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Wednesday, June 01, 2011

 

The Weeping Paratrooper's Tefillin

In honor of Yom Yerushalayim, which began last night and continues till nightfall today, I bring you the following story. I have translated it from the recent B'Sheva weekly.


The Weeping Paratrooper's Tefillin
by Oded Mizrahi – B'Sheva, 23 Iyar 5771



During the Six-Day War, Avraham was a runner for the Paratrooper Company Commander in the 71st Battalion. When the battle was decided in Sinai, the regiment was summoned up to fight in Jerusalem. After his Company Commander, Yoram Zamush, accepted the mission to break into the Old City, he turned to Avraham and said: "Take your tefillin, because tomorrow we will be at the Kotel [Western Wall]! Surely a lot of guys will want to put them on."
Avraham excitedly went to one of the other Companies, where his friend, Moshe Grossberg, one of the last Jews born in the Old City, and told him tearfully: "Moisheleh, tomorrow our Company will break into the Old City. Take your tefillin, so they could put them on at the Kotel tomorrow."
Moshe laughed in disbelief, but still took the tefillin.
The campaign included fierce fighting at the Jordanian police academy and at Ammunition Hill. Finally, the command to enter the Old City came from the Brigade Commander, Motta Gur. The paratroopers broke through Lions’ Gate and reached the Wall. Once he reached the Wall, Avraham buried his head between the stones and began to cry. Then he took the tefillin that were in his pouch and began to put on the Tefillin shel Yad [hand-tefillin]. A secular soldier grabbed his Tefillin shel Rosh [head-tefillin] and put them on. No one could just stand in front of Western Wall. Some put on Tefillin shel Yad, others Tefillin shel Rosh, while still others prayed. Everyone felt that something had to be done b’Kedusha - in sanctity. After the initial excitement, Avraham and some friends got up on the ledge and hung an Israeli flag. Later Avraham’s picture, with his face buried in the wall, was published, and he became known as "the weeping paratrooper."

More than six years passed, and the Yom Kippur War broke out. Paratroopers were recruited, this time led by Danny Matt. After two weeks, an order came to cross the [Suez] Canal. The Brigade Commander gave the order and prepared his soldiers for a difficult battle, saying that "not everyone will return. Those who are afraid can stay behind." There was a plan to transfer a limited number of fighters to see what the Egyptian reaction would be. The forces lowered a "portable bridge" into the water, and the fighters, including Avraham, passed through the Canal and returned to the other side. Then they threw hand grenades into the water so that the Egyptian commando fighters would not dive in and blow up the bridge.
On Friday at one o'clock in the afternoon, the Egyptians attacked with fifteen MiGs. Four Israeli Mirages fought them at point-blank range in the air, and downed them one by one. During the air battle, one of the MiGs went down to the Canal and fired rockets at the Israeli ground forces. Avraham was in the trench and one of the rockets hit his ammunition pouch and exploded. Shrapnel penetrated his stomach and his feet. The tefillin that were between him and his ammunition prevented a far more serious injury. He was wounded, and immediately evacuated to the Regiment’s meeting station. From there, he was taken to hospital in Refidim, where they took out the shrapnel with tweezers. He was then taken to a hospital in the home front, but caught a ride on an armored personnel carrier on Friday afternoon, and returned to his Company.
When he returned to his kibbutz, Shluchot, for a furlough, he took the tefillin that was damaged to a scribe from the kibbutz and asked him to repair them. The scribe took them, and gave Avraham a replacement pair of tefillin to use. Upon completing his army service, Avraham returned home and received the tefillin. The scribe painted the boxes and the straps, and said that he replaced one of the four parshiot [parchments] of the Tefillin shel Rosh, and now they were all right.

Fourteen years later, Avraham arrived in New York, where he lived with his relatives. He told a relative: "I want to see what the story of the Lubavitcher Rebbe is about."
"Come on, don’t go," said a relative, "There are so many people standing in line."
Nevertheless, he went to the Beit Midrash of the Rebbe, and waited in the line for the distribution of dollars for over two hours. When it was Avraham’s turn, the [Rebbe’s] secretary asked him: "What's your name?"
"Avraham Meir ben Yoel, from Israel."
"Do you know Yiddish?" asked the secretary.
"A bissel (a little bit)," said Avraham.
Avraham entered. The Rebbe saw him and said in Yiddish, "You are one of the special people," and then continued in Hebrew, "and you were protected from Heaven." Finally, he gave him a dollar bill. Avraham did not understand exactly what the Rebbe had meant.

Twenty-one more years passed. One day, the Rav collected all the tefillin of the kibbutz members for a thorough inspection in Yerushalayim, at the scribal institute, "Oter Yisrael." Avraham told the Rav that if his tefillin were found to be pasul [invalid], he wants them back [anyway], and told him the story of tefillin during the Six-Day and Yom Kippur Wars. After a long while, the Rav called him and announced: "Your tefillin were invalid. There was a large rip at the verse of Shema Yisrael."
Avraham was astonished. He recalled the scribe that replaced some thirty-five years ago one parsha of the Tefillin shel Rosh and did not find any further problem. He told this to the Rav. Finally, it was decided to replace all the parshiot.

The old parshiot with the rip are still in Avraham’s possession, and they remind him that the tefillin with which he shared with the first paratroopers to reach to Kotel, they are what saved him in the Yom Kippur War.

Comments:
A wonderful, bakanteh story. Thanks for the translation. Did you by any chance get my email?
 
Thanks so much for the translation, Yitz.
 
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Thank you for this story!
 
My New Hashkafah of Shidduchim :-)

My new hashkafah of shidduchim is thanking and praising HASHEM always :-)

Even when my dating experiences are far from pleasant, I realize that HASHEM is guiding my life with His infinite wisdom and abundant love, and exact precision that only He is capable of :-)

HASHEM always knows what is truly good for me, even when I do not :-)

Often what I need most is atonement and humility, so G_d gives me those precious things through unpleasant dating experiences :-)

I now realize that I must always thank HASHEM for ALL of my dating experiences, because even the worst dates are for my eternal benefit, because they provide me with precious atonement and humility :-)

Tractate Avot teaches that the reward for a good deed is proportionate to its difficulty; by giving me difficult dating experiences, HASHEM is providing me with greater reward for Olam HaBa, in addition to precious atonement and humility :-)

G_d loves me even more than I love myself, and He would never give me an unpleasant dating experience unless it was for my eternal benefit in both Olam HaZeh and Olam HaBa :-)

THANK YOU HASHEM!!!!

Thank you for all my dating experiences, whether pleasant or unpleasant or mediocre :-)
You are always guiding me with endless wisdom and love; You always help me and give me everything I need :-)

I regret all the times I complained;
instead of complaining, I should have been busy thanking You.
THANK YOU HASHEM!!!!

 
BS"D
Discussion with Moishe'la (with his family)
A Handicapped child
Tishrei 28 '5774(Oct 1 '13)

"We Cried and We Cried"

I want to tell you that Zaidy came to me again from Olam Ha’emes. (My Zaidy, a great Tzaddik, was very famous when he was alive.) I want to tell you that he sat down next to me when I was sleeping, and said to me, "Yingel Yingel my Zeesa Yingel (my beloved boy) I am so proud of you. I am so happy that you are in the house that you are, in the home that you are, and I Bentch you that you should continue bringing truth to our family and truth to the Yidden wherever they might be."

And then he said, "I have more to tell you. I am very worried about my adopted homeland the United States of America. I am not worried about the place itself, as we all know its pure Edom. I have always realized how this Golus of Edom has almost destroyed all Yiddishkeit in America.

"But no I am not worried about the Edomite country called the United States. I am worried about the Yidden in United States. First of all they are in very big physical danger and of course we know very well that the Yidden in America, including the Frum, are in great spiritual and physical danger. Of course there are always exceptions to the rule, but the very big majority of the Yidden in America are in very big spiritual danger.

"Don't get me wrong. I am not saying that the Yidden all over the world are in a better condition, but I am worried especially about the Yidden in the United States of America.

"I really want them to do Teshuva, real Teshuva. And I know that I have said this many times, and people don't understand what I am talking about. Even when you explain it so clearly, most people just brush it off because it's much more interesting to be busy with the Gashmius than to be busy with the Ruchnius. It take less spiritual and emotional effort to rise high in the attainment of the Gashmius, than it takes to rise high in the attainment of the Ruchnius.

"Since I was very young I realized that the American Jewish community would eventually disappear. Now however I see clearly that the United States of America is disappearing right in front of our eyes. Soon there will be no United States of America, and the Yidden will have to find themselves a new home. I hope they decide on Eretz Yisroel, and hope they do it quickly, because if not well……. "

Then he asked me to sit down with him and say Tikkun Chatzos. Together we Davened and we cried, and we cried, and we cried. I closed my eyes so I could feel the Tza'ar HaShechina, (the pain of Hashem) and when I opened them my Zaidy was gone.

 
BS"D
Discussion with Moishela (with his family)
A Handicapped child
Teves 8 '5774 (Dec 10 '13)

"No One Can Enslave Us"

Yes, I see very dark clouds on the horizon, very dark. I see great chaos everywhere. It is beginning. It is coming. It is coming from up. It is coming from down. It is coming from the left. It is coming from the right. It will come from the east, from the west, from the north, and from the south.

We are in the end of times. We are at the point of no return. There will be no extra time given from Shomayim. There will be no softening of the Din. Whatever has to be, will be because now is the very end of times. We are going into the most difficult period that the prophecies, the Nevuas, have warned us about. It will be very frightening indeed, but Be'ezras Hashem those Neshomas that were at Har Sinai will be saved, as I have said before, but know it is getting worse and worse.

The world in the past twelve years has changed not only politically but also in its natural shape. Islands have disappeared under the water. Terrible storms and earthquakes have changed our world completely. The terrible tsunami that hit Japan and destroyed the Fukushima atomic power plant has poisoned the Pacific Ocean, and the air above it with its radioactivity. Poisoning the Pacific Ocean and the air above it means poisoning humanity. We have suffered from Hurricanes like Sandy, hundreds of deadly tornedoes and all kinds of typhoons, and other types of terrible storms which have killed thousands, tens of thousands and even more. We have suffered from all kinds of terrible diseases which the medical profession doesn’t seem to be able to control. We have suffered from droughts, and from many unusual volcanic eruptions. Besides all that, we have been plagued by lies, the lies of the rich the ones controlling the monies of the world. We have actually become the victims of thievery in the greatest way. "Just take whatever you want from our bank accounts whenever you feel like it, Mr. President of the bank!"

We have lost our so called democracy and we have become slaves. And if you think you're not a slave, I'm telling you that you are, unless you hold on tightly to our Torah and all that has to do with Yiddishkeit. If we hold tightly to Hakodosh Boruch Hu, we will never be slaves. If we will be only with Hakodosh Boruch Hu, no one will be able to enslave us, and that’s what I'm telling you.

That’s what this message wants to tell you - that most of the world has been enslaved. You can feel the ropes tightening around your wrists, around your legs, around your neck. You are slowly being put into a prison, a prison that will control every part of your life. However, if you hold onto Hashem and do His Ratzon, you will never be a prisoner. You will always be free. Even though these Reshaim are slowly but surely controlling the world, you will not be a slave if you hold on to Hakodosh Boruch Hu. Then when the right moment comes, Hakodosh Boruch Hu will wipe the Reshaim out of existence and leave us in peace. And we will continue throughout all eternity together with our Hakodosh Boruch Hu, who is our Creator, our Father, our everything.

 
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