Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Story: Yiskor for a living son

A Jewish observant Jew was once on a flight in the US. He struck up a conversation with the man
sitting next to him who also happened to be Jewish, by the name of Mr. Weinstein. When the
meals were served, he took Kosher, but Mr. Weinstein didn’t. He asked Mr Weinstein in a casual
way, why it was that he didn’t order Kosher? Why would he eat bacon?
Mr. Weistein pulled up his sleeve and showed his neighbor the number tattooed by the SS on his
arm. He shared how lost his family in the war, besides for one son who survived the selections
with him. But then, near the end of the war, they took his son away to another camp, and he
never ever saw his son again. That was the last straw that killed my faith. Why should I keep
Kosher? The man was startled and remained silent.
Four years passed, and one Yom Kippur whilst he man was going to Shul, he noticed an elderly
Jewish looking figure smoking, sitting on the bench. As he approached he was surprised to see it
was the same man he had met a few years earlier on the plane. Mr. Weinstein. He saw this as no
coincidence, and decided to go up to him and strike a conversation. He told him that today was
Yom Kippur, and in a few minutes they would say yizkor for all our loved ones who have passed
on. Weinstein did not want to hear from it. He said that he never been to a synagogue since the
Holocaust. “I have nothing to find there.”
But this other Jews pleaded: What can you lose? It will be a comfort for you to be with many
other survivors who remember and pay tribute to all of their loved ones who perished. You will
say a kaddish for your son. You know what? I will ask the cantor to do a special service, a Kel
Maleh Rachamim, for your son, since you have never been to shul since the Holocaust.
The man reluctantly agreed. They entered the synagogue and for the first time since the war he
said Yizkor for his beloved family.
Then the Jew who brought him in, approached the Chazan to say a prayer for his son.
The cantor began the prayer: E-l Maleh Rachamim, Shochen Meromim… Compassionate G-d,
please remember the soul of… and the cantor turned to the Jew to tell him the name of the boy
and his father’s name. The Jew said: Kasriel Menachem ben Yechezkel Shraga.
The Chazan heard the name and turned white like a ghost.
People ran over to support him.
The cantor asked who is the father of this child, and they pointed to the man, the survivor, who
just came to shul for the first time.The cantor ran over to him, screaming: Tate, Tate, Tate --- Father, father, father. As father and
son embraced.

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