Spiritual Tools: Rav Yaakov Yitzchak Ruderman: Losing Sleep
The 14th of Tammuz is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Yaakov Yitzhak HaLevy Ruderman: I was sleeping in my grandparents home, and woke up about 2AM to my grandfather zt”l pacing back and forth in the living room. “Is Zaidy all right?”
“No! I’m stuck on a Tosfos and can’t believe that I missed this question for more than seventy years!”
I was stupid enough to suggest, “Why doesn’t Zaidy go to sleep and find the answer in the morning?”
He looked at me as if I was insane. I went back to sleep.
An hour or so later, I woke up to the sound of voices in the kitchen. My grandparents were both awake, dressed in their best Shabbat clothes, my grandmother in a dress and high heels, drinking a L’Chaim over orange juice!
“I found the answer!”
When he went to bed, my grandmother asked him if he found the answer and she got up, got dressed and joined him in a L’Chaim.
I still haven’t decided whether I was most impressed by my grandfather’s refusal to go to sleep while struggling with a question, or my grandmother’s pure joy when her great husband found an answer. Either way, I learned a lesson in the incredible value they both had for Torah.