Binum Binyamin Tuvia ben Chana Freidel you can understand why people need Tehillim and prayers in the Shemona Esray Prayer at Rofa’aynu section. Please those who can keep up the prayers for the list.
Re: Harry’s Letter
Apparently you haven't noticed how the (fill in blank: reform, conservative, orthodox) respond to such an invitation. To put it mildly, it's been tried, and it fails miserably. OK, if you don't care about the failures, but only the attempts -- hey, go for it. Over the long run, who knows? But over the short run, it's been tried and it fails. (Also Joseph wrote me in a similar vein on this subject.) I have come to the conclusion that if a person reaches the age of 30 or older they are pretty set in their ways. One has to have an opened mind to listen. I even listen to the Wall Street Protesters – yes some big shots at corporations are receiving ridiculously high fees – not one million or two million dollars but tens of millions but that does not give the right of the Protesters to blame the Jews for the wealth of J.P.Morgan, Buffett, Gates, Carlos, Walton, MacDonalds and others who have the wealth. However, the world owes the protesters nothing contribute nothing receive nothing unless you are such a Nebuch Individual who is 100% Disabled from childhood. I have seen dozens of these individuals actually contribute via menial jobs or repetitive jobs to help society at the lowest end of the pay scale.
Thanks to Chaim B. The Baker’s Tale Richard Rabkin
They could have shut their eyes and minded their own business, as so many people did in 1940s Poland. But when a three-year-old Jewish boy landed on their doorstep, so to speak, the Bulik family — bakers by profession — opened their hearts and gave the child a home. Michael Bulik, proprietor of Canada’s Bulik Bakery, tells the tale.
At 4 a.m. on a Monday morning on the outskirts of Toronto, Canada, Michael Bulik opens the doors of his family business — the Bulik Bakery — and walks straight to the refrigerator where a nondescript plastic container hides his establishment’s most prized possession. It has traveled across continents, and it has lived through wars. It has witnessed both acts of human depravity and triumph. It has also sustained his family for a hundred years. Michael reaches for the container — his family’s unique sourdough starter — and begins the painstaking process of creating sourdough.
Unlike most other breads, sourdough breads don’t use yeast to rise; instead, a bacterial culture called “starter” grows the dough and leavens the bread. This starter can only be produced by a master baker, and in the Bulik family’s case, their starter has been passed down from generation to generation.
But the starter isn’t the only thing that has been passed down in this family. Just as the Buliks’ sourdough contains within it the remnant of previous “generations,” so too do Michael Bulik and his family retain and cultivate a very different kind of prized possession — a possession that explains why this non-Jewish bakery has a hechsher from Canada’s largest kosher certifier, COR (Kashruth Council of Canada) — their still ongoing relationship with a Jewish child that their family hid during World War II.
Who was this child, and why did the Buliks risk their lives to save him? To answer these questions we must leave the present bakery behind and travel back to 1940s Poland, where 18-year-old Wanda Bulik is about to encounter a three-year-old boy who is traveling alone on a train and crying.
“Can You Care for this Child?”
When World War II broke out in 1939, the Buliks’ bakery, which was founded by Ignacy Bulik in 1912, was already a well-known Warsaw institution. Despite the war, the Buliks, along with Warsaw’s other non-Jewish residents, could go about their daily routines and even enjoy themselves — as long as they didn’t openly rebel against their German occupiers. The situation was very different for Warsaw’s more than 400,000 Jews, who were crammed into an area just over one square mile in size, which became the Warsaw Ghetto.
Ignacy Bulik’s 18-year-old daughter Wanda therefore was able to continue with her private dance lessons at a music and language school on 25 Common Street in downtown Warsaw. One morning, during her regular commute from the suburban area where her family lived to her school, Wanda was stopped by the train conductor, who thought she worked for the Red Cross. The conductor pointed to a three-year-old boy who was sitting by himself on the train, crying, and said, “This is the third time I’ve seen this boy taking the train on this route from Minsk to Warsaw. We need to help him. Why don’t you take care of this child?”
In a 2008 interview with Polish magazine Wysokie Obcasy, Wanda Bulik recalled that she had a feeling that the little boy was Jewish, but, “I didn’t care. He was nicely dressed with a full head of blond hair. I liked him.”
But when she took the boy home, her father saw things differently.
The Bulik family opened a package that the boy was carrying with him. It contained some clothes and a note. Wanda had been right. The boy, whose name, according to the note, was Tolek Weinstein, was Jewish. And it was no accident that the boy had been traveling alone on the train. The note ended with an anguished plea from the boy’s family: would whoever found the boy please take care of him.
Ignacy, the patriarch of the Bulik family, was terrified. He had personally witnessed the Nazis drag his neighbor into the street and, in broad daylight, execute the man and his entire family. The man’s crime: hiding a Jewish child. Ignacy Bulik desperately wanted to avoid a similar fate for his family. But his daughter persisted. As the Talmud explains, one can "acquire one’s share of the World to Come in just one moment." This was the Bulik family’s moment — and Wanda won the argument. Ignacy gave his permission to hide Tolek Weinstein.
Life for the Buliks and their new “son” was at times surprisingly normal. He went to a Polish school and played with the other children in the neighborhood. He went on family trips with the Buliks in the winter, tobogganing in the special winter clothes that Wanda had sewn for him. He was part of the family. He even called Wanda “Mommy.”
Other times, things weren’t as normal. The Buliks had a friend named Henrik who was a police officer. Henrik knew their secret, and he would warn the Buliks about any movements of German soldiers in the area. When the danger of discovery seemed imminent, Henrik would take Tolek to stay with another police officer and his wife, who had no children of their own. Such was the effort required to protect one Jewish child, but it was effort well spent. Tolek and his rescuers were never discovered, nor were they ever betrayed.
After the war’s end, there was a massive humanitarian relief undertaking that helped young and old alike. Those responsible for assisting Jewish children came to learn that Tolek’s story was not unique. There were a number of Jewish children hidden by non-Jewish Polish families. The question was how to find the children and either return them to their parents or find them an adopted Jewish home.
Yeshayahu Drucker, who later became a colonel in the Israeli army, was then a captain in the Polish army’s Chief Rabbinate. He made it his personal mission to uncover these Jewish hidden children. He had heard about Tolek and in 1946 he approached the Buliks and asked if they would release him. At first they didn’t want to. “We loved Tolek,” Wanda recalled. “He was part of our family.” Even Ignacy Bulik, who hadn’t been sure if he wanted to take in Tolek four years earlier, now didn’t want to let the boy go.
But Drucker persisted. Then he was contacted by a Jewish couple who had lost their son during the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Their family name was Greenberg, but they had received forged papers with the last name Rajscy and therefore were able to live out the war outside of the Ghetto by posing as non-Jews. The Rajscys, as they still called themselves, wanted to adopt Tolek. They had been friendly with his biological parents before the war and as a result felt an attachment to the child.
The Buliks agonized over what to do. They knew that if Tolek remained with them, he would likely become a baker. If he went with the Rajscys, he could go to university and have a better life. Their desire for Tolek to have a better life won the day.
“We all cried hysterically as they took him away,” Wanda recalled, adding that Tolek also cried. “He screamed out, ‘Don’t let them take me! I don’t want to go!’”
The Rajscys, who told Tolek that they were his parents, moved to France. They sent the Buliks a postcard with a picture of Tolek and an inscription written in the boy’s hand, which said, “For Mommy.” The Rajscys added their own note, writing that they would be moving to another country. They didn’t specify where. With that, the Bulik family lost touch with Tolek Weinstein. Wanda tried many times to locate him, but the trail went cold. For 49 years.
“You’re Not Going to Believe the News”
When their ship neared the shore of Eretz Yisrael in 1947, the Greenbergs/Rajscys were full of hope. After the horrors of the war, they wanted just one thing: a safe harbor where young Mati (aka Tolek) could thrive and grow. He didn’t disappoint them. The European-born survivor forged a new identity in a country of determined fighters, rising through the ranks of the Israeli army and eventually becoming a colonel. He married a woman born in Krakow who also had been hidden by a non-Jewish family. In time Mati and his wife had children of their own — two daughters.
But in the corridor leading from his dark European past to a bright Israeli future, one door remained locked tightly. Mati’s adopted mother passed away when he was a young man. During her last remaining days she revealed to him that the story she and her husband had told him after the war wasn’t true. They were not his real parents. Mati was adopted. The pain and confusion caused by this revelation forced Mati to suppress the story of his childhood, never to be spoken about again.
Or so he thought.
One day, his 12-year-old daughter Noa received a school assignment: write an essay on any topic. Anything. For some reason, Mati’s daughter chose to write about children of the Holocaust. “Of all of the topics, she had to choose this one?” Mati recalled feeling. “I tried to convince her to choose another subject but she was stubborn. So I had no choice. For the very first time, I told my daughter my story.”
Mati assumed that it would end there. Instead, his daughter’s essay won top prize and she was invited to read it to an assembly of school principals. “While watching my daughter present her paper, I felt something in my soul stirring. This was the first crack in my wall of silence.”
Later, Mati heard that the Israel Broadcasting Authority was producing a documentary about children of the Holocaust who were looking for information. Mati volunteered to take part in the documentary, something that would have been unthinkable only a few years before.
During the making of the documentary, called Wanda's List, Mati was reunited with Yeshayahu Drucker.
“I remember your story well,” Drucker told Mati. “The Buliks were the first family who didn’t want any money. In fact, they refused to take money. The only condition they made was that you couldn’t be sent to an orphanage. They only agreed to a family.” Drucker added, “They really loved you.”
The documentary was broadcast in both Israel and Poland. After it aired Mati received a few phone calls from people in Israel who thought they had useful information, but nothing panned out. Then a letter arrived from Poland, from a woman named Antonina Liro. As he read the letter, something inside of him said, “This is it.” He got on a plane and departed immediately for Warsaw.
The story that Mrs. Liro had to tell could have been the basis for a best-selling suspense novel, but every word of it was true. She had been friends with Mati/Tolek’s biological parents, Cyla and Mieczyslaw Weinstein, Mrs. Liro explained. When the war broke out, Tolek’s parents were forced into the Warsaw Ghetto. Every few days at a designated time Mrs. Liro would come to the wall dividing the Ghetto from the rest of the city and throw food over the wall.
At some point, the Weinsteins were able to smuggle their son out of the Ghetto and place him with their former neighbors. But this was only a temporary solution. Therefore, one night in 1943, the Weinsteins managed to arrange a clandestine face-to-face visit with Mrs. Liro. Mrs. Weinstein explained that her husband had been badly injured and was dying. Mrs. Weinstein was also unwell. They feared for Tolek’s safety and begged Mrs. Liro to please locate their son and take care of him. She agreed.
Mrs. Liro found Tolek — and not a moment too soon. While the woman of the house had agreed to hide Tolek, her husband was adamantly against the idea. He yelled at his wife for “hiding Jews.” He even threatened to turn her over to the police — his own wife. Mrs. Liro quickly volunteered to turn young Tolek into the police for him. Instead, of course, she intended to take the boy to a safer hiding place.
Her first plan was to take Tolek to her parents’ house. But when they arrived, she was horrified to see that German soldiers were removing her parents from their home. Panicking, she ran into a nearby forest where she and Tolek were forced to spend the night. The next morning Mrs. Liro took Tolek to the train station.
When she came to this point in her story, she told the grown-up Mati, “I am sorry. I couldn’t keep you. With me, you had no chance to survive. Neither of us did. But I thought if I left you on the train, then maybe someone would have pity on you and take you in.”
Fortunately, the young Antonina Liro was right. Wanda Bulik was able to provide the blond little boy with the refuge that she could not. But even though Mrs. Liro wasn’t able to give little Tolek shelter, she was about to give the adult Mati something else. In that short conversation, Mrs. Liro gave Mati closure, putting to rest the many years of questions about what had happened to his biological parents.
Mrs. Liro was not the only Pole to view the documentary. One of the Bulik sisters had also seen it, and when a photograph of the young Tolek was flashed on the screen she knew at once that this was the same picture as the one on the postcard that Wanda had received from France — the postcard upon which Tolek had inscribed “For Mommy.” She called Wanda immediately.
“She told me, ‘Sit down because you’re not going to believe the news. Tolek is alive. He is living in Israel and he’s looking for you,’” Wanda remembered. “I went straight to the Jewish Historical Institute in Poland and they got in touch with some Israeli officials. That’s how I learned that Tolek was in Warsaw at that very moment!”
Mati rushed over to see Wanda. He presented her with a big bouquet of flowers. “He was so happy to see me,” Wanda recalled. Mati added, “I couldn’t believe it. I was finally able to close the circle.”
The Circle Widens Back in Israel
Mati’s eldest daughter Yael was volunteering at a conference that was hosting a number of foreign dignitaries, including Polish president Aleksander Kwasniewski. Yael asked for a photograph with Mr. Kwasniewski. When he asked her why she wanted the picture, she responded cryptically, “It’s a long story, but I think some friends in Poland would enjoy seeing the photograph.”
Something about Yael’s response didn’t sit right with President Kwasniewski. At the farewell banquet he instructed his aides to approach Yael and find out the rest of the story. When President Kwasniewski heard all the details, he wrote the Bulik family immediately, telling them how proud he was of their heroic action.
The Bulik family was later honored by Yad Vashem with the special designation “Righteous Among the Nations.” In addition, a New York–based group called Foundation for the Righteous honored Wanda Bulik and 60 other Poles at a luncheon in Warsaw; the organization voluntarily supplements their meager monthly pensions. The Israeli government has also honored the Bulik family, bestowing upon them honorary Israeli citizenship should they ever wish to move to the Jewish state.
With his story now in the public purview, Mati Greenberg no longer feels a need to suppress it. Rather, he reflects on it, seeing the hand of God watching over him and protecting him. “There’s no other possibility except that my survival was Divinely predestined. For me to be smuggled out of the Ghetto, for Antonina to rescue me just before I was going to be turned in, for her to evade the police, for me to sit on the train with the conductor allowing me to ride back and forth, for Wanda to board exactly that train at exactly that moment, for her to agree to take me, for her family to allow me to stay, for the police officer to help hide me … it has to be more than just chance. There must have been a guardian angel looking out for me who said, ‘No matter what happens, this child will live.’”
Mati Greenberg has continued to keep in close contact with the Bulik family. He has visited Poland a number of times, and they have even visited him in Israel. On one of Mati’s visits to Poland, Antonina Lira hosted a get-together in his honor, inviting friends and neighbors. One of them asked him, “So when are you going to come back to the homeland?” Mati replied, “With all of my appreciation for the people of Poland, my only homeland is Israel, the homeland of the Jewish People.”
During another one of these “family reunions,” a chance exchange put the wheels in motion for Canada’s Bulik Bakery to go kosher. One of Ignacy Bulik’s grandsons, Urek, was living in Canada, where Urek and his son Michael were continuing the family profession.
“Tolek said to my father, ‘How about becoming kosher?’ Immediately, it all made sense,” Michael recalled. “In 2000 we became kosher-certified by the COR. It’s been 11 years and we have a great relationship with the COR. But it’s more than just a business relationship, because of the connection that we have with the Jewish People.”
The COR agrees. On a recent inspection visit one of COR’s rabbis was exchanging pictures of his children with Michael Bulik. He confided to Michael that his daughter was sick. She had begun limping inexplicably, and an MRI had revealed a lesion on her leg. They were still waiting for the results of a biopsy. The rabbi admitted to Michael that he and his wife were afraid. Michael Bulik put his hands on the rabbi’s shoulders and said, “Whatever happens, you will be able to deal with it. If Tolek made it, I am sure your daughter will too.”
A few days later the rabbi received the fantastic news that the lesion was benign. His first phone call was to his family. The second one was to Michael Bulik, who is, indeed, now part of the COR family.
“If my great-grandfather Ignacy knew that our breads are kosher-certified, I’m sure it would put a big smile on his face,” Michael Bulik mused. “Just as our family and the bakery have been interconnected for almost a century, the fact that we are today kosher-certified also brings our family’s story full circle.”
(Reprinted from “Mishpacha Magazine”)
The king must be treated with great honor. We must implant awe and fear of him in the hearts of all men. The command Deuteronomy 17:15: 'Appoint a king' implies the obligation to be in awe of him.
We may not ride on his horse, nor sit on his throne, use his scepter, wear his crown, or use any of his utensils. When he dies, they should all be burned before his bier.
Similarly, only another king is allowed to make use of his servants, maids, and attendants. Accordingly, Avishag was permitted to Solomon, but prohibited to Adoniyahu.
However, a king's wife is forbidden to share intimacy with another person forever. Even another king may not marry a king's widow or divorced exwife.
It is forbidden to observe him while he is naked, while he is having his hair cut, while he is in the baths, or while he is drying himself afterwards.
He may not perform chalitzah, for concerning that ritual, it is said Deuteronomy 25:9: 'And she shall spit before him.' This would be disrespectful to the king.
Even if he desires to perform this mitzvah, he is not given the opportunity because a king's honor must be preserved even though he is willing to forgo it.
Since he is not allowed to perform chalitzah, he is not eligible to participate in yibbum. Similarly, in the event of his death, since it is forbidden to initiate yibbum with his wife, chalitzah is also not performed for her. Rather, she must remain in her state of attachment forever.
Even if one of his close relatives dies, he may not leave his palace. When he is served the meal of comfort, the entire nation should sit on the ground and he should sit on a low couch.
If he enters the Temple courtyard, and he is of David's descendents, he may sit. For the only ones who may sit in the Temple Courtyard are kings of the Davidic dynasty, as II Samuel 7:18 states: 'And David sat before God.'
A king should have his hair cut every day. He should dress and adorn himself in attractive and impressive garments, as Isaiah 33:17 states: 'Your eyes shall behold the king in his beauty.'
He sits on his throne in his palace and has a crown placed on his head.
When he desires, the nation must present themselves before him. They should stand before him and prostrate themselves to the ground. Even a prophet must stand before the king and prostrate himself on the ground, as I Kings 1:23 states: 'Behold, Nathan, the prophet came before the king and prostrated himself before the king.'
However, a High Priest need not come before the king unless he the High Priest desires to do so. The High Priest need not stand before the king. Rather, the king stands before the High Priest, as Numbers 27:21 states: 'And he shall stand before Elazar, the priest.'
Nevertheless, it is a mitzvah for the High Priest to honor the king by having him seated and standing in his presence when he visits him. The king should only stand before him when he consults the Urim and Tumim.
Similarly, it is a mitzvah for the king to honor students of Torah when they enter his presence. He should stand before the Sanhedrin and the Sages of Israel and seat them at his side.
Jehosephat, King of Judah would follow this practice. Whenever even a student of a Torah scholar would come to him, he would rise from his throne and kiss him and address him as 'My teacher and master.'
When does the above apply? When the king is alone in his palace. Then, in private, before his servants, he should behave in this fashion. However, in public, before the people at large, he should not conduct himself in this manner. He should not stand before anyone. He should not speak gently and should address a person using his name alone in order that the awe of him will be implanted in everyone's hearts.
Just as the Torah has granted him great honor and obligated everyone to revere him; so, too, has it commanded him to be lowly and empty at heart, as Psalms 109:22 states: 'My heart is a void within me.' Nor should he treat Israel with overbearing haughtiness. For Deuteronomy 17:20 describes how 'he should not lift up his heart above his brothers.'
He should be gracious and merciful to the small and the great, involving himself in their good and welfare. He should protect the honor of even the humblest of men.
When he speaks to the people as a community, he should speak gently, as I Chronicles 28:2 states 'Listen my brothers and my people....' Similarly, I Kings 12:7 states 'If today, you will be a servant to these people....'
He should always conduct himself with great humility. There is none greater than Moses, our teacher. Yet, he said Exodus 16:8: 'What are we? Your complaints are not against us.' He should bear the nation's difficulties, burdens, complaints, and anger as a nurse carries an infant.
Psalms 78:71 refers to a king as a shepherd: 'to pasture, Jacob, His nation.' The prophets have described the behavior of a shepherd (Isaiah 40:11): 'He shall pasture His flock like a shepherd, He shall gather the lambs with His arm and carry them in His bosom."
Loosing one’s Jewish Identity. http://www.aish.com/jw/s/Menorah_on_Top_of_the_Tree.html
Story and Editorial: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/8-year-old-israeli-girl-face-clash-moderates-ultra-orthodox-jews-article-1.997389 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/27/naama-margolese_n_1170655.html?icid=maing-grid10%7Chtmlws-main-bb%7Cdl3%7Csec1_lnk3%26pLid%3D123182
Yehoshua commented after I wrote him what I thought of these primitive fanatics spitting on a 7 or 8 year old girl on the street: Yehoshua Ya'acov - Their extremism knows no bounds, and is almost as bad as what the Gulag's atheists are pushing, with their weighted secular police state coercions. Yes indeed, we've BIG PROBLEMS all rooted in DENIAL of exile's end, and Zionism COLLAPSE since; which most Jews have NOT yet caught up wtih, as most are in DENIAL.
Spitting on people to make your point is not Torah (Derachecha Darkei Shalom) your paths are pathways of peace. If you want to be a Taliban and have your wife walk like a subservient person or animal that is one thing but don’t tell my wife or I how to dress, walk and where to walk on a public street which is neither under your ownership or under your control. Can you imagine the scandal of a nurse or wife pushing an elderly man in a wheel chair such a sex scandal! These people are self-dilusional and not in a real world. I have stopped donating to most of their causes but they disguise them to get money off of other Jews and make war with us. I have become wary of who I give charity to as a lot of scams are out there. They need finance from the normal UltraOrthodox people and regular religious Jews as most do not work and then they go out and attack us. Do not give money to Toldos Aaron or Satmar Charities because unfortunately they are used against us.
window. One may not write nor draw using water that spilled on a table. One may not use one's nail to make a mark on page, to enable one to find the place again, or for any other reason. Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 80:62 Shabbat Shalom - Danny
Air Force kills Gazan terrorist in missile attack Israel Air Force and Shin Bet fire missile at Gazan terrorist involved in recent attacks on Israel, killing Islamic Jihad militant and injuring two others in the northern Gaza Strip.
Not all people from German background or Germans are Neo-Nazis but this man is Nicht alle Menschen aus der deutschen Hintergrund oder Deutsche sind Neo-Nazis, aber dieser Mann ist http://hotair.com/archives/2011/12/27/paul-hamas-was-encouraged-and-really-started-by-israel/
Abbas wants a 3rd Intifada: http://www.debka.com/article/21604/
1. Hallelujah! My soul, praise the Lord. 2. I shall praise the Lord in my life; I shall sing to the Lord as long as I exist. 3. Do not trust in princes, in the son of men, who has no salvation. 4. His spirit leaves, he returns to his soil; on that day, his thoughts are lost. 5. Praiseworthy is he in whose help is the God of Jacob; his hope is in the Lord his God. 6. Who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them, Who keeps truth forever. 7. Who performs justice for the oppressed, Who gives bread to the hungry; the Lord sets loose the bound. 8. The Lord gives sight to the blind; the Lord straightens the bent; the Lord loves the righteous. 9. The Lord guards the strangers; He strengthens the orphan and the widow, and He perverts the way of the wicked. 10. The Lord will reign forever! Your God, O Zion, to all generations. Hallelujah!
Good Shabbos and Happy Chanukah Everyone. In this week’s parsha Miketz, the Torah continues its narrative of Yosef’s prowess in interpreting dreams. The Sages tell us that dreams have 1/60th of the power of prophecy. The following amazing true story, which occurred less than two weeks ago, illustrates the power of dreams to uncover the hidden spiritual world.
This past Shabbos Chanukah was especially inspirational in New Square, New York, where Chassidim gathered in droves to watch their Rebbe light his massive silver Chanukah Menorah shortly before the onset of Shabbos. As the Rebbe finished lighting the Holy Chanukah lights, the Chassidim and onlookers filed out of the giant Beis Medrash (shul), rushing home to light the own menorahs in the few minutes which remained before Shabbos.
Arguably, the highlight of a Shabbos in Skvere (New Square) is the Friday night Tish the Rebbe’s Friday night meal, which is carried out in grandeur. Soon after the Tish began this last week, an unfamiliar face made his way to a seat near the front of the giant table. Who was this tall man with a white beard and deep blue eyes? Whispered the Chassidim among themselves. The man swayed with the beautiful zmiros (Shabbos Songs) and he appeared to be uplifted along with the other assembled Chassidim.
After the Tish, the word got out that the man’s name was Avrohom Greenfeld (not his real name) and he had come from Eretz Yisroel. Avrohom has many interesting stories to tell. The following is one story, which Avrohom told at the Friday night meal to the assembled guests in the home of Reb Yidel Lichter on Monroe Lane in New Square, NY. Among the assembled Shabbos guests was the author himself.
Avrohom Greenfeld was born in Germany, after the Second World War. His parents were survivors of the atrocities which beset the Jewish nation during the war years. Soon after his birth, Avrohom’s parents moved with him to Eretz Yisroel.
Unfortunately, although the Greenfelds physically survived the war, their faith in Hashem did not survive, and they lived their lives like assimilated Israelis. Thus, Avrohom was raised completely secularly. All of this changed about 28 years ago when Avrohom became one of the first talmidim (students) of the then fledging Israeli section of the world renown Baal Teshuva Yeshivas Aish HaTorah.
Eventually, Avrohom met and married an American Gioris (righteous female convert). Avrohom’s wife hailed from a small town in Western Illinois. Throughout the time that they were married, Avrohom and his wife would make periodic trips from Eretz Yisroel to visit the wife’s family in Illinois. In the course of these visits to Illinois, Avrohom befriended a local resident by the name of Lawrence Robertson (not his real name). Although Lawrence appeared to be a mid-western non-Jew, Lawrence was in fact a Jew, albeit an almost totally assimilated Jew.
Avrohom maintained contact with Lawrence over the course of many years. Through phone calls and letters, and an occasional visit by Avrohom, the two became close friends. Avrohom and Lawrence often spoke about religion. Avrohom was surprised to find out from Lawrence that Lawrence had in fact had roots in the Satmar brand of Chassidus. Lawrence was however far removed from his Chassidic roots, for he lived for the most part a totally secular existence.
Avrohom often gently encouraged the elder Lawrence to increase his Torah observance. Avrohom even sent mezuzas to Lawrence, so that Lawrence should have kosher mezuzas. Despite of all this, Lawrence was never inspired to dedicate his life to Torah and Mitzvahs. Nevertheless, Avrohom and Lawrence maintained a close friendship.
About two years ago, Avrohom lost contact with Lawrence. At first, the 74 or so year old Lawrence did not return phone messages. Soon after, his phone was disconnected. Avrohom sent letters to which he received no response. Being that Avrohom was extremely busy in his personal and professional life, he did make the time to try to find out about what had become of his friend Lawrence.
On December 10th of this year, Lawrence came to his friend Avrohom in a dream. In the dream, Lawrence told his friend Avrohom, that he had passed away exactly two years earlier on the same secular date December 10th. Lawrence begged Avrohom in the dream to take me out of here. Avrohom woke up sad, fearing that his friend had in fact passed on to the next world. Although, Avrohom was at a loss to explain the words of Lawrence: take me out of here. When the same dream repeated itself several times, Avrohom began to wonder
About a week ago, Avrohom’s company in Eretz Yisroel sent Avrohom to the Midwest, where the company has business dealings with a large tractor manufacturer. Being that Avrohom was in the area where Lawrence lived, Avrohom searched out Lawrence. Unfortunately, Avrohom found out that his dream came true. Lawrence had in fact passed away two years previous.
Avrohom is a man of action. He took little time in finding out what had happened to his friend’s remains. He was told the worst: Lawrence had been cremated, a direct violation of Jewish law. Even worse than that was the fact that the authorities had placed Lawrence’s remains in a non-Jewish cemetery. Apparently, Lawrence had no close relatives and the authorities only discovered Lawrence’s last will and testament after it was too late.
Avrohom visited the non-Jewish cemetery where he in fact found a grave marker with a Star of David at the head of Lawrence’s grave. Avrohom now understood Lawrence’s words in the dream take me out of here. Lawrence wanted to be removed from the non-Jewish cemetery. Lawrence had a plan. It was crazy, but it just might work. However, he needed to enlist the help of someone else in order for the plan to work. He approached a local non-orthodox Rabbi. The Rabbi was shocked at the boldness of Avrohoms plan. Avrohom told the Rabbi look, if you are a Yid, (Jew), you will do it. It took several hours of convincing, but the Rabbi agreed to help.
That night, late at night, the two slipped quietly into the non-Jewish cemetery, carrying shovels. The ground was frozen and covered with snow. It took a long time, but they managed to dig out the urn containing the remains of Lawrence. The next stop was the local Jewish cemetery. There, in the cold of the early morning hours, they buried Lawrence’s remains. Despite the fact that there was no minyan, Avrohom determined that it was an Ace Laasos LHashem (a time when the Torah may be abridged, in rare circumstances) and he said Kadish for his old friend Lawrence.
Avrohom concluded his story at the Lichter’s Shabbos table. All were astounded by Avrohom’s dedication to Hashem, to Torah, and most of all, to his friend Lawrence, may he rest in peace. Good Shabbos Everyone and Happy Chanukah Everyone. M. Wolfberg is sponsored by Refuah Shleima to Reb Mordechai Menachem Mendel ben Tziporah Yitta Refuah Shleima to Tsviah bas Bracha Leah