Back to This Week's Parsha | Previous Issues
"He said, 'If you hearken diligently to the voice of Hashem, your G-d, and do what is just in His eyes, give ear to His commandments and observe all His decrees, then any of the diseases that I placed upon Egypt, I will not bring upon you, for I am Hashem, your Healer'" (Shemos 15:26).
Some people think that by abiding by the laws of the Torah they will be rewarded in the World-to-Come. They are right, of course, but that is not the whole story - only part of it. The Torah was given to us to protect us and bring us happiness in this world too. Hashem, our loving Father, wants only the best for us, always.
Rabbi Menachem Porush shlita tells a very inspiring story about his father, Reb Moshe zt"l, which is recorded in Aleynu Lishabeach.
The story takes place in 1916, in the midst of World War I, when the Turks ruled Palestine. Two years earlier, Rabbis Sonenfeld and Kook zt"l traveled around Eretz Yisroel, inspiring its settlers to live according to the Torah in the Holy Land. As a result, there was a great spiritual awakening among them. It was then that Reb Moshe Porush established a Talmud Torah in Moshava Yavniel.
After living there alone for a while, to get things started, Reb Moshe came to Jerusalem for Sukkos to spend the holiday with his family, after which he would move them all to Yavniel. Due to the terrible war, a vicious famine raged in Israel and people were literally starving. On the eve of Hashanah Rabbah, Reb Moshe noticed the wives of great Rabbis and Torah scholars standing in the streets of Meah Shearim, with their pillows and bed ware for sale, in an attempt to earn a few coins to buy the holiday necessities.
Among the women stood the wife of the Leader of Israel, Rabbi Yosef Salant zt"l. She had no more household items to sell but she offered Reb Moshe a box of matches. Since he had no use for them at the moment, Reb Moshe refused the offer and went about his way. Only a few steps away, however, he reviewed his actions. If the wife of such a venerable Rabbi is selling matches in order to buy her husband and herself their holiday needs, he thought to himself, how could he refuse to buy them from her? He immediately returned, bought the item and placed it in his pocket.
The night after Simchas Torah, when the holiday was over, Reb Moshe rented a wagon and loaded it with all of his furniture and houseware. In the middle of the night, they began their journey, climbing the Mountain of Tzofim. Due to the waging war, the streets were completely dark in a total blackout. Suddenly, for some unknown reason, the driver made a sharp shortstop which caused a piece of furniture to fall off of the wagon. The fall caused a commotion which startled the Turkish soldiers who were stationed near the road to catch deserters from the army. Anyone caught deserting would be punished by many mighty lashes; and some even died from the merciless flogging.
The soldiers suspected Rabbi Porush of being a deserter, arrested him, and immediately began to beat him. Reb Moshe tried to explain to them that he was an American citizen, not a deserter, but they paid no attention to his protests and continued to hit him, even as they dragged him to the police station in the Old City where he would be properly whipped for his crime.
Rabbi Porush wanted to show them his USA passport, but since it was totally dark in the street, they could not read it. Suddenly, he recalled that he had a box of matches in his pocket. He quickly lit a match and showed them his precious document. As soon as they read it, the Turkish soldiers were startled and saluted the Rabbi, setting him free at once. It was the mitzvah he had done a few days ago, which protected Reb Moshe Porush from harm; and may have even saved his life.
Shema Yisrael Torah Network