Monday, February 13, 2006

A story of Hashgacha Protis

This story was emailed to meand I'd like to share it with you:


Mrs. Schiff rang the top bell, the one that had the name Spitzer written on a piece of tape. A young woman answered the door, and upon spotting her visitor, her face brightened. She moved aside, to allow Mrs. Schiff to enter into her humble abode.Giveret Spitzer was a woman that had been married for nine years, with no children. At her tenth anniversary, she was blessed with quintuplets, five beautiful children. Before they had given birth to their quintuplets, the Spitzers had led a modest lifestyle; afterwards, they became Penniless. It was then that Mrs. Schiff stepped in, with her Chinese auction that had brought in a tidy sum. She had organized the auction to help the poor couple; whose expenses had just quintupled. Giveret Spitzer led Mrs. Schiff into her children's bedroom. "These are my five babies," she said proudly, as she pointed to each of her children. Mrs. Schiff looked at those five innocent neshomes with a smile. Then her gaze wandered to her surroundings. The room was threadbare, except for one small picture frame on the wall. Slowly, as if she was drawn by some hidden force, Mrs. Schiff neared the picture, entranced in its files of mystery. There was something so familiar about that woman, and yet...
With a last moan, Mrs. Schiff fainted. Giveret Spitzer called the ambulance, and Mrs. Schiff was put onto a stretcher, and driven directly to the hospital. The next day Giveret Spitzer came to visit Mrs. Schiff, and see how she was faring. As soon as she entered the room Mrs. Schiff sat up abruptly. "Who is that woman in the picture, on your wall?" She demanded. "How are you feeling, Mrs. Schiff?" "Can you tell me how you know this woman?" Mrs. Schiff asked again.
"Sh-She was my mother." Mrs. Schiff sat up straighter, and looked Giveret Spitzer in the eye. "Your mother? Tell me, is she still alive?" "I'm sorry Mrs. Schiff, she passed away last year."
Mrs. Schiff was silent for a moment, as if she was digesting the news Giveret Spitzer had just shared with her. Then, with a faraway look in her hazel eyes, she turned to Giveret Spitzer and said, "I think I have a story to share with you." It all began when I was fifteen, and was taken to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. I was placed in a Barrack together with some 70 girls varying in age from 14-16. Most girls left their religion behind, under the trying circumstances, but I and my four friends remained steadfast in out yiddishkeit; we said we'd rather die Al Kiddush Hashem than in another manner. One day, Rivche, called us all together excitedly. "Tomorrow is Chanukah!" she exclaimed, her eyes shining like a burning candle, illuminating the thick darkness. "I heard the Rebbe tell one of his talmidim the good news. We must light the menorah!" After sitting together for an hour, we devised a plan. We would trade in our daily ration of bread for machine oil from a girl who worked in the factory. The thread from our prison uniforms would serve as the wick, and two stones would create the fire. Now all we needed was a menorah to hold it all together. We had devised a plan for this too; a very risky plan indeed. After thinking it through, we realized that a potato peel, with a nice, round shape is capable of serving as a 'menorah'. And it seemed like the most possible item to find, in our present circumstance. So we agreed that tomorrow night, at midnight, we would try to get those potato peals, from the main kitchen. It was common knowledge that every night, at midnight, there was a five minute period in which the kitchen was not guarded. It was when the changing of the guards took place. The old guards that have watched the kitchen all day, would retire for the night; while the guards serving in the night shift would take them over.
Our plan went as follows: one of us would crawl into the kitchen, through the only open window, and the other four would stand by the remaining windows, and warn the girl inside, of an upcoming Nazi. It wasn't a safe plan, but it seemed like our only choice. The next day arrived, followed by a dark, moonless night. At last, the clock struck 12:00. This was our signal. Midnight. The camp was wrapped in an eerie silence, as we crept stealthily towards the kitchen. I was chosen to crawl into the kitchen, while my four friends waited by the windows. I crept into the kitchen, my heart beating wildly in my chest. Fearfully, I approached the large garbage bin, in the far corner of the kitchen, and began to sift through its contents methodically. As I sifted, I could hear the loud grumbling of my hungry stomach. I had given up my ration today, and I was famished! I saw small pieces of food, and stuffed them into my mouth. At last, I found one potato peal with a perfect shape, and placed it aside tenderly. Then I continued searching. Bravo! A second perfect potato peal! I glanced up at the window, and saw Sarale waving frantically, motioning to me, to crawl out quickly. "Get out of here fast, Chana!" My intuition screamed. "But I can't!" I thought to myself, panicking. "I can't just go out with two potato peels! I must find at least one more!" I turned back to the garbage, and began throwing things frantically in all directions, searching for one more potato peal."HALT!" Somebody thundered. I looked up to see a tall Nazi official, his gun pointed at my chest, as he smiled maliciously. On both sides of him were my four friends, an expression of pure terror written all across their stricken faces. "You thought you could steal, did you?" He said, between clenched teeth. "Well, you'll have to be punished for committing such a great sin." Here he paused, to let us grasp the impact of his words. "Tomorrow, at exactly noon all five of you will be hung, in front of the entire camp, so all will learn the punishment for stealing. Now scoot!" And with a last shove he let us free. Until the next afternoon. The darkness seemed even thicker, and more menacing, as we trudged back to our barrack. We entered, and sat down around our precious menorah. We sat there, reminiscing those Chanukahs, which we had spent together with our family, at home. We remembered the majestic silver menorah that Tatte had lit, and the games of dreidel that we had played together. We savored the taste of sizzling latkes in our minds, and remembered the delightful smiles we had all worn when we received the Chanukah Gelt from Oma and Opa. But most of all we remembered the feeling of unity we had felt. That feeling of security, one only experiences when spending time with family. And we cried. We cried as we thought about all those people we would be meeting tomorrow. Rivche was going to meet her beloved parents, and I was going to meet my little baby brother, the one that those Nazi beasts had shot before he had even lived one year. And then, we lit the menorah. The tiny flame burned for but a mere second, but it was long enough to infuse hope into our deflated souls. It was then that Sarale came up with the plan. A plan in which we could perhaps save our lives. A plan that seemed almost impossible. Sarale suggested that we go ask Shaina for help. Shaina was a fifteen-year-old girl, who was Jewish, just like us. There was only one difference. Shaina knew six languages; while we knew only two. The Nazis, may their names be blotted out, used Shaina as their pawn, and forced her to be their interpreter. They gave her a radio, and put her in charge of reporting to the higher Nazi officials of the enemy's strategies. To insure that she would remain alive, they gave her a small shack in the woods, and a full piece of bread each day. We envied her to no end. She was a Jewish girl just like us, did she deserve the 'royal treatment' she was receiving, just because she knew a few more languages? Also, we were sure that she served as our spy too, and told the Nazis each time we would commit a "sin". In short, we hated Shaina. "She'll never help us!" I said, looking at Sarale mockingly. "She'll just make things worse for us!" "The situation can't get much worse. If we don't go to her, we'll lose anyways. Why not try our luck?" Sarale reasoned. And so, for the second time that night, we crept into the thick darkness, this time heading in the direction of the woods. Soon we were standing at the door of her shack. Sarale knocked timidly. No answer. We knocked a little harder, but there was still no response. So we looked into her "window", and saw that her little shack was empty. Discouraged, we began walking resignedly back to our barrack, when Ruchele spotted a light in the distance. Our curiosity piqued, we followed the light, and soon we saw the profile of a girl. She was holding a siddur in her hand, and singing Ma'oz Tzur. And the light was coming from a silver-plated menorah! A menorah! How we had risked our lives to acquire one, and here was a girl who possessed a true menorah, right here in the concentration camp! There was only one girl that it could be. Shaina. We stood there, entranced In the moving melody, as her lilting voice transported us to a different place. We didn't see blood and death, we saw ten brave warriors, Matisyahu and his sons, marching to victory. We didn't see despair, we saw heroism. And then Shaina turned around, to see us looking over her shoulder."Y-you girls!" She sputtered. "Have you come to spy on me, to tell the Nazis what you have seen me doing? Do you think that I don't know that you five will be hung tomorrow? You better get out of my sight, or I'll make sure you're killed instantly!" "B-but Shaina, w-w-we didn't come to s-spy. W-we wanted you to h-help us!" I stammered, my voice quivering. “I said get out of my sight!" Shaina screamed, her high pitched voice echoing in the surrounding forest. With heads hung, and shoulders drooped in despair, we headed back to our barrack. It seemed that this was our fate, we were destined to be killed. That night, as we lay on our bunkers, with the fear of dying hovering above our heads, we spoke lots of Lashon Horah about Shaina. We couldn't understand why she couldn't at least be nice about it, and how she was able to threaten us with death, if she was a Jewish girl too; just like us. Where was her heart? The next afternoon arrived too soon. The entire camp was assembled, and the Nazi that had caught us yesterday tied our hair to the noose. He was about to raise the noose, when somebody screamed "Stop!" He turned around, startled. There stood Shaina, and she was motioning to him frantically, waving her radio wildly in the air. He approached her, grimacing. A few minutes later, he returned to untie our hair, and with a last kick, sent us back to work, muttering all the while," Mrs. Schiff ended her story. As if she had just been transported back to the present, she turned to Mrs. Spitzer and explained."A few days later we were liberated, and I never got a chance to thank Shaina for saving my life. After the war, I searched all over for her, but no-one could trace her. It was as if she disappeared, leaving just her actions to bear testimony to her existence. And then I saw her on your wall. That is why I fainted. When I saw your mother, I was transported back to that faraway time, when my life was on the brink, and she saved me." "Look at how Hashem runs his world, Giveret Spitzer! Do you see the hashgacha to this story? Hashem sent the daughter of Shaina to me, so that I can raise money for her, in repayment for the time that she saved my life! It's astounding!" "Yes Mrs. Schiff, it is unbelievable hashgacha. But I have the last, missing piece of this puzzle. The night before I had my quintuplets, My mother came to me in a dream. She smiled at me with serenity unbeknownst to the inhabitants of this world, and kept on repeating the same five words over and over again: "Finif Neshomes Far Finif Neshomes"- Five Neshomes for Five Neshomes. And I asked her "Mamme, what are you saying? I don't understand!" But she just smiled, and repeated "Finif Neshomes Far Finif Neshomes." I didn't understand her words then, but now I do. In merit of the five neshomes that my mother saved during the war; you and your four friends, I was zocheh to give birth to my five beautiful neshomes.

Names have been changed to protect privacy.

2 comments:

ליפא שנילצער said...

what a story i was moved to tears, it sounds like story out of chaim walder,pesach kron,hanoch teller books

Avromi said...

my daughter needed a hashgocha protis story and you provided it; thanks.

A gut voch