Rav Shneur Maidanchik, a Chabad shaliach in Columbo, the capital of the southern Asian island country of Sri Lanka, wrote a moving story [in Hebrew] on his Facebook page on Tuesday.
He wrote: “A few months ago, two Sri Lankans arrived at our Chabad house in Colombo. To this day I don’t know why they came, but they mentioned that there are twin Israeli brothers – monks who live in a temple named Samanalawewa in the jungle. They gave me a phone number of a person who’s familiar with the temple. I started trying to track them down and realized it would be difficult since they’re in an area that is a 5-hour trip from Colombo – through rainforests and jungles – with no normal access road.”
“Today, I made a decision that I have to find them. I didn’t have their phone number or address so I decided we would just embark on the trip. I searched for a long time for a driver with a suitable vehicle, and Rav Shnuer Ariel [a fellow Chabad shaliach], and I embarked on the trip at 5:20 in the morning – a journey into the unknown…”
“When we got close to the area we were looking for, we asked the driver to ask the locals about the Samanalawewa temple, and one of them was able to lead us there. We stopped the car right when a monsoon had started – torrential rain. We set out with all the stuff we brought, including tefillin. We went down and up the mountain, between rivers, and it turned out that we were directed to the wrong temple. We met a local monk there who didn’t speak a word of English. We tried to talk to him and then he pointed forward and said ‘sudo,’ which means ‘white’ in the local language. White person. We realized that we had to travel forward to meet the two white people we were looking for…”
“We returned to the car sopping wet, drove three kilometers in the direction the monk indicated, and suddenly we saw a sign: Samanalawewa! We got out of the car and found an area that was completely empty of people and traffic. A boy with a motorcycle stopped next to us and agreed to take us inside. We walked and walked in rainforests with leeches sucking our blood, literally.”
“And suddenly, suddenly we see them! Two sweet Israeli brothers, twins, sitting in a cave in the rock, with all green surroundings, with only the sounds of streams and birds.”
“Of course, they were astounded. How did we get to them? They’ve been there for five years and an Israeli only visited them once. They asked us if goyim have a neshamah and from there a discussion developed about Tanya and Chassidus – we spoke about the Geulah and the Goel. We sat with them for several hours in a warm and loving atmosphere. Their outer shell (klipah) slowly cracked open and their inner spark was revealed. At the end, they put on tefillin and we also gave them a mezuzah for shemirah. One of the brothers asked on his own how to toivel his dishes to purify them. We made up to meet again in Colombo.”
“כי לא ידח ממנו נידח”
עם ישראל חי
מצאנו את האבדה שלנו.
‘בואו נזכור את זה.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)