Dreaming of Moshiach

Monday, September 11, 2006

3 Stories of Tshuva via Dreams

1. Reb Yonosan Eibshitz, zs'l, appeared to his son in a dream, urging him to do teshuva. When his son ignored the dream, he came yet again and threatened him. After the 3rd time, his father reappeared in the dream and told his son that if he doesn't do Teshuva, he'll[+/-] show/hide text
handicap him for life. The son promised his father in the dream to do teshuva. Then he asked his father why it took him twelve years to come to him, it being 12 years since he had died. R' Yonoson said he was busy with his halachic opponent R' Yaakov Emden. Their case was being tried in the heavenly court.

2. Eran was dressed in Tel Aviv hip attire -- black T-shirt, black pants, red sneakers. His black Charlotte Hornets cap wasn't part of the outfit, however. For him it was a kind of "starter" kippah. Like the growing number of once-secular, bohemian-inclined Israelis, Eran is a newly religious Jew.

He became exposed to this world a few years ago, when at age 20, he got a job at Tel Aviv's Basta La Basta restaurant. The restaurant turned out to be owned by Ezra Brautman, who follow the teachings of one of the movement's "hottest" sages, Reb Nachman of Breslev.

For two years, Eran argued about God's existence with those who congregated around the restaurant. Eran said that God did not exist.

But then, a little over a year ago, he says, "I had a dream where I was in my room, and the room was dark but I could see everything as if it was daytime. There was a man dressed in black with silver hair and dark eyes, smoking a cigarette. I was terrified and I woke up, and I realized I was praying words I didn't know. The last thing I said was, `Sh'ma Yisrael.' I said that to save myself, because I know now the man was the angel of death."

Since that dream, Eran has joined the Breslevs. He keeps Shabbat in the company of friends, prays in synagogue Friday mornings, attends yeshiva study sessions.

Sitting in front of Basta La Basta, which has a "Shabbat Shalom, Haver" sticker on the wall, Eran notes, "My politics are still left-wing. I voted for Shimon Peres and I still support him."

Shortly after his dream, Eran says he began to wear a kippah and tzitzit (ritual fringes). "Everybody takes it at his own pace," he says.

3. After the passing of the Chazon Ish, zs'l, R’ Yaakov Feldman told the amazing tale of his return to Yiddishkeit in the zechus (merit) of the tzaddik.

I was teen when the Nazi era began and Hungary was no place for a young Jewish boy. There were, unfortunately, few places in the world that were. And so, I was left with little choice but to hide my identity. I had already left my parent’s home to work in a small city before the Nazis arrived. Now, I assumed the identity of a non-Jew. I cast away the yoke of Torah and mitzvos, forgot all the Torah I had learnt, and focused only on survival. It worked for a while, until the Nazis caught up with me. Then they sent me off to Auschwitz where I suffered along with my Jewish brethren. If mitzvah observance was forgotten before, it was vanquished in the death camp.

Suffice it to say that I suffered through enough savage cruelty and inhuman treatment to last many lifetimes. But youth is strong, and my destiny lay elsewhere. Somehow, I survived. But my oppressors had won a small victory. For if they had failed to murder my body, they succeeded in snuffing out my soul. I had lost every trace of my Jewishness to the Nazis.

Well, maybe not every trace. Something pulled me to go to Eretz Yisroel. But even the air of the Holy Land could not make me return to the ways of my dear departed father. So although my father, R’ Chaim Mordechai, a”h, had lived and died al Kiddush Hashem, I worked on Shabbos. I even worked on Yom Kippur!

On the first night of Rosh Hashana, 5713, my departed father came to me in dream. He had been killed like so many others, in Auschwitz. He was wrapped in a tallis, and wore a snow-white kittel. I looked into his face with fear. Suddenly, he spoke.

“Do teshuvah”, he said. “Return to the ways you were taught in your youth. If you don’t, death will be near.” Then he vanished. I awoke, shivering in fear.

“It was a dream, only a dream,” I told myself, and though I was disturbed, I pushed the memory out of my mind, and went about my day’s affairs. That night my father appeared to me in a dream again, begging me to do teshuva, and warning me that if I wouldn’t, my life would soon end. The dreams continued every night for a week. The warnings were unsettling, but still, I dismissed them as only dreams, and continued living as before, although my father reappeared to me every night for a complete week.

Friday night, I went out to a café in Rishon LeTzion. When I returned, I went to the radio. I was about to flick the switch on, when I heard my father’s voice.

“Oy vavoy”, it cried. “You’re still doing aveiros?” I turned to the voice and there stood my father, in his otherworldly clothes. “this is not a dream”, he said. “I have come from the olam haemes to warn you, to save you. You have been judged in shamayim and found guilty. You have been sentenced to death! Return! Return before it is too late!” and then, my father’s image disappeared.

That Shabbos I did not smoke and or listen to the radio. Slowly the effect of my father’s visit wore off. Motzoei Shabbos, I went to see a movie. When I returned home, my father’s image was in the room again.

“Do teshuvah”, hew warned. “Return.” He pleaded with me to change my ways. But it was his final words to me that shook me to the core. “This will be your last warning”, he said. And then he vanished.

That night I couldn’t sleep. My father’s image haunted me. I saw him as he appeared to me, wrapped in his tallis and dressed in his kittel. I saw him also the way I preferred to remember him – alive, at home. I saw him at the Shabbos table, at the Chanukah menorah, and always, I saw myself as a young boy, at his side, living a Torah life.

At daybreak, I arose and rushed to Bnei Brak. I had heard that the Chazon Ish understood the meaning of dreams, and I needed to free myself of the burden my father’s appearances had placed upon me. When I entered the tzaddik’s room, he looked at me with piercing eyes.

“Oy vavoy”, he cried. “You work on Shabbos? On Rosh Hashana? Even on Yom Kippur? Your father has no rest in the olam haelyon – in the world of the Heavens. A g’zar din has been decreed upon you because of your actions!”

Stunned, I could not utter a sound. How did he know all this, I wondered? The Chazzon Ish closed his eyes halfway and appeared to be drifting to sleep. Suddenly, he opened his eyes wide.

“If you do teshuvah you will be zochhe to annul the g’zar din in the merit of a great mitzvah that you did years ago. Tell me”, said the tzaddik, what is this great mitzvah that you did?”

I thought for a moment, but could not remember any great thing I had done. Still, I told the Chazzon Ish that I gave tzedakah and that I was always careful to deal with my fellow man fairly.

“No. That is not enough of a zechus”, he said. “There is something else. Try to remember as far back as you can. Is there something perhaps from your youth that could save you now?”

Then I remembered when I was fourteen years old, our country was in upheaval. Bands of vicious fighters rampaged through towns and villages, murdering and plundering at will. Jews, of course, were their prime targets. One night, a woman knocked at our door. And said that a Jewish boy had died in her village. Nobody was able to bring to kever Yisroel – a Jewish burial. It was up to us to bury him.

My father considered the matter. I was young and slight and it would be easier for me to get to the village undetected than for an adult. And so, I ran through the forest. I remember my fear, for I knew that I could be meeting my killer behind every tree and past every bend. Still I ran, knowing that I was the unfortunate boy’s only chance to be buried as a Jew. I made it to the cottage where he lay, and single-handedly brought him to kever Yisroel.

The tzaddik listened closely to me, nodding his head. Apparently, this was the zechus that he was looking for. He did not say another word to me. I took his silence as acquiescence, and left a changed man. When I returned home, I also returned to Hashem b’teshuva shleimoh. I accepted upon myself, from that moment on, to do teshuva and live a Torah life. Since then I have seen only brocho v’hatzlocho.

Reprinted from http://www.rabbidovidgoldwasser.com/shuva.html

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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