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Thoughts by the Menorah

My Rebby, ztvk"l, taught us to sit in front of the lit Chanukah Menorah, for half an hour, and contemplate the miracles of Hashem. He also told us that it is a time to think not only about the miracle of Chanukah but of all of the miracles which He performs for the Jewish People, in general, and for us, in particular, throughout our lives. Personally, I found that half an hour is a bit too much for most of us and I recommend spending fifteen minutes or so. It is a perfect time to think about all of the "coincidences" in our lives which are really nothing else but Hashem's Guiding Hand helping us along the way.

When one realizes how much Hashem is a part of his life, he feels secure knowing that he is not subject to chance but is a part of a planned, organized system which is being run and supervised by none other than the Almighty Himself. Those who have that perfect faith and trust in Hashem are the ones who know how to celebrate Chanukah properly; with utmost joy and tranquility. They sing the Chanukah songs with their children and teach them, too, to trust in Hashem. They are the ones who will always be happy, in this world and the World-to-Come.

I recently received an e-mail with the following, amazing story of Hashgachah Peratis (Divine Providence) during World War II.

During the Holocaust, a large group of Polish, Jewish women were rounded up to be sent to the gas chambers. As the group gathered their possessions to take with them into the camp, the evil Nazi officers called out to all the villagers who were standing by watching, "Anything that these Jews leave behind you may take for yourselves, because for sure they will not be coming back to collect them!!"

Two Polish women who were standing nearby saw a Jewish woman towards the back of the group wearing a large, heavy, expensive coat. Not wanting to wait to see if others got the coat before them, they ran to the woman and knocked her to the ground; grabbed her coat and walked away. As the Jewish women were being led away, these two Polish women lay down the coat to divide the spoils of what had been hidden inside of it. As they rummaged through the pockets, they discovered gold jewelry, silver candlesticks and other heirlooms. Yet, as they lifted the coat, it seemed heavier than it should have been. After further inspection, they found a secret pocket, and hidden inside the coat was a little baby girl. Shocked at their discovery, one of the women told the other, "I don't have any children, and I am too old to have any now. You take all the gold and silver and let me take the baby." The deal was consummated and the Polish woman took her new "daughter" home to her delighted husband. They raised the Jewish girl as their very own, treating her very well; but never told her anything of her history. The girl excelled in her studies and became a successful pediatrician, working in the top hospital in Poland.

Some years later, the girl's "mother" passed away. A week later, an old woman visited her and said, "I want you to know that the woman that passed away last week was not your real mother." And she proceeded to tell her the entire story. The girl did not believe her at first but the old woman said to her, "When we found you, you were wearing a beautiful gold pendant with strange writing on it, which must be Hebrew. I am sure that your mother must have kept the necklace. Search the house for it." The girl went into her "mother's" jewelry box and found the necklace, just as the woman had described it. She had it enlarged and wore it every day, but thought nothing more of her Jewish roots.

Sometime later, she went on vacation abroad and met two Liubavitcher boys. Seizing the opportunity, she told them the entire story and showed them the necklace. The boys confirmed that a Jewish name was inscribed on the necklace but did not know what to say about her status. They recommended that she send a letter to the Liubavitcher Rebbe ztvk"l explaining everything. She sent off the letter and received a speedy reply saying that it is clear from the facts that she is a Jewish girl and that since she had a special talent, she should use her invaluable skills in Israel; a place in desperate need of talented pediatricians.

She took the Rebbe's advice and moved to Israel, where she approached a Beis Din (Jewish Court of Law) which officially declared her Jewish. She was accepted into a hospital to work, and she met her husband and raised a family.

Some years later, in August, 2001, there was a terrorist attack at the Sbarro cafe in the center of Jerusalem. At the time, this woman was walking nearby with her husband. She told him to return home to the kids and she proceeded to rush to the scene where she treated the wounded and helped the injured get to the hospital as quickly as possible. When she arrived at the hospital, she met an elderly man who was in a state of shock. He was searching everywhere for his granddaughter who had become separated from him. She calmed him down and went with him to search amongst all of the patients. She asked him how she could recognize her and he gave her a rough description of a gold pendant necklace that she was wearing. After searching amongst the injured, they finally found the girl who was, indeed, wearing the necklace. At the sight of the necklace, the pediatrician froze. She turned to the old man and said, "Where did you buy this necklace from?" "You can not buy such a necklace," he responded. "I am a goldsmith and I made this myself. Actually, I made two identical ones for each of my daughters. This is my granddaughter from one of them. My other daughter, unfortunately, did not survive the war."

And this is how the Jewish, Polish girl was reunited with her Father.


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