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Wednesday, February 21, 2024 - 12 Adar I 5784
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A Right Mentor, A Right Match

Shaya Borsilovsky was 26 years old. A few years earlier Shaya had made aliyah to Israel from Kiev, Ukraine. While still in the Ukraine he had studied in yeshivah, and once in Israel he continued his studies in a yeshivah in Kfar Chabad. However, at a certain point he decided to work in the computer field.Igrot Kodesh, Chabad

He successfully completed a course of study in computers and was hired by an established company in Petach Tikvah, where he works to this day. Shaya rented an apartment near his work, and like any Chabad chassid, he soon became a focal point for disseminating Judaism. Every Shabbat he would open his home to guests, mainly from the former Soviet Union, and would provide them with both physical and spiritual sustenance.

When he reached the age of 26, his singlehood began to bother him strongly. This was in 2002, and he was not sure how to proceed. His work took up many hours of his day, and he had little time and energy left for dating.

As he had been taught in yeshivah, Shaya sat down to compose a letter to the Rebbe, expressing the concerns in his heart. He asked the Rebbe to send him a mentor who would guide him through this stage in his life.

Early the next morning, Shaya arrived in the synagogue for Shacharit, the morning prayers. Suddenly he felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned around and it was "Dovid,"

 one of his fellow congregants. "Shaya, I understand very well what you are going through," Dovid told him with empathy. "I also got married at a later age and I am very familiar with the struggles you are dealing with now."

Shaya was surprised, but mainly amazed that his request to the Rebbe had been answered so quickly. Here was a person who was sympathetic, with whom he would feel comfortable baring his soul.

After a few moments of thought, Shaya turned to Dovid and asked him if he would become his spiritual advisor, known in Chabad parlance as a mashpia. It was evident that Dovid was somewhat taken aback by the request. After a moment of silence he said, "Shaya, listen, there is something I need to tell you."

Dovid related that before he had married, he was popular among the yeshivah students his age or younger. Many of them sought his advice and he served as their mashpia. However, the time he spent advising them cut greatly into his personal time. After he married, his wife requested that he cease devoting so much time to the younger students. She felt that she was losing out in her relationship with her husband.

With little choice Dovid agreed to the request, but he was not at peace. At different  times he wrote letters to the Rebbe, and the pages he opened to in Igrot Kodesh, the Rebbe's published letters, he found blessings and guidance for being a spiritual advisor, a mahspia.  Dovid tried to explain to his wife that he had the Rebbe's encouragement and advice to continue in this role, and that many people benefited from his advice. However, she was not prepared to accept this.

"Yesterday," Dovid concluded, "I sat and talked things over with my wife. For some reason , this time she agreed that I should resume being a mashpia, but only to one person, no more. And only a few hours later, here you are to make this request."

Both Shaya and Dovid felt that their encounter was through the power of the Rebbe. That evening they sat down for a talk, and Shaya expressed his yearning and frustration. Dovid advised him to take a leave of absence from his work and travel to New York, to spend some time in the Rebbe's synagogue and yeshivah. "You will have an opportunity to refresh yourself spiritually, and when you come back, G-d willing, you will find a suitable partner."

Shaya took Dovid's advice. To his relief, his company allowed him to take an extended vacation, and he flew to New York. He spent a full year there, and after the year was up, Dovid advised him not to return to Israel immediately, but to go back to the Ukraine, where he had grown up. A good friend suggested that he go to Dnieperpetrovsk, where there was a large seminary for Jewish women. Perhaps he would find a match there.

Three days after arriving in the Ukraine, Shaya went on his first date with the woman who would later become his wife. The Bursilovski family now lives in Petach Tikvah, where they continue to  reach out to fellow Jews in every manner possible.


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