Tuesday, December 28, 2010

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Member of Parliament

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by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths

     The day before yesterday, the Prime Minister of Lithuania came to the Kotel with a group of some 10 Members of his Parliament. One of the Members of Parliament walked a little behind the rest of the group so I was able to walk over and talk to him. I asked him if anyone in his group was Jewish.

     He answered, “Yes. One man is.”

     I told him that he should go over and tell him to put on tefillin. I pointed to the men putting them on so he would understand what I was talking about. He went right over and told one of men in his group what I had said. I went with him, and the Jewish man asked me if I spoke Yiddish. I quickly called for one of the Yiddish speaking guys to help him.

     Emanuel is a Member of the Parliament in Lithuania. Before World War II there were some 220,000 Jews living in Lithuania, 7% of the total population. There were over 110 synagogues and 10 yeshivas in Vilnius (Vilna). So strong was their influence that the term Litvak(Lithuanian Jew) is still often used to cover all Orthodox Jews who follow the Ashkenazic and non-Hasidic style of life and learning, whatever their ethnic background.

    During the German invasion of June 1941, 206,800 Lithuanian Jews were murdered by the Nazis and the all-too-willing Lithuanian collaborators. Most of the Jews were taken into the woods to be shot in graves they were forced to dig themselves.

     Some 3 million people live in Lithuania. Only 4,000 of them are Jews. One of these Jews is a Member of their Parliament.

    Jews are an amazing people.


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