Rebbetzin Dr Dvori Blumenau
And the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be Hashem who has not left you without a redeemer today! May his name be famous in Israel. He will become your life-restorer, and sustain your old age…” (Rut 4:14-15)
וַתֹּאמַרְנָה הַנָּשִׁים אֶֽל־נָעֳמִי בָּרוּךְ ה' אֲשֶׁר לֹא הִשְׁבִּית לָךְ גֹּאֵל הַיּוֹם וְיִקָּרֵא שְׁמוֹ בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל.
וְהָיָה לָךְ לְמֵשִׁיב נֶפֶשׁ וּלְכַלְכֵּל אֶת־שֵׂיבָתֵךְ...(רות ד:יד-טו)
In an office building in Tel-Aviv, on the second floor, there sat a businessman. His phone rang, it was his wife: “darling I’m running out of time, could you by any chance organise supper for tonight?” “Sure, no worries I will take care of it”, answered her husband. At around 6pm he stood at a long queue in a treif takeaway place to get pork for supper. While waiting, his thoughts drifted to many years back, to his grandfather.
His grandfather was a rabbi in a concentration camp. People looked up to him and asked him for guidance. He miraculously survived the war. On the last day, as the Russians’ tanks were coming near, the Germans who were in charge of the camp called all the Jews and asked them to stand in a circle. The rabbi was commanded to stand in the middle. One cruel soldier held a piece of pork and handed it to the rabbi and said: “now you either eat this or you will be killed”. The rabbi refused to eat it, even though it was minutes before their ultimate freedom. He was brutally murdered on the spot. So that was the end of him, he clearly suffered for all these years in vain, to be killed a few minutes before their salvation.
However, this man had a child who heard about his father’s tragic end, and in turn he told the story over to his son, who suddenly remembered it. The young man left the restaurant thinking: “my grandfather died, refusing to eat treif and I stand in a long queue to buy treif?” He then decided to find out more about the mitzvot for which his grandfather sacrificed his life. Soon enough, he became a true Baal teshuva, and opened up the Arachim movement that influenced hundreds of thousands of Jews to become G-d-fearing.
The Biblical Naomi was returning to Israel as a poor lady, she had never wanted to leave the Holy Land, she had wanted to be with her nation and continue raising her kids in the Torah way. She was a good-hearted person and a role-model. However, she had been forced to leave the Land and go to Moav. There she lost everything, her money, husband, children, and hope. She walked back to the Land barefoot, she had no future ahead of her, just an embarrassing past. She was convinced that her deeds were inappropriate and were the reason for her suffering. So that was the end of her, she thought. Little did she realise that in a short while, through the act of yibum, the soul of her deceased son would come back and reignite her dynasty. She never imagined that from absolute nothingness, she would become a mother to Jewish royalty and sit beside her descendant, King David, while on his throne.
On the 16th of Iyar was the yahrzeit of “Our man in Damascus”, the Israeli spy, Eli Cohen. For four years he endangered his life for Am Yisrael. He lived in fear and had to give up on his family life. His actions saved thousands of Jewish lives. But in the end he was caught, tortured badly and hung. Until this very day he has no grave. We are all still waiting for his body to return to Israel (Eliyau ben Shaul). So that was the end of him… or so it seemed. Arachim, the biggest teshuva movement in the world, has many good lectures, however the most powerful of all is the one that proves that the Torah was given by the Almighty. And how has this lecture started for the past 40 odd years? Yes, with the story of Eli Cohen, as an analogy for the clarification of the material.
Hence, the man that we thought “survived” the Holocaust in vain, had in actual fact started Arachim, and the lady, who she and others thought was a “write-off”, started the redemption, and the man that sacrificed his life for us and perished, has actually brought and still is bringing thousands of Jews closer to the Creator every single year, which brings mashiach.
So, if you put in energy, from a pure heart and good intentions, this energy cannot possibly get lost. You will get rewarded, this energy will come back to you, even when things seem as though your energy was wasted, and it seems to be the end. That end will bring you a new beginning that will grow and flourish.