web analytics
October 1, 2014 / 7 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



A Miraculous Nation


Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Once again, I am on a plane. I am returning to New York after a long, two- week journey. It has been a grueling, but exhilarating tour. Each day, I addressed the Jewish community of another European country. The first stop was Paris. I was forewarned that in Europe if you draw an audience of 100-200 people, you could regard yourself successful, so my expectations were not very high. But when I arrived at the huge synagogue it was crowded wall-to-wall. There wasn’t a seat to be had, and people were still coming, not only residents of Paris, but from as far away as Strasbourg.

This was my first-ever speaking engagement in France, so I was astonished to be greeted by this outpouring of multitudes that all seemed to know me. One of my books had been translated into French, and as a result, many had been impacted and became committed to Torah and mitzvos. The Jewish neshamah is remarkable.

Although I do not speak French and most of the audience had to rely on simultaneous translations with earphones, and I spoke for more than an hour…no one moved; you could have heard a pin drop. People lingered on long into the night posing questions and asking for brachos. Nowadays, who does not have a problem? Who does not carry a burden?

Early the next morning, I arrived at the Gare du Nord to catch a train to Antwerp and was delightfully surprised to be greeted by a large contingent who had come to see me off and request just one more word of Torah, one more brachah. The rebbetzin of the community was also there, and she gave me some wonderful news. She had already received phone calls from many who had attended the program and now pledged to become Shomrei Shabbos and scrupulous about keeping Torah and mitzvos.

My audience in Belgium was totally different. Antwerp has a beautiful chassidishe heimish community, but no matter what type of community, I long ago discovered that, if you speak Torah, neshamos respond and open up. It has the power to touch every heart. This principle holds true for every country in which our people reside; Berlin, Budapest, London or Paris, the Yiddishe neshamah is very much alive.

A journey such as this, with a program in a different country each day, is physically and emotionally exhausting. To get up early in the morning after just a few hours sleep and race to the airport to catch yet another flight is no simple matter, even for a young person, how much more so for someone who, Baruch Hashem, has reached my age. So, first and foremost, I would like to publicly thank Hashem for the merit that He granted me that allowed me to make this awesome journey without any major mishaps.

I had only one glitch. When we arrived in Budapest, my luggage was missing. Five-hundred people (including a bus-load of yeshiva students from Vienna) were waiting in the beautiful ballroom of the Intercontinental Hotel, a spectacular feat for the small, assimilated Jewish community of Budapest. For this accomplishment, I owe a debt of gratitude to Adrienne and Robie Deutsch, an amazing, lovely, young couple who became part of our Hineni organization when visiting New York and were determined to share their love of Torah with their fellow Hungarian Jews.

To return to the glitch – there I was, in a crumpled travel suit and sneakers, my luggage lost and 500 people waiting at the hotel. At the lost luggage counter they informed me that the suitcase had probably been left in Zurich (where we made our connection). Then, 20 minutes later I was told that, indeed, the suitcase had arrived in Budapest, but for some reason, it had not been unloaded and was on its way back to Zurich. They further told me that it would arrive in Budapest by seven or nine p.m., too late for my speech. With nothing further to be done, I decided to make the best of it and hoped that Hashem would regard it as my kapparah.

Adrienne very kindly tried her hardest and brought me a selection of her blouses and shoes. I felt like Cinderella, except in Cinderella’s case, the shoes fit perfectly… but no matter, it would have to do.

After my program, while I was greeting the people, answering questions and signing copies of my book, my friend, Barbara, whispered in my ear that she had been in touch with the airport…the suitcase was nowhere to be found, and more, they had no idea of where it could be! At midnight, our friend Robie Deutsch informed me that the suitcase had been traced back to London and it would soon arrive from Heathrow! The “soon” turned out to be 5:00 a.m., just in time for us to catch our flight to Bucharest for the next program.

When relating the “saga of the luggage” by phone to my daughter, she wisely reminded me how fortunate it was that the kapparah was only that which was material. “Do you remember, Ima, how, when you led a group to Auschwitz, you fell and broke your shoulder? At that time you said that, in countries like these, where so much holy Jewish blood was spilled, where so much pain, suffering, and agony had been inflicted, of course there had to be a kapparah, but Baruch Hashem, this time it was only that which was material!”

“How right you are, zees kind,” I agreed. “How right you are!”

The most significant gift that I was given on this trip, for which I will be eternally grateful, is to have had the merit, the zechus, of witnessing the light of Torah in Yiddish neshamos. No matter how assimilated or alienated the audience may have been, no matter how demanding or uncompromising my message may have been, the people embraced every word. Eyes that were cold and distant became moist with tears as the Pintele Yid resurfaced.

I also had an added bonus…. in every community I visited I discovered that the singles crisis, which we are witness here in America, has become global. Young people simply cannot find shidduchim and with the ever-shrinking Jewish population of Europe, the dangers posed by intermarriage are very grave, so I tried to connect singles from the different countries that I visited. Whether or not these shidduchim will materialize, remains to be seen, but the very fact that someone is trying to help, gives singles hope.

The shidduch crisis in our turbulent world is real, and it behooves all of us to address it. My father, HaRav HaGaon Avraham Halevi Jungreis, zt”l, never left the house without his little black notebook. “Men ken kein mol nisht vissen…. You never know who you meet and for whom you can perhaps make a shidduch.” This is a responsibility that we should all take seriously, to help establish yet another Jewish home and give life to a new generation of Yiddishe kinderlach.

To be sure, I discovered many other real problems; the sinister shadow of anti-Semitism is hovering over every Jewish community even as Israel is being demonized. But the good news is that Pesach is here and this great Yom Tov heralds our redemption speedily in our own day.

May it come soon!

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 Miraculous Nation”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Abu Usamah Somali, thought to be Farah Mohammed Shirdon of Calgary, Alberta in Canada.
Canadian ISIS Fighter Threatens to Behead Netanyahu [video]
Latest Judaism Stories

On Sunday, Jews will be refraining from food and drink from dawn until sunset to commemorate the Fast of Gedaliah. Following Nebuchadnetzar’s destruction of the First Temple and exile of most of the Jews, the Babylonians appointed Gedaliah ben Achikaam as governor of Judea. Under Gedaliah’s leadership, Judea and the survivors began to recover. On […]

On the beach

As we enter the Days of Awe, we must recognize that it is a joy to honor and serve true royalty.

Rabbi Avi Weiss

On Rosh Hashanah we are taught that true self-analysis involves the breaking down of walls

PTI-092614-Shofar

When we hear the words “Rosh Hashana is coming” it really means Hashem Himself is coming!

Who am I? What are the most important things in my life? What do I want to be remembered for? If, as a purely hypothetical exercise, I were to imagine reading my own obituary, what would I want it to say? These are the questions Rosh Hashanah urges us to ask ourselves. As we pray […]

We recently marked the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11 – that terrible day when the symbols of man’s power and achievement crumbled before our eyes and disappeared in fire and smoke. For a very brief moment we lost our smugness. Our confidence was shaken. Many of us actually searched our ways. Some of us even learned […]

Why am I getting so agitated? And look how we’re treating each other!

While women are exempt from actually learning Torah, they are obligated in a different aspect of the mitzvah.

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

We must eat, sleep, work, and care for our dependants. How much time is left over after all that?

Once we recognize that our separation from God is our fault, how do we repair it?

Chatzitzah And Its Applications
‘Greater Stringency Applies To Hallowed Things…’
(Chagiga 20b-21a)

To choose life, you must examine your actions in the period preceding the Days of Awe as an unbiased stranger, and render your decision.

Rabbi Dayan took a challah and some cooked eggs. He then called over his 15-year-old son, Aharon. “Could you please ask your friend Chaim from next door to come over and help me with the eruv tavshilin?”

This world has its purpose; it has been ideally fashioned to allow man to grow.

More Articles from Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

We recently marked the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11 – that terrible day when the symbols of man’s power and achievement crumbled before our eyes and disappeared in fire and smoke. For a very brief moment we lost our smugness. Our confidence was shaken. Many of us actually searched our ways. Some of us even learned […]

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

One of the cornerstones of our Jewish life is chesed, kindness. Chesed can only be taught by example

“There is nothing new under the sun” is as valid today as it was yesterday.

The time immediately preceding Mashiach’s arrival is likened to the birth pangs of a woman in labor.

If we regard pain and suffering as mere coincidence, we will feel no motivation to examine our lives

What does Hashem want of us? That we should protect each other and the awesome heritage He gave us.

Gratitude=Great Attitude. Appreciation is always appropriate.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/a-miraculous-nation/2009/04/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: