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In this week's parashah, we learn how Yehudah argued with the ruler of Egypt, whom he did not know was his own brother Yosef, to obtain the freedom of their brother Binyamin who had been falsely accused of stealing Yosef's silver cup. "For your servant took responsibility for the youth from my father saying, 'If I do not bring him back to you then I will be sinning to my father for all time.'"

Rashi explains that Yehudah told Yosef, "Should you ask why I enter into the contest more strongly than my other brothers then I will tell you; I have more to lose; they all stand outside the matter, but I have placed myself under a firm bond to be an outcast in both worlds." Yehudah was more concerned about saving Binyamin than were the other brothers because he had a personal loss at stake; he had accepted responsibility towards their father. Therefore, he was, in a sense, fighting for himself; not just for someone else.

Many people ask me what is the secret of Rabbi Grossman's success in Migdal Ohr? How is he able to transform hardened criminals and potential felons into honest, law-abiding citizens of Israel? As one who has had the privilege of working with him for over 10 years, I believe that the following short story can provide us with the answer.

One evening, at about half past one AM, Rabbi Grossman's phone rang. On the line was a concerned mother who explained that her young son was scheduled to undergo surgery the following morning. She asked the Rabbi if he knows, perhaps, the head of the Neurological Department in Haddasah Hospital in Jerusalem and could check with him whether the appointed surgeon was qualified to perform such a dangerous operation.

Rabbi Grossman did know the Professor, but, before he could reply, he heard the woman's other phone ring. She excused herself for a moment and the Rabbi overheard her talking to a representative of a medical organization who assured her that the surgeon was top of the line. Satisfied with the information she had just received, she apologized to Rabbi Grossman for bothering him in the middle of the night.

For all practical purposes, the Rabbi was "off the hook" and could finally prepare for bed. It had been a long day and tomorrow promised to be just as tedious. But Rabbi Grossman thought to himself, - If it were my own son, would I rely on the information of that medical organization when I personally know the head of the neurological department in Hadassah? Of course not! So if it is my friend's child, is that any different? Of course not. I must call him.

But the question is, when? Big professors don't appreciate being awakened in the middle of the night. Perhaps I should wait until the morning.

But then the Rabbi thought to himself again. If it were my own son, would I wait until the morning? Of course not. I would call the Professor tonight, apologize profusely, and explain that my son's life is in danger and I just cannot wait. So if it is my friend's child, is that any different? Of course not. I must call him immediately.

Rabbi Grossman called the doctor and apologized for waking him at 2 in the morning but explained that someone's child's life was in danger. He then told him the details of the situation. The Professor said, first of all, that such a sensitive operation requires another surgeon - not the one assigned. Secondly, he said that he wants to examine the boy himself, tomorrow morning, before he undergoes the surgery.

The next morning, the Professor examined the boy and was shocked. He said that had they performed the surgery that morning, the boy would be dead. Instead, he prescribed a totally different treatment.

Today, this boy is alive because Rabbi Grossman considers someone else's child like his own, as the Bible says (Vayikra 19:18), "Love your fellow like yourself."

I believe that that is the secret of Rabbi Grossman's success. To him, every one of the six thousand children in Migdal Ohr is his own child, and he gives them unconditional love, sacrificially, like every father gives his natural son. Someone even complained to me recently: "Rabbi Sobel, why do you say that there are orphans in Migdal Ohr? It is not true at all. Every child there has a father: He is Rabbi Grossman!"

Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Jerusalem, Israel