in it.
Mema Nafshach – if you believe that they have powers that don’t come from Hashem, it is Avodah Zarah. If you don’t believe that they have any power at all, then you are an absolute fool for going to them for a non-existent cure.
BTW – even if they somehow did have actual power to heal, it doesn’t make it muttar. Kishuf was also assur, even though it had real power. It came from Tamei sources. I am not saying that this exists today – just “even if.”
It’s the gift that keeps on giving! The more you give, the more that will come to get!
I am guessing that you just wrote ‘Eighteen’ in the amount, without the traditional line afterwards, designed to prevent this very fraud. The organization probably cashed the check for the perpetrator, giving him a percentage of the total. It appears that you have been the victim of intentional fraud and should contact the bank and the organization. Maybe they have some record of who they received the check from?
I have heard numerous complaints about people having checks written for Eight changed to Eighty – a very slight and easy change, and other similar changes. In addition to being careful when writing checks to not leave any extra blank space, I also check on my bank’s website to see the amount the check cleared for, and the back of the check to see what organization deposited the check. I had checks written to organizations (such as UTA – Satmar) cashed in non-tax deductible venues, such as Satmar Meat Market (for the aforementioned UTA check.)
I also make a note in my checkbook of the name of the person collecting. This is useful if for example they come back only two months later and claim that they haven’t been here since last year (technically it WAS before and after December 31,) or they say “Last time you gave me $100, can you give me a little more this time – and my records show that you gave them $25.
My worst peeve is that they come to my door already knowing my name, saying “Ah, Mr. Xxxxx! How are you!” as if they know me very well, even if they have never seen me before.
It depends which City. I biked to school and work for 30 years in Brooklyn (mostly just Boro Park and Flatbush), but now I work in Manhattan. Every day I cringe at how dangerous the bike traffic seems to be, both to the riders and pedestrians. There seems to be no safe path that they can ride on, having to weave around taxis, trucks, and stopped cars all over. I take the subway.
Business Halachah: A Practical Halachic Guide to Modern Business by Rabbi Ari Marburger (Artscroll Halachah Hardcover – 2008)
Lightbrite – who said anything about non-dairy?
Yes, it is “of significant economic importance” to me! My wife occasionally works for Norman’s Yogurts as a Product Demonstrator. I also worked for a yogurt company (ironically, a different one than my wife) as a product demonstrator during last week’s Kosherfest.
I happen to not like yogurt. But we do need to pay the bills!
And just for the record, I don’t think that ‘soft cheese blended with milk’ would be anything like Greek yogurt (the products we were demonstrating.) Like “Bread with Ketchup and Cheese” is not a substitute for Pizza.
I think that a different understanding of the Rav Miller’s precious advice will answer many of the issues that people brought up. I don’t think that he meant that the husband should bribe his wife. Perhaps he meant that the husband should demonstrate to her in a clear and kind way, how important this issue is to him.
For some husbands and wives, a diamond ring is a significant but attainable gift that will show the wife that the husband both loves her and very much wants to see her change the way she dresses. For others, it will take a more expensive gift, or OTOH maybe just sweet words alone without needing the large expenditure.
This understanding explains why the advice is not insulting to the wife, not too expensive to afford, or too cheap to be meaningful. Each husband had to use words and actions that are appropriate to deliver the Rav’s message – “I love you, and I just want you to realize that this is important to me.”
Rebyud, we would love to hear the story!
Here are some Interesting facts that I learned when I contacted the Dairy Counsel customer service a few years ago:
The fat percentage from Holstein cows in NY is inconsistent, and It is also too low on fat content for ‘regular’ milk. (It averages about 2.5%.) The milk cannot be used/sold as-is. While typical household consumers might not mind, manufacturers need to be consistent.
Therefore ALL of the fat is removed from the milk, and then added back in with precise amounts to form the different types of milk. Thus, the milks are all identical in vitamins etc… The ONLY difference is the fat content.
Regular milk has 4% fat
Low-fat (aka ’99’) milk has 1% fat
Skim milk has no fat.
So if you had just regular and Skim milk in your fridge, but wanted Low-fat, you could mix 3 parts skim and one part regular and get what you need!
Some of these mis-translations are quite amusing. I remember reading an article a few years ago about how some mysterious ‘structure’ was found on a satellite photo on Turkey’s Mount Ararat, and some people believed it to be Noah’s Ark. Google was able to find that article for me (from National Geographic, April 2010):
“The whole notion is odd, because the Bible tells you the ark landed somewhere in Urartu,”—an ancient kingdom in eastern Turkey—”but it’s only later that people identified Mount Ararat with Urartu,” said Jack Sasson, a professor of Jewish and biblical studies at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee.
The ‘scholar’ of that article is obviously not aware that the bible was originally written in Hebrew, and that Ararat is not a mis-translation of the Greek or English (or whatever) Urartu!!!!
Don’t confuse Hesped and Tachanun. In Nissan, we do not fast or make hespedim, and also don’t say Tachanun.
In Tishrei – from after Succos, there is only a minhag not to say Tachanun because most of the month already past without tachanun. Hespeddim and Fasts are still practiced.
I am just saying what I learned from the Mechaber, Remah, and Mishne Berrura. I am not claiming to understand it – is it in fact Rov?
I think you put it into the ground, pointy side up.
I always buy talis koton’s with the Thick tzitzis. They are thicker than the pathetically thin regular ones, which rip too easily.
Not as thick as a Tallis Godol but definitely noticeable if you plan on tucking them in. I switched over long ago when I looked at the thin tzitzis and felt like a baby. Once I switched I felt more proud of the mitzvah.
You can try moving to Brooklyn or Lakewood. Anyone can park a carriage (without horses) on their front ‘lawn’ without getting permission.
Assuming that they even have a lawn.
At least until it gets stolen…
Mystery solved, thanks to Google.
“The phone rang one day and I was asked by one of Uncle Moishy’s sons to create a new cartoon mascot character of Uncle Moishy. ”
From there on it was taken over by a ‘Marketing Company’ so basically it is the same singer (with a white beard) we all know and loved, with some over-the-top rebranding. “New” refers to his new CD and his new Avatar.
Maybe it means the same guy, but a new sound – perhaps his voice changed? The posters are very uninformative. I can’t tell if it is a new album, a concert, or whatever?
I also noticed that on the posters his beard is white!!
Meanwhile, getting back onto topic. I too, like iacisrmma, arrive early to Shul. I try to be helpful when I see strangers looking for a seat, to direct them to available seats. It is a very difficult task because our shul is usually quite full. The Gabbai has to know exactly who is not going to be coming on a particular Shabbos or Yom Tov.
One of the difficulties I have is that there are people who consistently come very late, but sometimes not at all. Their empty seats are an enticing draw for otherwise ‘homeless’ (seat-less) guests, who inevitably end up sitting there. I am always torn with the indecision whether to tell them that the seats are reserved and potentially look like a mean idiot when no one else comes to claim the seats, or to say nothing and then painfully watch when the rude seat-owners show up late and ask the guests to leave their seats. By that time, there are usually absolutely no other seats available.
I have on occasion given up my own and my son’s seats and stood in the aisle in order to rescue guests from the embarrassment of this banishment.
It bothers me greatly, but I basically said it all right at the start, when I mentioned that I always come early to Shul. Obviously I might be unhappy with people that do not care enough to ever come on time, but especially if they are mean to guests as well.
Quoting GAON – “I would never rely on any of those, unless written by a reliable Posek or by Rav Chaim himself.”
Getting way off topic for a moment (- but appropriately), this reminded me of the famous story about the Ohr HaChaim Hakodosh, during the time when he went ‘off the grid’ and traveled incognito for the purpose of self-imposed Galus. He was listening to a Rabbi’s drasha on Shabbos, and the Rabbi quoted what he allegedly heard from the Malochim discussing divrei Torah that the Holy R’ Chaim had said that week. R’ Chaim interrupted the Rabbi’s drasha to say “that is not what Chaim said!”. The first time, the Rabbi let the affront to the Holy Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh go by unpunished. But when this interruption from a seemingly rude stranger repeated itself, he had to defend the honor of “R’ Chaim” and had the stranger beaten (for calling him ‘Chaim’). This ended up being the message to R’ Chaim that his atonement was completed and he was able to return home.
My point is, that even R’ Chaim himself is not always believed when he denies (or maybe confirms) that he said something!!
I just got a new laptop to replace a very old 15.3″ and I opted for a 17″. I never carry it around, it is my home computer so I figured that I might as well enjoy a bigger screen size.
Things to know, (now that I learned them):
– the actual size difference between a 15″ and a 17″ is not that much. It is a diagonal measurement, so while the area and hypotenuse might be much bigger, the width and height are not.
– Far more important than size of the screen is resolution, color depth, or other quality factors. My 15″ was an expensive Dell, while my new 17″ is a cheap HP. There is simple no comparison – the smaller screen was so much sharper and clearer.
– I like the 17″ size because they typically come with a larger keyboard – specifically the separate number keypad. Nevertheless, on my cheap HP they still managed to skimp on the keys and mushed some of them together and skipped the dedicated F-keys. I have to press Function+number to get an F key. OTOH – My 15″ Dell had all of the desired keys in the usual locations.
– A 17″ might be too large for many laptop bags, briefcases, or other carrying devices. It might also be too heavy too lug around.
All in all, if the quality and everything else are exactly the same and you don’t need to transport it, I highly recommend getting the largest screen you can. More and more computer use involves pictures and videos, as opposed to the old days of just typing documents and reading emails. Plus, Your eyes are not getting younger, and you might some day appreciate the larger fonts and screen real estate.
Wow, I am just catching up on all of the beautiful essays that people wrote here – especially the one from Lilmod-Ulelamaid. Thank you for that, very well said!
Even if we stick to the most common definition of a Tzaddik as having more Zechusim than Aveiros, I think that we can all agree that the bottom-line actual value assigned to each aveira or mitzvah is so complicated that no human can ever understand it or know all the factors. For example, Mitzvos done in suffering or poverty are worth more than those that come easy. Aveiros might be attributed to an insufficient religious upbringing. It gets even harder when you consider that the value can change after the fact by doing teshuva, having Charata (even for Mitzvos), and deeds done even after death by others that were affected by the deceased before he died (decendants, or others that he was mekarev, or lives that he saved.) There are stories in the Gemara about people who acquired Olam Habah in one moment or act of teshuva. No one can even pretend to be able to figure it out.
I often think about this Sukkos time, when I go shopping for an Esrog or in shul during Hallel. I wonder about the comparison between a poor man who pays $50 for a simple Esrog with great difficulty and sacrifice, versus a wealthy man that pays $500 for the most beautiful Esrog in the shul, but for whom even that sum of money is insignificant. Whose Esrog is really nicer to Hashem?
Rabbi Shlomo Perl Zt”l gave a shiur (he gave many of course). He began by describing the parents of some friends he went to school with when he was very young. The father was a ‘bible scholar’ professor who knew how to learn very well but did not believe in any of it or keep any of it. They did not keep shabbos or kosher etc, even though he knew all of the halachos. Rabbi Perl then asked – Sounds like a rasha – no?
Then he seemingly went off on a new topic, and described his own life in detail. He originally went to public school and his family knew nothing at all. In 5th grade, a neighbor convinced his mother that Public School was too dangerous, and for that reason alone she switched him and his older brother into a yeshiva. He then described his life’s journey. His brother became a Rosh Yeshiva, and he went on to become a world-renown expert in Hilchos Shabbos who gave over 1000 shiurim on various halacha topics. When he was niftar he was the Rosh Kollel of the night Kollel in the Bostoner Bais Medrash in Flatbush (where I daven.) He then asked -imagine the Olam Haba that that neighbor deserves, for causing all of this Torah learning and generations of frum yidden that came from that act.
Then he surprised everyone by tying it back to his first question – the two stories are about the same people. The neighbor was in fact the same non-frum parent of his schoolmate. Rabbi Perl left it at a question. Not even he knew the answer to what the heavenly status of those people is.
My picture of the eclipse is not saying “Look – here is something that you can’t see anywhere else”. It is saying “This is what I myself saw, enjoyed, and was part of.”