June 29, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm #603936
Yesterday was the 8th of Tammuz. 68 years ago on that date, my grandmother, along with her parents and 6 siblings, arrived on a train at Auschwitz, stuffed into cattle cars so tightly that they could barely breath.
My grandmother was the oldest of the 7 siblings – 5 boys and 2 girls. When they got off the train, they were sent to be sorted. There, sitting at the table, was the monster they called “The Angel of Death” – Dr. Mengele. It was too much effort for him to even lift his finger and point. He merely rested his hand on the table and just twitched his finger to one side as each person walked by.
My grandmother and the next oldest sibling, a brother, were sent to one side. Her parents and other siblings were sent to the other side. That was the last time she ever saw them. A few minutes later, she and her brother were separated – she went with the other girls, he went with the boys. That was the last time she’d ever see his face.
One thing she did notice was that her brother was given a very distinct-looking pair of shoes. A few weeks later, she was walking near the fence separating the boys and girls. On the bottom, she saw those shoes walking by on the other side of the fence. She never knew if it was her brother or someone else who took them from his dead body.
68 years is a long time. My grandmother now has 4 children, 17 grandchildren, many more great-grandchildren (she told me she lost count already), and one great-great-grandchild. Imagine of her family had survived, how much larger the family would be!
It’s said that all victims of the Holocaust went straight up to Gan Eden, to the special place for those who died al kiddush Hashem. Do they need a zchus from me for an aliyas neshama? They’re already at amazing heights! I just hope that I don’t disappoint them, and that I’m a source of pride for them.
Lipa Eliezer ben Shlomo
Breindel bas Moshe
Mordechai ben Lipa Eliezer
Avraham ben Lipa Eliezer
Gitel bas Lipa Eliezer
Berel ben Lipa Eliezer
Gedaliah ben Lipa Eliezer
Yaakov ben Lipa Eliezer
Hashem yinakem damam.June 29, 2012 8:12 pm at 8:12 pm #986122oomisParticipant
Amein.June 30, 2012 12:25 am at 12:25 am #986123🍫Syag LchochmaParticipant
Amein.July 1, 2012 3:58 pm at 3:58 pm #986124147Participant
Do they need a zechus from me for an aliyas neshama?
Whatever the response:- I hope/assume that by now with 4 children & 17 grandchildren + great-grandchildren and a great-great-grandchild that every single of those 7 siblings & her parents, have been named for?July 1, 2012 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm #986125
I know for sure that parents are named for, and 2 siblings. Honestly, I don’t know about the other children – none of my cousins have those names. All the mechutanim, however, also went through the Holocaust – and one even lost a wife and a number of children.
I’ve thought that if I have another child I’d like to name it after one of her siblings. I’ve written before, however, that I had to go through fertility treatments to have my twins, and the odds of having more kids is very slim. My son is named for my grandfather, and my daughter is named for my mother-in-law. I felt those names had to come before great-aunts and great-uncles.June 17, 2013 1:24 pm at 1:24 pm #986126
Yesterday was the yartzeit again. My grandmother gave me an awesome responsibility. A few years ago, I helped her submit the names of her family to Yad Vashem, for their database of names. My grandmother is not a young person anymore, and she realized that she’s starting to get a bit forgetful. She asked me to ensure that her family is not forgotten.
I spoke on Shabbos in my shul between Mincha and Maariv about the yartzeit. In last week’s Pirkei Avos (the 5th perek), the Mishna says that there were 10 generations between Noach and Avraham to show us how patient Hashem is. The generations angered him, until Avraham came, and received the schar for all of them.
I thought of a pshat in that which I hadn’t seen anywhere else. On Rosh Hashana, we know that everyone is judged – even the souls of those who already passed away. Why? Because they left an impact on this world. If someone got others to do mitzvos, and they continue doing them after he’s gone, he can still receive a reward for every mitzva they do. On the flip side, if someone drives someone away from Torah, even after he’s gone, he can be punished for every aveirah his “student” does.
One of the main things in Judaism is our mesorah. It gets passed from parent to child, teacher to student. Noach was a tzaddik, and through the 10 generations after him, the mesorah should have been passed down. When a parent teaches his child, the parent can receive a reward for the mitzvos the child does. However, between Noach and Avraham, the people left the proper path, and ignored the mesorah. Avraham started it again. Therefore, he got the schar for all the generations – he gets schar for each generation after him, and doesn’t have to share it with those before him.
My grandmother told me that her father was not a learned man. World War 1 forced him out of cheder. Yet, it didn’t affect his Judaism. He didn’t learn the Torah and halachos – he lived them! He knew all the halachos because his parents had taught them to him by the way they lived. My grandmother said she had never heard of the Shulchan Aruch until she came to the US, after the war. Her parents were a living Shulchan Aruch! This passing of the mesorah is why we have endured through all the ages, through all the sorrows, and keep our faith strong.
As R’ Elchanan Wasserman hy”d said to his students, “We are to be a korbon for the Jewish nation. With fire the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed, and with fire it will be rebuilt. From our ashes, the Beis Hamikdash will be built again!” May the merit of my great-grandparents and great-aunts & uncles, along with all the others who died al kiddush Hashem, cause Mashiach to come speedily, in our days.
Hashem yinakem damam.June 17, 2013 7:30 pm at 7:30 pm #986127amichaiParticipant
their holy neshamos should have an aliyah.June 18, 2013 3:51 am at 3:51 am #986128147Participant
This week marks the 72nd Johrzeit of Horav Elchonon Wasserman ZT’L as well as the 2nd Johrzeit of Leiby Kletzky HY’D.June 20, 2013 5:17 pm at 5:17 pm #986129
Yes, I believe R’ Elchonon’s yartzeit was yesterday. Just another reason why I quoted him on Shabbos.
I left out something else I said:
“There’s a story with the Ponovizher Rav. He was in Rome, and went to see the Arch of Titus. He looked at the arch, and shook his fist at it. He yelled, ‘Titus! Here I am! Where are you, Titus? Your Roman empire is gone! But I am here. The Jewish nation is growing, and thriving! We are learning Torah! You tried to destroy us, yet here I am – and you are gone!’
On the yartzeit of my family, I say, ‘Hitler! Where are you? Your 3rd Reich is gone! You may have killed my family, but I’m still here, sharing divrei Torah! Jews are thriving all over the world, and not only that, there’s even a Jewish state again! You tried to destroy us, but here we are – and you are gone!”November 8, 2013 2:49 pm at 2:49 pm #986130
This week was the yartzeit of my grandfather A”H. He was one of the most amazing people I ever met. He wasn’t a talmud chacham. His Rav once said that he was the epitome of a “pashutah Yid”. He survived Auschwitz, then came to the US and built a new life and family. He worked hard every day to support his family, and made sure they were raised with Torah values.
His greatest attribute was his Bitachon in Hashem. He always used to say, “Everything is beautiful!” no matter what was happening.
I spoke at Seudah Shlishi last Shabbos, and said over a D’var Torah about Emunah and Bitachon. I then spoke about my grandfather and his amazing bitachon. Here was one thing I said:
Imagine you have two people. They start off with the same story, but they take very different turns. Let’s start with Person A. Person A has a big meeting on Monday morning. He must be in the office at 9 am sharp for it. But, while going out the door to catch his bus, he slips, and his coffee spills all over his shirt. He runs to change, then runs to the bus stop, but he’s too late – the bus is gone. He waits for the next bus, worried about his meeting.
Finally, the next bus comes. He gets on, and hopes the ride will be quick, so he can only miss the beginning of the meeting. After a bit, though, the bus slows down, then stops. He looks out the window, and sees flashing lights. He sees the bus he was supposed to catch earlier, on its side, with ambulances around it. The bus had been in a major accident, and most of the people aboard were killed. Obviously, Hashem had plans for this man!
Within a few days, we’d hear this story many times. It would be written in the Jewish papers and websites. Amazing hashgacha pratis!
Now let’s look at the second man. He too had a meeting, spilled his coffee, and was running late. But there was no accident. He got to the office, and his boss yelled at him for being late. Starting the day badly just snowballed, and he ended up having a horrible day.
Does that mean there wasn’t hashgacha pratis on the second guy? Obviously not. Hashem had a reason for the second guy just as much as He did for the forst guy.
It’s easy to be inspired when it is staring us in the face. It’s when things seem to be going wrong that it’s tough. The tests of Emunah are in cases like the 2nd guy. My grandfather A”H would have responded, “Everything is beautiful!”, because that’s how he lived his life. Everything that happens is from Hashem, therefore it is beautiful!November 8, 2013 3:44 pm at 3:44 pm #986131🍫Syag LchochmaParticipant
Thank you for telling us about him. May his neshama have an aliyaNovember 10, 2013 3:52 am at 3:52 am #986132oomisParticipant
Since we are telling yartzeit stories… Tonight/tomorrow is my mother-in-law’s yartzeit AND that of her eldest granddaughter, the daughter of my sister-in-law.
My mother-in-law was not a frum woman, but except for my own parents, I have never seen a greater baalas chessed. With my father-in-law’s haskama, when they got married they moved her elderly parents in with them so she could take care of them until they died at ripe old ages. She also took in with them her newly-widowed sister and HER two children, until she got back on her feet. After the sister moved out and the parents passed away, she took care of her elderly mother-in-law. With all the siblings on both sides of the family, no one was willing to do what she did, and she did it with kovod and with simcha.
What was her reward in this Olam? I wish I could say that she had a long, healthy life. She didn’t, She was struck legally blind and mostly crippled through a devastating stroke, when my husband was just past Bar-Mitzvah age. She endured many corneal transplants to no avail, and developed severe rheumatoid arthritis. SO her life was spent bed-ridden in terrible pain, needing to rely on my dear shver to see to all of her needs (that is how they both wanted it).
But – she also was zochah to see her only son become frum, get married and raise children who are all Ohavei Torah. She was very much loved by her daughter-in-law. who called her every day to chat about the aineklach’s chochmos (and if I was repetitious at times, it was all good, because she loved hearing whatever I had to tell her).
Her very final act was to be shomeres Shabbos. When I called her erev Shabbos before she had the final stroke that ended her life, I could tell her speech sounded slurred and off. I told my husband he HAD to spend Shabbos with his parents, because something was going on. So he went, and in the morning, my father-in-law wanted to turn on the TV, because being blind, her only pleasure was in at least hearing the TV programs that she loved when she was still sighted. Her response, “No. No TV. (my husband’s name) is here and it’s Shabbos.” She had what was to become her fatal stroke a few hours later, and she was nifteres a couple of days after that.
Everything my husband was and is, is because of the wonderful parents he had. May her neshama have an aliyah.
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