Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Sefer Torah that was Rescued from Auschwitz

There is a story in the New York Times (a newspaper I very occasionally read), concerning a sefer Torah that was rescued from Auschwitz, found buried in a metal box in the Jewish cemetary there. This story is a worthwhile read, and can be found here. The story in short is of a Rabbi Menachem Youlus of the Save a Torah organization, who found a Torah in Auschwitz after hearing a story about a Torah that the gabbai of the local synagogue buried a few days prior to the Nazi (yimach shemo) takeover of Poland and the town of Oswiecim. The Torah was found using a metal detector (and, of course, a great deal of siyata d'sh'maya).

The picture in the NYT and the Connection to Pesach (Passover) and Overcoming the Nazis and All of Our Other Oppressors

On the New York Times website, there are two pictures, one of which includes a picture of the wording in the sefer Torah (which includes G-d's Name and must be buried with respect with other shaimos). The passages of The Torah shown are found in parshios "VaEschanan" and "Eikev", which discuss the destruction wreaked by
HaShem against our Egyptian oppressors and HaShem's reassurance to us to not fear our enemies greater numbers (Divarim: 7; 17 - 19). The earlier passage from parshas "VaEschanan", discusses, as well, a passage from The Torah that is quoted in the haggadah, concerning the questin of one of the four sons regarding the various commandments that HaShem has commanded us. HaShem tells us in The Torah that we should explain to our son that HaShem took us out of Egypt, rescuing us from the servitude of Mitzrayim (Egypt) "with a Strong Hand", and afflicted Egypt and the Egyptians with the plagues. HaShem tells us that we were taken out of Mitzrayim in order to be brought into Eretz Yisrael (The Land of Israel). (Divarim: 6; 20 - 23) The message should be clear, for the Nazis tried to wipe us out, but in the end it is our enemies - the enemies of HaShem - who are wiped off of the face of the world. The above passage being printed in the New York Times (by accident), is, of course, no coincidence, for there is nothing that happens without a purpose and nothing that is random. Rather, this is a clear message to anyone to not mess with The B'nei Yisrael (Jewish People), for it is not merely though number that one succeeds, rather, it is those who HaShem decides will succeed, which includes His Nation - for HaShem has chosen us to be His Nation though we are "...the smallest in number from among all of the nations". (Divarim: 7; 7) We recount in the haggadah that in every generation our enemies rise up against us with the intent of wiping us out, but are unsuccessful, for "The Holy One Blessed is He, rescues us from their hands". ""Pour out Your anger to the nations who do not know You and upon the kingdoms who do not call out in Your Name. For they have consumed Ya'akov and laid his dwelling place desolate." (Tehillim: 79; 6 - 7) "Pour out Your wrath upon them, and Your burning anger shall overtake them." (69; 25) "Pursue them with wrath, and destroy them from below The Heavens of HaShem." (Eichah: 3; 66)" This is a guarantee of protection of HaShem to The Jewish People from those who wish to wipe us out.

(Note: The characteristics used to describe HaShem are written in a manner which we can best understand them based on human characteristics, as they appear to us.)


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