Dreaming of Moshiach

Monday, October 13, 2008

Story for Succot

Avraham and Shmuel agreed to meet in Manhattan on the corner of 47th Street and 6th Avenue at 11:00 am. Avraham does not own a cell phone and on the train towards Manhattan saw his friend and borrowed his cell phone to call Shmuel. He told him that he's on his way and should be on time for their meeting. Shmuel asked him if he can call him back on this cell number and Avraham explained that it's not his cell; he borrowed it from his friend, head of Chevre Kadisha of Boro Park.

Shmuel got to the location on time and waited for his friend to show up. 15 minutes pass by and no Avraham. He thought to himself that he probably misunderstood the location, and walked towards 5th Avenue, while continuing looking for his friend. Another 10 minutes passed, and no Avraham. Shmuel was frustrated; how can Avraham live without a cell phone and now, there's no way to contact him. He started walking toward 42nd Avenue, not sure anymore where they agreed to meet.

While walking, he heard a woman calling "Rabbi, Rabbi, I need your help". He turns around and sees a young woman running towards him. 'Now what?', he thought to himself, 'now I'm a Rabbi?'.

When the woman approached him, he explained that he's not a Rabbi and started to walk away. The woman again called to him "Rabbi, please". She asked him if he was Jewish and of course, he replied that he's an Orthodox Jew and does not speak to strange women. "Good", she answered, "I need your help desperately. My husband, Mr. Robert Freedman, is Jewish but I'm not. He's in a coma in a hospital not far away."

"My husband spent most of his life in prison. He sometimes gets paroled from prison for good behavior and always came home. But this year in September, he didn't want to come home. I begged him but he claimed that there's a Rabbi in the prison and he began attending Jewish classes and likes it very much. He said that his parole coincides with a Jewish Holiday called Succot and during this holiday, the Jews make a blessing on 4 species and can only eat in a Succa. I told him that it's no problem and I'll purchase a a Succa and place it in the living room. I'll get the 4 species, whatever they are, and he can come home and can continue to practice his Jewish ritual ceremonies at home. He refused. He explained that a Jew must be in the Succa for 8 days and my food is not kosher and the kitchen and utensils are not kosher and it'd defeat the whole purpose."

"I finally gave in. He chose not to take advantage of his parole and decided he'd rather stay in prison so he can eat Kosher in a Jewish Succa. He could have chosen to be free but he chose to stay in prison. I don't understand it. Now, he's very ill, and needs medical attention and he's in the hospital".

Shmuel had no idea why she's telling him all this. He courteously listened and wished her husband to have a quick recovery and began walking away. The woman again called "Rabbi, I need your help".

Shmuel p-a-t-i-e-n-t-l-y asked her what help can he possibly offer? She answered that in all likelyhood, her husband is not going to survive the illness and wanted to know if Judaism permits burying a Jew in any cemetery. "No", answered Shmuel. "The Jews are buried ONLY in Jewish cemeteries!".

He remembered that Shmuel called him using his friend's cell phone, Rabbi Rosen, whom works in the Chevre Kadisha. He dialed the last incoming phone number and spoke with the Rabbi and quickly explained the situation. Rabbi Rosen told him to give the wife his phone number and if and when the time arrives, she should call him and he'll arrange a proper Jewish burial for Mr. Freedman.

Shmuel wanted to give her the phone number of the Rabbi but she couldn't find a pen. She searched thru the contents of her purse and pulled out her cell. She shrieked "Oh my God, here's the cell. While in the hospital, I couldn't find my cell. I checked my purse 20 times for the cell and could not find it. I thought maybe I left it in a store and was returning to the store to see if it's there and that's when I bumped into you. Oh my God, it was in the purse the whole time. This is a miracle!". Excitedly, she punched the phone number of the Jewish Rabbi in her cell as well as Shmuel's cell number and thanked Shmuel.

Finally, Shmuel was free to continue searching for his friend. The time was 11:55 am and he decided to go to the original location, 47th street and 6th Avenue. He ran the whole way back and saw Avraham waiting for him. "What took you so long?", Avraham was mad. He was impatiently waiting and was just about to leave. Shmuel told him what happened and they both realized the amazing Hand of HaShem coordinating this "mishap".

A few days later, Shmuel gets a phone call. It was Motzei Shabbat (Saturday nite, after Shabbat)and it was from the woman he "bumped" into in Manhattan. "Listen", she says, "I've been calling you all day but no answer. Thank God I finally found you. My husband is "dying to die" but somehow he cannot. Is it proper to call my priest to say with him the last rites so he can die in peace?". Shmuel explained that according to the Jewish religion, a Rabbi is needed to say the Viduy. He promised her that he'll immediately get a Rabbi to come personally to the hospital.

Quickly, he called Rabbi Rosen and explained the situation. Without wasting a precious moment, Rabbi Rosen organized 3 men to go to the hospital. When they arrived, they said the Viduy and "Shema Israel HaShem Elokeinu HaShem Echad" with Mr. Freedman. 2 seconds later, Mr. Freedman returned his soul to the Maker.

They needed to attain all proper papers to release the body and it took over 24 hours. Finally, Sunday nite, Mr. Freedman's body was delivered to Boro Park to the facilities of the Chevre Kadisha.

Early Monday morning Shmuel calls Rabbi Rosen to ask about Mr. Freedman. Rabbi Rosen asked him where he is and Shmuel answered that although he lives in Williamsburg, this morning he had something very important to do in Boro Park. "Baruch HaShem", Rabbi Rosen said excitedly, "You know where the Chevre Kaddishe facility is? Come right away. We are doing Tahara but only have 9 men and need a 10th man to properly bury Mr. Freedman".
Mr. Freedman insisted to sit in a Succa for 8 days in prison, instead of going home. He did tremendous Kiddush HaShem and fulfilled the Commandement "Go out from your permanent dwellings and live in a temporary dwelling".

This is a true story, told by Shmuel and printed in the magazine Mishpacha.
Le'ilui nishmat (ascent of the soul) Mr. Freedman.




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והיה השם למלך על כל הארץ, ביום ההוא יהיה השם אחד - ושמו אחד ישתבח שמו לעד לנצח נצחים בכל העולמות Blessed is His name for eternity in all worlds אין עוד מלבדו