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"In G-d We Should Trust!"

08/26/2020 06:06:01 PM

Aug26

Rabbi Reuben Israel Abraham, CDR, CHC, USN (ret)

Here is a true story of an incident that happened several months before the outbreak of the Second Lebanon War in Tammuz 5766/July 2006 as witnessed and told by Rabbi Lazer Brody in his book Chassidic Pearls:

On a balmy Thursday evening in Yerushalayim after putting their five children to bed, Rabbi “Benjamin” sat down with his wife to partake of a modest supper of day-old bread, a cucumber, and a cup of tea.  Because the tear that glistened in her eye caused him alarm, he thought he had caused her some kind of pain.  “My dear husband,” she said softly, “I hate to complain and to burden you, but there is nothing in the house for Shabbat.  I do not even have any flour with which to bake challahs let alone wine, fish, or a piece of chicken with which to feed the family.  What am I supposed to do?”

Rabbi “Benjamin” knew that he was being presented with a serious test of faith.  His “yetzer hara” (evil inclination) told him to do the following: “Forget your Thursday night chevruta (Torah learning with a partner), your recitation of midnight lamentations, your going to the mikvah in the morning, your “hitbodedut” (intense personal prayer) at the Kotel (the Western Wall) followed by “HaNeitz” (sunrise davening).  Instead, go do something to make some money for Shabbat!”  Rabbi “Benjamin shook off the “voice” of his “yetzer hara” and made an even stronger commitment to completing his regular routine of serving Hashem.  With utter and complete confidence, he told his wife: “Don’t worry!  HaShem will certainly provide for us in time for Shabbat!”

That night, a wealthy lawyer living in Haifa had a terrible nightmare that caused him to wake up in a cold sweat.  In his nightmare, he saw a Katyusha rocket come through the wall of his bedroom and explode in his bed killing him instantly.  With trembling hands, he called a well-known Haifa Rabbi.  He told the Rabbi about his nightmare and asked him what to do.  The Rabbi replied that he, the lawyer, must take this dream with complete seriousness and that he must fast all day Friday.  The lawyer protested that due to health reasons it was impossible for him to fast.  The Rabbi then told him that he could redeem the fast with a contribution to charity, specifically to a worthy Torah scholar.  “I do not know any worthy Torah scholar,” protested the lawyer.  “Do you, Rabbi?”  “Yes, as a matter of fact, I do,” replied the Rabbi.  “I will be going to Yerushalayim to pray at the Kotel.  Give me a generous donation, and I will make sure that worthy Torah scholar receives it.”  With that, the lawyer gave the Rabbi 400 shekels, and the Rabbi headed for Yerushalayim in his beat-up Subaru.

As it turned out, once each month the Rabbi would arrive at the Kotel three hours before sunrise in order to recite the entire Sefer Tehillim (Book of Psalms) before davening “HaNeitz.”  As usual on such a day, this day the Rabbi approached the Kotel, kissed it, and began his recitation of Tehillim.  There was only a handful of people present at that hour, but not far away from where he was sitting, the Rabbi saw a young man in his thirties engaged in an intense tearful prayer to Hashem.  The Rabbi was not eavesdropping, but he could not help but overhear the young man’s words:

HaShem, you know that I left everything behind to devote my life to Y-u.  I gave up medical school for Yeshiva resulting in my friends taunting and making fun of me for making t’shuva.  Beloved Father in Heaven, I do not ask for an easy route, and I do not want any riches.  But Y-u have commanded us to honor the Shabbat.  How can I do that with an empty table?  Y-u commanded me to learn Torah day and night.  But how can I do that with a hungry family?  Please, Heilige Tatty (Holy Father), hear my prayers.  Shabbat begins in another 14 hours.  I know I deserve nothing, but please strengthen my emunah (faith) and my bitachon (trust) by sending me the wherewithal to honor the Shabbat with my family….”

 At that point, the young man could not continue speaking as he was sobbing uncontrollably with tears streaming down his face.

The Rabbi from Haifa was in awe of HaShem’s unbelievable Divine Providence: three hours earlier He (HaShem) had sent the nightmare to the wealthy lawyer right before he (the Rabbi) was to make his monthly visit to the Kotel in Yerushalayim.  And here was this obviously worthy Torah scholar who was in need of the 400 shekels he had been given to donate to such a person.  With a silent prayer of thanks to HaShem for the privilege of serving as H-s messenger, the Rabbi walked over to the young Torah scholar and handed him the 400 hundred shekels, but not before he shared the story of the lawyer’s nightmare.  The young Torah scholar was overwhelmed with a profound sense of gratitude, and he blessed the Rabbi and lawyer.  Needless-to-say, everyone had a joyous and wonderful Shabbat!

But that is not the end of the story.  Three months later, a deadly Fajr missile came crashing through the lawyer’s bedroom wall in his luxury apartment on Mount Carmel and exploded in his bed.  But, as it turned out, he was NOT there!  He and his family had decided to spend the night with relatives in Herzliya.  As our Sages have taught, charity saves a person from death.

We read the following in this week’s parashah (Torah portion): “…and blessed are you in the field.” (Devarim 28:3) This blessing was to come to the B’Nei Yisrael because of their adherence to maintaining the covenant made with HaShem at Mount Sinai in that they would keep the mitzvot of the Torah.  We promised: “Na’aseh ve-nishmah” --- “We will do and we will obey.”  All the rest will follow from our being Hashem’s most beloved of all people.  I ask you: As we approach the coming new year of 5781, is it not the time to live up to the promise we made at Mount Sinai.  Hashem trusts that we will keep our part of the covenant.  We should trust that He will do the same.      

Thu, April 22 2021 10 Iyyar 5781