Monday, 12 July 2010

Join Us On a Walk For Life

At certain times of the year, Jews unite on a walk of life. Their walk of life is visiting those places where Jews were tortured and killed in various death camps.

Today we invite you to visit one of the countries severely affected by WW2. Our walk will not be to one of the camps, but to the after effects and to witness and learn the beautiful ways of G-d that brings salvation and light in the face of deep darkness.

The country we will be visiting is Poland. During WW2, the Jews of Poland were affected along with Jews of Europe, Russia, White Russia. A certain Jew, who we will call Zeidie, survived the war. He has dog tags to show, but we do not wish to press him for his story. Zeidie married and began a family. Amongst his family is a daughter who also married and had two sons. Zeidie's beloved wife passed on from this world as did his son-in-law, but for various reasons, Zeidie continued to live in the apartment he had lived in for years. Now at over 90 years old, Zeidie can not face the thought of moving. Yes Israel would be a good place for his children, but Zeidie is old now and in need of much assistance. Zeidie's daughter lovingly fulfils the mitzvah of Kibud Av joined by her two sons.

This family of four is the only Jewish family in its town. The closest Jewish community that has a rabbi is 100 miles away or more. One of the grandsons had been studying in Yeshiva in Eretz Yisrael and due to the needs of Zeidie and his mother returned to Poland to help all he could. But things were difficult and more recent months have met with the news of severe health problems

In previous posts you can see our efforts to get an oxygen concentrator to "Chaim" the grandson. Here we wish to highlight a very beautiful point.

For various unforeseen reasons, once the money was raised and the machine finally paid for, to a company in Poland, we hit another snag. The company is situated 700 miles away from our Jewish family, meaning that if the delivery were processed at the soonest time, it would arrive on Shabbat day. What would we do?

We made a call to a Posek to ascertain what Hallachah dictated. How could the Jew fulfil the laws of Shabbos. Having obtained certain crucial medical information, we began our call. Introducing myself and explaining that we needed an urgent sheilah answered that concerned both medical considerations and observing Shabbat, I waited to hear if the Rabbi was able to take such a call at that time.

What transpired next was Pirkei Avos in action. Rabbi F agreed to hear the story and he really did hear. He listened so attentively that although he did not say anything one could literally feel him listening. Within moments he grasped the full picture of the situation and gave the following psak, (ruling). The oxygen concentrator was to be delivered ASAP. The options given for keeping Shabbat were best case scenario, a non-Jew receives the machine, signs for it, unpacks the box, plugs it in. Next option, a Jew could do the same but with their non-dominant hand as a form of Shinoy.

We handed over the information, the order was made and we were left to daven for the best.

Motsei Shabbat we sent a message to hear how things had transpired and received the following message.
"The concentrator arrived in the morning safely. The relief is great as compared to what was before. …. I already see significant change in quality of life after all day use. I truly do not know how to thank you, your husband and all the good people who chose to help me.

When asked how the machine was received, we were told that a caring neighbour who is a non-Jew followed the instructions of Rabbi F.

There were very many factors involved in both raising the funds in as short a time as possible, sourcing the machine, making the payment, placing the order. However, when we were faced with the potential of whether we had to delay until Monday, Hashem provided a way that the machine could indeed be received.

Post WW2, we hear stories of righteous gentiles who risked their lives to hide a Jew, during wartime. We don’t often hear of those who are prepared to help a Jew uphold the laws of Shabbat.
So often in today's time when we turn to a Jew or organization or someone in a higher position than we are, we hear a string of questions. We have our precious time extended by the person on the other end taking all manner of other calls, finding reasons to deal with everything else but the call at hand. Rabbi F demonstrated the teachings of Pirkei Avos, listening without interrupting. Hearing the real questions and knowing both the medical ramifications and the laws of Shabbat well enough to tell us how to do both.

The end result was an open lesson of the wonders and beauty of Torah in action. This truly was a walk of life and the walk is not yet over. There are still very real expenses involved in making sure the oxygen concentrator runs smoothly.

Please join us in seeing this mitzvah to completion by making your donation today.

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