Shalom Morchechai Rubashkin’s release from prison is truly a berachah that we should all be celebrating. As the festive dust begins to settle, there are a few points that should be stressed. First and foremost, we must remember who ultimately freed Shalom Morchechai Rubashkin: Hashem. The Matir Assurim decided that on the 3rd of Teves it was time for Shalom Morchechai to be released, and so it was.
However, there were many shluchim, messengers, who helped along the way. Above all stands President Trump who actually signed his commutation. His predecessor had heard from many dignitaries urging Shalom Morchechai’s release but did not act. Mr. Trump, therefore, deserves credit, and Mr. Obama censure.
Additionally, there were many high-ranking officials who wrote letters and advocated on Shalom Morchechai’s behalf; they too deserve our gratitude and recognition. Although the case to release Shalom Morchechai made judicial sense, the number of officials who got involved in this case is remarkable and awe-inspiring.
At the same time, one can only wonder why the senior Jewish senator of the state with the largest Orthodox Jewish constituency in the country did not publicly do anything to secure Shalom Morchechai’s release. Mr. Schumer deserves dishonor and humiliation for once again letting the Jewish community down. Whether or not he “needs” to please us or not, he needs to know that we feel betrayed and will not support him considering the many times he has ignored causes dear to us.
Another essential matter we should note from this joyous occasion is the promptness of with which Shalom Morchechai was released. When the initial report came out that President Trump had commuted Shalom Morchechai Rubashkin’s sentence, I was elated. Nonetheless, I assumed that it would be a few weeks until we would merit to see Shalom Morchechai released from prison. However, a few minutes later after his sentence was commuted, Shalom Morchechai was in a car on his way home!
As the popular adage goes, “Yeshuas Hashem k’heref ayain – The salvation of Hashem comes (as quick) as the blink of an eye.” The earliest source that I have found for this common axiom is Midrash Lekach Tov (Esther 4:17). However, the lesson behind this axiom has been expressed in other ways for centuries, and it was surely on display in this episode.
The Seforno (on Parshas Meketz) writes that Yosef was released from jail in a moment – as per all Godly salvations. The Seforno points out that the redemption from Mitzrayim also came suddenly, as we know that the bread we were making at the time did not even have time to rise. The same will be true of the ultimate redemption; it will come suddenly, in the blink of an eye.
Shalom Morchechai Rubashkin’s hasty release from prison last week should demonstrate to us that our salvation can come in an instant. Knowledge that we can be redeemed in a moment’s notice should implore us to be ready at all times. May it be His will to bring the geulah speedily in our time. Amen.