Weekly Chasidic Story #1044
23 Kislev 5778)
The Patient Menorah
The Chanukah menorah stood prepared but unlit, even though it was past
10:00 at night.
Connection: Chanukah: Dec. 12-20
The Patient Menorah
One morning during Chanukah of 5773 (12/72), a group of teenaged
boys including Shmuel Lipsch from the Chabad Junior Yeshiva in Tsfat set out
to the Golan Heights to bring the light of Chanukah and other mitzvot
to the residents of many of the small scattered communities there. After a long
afternoon and evening of hard work and bright success, when they finally departed
for home it was nearly ten o'clock at night.
As they approached the highway exit to the town of Hatzor - 15 minutes before
Tsfat - they decided to detour to the large shopping center near the exit where
they knew the stores would still be open, even at this late hour, to spread
the light of Chanukah there too. As they went from one shop to another, they
came upon a store where positioned on a shelf near the plate-glass window was
a Chanukah menorah, set up with the proper number of candles for that
night, but as yet unlit, as if it were waiting just for them.
The students entered together. Immediately the shopkeeper approached them and
welcomed them with great joy. "I was praying you would come. I know that
the Chanukah lights bring blessing to my business. I would never let the menorah
go unlit, not even one night" she added enthusiastically.
The teenage boys were puzzled. "It's already quite late at night. Why did
you wait for so long for someone to come? Why did you not just light the candles
"Because," she smiled, "I am not Jewish.
"I am a Druise woman," she continued. "I live in the Druise village
of Tuba az-Zanghariyya."*
Not only were the boys surprised by her answer, they were more confused than
before. "Why are the Chanukah lights of such significance to you if you
are not Jewish?"
She related to them at length and with great sincerity why the lighting of the
Chanukah menorah was so important for her. From the content of her words
the yeshiva students grasped instantly that the lights were not just
an "aid" for her business; it was clear that she was well aware that
the fulfillment of a commandment brought an increased relationship to the Commander,
to the Creator of All.
Indeed, the spiritual sensitivity revealed in her reply led the boys to suspect
that perhaps she had a connection to Judaism beyond the mitzvah of Chanukah.
They began to question her about her background.
It did not take more than a minute to verify their hunch, as in answer to their
first question, about her family, she innocently revealed that her mother was
Jewish! (In the Muslim world, religious status follows the father, so she never
had a clue that she herself is Jewish according to Torah law.)
The young boys explained that through her mother she too possesses inside her
the unique G-dly soul of a Jew, and therefore she is 100% Jewish. It must be,
they added, that her strong commitment to having a lit menorah on the
eight nights of Chanukah each year was caused by her divine Jewish neshama-soul
burning within her, seeking to express itself.
Her reaction was pure happiness. She asked to clarify whether her sisters and
brothers are Jewish too. With great emotion she proclaimed that she would tell
all her siblings that she is Jewish and that they are also. She thanked the
That night the menorah of the store was lit and the blessings were said
by a proud Jewess, newly ready to take her part among the Jewish people.**
Source: Translated and adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from
an article by Rabbi Yitzchak Lipsch published in "Lubavich":
the weekly newsletter of the Chabad community in Tsfat (Dec. 12, 2012).
** R. Lipsch's note: The boys too were proud (including one of my sons); they
had been instrumental in bringing one more lost soul back to its roots, their
mission as young chasidim of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
* Translator's note: Tuba az-Zanghariyya is less than a half-hour's drive from
Tsfat, and even closer to Hatzor. It is located close to Kfar Nassi.
Tilles is co-founder and associate director of Ascent-of-Safed, and chief editor
of this website (and of KabbalaOnline.org). He has hundreds of published stories
to his credit, and many have been translated into other languages. He tells
them live at Ascent nearly every Saturday night.
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