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                       Shaya's story

In Brooklyn, New York, Chush is a school that caters to learning
disabled children. Some children remain in Chush for their entire school
career, while others can be mainstreamed into conventional schools.

At a Chush fund-raising dinner, the father of a Chush child delivered a
speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended.

After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he cried out, "Where
is the perfection in my son Shaya? Everything God does is done with
perfection. But my child cannot understand things as other children do.
My child cannot remember facts and figures as other children do. Where
is God's perfection?"

The audience was shocked by the question, pained by the father's
anguish, stilled by the piercing query.

" I believe," the father answered, "that when God brings a child like
this into the world, the perfection that he seeks is in the way people
react to this child."

He then told the following story about his son Shaya:

One afternoon Shaya and his father walked past a park where some
boys Shaya knew were playing baseball.

Shaya asked, "Do you think they will let me play?"

Shaya's father knew that his son was not at all athletic and that most
boys would not want him on their team. But Shaya's father understood
that if his son was chosen to play it would give him a comfortable sense
of belonging.
Shaya's father approached one of the boys in the field and asked if
Shaya could play. The boy looked around for guidance from his
teammates. Getting none, he took matters into his own hands and said
"We are losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess
he can be on our team and we'll try to put him up to bat in the ninth
inning."

Shaya's father was ecstatic as Shaya smiled broadly. Shaya was told to
put on a glove and go out to play short center field.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shaya's team scored a few runs but
was still behind by three. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shaya's
team scored again and now with two outs and the bases loaded with the
potential winning run on base, Shaya was scheduled to be up. Would the
team actually let Shaya bat at this juncture and give away their chance
to win the game? Surpassingly, Shaya was given the bat.

Everyone knew that it was all but impossible because Shaya didn't even
know how to hold the bat properly, let alone hit with it. However as
Shaya stepped up to the plate, the pitcher moved a few steps to lob the
ball in softly so Shaya should at least be able to make contact.

The first pitch came in and Shaya swung clumsily and missed. One of
Shaya's teammates came up to Shaya and together the held the bat and
faced the pitcher waiting for the next pitch. The pitcher again took a
few steps forward to toss the ball softly toward Shaya. As the pitch
came in, Shaya and his teammate swung at the bat and together they
hit a slow ground ball to the pitcher.

The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could easily have thrown the
ball to the first baseman. Shaya would have been out and that would
have ended the game. Instead, the pitcher took the ball and threw it on
a high arc to right field, far beyond reach of the first baseman.

Everyone started yelling,"Shaya, run to first. Run to first." Never in his
life had Shaya run to first. He scampered down the baseline wide-eyed
and startled. By the time he reached first base, the right fielder had
the ball. He could have thrown the ball to the second baseman who would
tag out Shaya, who was still running. But the right fielder understood
what the pitcher's intentions were, so he threw the ball high and far
over the third baseman's head. Everyone yelled, "Run to second, run to
second." Shaya ran towards second base as the runners ahead of him
deliriously circled the bases towards home. As Shaya reached second
base, the opposing short stop ran to him, turned him in the direction of
third base and shouted, "Run to third." As Shaya rounded third, the
boys from both teams ran behind him screaming, "Shaya run home."

Shaya ran home, stepped on home plate and all 18 boys lifted him on
their shoulders and made him the hero, as he had just hit a "grand
slam" and won the game for his team.

"That day," said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face,
"those 18 boys reached their level of God's perfection."