web analytics
November 26, 2014 / 4 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



‘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.

From as far back as I can remember my parents imbued us with love for Eretz Yisrael. We prayed and sang “L’shanah haba b’Yerushalayim” – Next year in Jerusalem,” not only with our voices but also with our hearts and souls.

In the most nightmarish days my mother would tell us stories of Yerushalayim. “One day,” she kept telling us, “we will all be in Yerushalayim. There the trees grow candies. The sun always shines and Dovid HaMelech’s harp whispers in the wind.”

Those words sparked our imaginations and kept us going. They were so vividly engraved in my mind that many years later when I came to Yerushalayim for the first time I was actually looking for the candy trees, and when the winds blew in the middle of the night I was convinced I was hearing the sweet songs of David’s Psalms.

But soon enough I discovered that on those candy trees there were also many bitter fruits – Arab hatred, deadly attacks, internal fighting among our own people. No, this was not quite the horse we wanted.

But still we continue to dream that very soon the trees will have only candies and the sun will shine without threatening clouds and impending storms. That hope never left me even if the horse I wanted had not yet come.

(To Be Continued)

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
Lutfu Turkkan, Turkish legislator, introduced legislation into Turkish parliament to label Israel a terrorist state
Turkish Legislator Pens Bill Naming Israel Terrorist State
Latest Judaism Stories
Rabbi Avi Weiss

Yitzchak thought the Jewish people needed dual leadership: Eisav the physical; Yaakov the spiritual

Weiss-112114-Sufganiot

According to the Sefer Yetzirah, the nature of the month of Kislev is sleep.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch-NEW

Though braggarts come across as conceited, their boasting often reflects a low sense of self-regard

Nimchinsky-112114-Learning

Not every child can live up to our hopes or expectations, but every child is loved by Hashem.

Leaders must always pay attention to the importance of timing.

While our leaders have been shepherds, the vast majority of the Children of Israel were farmers.

Maimonides himself walked and prayed in the permissible areas when he visited Eretz Yisrael in 1165

If a man dies childless, the Torah commands the deceased’s brother to marry his brother’s widow in a ceremony known as yibum, or to perform a special form of divorce ceremony with her known as chalitzah.

Dovid turned to the other people sitting at his table. “I’m revoking my hefker of the Chumash,” he announced. “I want to keep it.”

Ever Vigilant
‘When Unworthy, One’s Number Of Years Is Reduced’
(Yevamos 50a)

Question: My young daughter was recently diagnosed with autism. She does not function well socially and is extremely introverted, but we have noticed that she reacts very well to small animals. We reported this to her therapist who suggested that we get a dog or cat as a pet. We know that most religious people frown upon having pets, but we hate to see our daughter suffer and want to do anything that would make her happy. Would it be okay to own a pet in the circumstances we described?

Her Loving Parents
(Via E-Mail)

Ramban interprets Korban as self-sacrifice, each Jew should attempt to recreate Akeidas Yitzchak.

Dr. Schwartz had no other alternatives up his sleeve. He suggested my mother go home and think about what she wanted to do.

Why does Lavan’s speaking before his father show that he was wicked? Disrespectful, yes. Rude, certainly. But a rasha?

We find that in certain circumstances before the Torah was actually given, people were permitted to make calculations as to what would better serve Hashem, even if it were against a mitzvah or aveirah.

More Articles from Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

When art and evil are intermingled, evil is elevated and made acceptable.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

In BB, he said “You, my children are the angels of Shabbos and the licht are your beautiful eyes.”

Why does Hebrew refer to mothers-in-law as “sunshine” when society often calls them the opposite?

Boundaries must be set in every home. Parents and children are not pals. They are not equals.

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

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.

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: