Op-Ed: When Hashem Trumps the Cards


(By Yoel Friedman, London)

It exploded!

The reaction was spontaneous, a kind of which recent history gives little or no comparison.

I received the news in the form of a text message. ‘’Trump commuted Rubashkin’s sentence, which means he can be freed with immediate effect’’. I was seated at a family Simcha when the news came through, it hit the entire hall like a bombshell, everything ceased to exist, and everyone’s face showed an expression of disbelief alongside utter happiness and joy. From children to elderly, young and old, man and woman, everyone.

Within moments the videos began to stream in, wherever Jews live there was spontaneous dancing, celebration in the streets, music and joy, it was like a new Yom Tov has been granted to Klal Yisroel. People were literally dancing everywhere. From the Otisville Gas Station, to Monsey, Boro Park and mid-flight. Kfar Chabad to – least we forget – 770, the headquarters and the nerve-centre of Lubavitch. Klal Yisroel was dancing.

Celebrations were going on throughout the night, eventually joined by Reb Shulem Mordchei himself, who recited the blessing ‘Baruch Matir Asurim’ (Blessed is He who frees the bound), and joined in with the night-long celebrations.

What was the last time anything caused Jews dance in the streets with such energy and joy?

What was the last time a story of an individual Jew made us dance in the streets with such energy and joy?

I’ve asked around by the elderly amongst us and found no comparable.

What’s the Rubashkin secret that electrified the Jewish world to such extent?

Throughout the Rubashkin trail as well as throughout his 8 years in prison Reb Shulem Mordchei was, and still remains, a living example of Emunah Pshutah (blind, simple faith). The way he conducted himself throughout, the way he accepted anything that came his way, be it good, bad or worse than bad, was something exceptional and enormously outstanding.

Like a real Lubavitch Chasid he saw Hashem in every single step of the way, he believed firmly that he is controlled and overseen by Hashem in the best possible way.

He believed that everything that happens to him is a direct result of Hashem’s will and he was happy to abide by that. No questions asked.

He believed so strongly that everything is Hashem and only Hashem, to an extent, that he was expecting to be released every second, rega k’meimra…

He knew that apart from Hashem there is nothing and when Hashem decides it’s time to be released he will be released. And so it was.

The 27-year sentence meant absolutely nothing to him.

The countless letters he wrote from his cell in the past 8 years, put our levels of Emunah to shame. To be in the position that he was and live with such strong and simple Emunah is something beyond human understanding. These letters testify for themselves and demonstrate such high levels of Emunah.. It’s hard for us to comprehend it.

When the moment came, and it happened, a manifestation of Emunah and miracles exploded and flooded the entire Klal Yisroel with boundless power. We didn’t know ourselves what hit us. We all felt it but couldn’t put our finger on it. It was in our hearts and minds, something higher and more spiritual than plain material joy. It was the power of Emunah, the power of faith in Hashem that made a sudden and powerful appearance without any restrictions or limits.

Hence the unexplained and mysterious joy and Simcha that spread upon a nation like never before.

We all say it all the time, we all have faith, but he lived it. He lived and breathed Hashem. And with this level of faith open miracles come as no surprise.

One nation under One God

The ongoing rivalling and differences by Klal Yisroel are often unpleasant to watch and not something we strive for at all. Evil does its job and occasionally manages to infiltrate us with bad feelings on each other, or on other groups or sects of Jewish people.

When that moment of truth and hisgalus (revelation) occurred, it touched the heart of every single Jew. There was no difference between the Chasid and the Litvak, between Ashkenazi and Sephardi, etc. All boundaries fell. The walls went crumbling and a holy emotion of unity swamped us.

It was the pure revelation of faith in our one and only God, that brought along the ‘one nation’ feeling once again. Children of one father, believing in One Father dancing arm in arm, hand by hand.

Stories like those are to change us, bring up our levels of faith to new heights, reveal Hashem and every step of our lives and make the unity amongst stronger, nicer and more beautiful than ever before. Until we will merit to as Reb Shulem Mordechai said on his way out of prison, Alef Beis Gimmel, Emunah, Bitachon Geula, soon in our days.

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)


  1. Don’t get me wrong. I think it is wonderful that a yid has been released from jail.. And i acknowledge the miracle of his early release. However, surely there should be a degree of contrition? After all, the incarceration was not for the same reasons as of that the Magen Avrohom nor the Baal Hatanya, was it? I’m not sure scenes reminiscent of Nelson Mandelas (lehavdeel) release are serving our attempts at creating a kiddush hashem to the outside world. Where am I going wrong here?

  2. You’re going wrong here as following that logic, the Alter Rebbe should not have celebrated his release either as he was suspected of grave offences against the government…

    And chassidim should have not kept Yiddishkeit alive in Russia because it was against the communist law…

    When someone commits a crime that goes against Torah ethics, there is room for such comments.

    However when someone is the victim of a corrupt judge that is out to get you, dina dmalchusa dina is ridiculous to say, just as you wouldn’t argue that the sobibor uprising was bad because dina dmalchusa dina.

    Hope this is the end of these unwarranted comments.

    And yes may we continue to celebrate good news as one together bachdus!! Looking forward to possibly flying in for the seudas hodaah! Can’t wait for the details!

  3. Lomma, I don’t think you’re going wrong anywhere. From what I gather, Rubushkin was totally unrepentant and would probably do it all again. It’s a big chillul hashem to get behind a criminal just because they dressed frum. They dropped the charges for the crime of setting a record for harboring illegal aliens, so I don’t see where people get off saying it was a “disproportionate sentence.”

  4. We were in a van on the way to the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s Ohel yesterday, just as the the unbelieveable news came in about R’ Sholom Mordechai’s release BH!! As we entered the house that leads to the Rebbes Ohel, we saw a video being shown. It was of a farbrengen from many years ago. As we walked in, we heard The Rebbe saying these words on the video: “Talmidei Chachamim Marbim Sholom BaOlom” Mrs S. Boro Park.

  5. MommaZoggen – it’s not a contradiction. But we are celebrating the exodus from jail of a Yid for whom Klal Yisroel was davening and was trying everything possible to get him out. And no matter what, it was still a Mitzvah of Pidyon Shevuyim. So while he may not be a total hero, he was definitely a conduit of tefilos and achdus of Klal Yisroel.

  6. Do you guys even begin to realize how bad it makes us look to basically openly say “only goyim should have to obey the law.” Comments range from “I admit he was guilty of everything, but he should face no consequences because he’s a Jew,” to “I believe in conspiracy theories that he was actually innocent because I can’t wrap my walnut brain around the reality that some people who dress as frum yidden aren’t actually good people.”

  7. @neville do you even know about the case? I grew up in postville I lived through the saga and knew about the case way before it went famous. Judge Linda reade is notorious- not only with the Rubashkin saga. Do I really need to type out the facts? Im not ok with this defamation of a holy family.

  8. Um chabad shlucha. I dont follow.. Are you actually drawing a parallel to SR imprisonment to the Baal Hatanya?
    Also, although the severity of the sentence was contentious, the facts that crimes were committed is not. Very, very different to Sobibor. Surely?
    Again. What I’m trying to say is, that
    I understand the need for much gratitude to hashem for this miraculous release, but is a hero’s welcome in order?

  9. Beautiful article! So beautifully written! Yes…Klal Yisroel’s collective soul senses something great is happening. Let us hold onto this incredible inspiration and Chizuk!

  10. Neville ChaimBerlin, the only ” big chillul hashem ” are people like you. According to your logic Alfred Dreyfus, the sixth Lubavicher Rebbe and Anatoly Shcharansky all were “criminals” because they all were convicted by their respective governments and remained unrepentant. Throughout history repressive regimes always relied on ignorant people like you to blindly trust them. Stalin (yamach shmo) used to say: “give me a person and I will find a crime”.

  11. Thanks for this article!
    I found it so inspiring, in the midst of this miracle with all the hype, this article articulates the deeper level of the happiness felt by all of us!! May this event bring us a closer ‘One nation’ let’s love and love all…
    Thanks you for this inspirational article!
    Thanks you Hashem for showing us the extra loving kindness!

  12. Yes I definitely am starting a parallel.knowing the Rubashkin family personally, SMR could have only been singles out for such a fate to bring him and klal Yisrael to tremendous heights, the beginning of which we are staying to see. Chabad.org has added the data of his freedom to our list of special days in Chabad so it’s not just me.

    The parallel to sobibor is that when the laws of the government are corrupt, and therefore are broken, it is not a problem. There are countless stories like this from the alte heim. In SMRs case, he was unfairly brought to the brink of bankruptcy by an unscrupulous judge and federal agents. He had a community to uphold not to mention a family to support.

    So the fact he told the banks he had more money than he did just to keep the regular loans open is completely justified.

    The bank only lost money because the same federal agents caused his plant to be sold for a fraction of the price.

    If anyone is to pay anything, it should be the corrupt judge and her cohorts in the prosecution.

    Sick and tired of these crazy comments.