Sunday, January 25, 2009


Momma Rochel brings Teshuva

Kever Rochel
by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

I entered the office today, a bit nervous has I was completing a presentation for a major customer and about to review it with the head of my employing company (and to present it later in the afternoon at the customer).

In the middle of the presentation review, my wife called sounding distressed. I queried if it was urgent, she said no and asked I call her back. After the meeting I did so, and she said she was a bit upset after dealing with a government office and needed me to get some employment papers she would need to return to the office (and work through the process again). I said I'd try, but I was a bit rushed as the afternoon presentation had been moved up and I needed to head to the customer in just a few minutes...

I grabbed my gear and headed for the door, leaving lots of extra time in case of traffic. But I stopped and thought, since my wife is distressed I'll detour to the side office and take care of what she needed.

When I arrived there, one of the guys from the office, about 25, secular Israeli, was talking very animated to the ladies in the office. I kind of tuned it out while waiting, but then I heard "Rochel Imaynu - Our Mother Rochel". Seemed he was telling the by now well known story of soldiers being saved in Gaza by the appearance of a lady in black from several booby trapped houses.

He was almost jumping up and down while describing this miracle, saying his brother knew one of the soldiers who was there! He was describing loudly the chesed of Hashem, how G-d is protecting Israel, how we must recognize this nes (miracle) and thank Hashem! This secular spiked hair Tel Avivian Jewish secular non-kippah wearing Israeli was just going on and on about Hashem and miracles and mitzvot.

I was stunned. I couldn't believe this young man, who would never strike me as having any inkling towards Yiddishkeit, was bubbling over with enthusiasm towards G-d. Finally one of the ladies he was speaking to said, "ok, well if this is really true, and I'd need to speak to one of the soldiers who was there, I'm moving to Meah Shearim (super-ultra-orthodox religious neighborhood in Jerusalem)". At this point I spoke up, "no need to do that, if you recognize the kindness of Hashem, just add a mitzvah, just one mitzvah you don't do today, like light Shabbos candles." The other young woman in the room spoke up, "I like Shabbos candles!". I smiled, "Baruch Hashem".

Here I am standing in the middle of an office in Tel Aviv, while a secular spiked hair young Jewish Israeli man is talking to several young secular Jewish Israeli women about miracles and faith in Hashem...

And that, I told my wife this evening, is why she had a rough morning, so she could motivate me to walk into the middle of a conversation and suggest a mitzvah - and be inspired myself!

Mi K'Mocha Yisrael? Who is like you Israel? The spark awaits in every neshamah (soul), just waiting for something to light the fire. Even in Tel Aviv, with spiked hair or platform shoes.

One unseen result of the Gaza war is a burning flame of emunah, faith, bursting forth from so many soldiers AND their friends throughout Israeli society. We may truly have won a great battle, a great battle of faith.


Nightghost said...

LOL, very beautiful!!

yaakov said...

this is the best!!!!

Anonymous said...

1) How did the lady in black save the soldiers? What did she do exactly?
2) How do we know it wasn't a physical woman? ?
3) Were the soldiers smoking something? Is it possible they are making up stories?
4) Why doesn't she save more Jews?

5) this woman who is so inspired by this story -would she be inspired to become a xtian if a bunch of people told her they were saved by jeebus on the battle field? Yeah, light a candle honey-how inspirational ...NOT!!!

I just hope Jews don't start seeing Rachel Imanu in their grilled cheese sandwiches or in water marks left by sprinklers!

( sorry if I'm a little bitter it's been a rough week)

Akiva said...

Anon - I'm not confirming the story, nor nitpicking it. I am, however, discussing it's impact at large.

However, in general it's amazing to see jaded Tel Aviv secular Jews with more concept of belief in a miracle that the religious community.

Have we become so jaded that if Moshe Rabaynu showed up with makkos (plagues) today we'd pass it off as bad Hollywood movie effects?

Anonymous said...

R. Akiva- Frankly I've had too many xtians shoving their miracle tales and good fortune in my face trying to convert me to be all that inspired by Jewish miracle tales. If such things swayed me I would not be here. And I would worry about other people whose faith is affected by such things. If Moshe Rabbenu came with the plagues these people faith would probably shatter. THings got worse for the Hebrew slaves before they got better.And I heard that two thirds didn't make it.
Also I remember reading a story a long time ago about the end of days and something about a JEwish fire offering being refused but the (Mslim ?) one being accepted. Do you know what I'm talking about?
Anyway, I've been secular most of my life and believe it or not you can be secular and believe in HAshem (and by extension miracles). Lot's of secular people beleive in HAshem what they do not believe in is sitting women at the back of the bus or blaming the Holocaust on sheitles or beating up women for wearing pants or erasing women's images from magazines and voting Republican and thinking that the xtians are just fabulous with their "judeoxtian" family values etc etc.
This story reeks of xtianity to me yes I know it's Rochel Imanu but it sounds an awful lot like how xtians are always seeing the wergin merry. I take it with a grain of salt-hey my ex boyfriend claimed he was levitated by Saten and Jeebus brought him back. Could be ya never know really anthing is possible but I wouldn't base my faith on that.
If more secular people are coming close to HAshem that's great we should all have a merciful redemption! But then again maybe you are seeing the secular people with different eyes-who knows?
anyway again -sorry if I'm grouchy it's been a rough week

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this beautiful and inspiring story. Yasher Koach!

Neshama said...

This is so wonderful. It's inspiring ad it's going all around the globe with slight variations.
Rabbi Yosef describes Rachel's 'manifestation' in Gaza,7340,L-3661283,00.html

Soldier's Secret Weapon
During Israel's operation in Gaza, religious faith has been integral to many soldiers' morale. A story has been circulating of a mysterious 'woman in black' who directed soldiers to safety just before an explosion. Shliach Aharon Pruss said soldiers are lining up to don tefillin, and a haredi organization has created a special "prayer hotline" for soldiers.

the sabra said...

Wow, so nice-thanks for sharing this.

(came from ur comment at rafi's)

lvnsm said...

In responce to a comment, yes there are some secular Israelies that believe in Hashem and some don't. But we also should practice the mitzvos like shabbos and kashrus, etc. I agree though that people should treat others respectfully.

In regards to the miracle, I agree that we shouldn't base our beliefs on miracles. But even if it wasn't Rachel that saved them, it is still amazing that they survived, and we should ackowledge the Hand of Hashem here

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