web analytics
March 30, 2015 / 10 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


A Soul Revisited


Lessons-logo

While working for the U.S. Census Bureau in 1990, I knocked on the door of Soviet ?migr?s in Boro Park and proceeded to converse with them about their recent arrival to the United States. This elderly couple had come from Moldavia. They were survivors of both Nazi and Communist tyranny.

The elderly man, 74, implored me to assist him in finding work since, as he explained, the boredom was becoming unbearable in his new homeland. Throughout his life, he had proudly supported his family by working as a shoemaker. He was limited in his choice of professions because he had an amputated leg. I offered to teach him how to bind books and he immediately excelled at this endeavor.

Over the next ten years, Fridel and I worked together in the book-binding field. He bound thousands of sefarim for numerous shuls. He worked meticulously, honestly and with a glad heart. He took great pride in his craftsmanship.

Fridel was the product of a painful era that produced millions of Jewish souls who suffered immensely yet continued to carry the tradition of their ancestors’ faith. He truly possessed “emunah peshuta,” the kind of simple and innocent faith in Hashem found only within the great ones among us.

Almost exactly ten years later, during the 2000 census, Fridel passed away in his Staten Island home. He was survived by his loving wife, children and grandchildren. After his passing, his wife presented me with his tefillin which he had worn faithfully every morning. I made a mental note to save them for a male grandchild.

In 2002, Fridel’s granddaughter gave birth to a boy who was named after him. Every few months, I would visit Fridel’s widow and we would reminisce about the time we had all spent together over the years. Unfortunately, the family moved, and we lost contact.

After four years of trying to track them down, something short of miraculous took place. This past Yom Kippur, 5771, I included Fridel’s name during Yizkor and pledged a donation in honor of the memory of his soul. This sparked several amazing occurrences into motion.

Right after Yom Kippur, my mother asked me to take Fridel’s tefillin home to my house, since she was getting rid of unclaimed property in preparation for the renovation of her house. I took home Fridel’s tefillin and placed them safely on a shelf. Shortly thereafter, I found a business card with Fridel’s new phone number. Now, with the new link to Fridel’s family in my hand, I proceeded to call his 94-year old wife. Sure enough, she picked up the phone and I felt a surge of joy. My four-year search had come to a happy conclusion!

The next evening, I called Fridel’s granddaughter to arrange to visit. I did not know whether to bring up the topic of the tefillin. As I spoke to her on my cell phone from a wedding hall stairway, a fifteen-year-old boy dropped his tefillin down the flight of stairs and they fell right in front of me. I bent down, kissed them, and handed them to him. I did not need any more direct sign from Above and immediately brought up the topic of Fridel’s tefillin. She was thrilled when I told her that I was holding onto her grandfather’s heirloom. I told her that it would be a very appropriate gift for her eight-year old son, Fridel, once he reached his Bar Mitzvah.

Throughout life, we receive signs from Above. I believe that because I pledged tzedakah for the sake of my dear righteous friend’s soul, Hashem helped me to once again be able to be part of his family’s life, and to ascertain that Fridel’s precious pair of tefillin would proudly be worn again by his only male descendant.

Fridel may have spent most of his life in a world where it was impossible to live as a proud Jew, but he left this world after ten years of proudly proclaiming each morning that Hashem is One each morning. And he left his tefillin to continue the golden chain of his shining righteousness.

Fridel ben Azik a”h, 1916-2000 – yehi zichro baruch.

About the Author:


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.

No Responses to “A Soul Revisited”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Former Iranian President Ahmadinejad and north Korean  nuclear test.
Lausanne Talks May Be Camouflage for Iranian Nukes in North Korea
Latest Judaism Stories
Bodenheim-032715

Our ability to teach is only successful if done by example.

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

Outside of the High Holidays, Pesach is probably the most celebrated biblical holiday for the majority of Jews.

Business-Halacha-logo

“If I notify people, nobody will buy the matzos!” exclaimed Mr. Mandel. “Once the halachic advisory panel ruled leniently, why can’t I sell the matzos regularly?”

The-Shmuz

So what type of praise is it that Aaron followed orders?

Her Children, Her Whim
‘Kesubas Bnin Dichrin’
(Kesubos 52b)

Question: Must one spend great sums of money and invest much effort in making one’s home kosher for Passover? Not all of us have such unlimited funds.

Name Withheld
(Via E-Mail)

Yachatz is not mentioned in the Gemara. What is the foundation for yachatz?

First, the punishment for eating chametz on Pesach is karet, premature death at the Hand of God.

Why is it necessary to invite people to eat from the korban Pesach?

How was I going to get to Manhattan? No cabs were going, we didn’t have a car, and many people who did have cars had no gas.

Did you ever notice that immediately upon being granted our freedom from Egypt, the Jewish people accepted upon themselves the yoke of a new master – Hashem?

Why does Torah make the priests go through a long and seemingly bizarre induction ceremony?

Often people in important positions separate from everyday people & tasks-NOT the Kohen Gadol

You smuggled tefillin into the camp? How can they help? Every day men risked their lives to use them

Rambam: Eating blood’s forbidden because connected to idolatry;Ramban: We’re affected by what we eat

Rambam warns that a festival meal without taking care of the needy isn’t fulfilling simchat yom tov

More Articles from Joseph Lieberman
Lessons-logo

While working for the U.S. Census Bureau in 1990, I knocked on the door of Soviet ?migr?s in Boro Park and proceeded to converse with them about their recent arrival to the United States. This elderly couple had come from Moldavia. They were survivors of both Nazi and Communist tyranny.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/lessons-in-emunah/a-soul-revisited/2010/12/08/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: