Received from a reader: picture did not come through
I took this photo on the street in Tzfat’s Old City just hours ago. The menorah stands tall and regal, juxtaposed with the broken shutters behind it, reminding us to hold our torches high, and be a lamplighter.
A story: A young man named Avrumel Greenbaum lost his entire family in the Holocaust. After the war, he came to America and wanted nothing to do with Judaism. He was no longer Avrumel Greenbaum; now he was Aaron Green. He moved to Alabama and happened to marry a Jewish woman there. The day his oldest son Jeffrey turned thirteen, they were not going to celebrate his bar mitzvah. Aaron decided to recognize the day by taking Jeffrey to the mall and buy him anything he wanted there. They went to a big electronics store and while browsing, Jeffrey’s eye caught something in an antique shop across the way. He was mesmerized by it. He couldn’t take his eyes off of it.
He told his father, “I don’t want anything from the electronics store. I want to go across to the antique shop.” When they got there, the boy pointed to an old wooden menorah and said, “That’s what I want for my bar-mitzvah.” His father couldn’t believe it. He was letting his child buy anything he wanted in the whole mall and this is what he was choosing? Nevertheless, he couldn’t talk him out of it.
Aaron asked the shop-owner the price of the menorah, but he replied “Sorry, that’s not for sale.” The father said, “What do you mean? This is a store.” He offered a lot of money for it. The owner said, “I found out the history of this menorah. A man constructed it during the war and it took him months to gather the wood. It survived, but he did not. It’s going to be a collector’s item. It’s not for sale.”
Jeffrey kept telling his father, “That’s what I want. All I want is the menorah.” So Aaron Green kept offering more money until the owner finally agreed to sell. The boy was so excited. He took the menorah up to his room and played with it every day. One day the parents heard a crash from Jeffrey’s room. They ran upstairs and saw the menorah shattered to pieces. The father yelled at his son for being so careless, as he paid so much money for it. Afterwards, he felt bad; he told the boy, “Let’s try to glue it back together.”
While holding one of the pieces, the father noticed a piece of paper wedged inside. He pulled it out and started reading. He had tears welled up in his eyes and then he fainted. His family threw water on him and revived him. “What happened?”, they asked.
He replied, “Let me read you this letter.” It was written in Yiddish, and it said, “To whoever finds this menorah, I want you to know, I constructed it not knowing if I would ever have the opportunity to light it. Who knows if I will live to the day to see it being kindled? In all probability, going through this war, I will not. But if Providence brings this menorah to your hands, you who are reading this letter, promise me you will light it for me and for us, my family, and those who gave their lives to serve Hashem.”
Aaron Green then looked up at his family with tears in his eyes and, in a choked-up voice, said, “The letter is signed by my father.”
They were all speechless. That family recognized the hashgacha of Hashem and they came back to Torah and mitzvot. The hashgacha was unbelievable, taking a menorah from Europe and bringing it back to the family in a remote mall in Alabama.
Hashem wants everybody back. Hanukah means to re-dedicate. It’s a time to rededicate ourselves and come closer to Hashem.
Wishing you all revealed miracles,