Sunday, March 23, 2008

A Tragic Purim for One Family becomes a Miracle Purim for Four Other Families


A beautiful post by Eli Birnbaum, the Director Internet Services and Public Relations for The Jewish Agency for Israel, reminds us how one can turn around a tragedy to make a miracle.

This reminds me of a story I heard that has become one of my favorites:

An old man who was very hard of hearing, attended a shiur by his rabbi. He wasn't quite sure what was said, and he was too embarrassed to ask the rabbi to repeat what he had taught. However, when he returned home, he was excited and happy.

He said to his wife: "The rabbi taught that G-d loves bread! We must make G-d some bread!"

His wife happily made bread for G-d--12 loaves--and her husband snuck into the synagogue and put the loaves into the ark next to the Torah.

Later that night, the poor janitor was sweeping up, and he stopped before the ark and said a little prayer: "G-d, I have 12 children and no money for food! Please help me!" Just then, the Janitor thought he smelled something--fresh bread? . . . coming from the ark? He opened the doors to find the bread and began dancing around. A miracle had happened!

The next morning, the old man attended minyan, and when the ark was opened the man worried that the rabbi would find the bread and demand to know who put it there. He was afraid he would be thought a fool. But when it came time to remove the Torah--there was no bread! G-d had taken the bread! The man was so happy. A miracle had happened!

Of course, we are to understand that G-d's miracles happen when Jews do what they think is right. Many of today's miracles are in-part the inspiration of G-d, and in-part the act of humanity. We must Thank G-d for both!

A difficult Purim

Purim we are all commanded to be cheerful, so what do you do when you have hanging over your head pure pain. This Friday we in Tekoa buried Halleli Wolfish - 18 months old--who had lain in a coma for the past three weeks. Both at night and day the reading of Migillat Esther was subdued and almost surreal. How can you feel any joy when surrounded by grief?

Friday morning hundreds of friends and family followed the small body to her resting place, and then had to find the strength to prepare a Seudat Purim. In a courageous decision the young couple decided to use their personal loss to help four infants--which included the youngest heart transplant in Israel's history. This morning I watched one smiling mother interviewed who praised the Purim miracle which hopefully will save her child's life and then left to sit shiva with the family.

In Israel the is nothing unusual about having Yom Hazikaron one day and celebrate Yom Atzmaut 24 hours later. What is unusual is that this wonderful family decided on the same day to actually create joy for others out of their loss. This is the secret of our faith and the hope of the Jewish people.

If you wish to send any messages to Shlomo and Aviya Walfish please send it to me directly


Eli Birnbaum
Director Internet Services and Public Relations
The Jewish Agency for Israel
Tel: 972 2 6202689 Fax: 972 2 6202708

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