Tuesday, April 26, 2011

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You Never Know

by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths

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    Jews are an amazing people. Wherever we are, whatever we are doing, you never really know what is spiritually going on in a Jew’s life.

    A friend of mine, who is a Chabad shiliach (emissary) in Germany, sent me this story. The man in the middle is a Russian Jew named Leonid, who left Russia and now lives in Germany. All of his family were members of the communist party, and as such, they never gave their children any Jewish education. For Leonid’s entire life, until this day, he remembers absolutely nothing Jewish ever happening in his home. After all, the communist party was renowned for being against religion.

     His father passed away 23 years ago, and two years ago his mother also passed away. He went to the local Chabad shul (synagogue) to say kaddish(the mourner’s prayer) for her. Leonid liked what he saw there, and he continued on. In the two years since his mother’s death, he has grown in Torah observance.

      A month ago, my friend felt that it was time to speak to him about a bris (Jewish circumcision). This is a major problem with Russians who were raised under the influence of communism. Also, it is not such a small matter for an adult male to undergo this procedure, but for whatever reason, Leonid agreed. The rabbi checked to be 100 percent certain that Leonid was Jewish, and they made an appointment with a mohel (circumciser) in Antwerp.

     They arrived for the bris and the mohel took Leonid upstairs for the bris, while my friend and his friends said Tehillim (Book of Psalms). After ten minutes, the mohel returned to them and said that he never had such a case as this. Leonid had already been circumcised! Not that he was born circumcised as sometimes, although very rarely, can happen, but that he had a kosher circumcision by a proper mohel. Leonid had no idea about it. All his life his parents never told him. He did not even know what a bris was. He thought that the mohel was going to cut something off of him. The mohelcalled a second mohel to verify what he thought. The second mohel said that this was a one in a million story.

     After all of these years, Leonid learned of the mesirus nefesh (self sacrifice) of his parents. If the bris had been discovered, his parents would have lost their positions in the party, their jobs, their home, everything… and they would have had to look for new work in a hostile environment. But still, they somehow found a way in communist Russia in 1955, while living as communists, to have a secret bris, a bris so secret that even their son did not know about it until today.

1 comment:

  1. What an amazing story.

    True Mesiras Nefesh on his parents part. I guess it was the "pintele" yid deep within.


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