web analytics
May 28, 2015 / 10 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

The Tale of the Brave Soldier from Auschwitz

“Arise, Reb Yechiel—honored with the firing of one bomb!”
MorePartisans

He continued, adding that in Auschwitz there were no tefillin, until in 1943 a certain group of Hungarian Jews arrived. When he heard that they had a pair of tefillin, he began crossing the fence that separated him from them very early each morning to put on tefillin for a moment and say “Shema.”

“Let this deed not seem trivial to you,” he wrote in Diasporic Hebrew. “It was a very difficult thing to do, it was cold, and I stood the risk of missing the distribution of rations—and someone who missed receiving food for one day was in danger. Nevertheless, this was [serving God] ‘with all your means.’”

When I came home I wanted to hear more of the story. Was the fence electrified? It wasn’t every day that he opened up, and I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity.

“What was, was,” he said definitively. “That is all.”

“But wasn’t your life at risk?!” I said deviously. “Is it really permitted to risk your life in order to perform a mitzva?”

That already was a halakhic discussion. He responded.

“True. As soon as I saw that other Jews were copying me and waiting on line, I stopped.”

I took this story with me to every war. Before beginning a day of forced labor, a Jew goes and finds other Jews like him waiting at dawn on a long line to put on tefillin. Just so they would not have “a head without tefillin,” as the Talmud puts it. How then could I not be sure to put on tefillin every day?

Still, the Lebanon War came and, as luck would have it, my tefillin remained in the APC behind the lines with the rest of my equipment, while I was in the alleys of Baabda at the entrance to Beirut, part of the first battalion to arrive there. A few inquiries later a pair of tefillin was found for me, and I went to the side, dressed in tefillin and talit.

Suddenly an Arab couple appeared, a man and woman dressed in their finest. They drew closer, heading straight for me.

I pulled my gun out of the folds of the talit.

“Rifa ayadikum!” I ordered in Arabic. “Put your hands up!”

As they stood there opposite me, their hands aloft, the man made a gesture to his wife with his raised hand.

“Marati!” he exclaimed. “Yahudi.” “She is a Jew.”

“Prove it,” I countered. “What does it say inside this box?” as I pointed in the direction of my forehead.

“Shema Yisrael,” she answered, lowering one hand from above her head, covering her eyes, “Hashem elokeinu, Hashem echad.”

“Uchtei anta,” I said. “You are my sister.” Her eyes were moist. I think mine were, too.

I could feel my father standing there with me, and his fathers as well.

“How great tefillin are,” I thought. “They connect different worlds and different generations. If I hadn’t been wearing them, the lost daughter who married a Christian man might not have dared approach the enemy invaders. She might never have reconnected with her family in Bat Yam.” Now, as she told the story of her family members with whom she had lost contact when they departed for Israel, the connection was renewed.

One good deed leads to another. I don’t know what happened to that woman, but maybe, just maybe, her earth-shattering “Shema Yisrael,” together with the prayers for the safety of our soldiers, gave us the boost we needed in the ensuing battles.

A Dream

I have a strange occupation: I attend funerals and memorial services. After a recent funeral, I had a dream in which my father appeared, waking me with his numbered hand.

About the Author: Lt.-Col. (ret.) Meir Indor is CEO of Almagor Terror Victims Association. In his extended career of public service, he has worked as a journalist, founded the Libi Fund, Sar-El, Habaita, among many other initiatives, and continues to lend his support to other pressing causes of the day.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

4 Responses to “The Tale of the Brave Soldier from Auschwitz”

  1. Your father's memory is truly a blessing.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
J-Street
J Street: The Jewish Enemy Within
Latest Indepth Stories
J-Street

Jewish Voices for Peace’s 2015 Haggadah is a blatant anti-Israel screed crying, “L’chayim to BDS!”

Rabbi Lichtenstein (z"l).

On his shloshim, I want to discuss a term I’ve heard countless times about Rav Aharon: Gedol HaDor

Abbas and Obama

After obsequious claims of devotion to Israel, Obama took to criticizing Israel on peace process

Ronal Shoval Voting

Mr. Obama, Israeli voters have democratically chosen to apply Israeli sovereignty over Judea&Samaria

Netanyahu so disdains Shaked’s appointment he completely ignored her after the swearing-in ceremony

Ronen Shamir’s just the latest tenured Leftist convicted of sexual misconduct with his own student

NY Times precious front page ink is only reserved for portrayals of Israel as the aggressor.

Although I loved law school, I doubted myself: Who would come to me, a chassidish woman lawyer?

American Jews who go gaga for Obama are first and foremost “Liberals of the Mosaic Persuasion”

“Illinois is the first state to take concrete, legally binding action against the BDS campaign”

Many books have supported the preferability- not to be confused with desirability- of the status quo

Consider the Pope’s desperation, reading daily reports of the slaughter of Christians by Muslims

The contrast between a Dem pretending to love Israel & a Dem who truly loves Israel is CRYSTAL CLEAR

Pentecost, derived from the Greek word for 50, is celebrated 50 days after Easter.

U.S and European demands for the creation of a Palestinian State in the West Bank is world hypocrisy.

We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.

More Articles from Meir Indor
Omar Barghouti BDS

By warning of a boycott, “Israel’s captains of industry” are actually encouraging one.

Zeev (Zambish) Chever, a friend of late former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, eulogizing him.

Sometimes one must love with one’s eyes closed.

The message from the recent episode near Eish Kodesh is clear: violence pays.

“Arise, Reb Yechiel—honored with the firing of one bomb!”

Instead of being treated as common criminals, Palestinian terrorists receive an exceptional degree of autonomy within the prison walls.

Instead of giving new young couples some time in public housing until they’re ready to move forward, they want to give away the apartments to people who have been reaping the benefits for years.

Terrorism has become a military tool of states, not just sub-national organizations.

The top Israeli advocate for letting the terrorists out of jail is none other than Shimon Peres.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-tale-of-the-brave-soldier-from-auschwitz/2013/12/17/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: