Monday, March 3, 2008

The Pinteleh Yid

R av Tzaddok HaKohen from Lublin, zt”l, writes that we are still called the “portion of Hashem”even if we are mired in defilement. This is because a Jew by nature is always connected to Hashem, and this is the Divine Presence that never leaves his innermost self.

During the Bolshevik revolution, there were many bloody battles between those still loyal to the Czar, and the Communists. The only thing that held steady throughout the period was that the Jews inevitably suffered wherever the “Whites” were in conflict with the “Reds.” It didn’t matter which side came out on top; either way, the winners would invariably claim that the Jews were traitors and deserved punishment.

Once, the Reds came to a small Russian village and completely overtook the area. Immediately, they declared that the local Jews were guilty of treason and should be put to death. The Bolsheviks rounded up the Jews in the town square and prepared a firing squad. The entire village was forcibly assembled, but one could still hear a pin drop just before the soldiers were ordered to fire. In that village, there was a pharmacist whom everyone quite reasonably assumed was not Jewish. In the heavy silence, this pharmacist started to push his way forward, and tried to join the three hundred condemned Jews. The villagers tried to holdhim back, not realizing why he wanted to risk his own life. The pharmacist continued to struggle, and cried: “I am also a Jew! If it is the fate of all the Jews to die, I should not be spared!”

When the villagers saw that the pharmacist had managed to push himself through to join the Jews they began to fight the soldiers for the man’s life.“ Who will heal us and prepare our medicines? You must spare him!” The Bolsheviks decided to spare the man, and also ave up on executing the Jews of the village. The revelation of this man’s eternal connection to the G-d of the Jewish people saved three hundred other lives!

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