The Human Side of the Story

For the week ending 7 February 2009 / 13 Shevat 5769

Gratitude to a Bush

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
Library Library Library

The rosh hayeshiva who survived the Holocaust and eventually settled in Jerusalem had an interest activity that aroused the curiosity of his students. Each day he was seen carefully watering a bush growing in his yard.

Pressed for an explanation he recalled how he managed to escape death when the Nazis rounded up all the Jews in his Lithuanian town for deportation to a death camp. Standing near the back door when the Nazis arrived he managed to run out and hide behind a huge bush. His flight was noticed and a frantic search was initiated which ended in failure because of the unusual thickness of the bush. After the Nazis left, taking with them all the members of his family, he fled into the forest and joined the Partisans until the end of the war.

After the war he returned to his hometown and snipped a part of the bush that had saved his life, planted it in his yard and, as an act of gratitude, dedicated himself to daily giving it life by watering it as it had given him life by concealing him.

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