web analytics
October 20, 2014 / 26 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.



‘Not The Horse I Wanted’

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

There is a Hungarian tale I’ve always found meaningful and yet sad. It is about a little boy who always wanted his own rocking horse. (In Hungry a rocking horse was a toy that belonged to only the privileged few.)

“If only I could have a rocking horse,” he would say to himself. One day the little boy’s mother fell ill and soon passed away. “Where is my mommy, where is my mommy?” he sobbed. Then he looked out the window and saw black horses pulling a hearse to take his mommy away.

“This is not the horse I wanted, this is not the horse I wanted,” he cried out in an anguished voice.

That story stayed with me and it often replays itself in my mind. We yearn for something, and when it happens we are disappointed because it’s not quite the way we imagined it. And then, like that little boy in the story, we cry out, “This is not the horse I wanted…”

Most of you know I’m a survivor of the concentration camps, and that’s a memory that never fades. As a matter of fact, my children often say, “No matter what the conversation, no matter what the subject, ima will always find a way to connect it to the Holocaust,” which I’m sure I do though I was not aware of it until they brought it to my attention.

The war was over. My father, HaRav HaGaon Avraham HaLevi Jungreis, zt”l, was a ben yachid – the lone son of the glorious rabbinic dynasty from my saintly grandfather’s house. The devastation was beyond comprehension. Our suffering defied words. Not only did we have to deal with our nightmarish memories, we also had to come to grips with the unbelievable reality that everyone – everyone – was gone. We didn’t even have a grave to go to where we could whisper a tefillah, a prayer. There were only dark clouds that told us our loved ones were hovering in the air and when it rained we saw their teardrops and our hearts cried out. There was no one to ease our pain, no one to wipe our tears.

In the midst of that Satanic darkness my father would often say in Yiddish, “Noch azoy ah churbon – after such slaughter we must kiss every living Jew and embrace him with love; hold him precious and dear and bring him close to our hearts.”

After the Holocaust my father’s words had to resonate in every Jewish soul. Of course we must unite and love one another. Our families, our yeshivas, our shuls disappeared in smoke. There was only one thing left for us now and that was to unite and rebuild. But it didn’t quite happen that way. Instead of building the walls of love my father envisioned, we built walls of anger, animosity, jealousy and cold-heartedness. No, that was not the horse we wanted.

Following the war we were taken to displaced persons camps in Switzerland where we were separated from our parents. My brother was placed in the German part of the country and I in the French part, while my parents and younger brother were in another camp somewhere in Switzerland. It was a painful time – to have survived only to once again be divided. To this day I don’t quite understand why they did that. And this occurred in free Switzerland, in days of peace, when good people were in charge of our destiny.

My parents were determined that we would no longer live in exile. We would go to Eretz Yisrael. The British were in control, however, and in their desire to appease the Arabs they allowed only a small trickle of Jews to enter the Promised Land. For two long, harrowing years we waited – but it soon became apparent that there was no hope for us to obtain visas legally.

To be sure, many survivors defied the British, but those who were captured were sent to yet another detention camp in Cyprus. My father did not want his children to once again experience a detention camp. We had suffered too much, so my parents decided we would go to America. My uncle and aunt who lived in New York sent us visas and we crossed the Atlantic in bitterly cold weather on an old Italian freighter.

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.

One Response to “‘Not The Horse I Wanted’”

  1. Thank you. Good words!

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Ismail Haniyeh, highest ranking Hamas member in Gaza, pictured Nov. 25, 2012.
Hamas Leader’s Daughter Treated in Israeli Hospital; #BDSFail
Latest Judaism Stories
God-and the world

The creation of the world is described twice. Each description serves a unique purpose.

Questions-Answers-logo

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

Lessons-in-Emunah-new

To the surprise of our protectzia-invested acquaintances, my family has thrived in our daled amos without that amenity, b’ezras Hashem.

Business-Halacha-logo

Shimon started adjusting the branches on the roof. In doing so, a branch fell off the other side of the car and hit the side-view mirror, cracking it.

I, the one who is housed inside this body, am completely and utterly spiritual.

Should we sit in the sukkah on a day that may be the eighth day when we are not commanded to sit in the sukkah at all?

For Appearance’s Sake
‘Shammai Did Not Follow Their Own Ruling’
(Yevamos 13b 14a)

If one hurts another human being, God is hurt; if one brings joy to another, God is more joyous.

I’m grateful to Hashem for everything; Just the same, I’d love a joyous Yom Tov without aggravation.

Bereshit: Life includes hard choices that challenge our decisions, leaving lingering complications.

Rabbi Fohrman:” Great evils are often wrought by those who are blithely unaware of the power they wield.”

The emphasis on choice, freedom and responsibility is a most distinctive features of Jewish thought.

The Torah emphasizes the joy of Sukkot, for after a season of labor, we celebrate our prosperity.

The encounter with the timeless stability of the divine occurs within the Sukkot.

Hashem created all human beings and it should sadden us when Hashem, their Father, does not see nachas from them.

More Articles from Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

The call of the shofar is eternal. It is not musical. Its magnetic allurement cannot be explained.

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 […]

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/not-the-horse-i-wanted/2013/05/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: