Rabbi Dr. Jacob

The price of life

I recently bought a wonderful book, "Lapid Aesh" - "fiery torch" about the life of Rabbi Yehuda Ekutielya Albershtama, admora of Tsanza זצ''ל. An outstanding Torah scholar and a righteous man, he was one of the leaders of his generation. During the Holocaust, he lost his entire family - his mother, brothers and sisters, his wife and eleven children, he miraculously survived the concentration camp. After the war, he became one of those who revived and rebuilt the destroyed Jewish. This is one of the instructive stories from this book, which is very suitable for these days, "Ben Ameytsarim".

The war caught the Rebbe in Kloyzenburg in Transylvania, where he led many thousands of community. After the Nazi occupation of Hungary, he, along with other Jews came to Auschwitz. A few months later they were moved to Warsaw, in order to dismantle the ruins of the Jewish ghetto shortly before completely destroyed by the Nazis. The mortality rate among the prisoners there was terrible. People were dying by hundreds from overwork, from starvation and epidemics, they were shot and killed on the death of the SS. The story of the Rebbe Tsanz told himself in a conversation with the girls from school "Beit Yaakov" in the United States Williamsburg.

In the camp, where we spent the night, he said, we put 42 people in a small room where we slept on the dirt floor. Within two weeks, we've got two, I and another. The rest died of starvation and epidemics. We lay side by side in the darkness, and infested with rats around us. It was very hard, but I tried to stay. About his neighbor, I knew only that he was from Budapest.

- Say you're a Jew? "- I asked him.

- Of course, he says, or how I got here?

- Who are you - I say.

- I am the president of the Hungarian National Bank (this is the main bank of the country, a portrait of the person printed on the banknotes).

- Wait a minute, so you're Jewish?

- No, - he says.

- Why is it before you tell me that you are a Jew?

- I was baptized, - he says.

Realizing with whom I deal, says the Rebbe, I felt sorry for him, and I felt the need to continue the conversation, still on the floor so hard to sleep.

- Tell me, who is your wife?

- She's a Christian.

- And she did not want to join you and come here? My companion becomes angry.

- This is impossible even to imagine that she came here to suffer with me. I posed as a naive and said.

- I'm sorry, but I was always confident that the good wife always goes for her husband, even hyenas she goes along with it. But to leave her husband alone in such circumstances, as it can be! Tell me, are you a good life?

- What kind of question we have been together for thirty years, I have always bought and gave her the best that there is. It has all the best in the world.

Here I am for her.

- Honestly, I do not understand how this could be, you know you so well she was treated, and she was willing to share with you the good things, and threw in trouble you. At the same time we finished our conversation, the night passed, and start the morning.

The next night, after a hard day we resumed our conversation.

- Tell me, - I tell him - because you took a big position, whether you have done on their service something good for the Hungarian government ?. He tells me.

- When I was appointed to head the National Bank, the situation was catastrophic, the local currency has fallen so low that it is almost for nothing can be bought. It was I who made her real money, the country's income has increased several times, Hungary has entered into international trade. It is said that I did present a financial miracle, surely you've heard about me? ". I apologized.

- You see, I never did business, so perhaps did not hear anything and I do not know "My companion continues to be surprised..

- It can not be, in the whole of Hungary there is no one who would not have heard of me. "

- If so, - I say - why you sent here, do all these Gentiles, which you have done so much good, for you did not come, do all the Hungarian people turned away from you and did not say anything? How can it be that a man with such merits as you are placed in a concentration camp just like that? ".

- What do you have to be kidding me, better tell me, do you like it here found themselves?

I told him that I only rabbi who had never had any dealings with non-Jews, and therefore nothing for them did not. Perhaps that is why they hate me as well as others. But you have so much to do, you deserve to have simply worn on the hands, rather than sent to a concentration camp.

- Yes, as you can see, they do not carry me away in his arms.

- I just can not understand how this could be. After all, you were baptized and took upon himself to Catholicism, became a real goy. And yet, in order to please them, be like them. Why all this does not make any impression on them, and they treat you the same as all the rest? By the way - I ask - you probably have children, who are they?

- Children, yes, I have three sons. One doctor, the second holds the post of the prosecutor, the third largest merchant, a millionaire, you might say.

- Did you help them?

- Of course, as you can in a different way. I take care of them, I give them education, sent to the best universities.

- If so - is not far behind me - why they do not even come to you at least spend. Even in the last way children are sure to accompany his father and go with him to the grave, and they, in spite of their position, allowing you to shame drive you here, and did not even come just to the fence to ask what it does their own father.

So we talked with him a large part of the night. Every time he started to complain that I torment him with his talk, and I was justified by the fact that just trying to get into his position.

On the third night, to my surprise, he asked me himself:

"You know, Rabbi, about our last conversation, I thought over the whole day." Then his voice trembled: "I must say that I have come to the conclusion that ... you are totally wrong." In further conversation, he expressed regret that the cross, and that took a non-Jewish wife, that all life spoiling their children, and now he sees clearly that nothing remains of it worthless, empty and meaningless life . "Yes, I am deeply mistaken" - he cried.

On the fourth night, the banker was no longer alive. And I was very pleased with the fact that God sent me such a mitzvah. Wherever the Jew is now not proved, to wherever was, in any case, the day before his death, he repented and did teshuvah, wanted to change their lives. But, unfortunately, it was too late.