The Human Side of the Story

For the week ending 5 June 2004 / 16 Sivan 5764

Dangerous Journey

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
Library Library Library

Many are the roads that lead to Jerusalem. But rarely is one as filled with danger as the one traveled by Eliezer.

It all started with a long trek from his native Ethiopia to Johannesburg which included a tension-filled night in a tree surrounded by a pride of lions. The Johannesburg Jewish community, in which he would spend the next couple of years on his journey to Judaism, was a major stop in his journey to Jerusalem and Yeshivat Ohr Somayach. But before he reached South Africa he was held up by six robbers near the Swaziland border crossing. Rummaging through his meager belongings they came across a box containing his tefillin and demanded to know what was inside.

"I got so angry when I saw them approaching my tefillin," he recalls, "that I told them that if they touched them they would all die. They were so frightened by my attitude that they let go of the box, gave me some money to continue my journey and quickly ran off."

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