Weekly Chasidic Story #1095 (s5779-13
/25 Kislev 5779)
Discovered in Alabama
"I don't want anything from this electronics store for my bar mitzvah.
I want to get something in the antique shop across the way."
Connection: Seasonal - CHANUKAH
Story in PDF
format for more convenient printing.
Discovered in Alabama
A young man named Avraham ("Avrumel") Greenbaum lost his entire family
in the Holocaust. After the war, he came to America and wanted nothing to do
with Judaism. He changed his name to Aaron Green, moved to Alabama and married
a woman there, who, miraculously, was Jewish.
The day his oldest son Jeffrey turned thirteen, they were not going to celebrate
his bar mitzvah. Instead, Aaron decided to recognize the day by taking
Jeffrey to the mall and buying him anything he wanted there.
When they went into a big electronics store and were browsing, Jeffrey's eye
caught something in an antique shop across the way. He was mesmerized. He couldn't
take his eyes off what he had seen.
He told his father, "I don't want anything from the electronics store.
I want to go across to the antique shop." When they got there, the boy
pointed to an old wooden menorah and said, "That's what I want for
His father couldn't believe it. He was letting his child buy anything he wanted
in the whole mall and this is what he was choosing? He tried to talk him out
of it, but couldn't.
Aaron asked the shop-owner the price of the menorah. To his surprise,
the man replied "Sorry, that's not for sale."
Aaron said, "What do you mean? This is a store." He offered a lot
of money for it.
Again the owner refused, this time explaining, "I found out the history
of this menorah. A man constructed it during the war and it took him
months to gather the wood. It survived, but he did not. It's going to be a collector's
item. It's not for sale."
Meanwhile, Jeffrey kept telling his father, "That's what I want. All I
want is the menorah." So Aaron Green kept offering more money until
the owner finally agreed to sell.
The boy was so excited. He took the menorah up to his room and played
with it every day. One day the parents heard a crash from Jeffrey's room. They
ran upstairs and saw the menorah shattered to pieces. The father yelled
at his son for being so careless, as he paid so much money for it.
Afterwards, Aaron felt bad about his reaction. He suggested to his son, "Let's
try to glue it back together."
While holding one of the pieces, the father noticed a piece of paper wedged
inside. He pulled it out and started reading. Tears welled up in his eyes and
soon after he fainted.
His family threw water on him and revived him. "What happened?",
He replied, "Let me read you this letter. It was written in Yiddish, so
"To whoever finds this menorah, I want you to know that I constructed
it not knowing if I would ever have the opportunity to light it. Who knows if
I will live till Chanukah to see it being kindled? In all probability, going
through this war, I will not. But if Providence brings this menorah to
your hands, you who are reading this letter, promise me you will light it for
me and for us, my family, and those who gave their lives to serve G-d Al-mighty."
Aaron Green then looked up at his family and, in a choked-up voice with tears
still in his eyes, said, "The letter is signed by my father."
They were all speechless. That family recognized the Divine Providence involved
and they returned to living their lives according to Torah and mitzvot.
How could they not! The hand of G-d was undeniable, taking a menorah
from Europe and bringing it back to the family in a remote mall in Alabama,
inspiring them to return to Torah-true Judaism.
Source: Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from a submission
by Chayim Berkowitz of Tsfat (formerly of Miami), who received it from Yosef
Hurwitz (still in Miami).
[Author's concluding paragraph:]
Chanukah means to re-dedicate. It's a time to rededicate ourselves and come
closer to the Creator.
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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