Ask the Rabbi - 244
10 July 1999; Issue #244
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Jennine Wessell from Jefferson, Ohio wrote:
From the KotelKam, you see over to the left on top of some buildings six large stars on pedastals. I would love to know what they are, and what they are for?
Dear Jennine Wessell,
What you’re seeing is a large monument to the six million Jews killed during the Holocaust. There are six large tubes with flames inside each tube, and six Stars of David, one star on top of each tube. The five Hebrew letters of the word "yizkor" — "G-d will remember" — are written there, one letter between each tube.
The kotelkam is a 24-hour camera at Jerusalem’s Western Wall. It’s at http://www.kotelkam.com.
Last year, on the 6th of Adar, our then almost three year-old son was miraculously saved from being run over by a car (which in order to turn, drove backwards on the pavement, didn’t see my son, knocked him down and stopped just as the back-wheels of the car were touching him). The driver, a young man with his mini-van full of friends, admitted that he just stopped his car without knowing why. He didn’t hear my screams or the screams of a bystander who pulled my scared-to-death child from beneath the car. You won’t believe that my son, who was taken in ambulance to the hospital, didn’t have a scratch. A true miracle. We hosted a "mesibat hodaya" (thanks-giving celebration). I did some soul searching asking myself, "why did this happen; what did G-d want to get through to me?"
My question is: What would be the proper way to thank Hashem this coming year on the anniversary of this date for the great kindness He bestowed — and always bestows — upon me and my family, especially this time for letting us keep our three year-old. How should we celebrate this special day?
You should celebrate every year by hosting a fancy, festive meal. Invite a lot of people and tell about the miracle. As King David said in Psalms, "In a large group of people I am going to praise You." You should light candles and recite Tehillim (Psalms) of thanks at the meal. Give extra charity on this day; perhaps give the numerical value of your son’s Hebrew name. (Each Hebrew letter has a different numerical value.)
Which reminds me of a story. Many years ago in Williamsburg, NY, a wealthy man was called upon to say the blessings over the Torah. After this honor, he publicly pledged 47 dollars to charity. "Why 47 dollars?" they asked him. "In honor of our Grand Rabbi, Rabbi Yoel Teitlebaum. The numerical value of his name, ‘Yoel,’ is 47. Hearing this, the Grand Rabbi called out: "Back in Europe they used to call me ‘Yoelish.’ " (Yoelish = 357)
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Comments, quibbles, and reactions concerning previous "Ask-the-Rabbi" features.
Re: Torah and Nature:
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- Written by Rabbi Reuven Lauffer, Rabbi Reuven Subar, Rabbi Mordecai Becher, Rabbi Baruch Rappaport, Rabbi Elimelech Meisels, Rabbi Moshe Yossef and other
Rabbis at Ohr Somayach Institutions / Tanenbaum College, Jerusalem, Israel.
- General Editor: Rabbi Moshe Newman
- Production Design: Eli Ballon
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