Current Issue

 

Share

Search
BeisMoshiach.org
Web
Tags
#1000 #1001 #1002 #1003 #1004 #1005 #1006 #1007 #1008 #1009 #1010 #1011 #1012 #1013 #1014 #1015 #1016 #1017 #1018 #1019 #1020 #1021 #1022 #1023 #1024 #1025 #1026 #1027 #1028 #1029 #1030 #1031 #1032 #1033 #1034 #1035 #1036 #1037 #1038 #1039 #1040 #1041 #1042 #1043 #1044 #1045 #1046 #1047 #1048 #1049 #1050 #1051 #1052 #1053 #1054 #1055 #1056 #1057 #1058 #1059 #1060 #1061 #1062 #1063 #1064 #1065 #1066 #1067 #1068 #1069 #1070 #1071 #1072 #1073 #1074 #1075 #1076 #1077 #1078 #1079 #1080 #1081 #1082 #1083 #1084 #1085 #1086 #1088 #1089 #1090 #1091 #1092 #1093 #1094 #1095 #1096 #1097 #1098 #1099 #1100 #1101 #1102 #1103 #1104 #1106 #1107 #1108 #1109 #1110 #1111 #1112 #1113 #1114 #1115 #1116 #1117 #1118 #1119 #1120 #1121 #1122 #1123 #1124 #1125 #1126 #1127 #1128 #1129 #1130 #1131 #1132 #1134 #1135 #318 #319 #350 #383 #390 #550 #560 #594 #629 #642 #776 #777 #778 #779 #780 #781 #782 #783 #784 #785 #786 #787 #820 #823 #824 #825 #826 #827 #828 #829 #830 #831 #832 #833 #834 #835 #836 #837 #838 #839 #840 #841 #842 #843 #844 #845 #846 #847 #848 #849 #850 #851 #852 #853 #854 #855 #856 #857 #858 #859 #860 #861 #862 #863 #864 #865 #866 #867 #868 #869 #870 #871 #872 #873 #874 #875 #876 #876 #877 #878 #879 #880 #881 #882 #883 #884 #885 #886 #887 #888 #889 #890 #891 #892 #893 #894 #895 #896 #897 #898 #899 #900 #901 #902 #903 #904 #905 #906 #907 #908 #909 #910 #911 #912 #913 #914 #915 #916 #917 #918 #919 #920 #921 #922 #923 #924 #925 #926 #927 #928 #929 #930 #931 #932 #933 #934 #935 #936 #937 #938 #939 #940 #941 #942 #943 #944 #945 #946 #947 #948 #949 #950 #951 #952 #953 #954 #955 #956 #957 #958 #959 #960 #961 #962 #963 #964 #965 #966 #967 #968 #969 #970 #971 #972 #973 #974 #975 #976 #977 #978 #979 #980 #981 #982 #983 #984 #985 #986 #987 #988 #989 #990 #991 #992 #993 #994 #995 #996 #997 #998 #999 1 Kislev 10 Kislev 10 Shvat 10 Shvat 10 Teives 11 11 Nissan 112 Tammuz 12 Tammuz 13 Iyar 13 Tishrei 14 Kislev 15 Elul 15 Menachem-Av 15 Shvat 17 Tammuz 18 Elul 19 Kislev 2 Iyar 20 Av 20 Mar-Cheshvan 20 Menachem-Av 20 Teives 22 Shvat 24 Teives 25 Adar 27 Adar 28 Nissan 28 Teives 29 Elul 3 Tammuz 33 Tammuz 352 5 Teives 6 Tishrei 7 Adar 770 864 865 881 9 Adar 9 Av 9 Kislev 903 Acharei-K'doshim Achdus Adar Ahavas Yisroel Alef-Beis Alter Rebbe Amalek Argentina Arizal army Artwork Aseres HaDibros Australia Avoda Zara B’Chukosai B’Shalach Baal Shem Tov baal t'shuva Baba Sali Balak BaMidbar bar mitzva Basi L'Gani B'Chukosai be Bein HaMeitzarim Beis HaMikdash Beis Nissan Beth Rivkah B'Haalos'cha B'Har B'Har-B'Chukosai Birthday Bitachon Blindness Bo B'rachos Brazil brit milah Brussels B'Shalach chai v'kayam Chanuka Chassidic Rabbis Chayei Sara Chernobil Chevron children chinuch Chitas Choshen Chukas Churban controversy convert Dan Diary of the late R’ Saadya Maatuf Dollars dreams D''varim Editor's Corner Eikev Elul Emor Europe fire France free choice Gaza Gentiles Georgia Gulf War Gush Katif Haazinu Hakhel HaYom Yom Hebron hiskashrus Holy Temple Honoring Parents Hospitality IDF Igrot Kodesh India Intermarriage Internet Iran Iron Curtain Israel Japan Jewish Refugee Crisis Kabbala K'doshim Kfar Chabad Ki Savo Ki Seitzei Ki Sisa KIDDUSH LEVANA Kiryat Gat Kislev kKi Sisa Kohen Gadol Korach korbanos KOS SHEL BRACHA Krias Shma K'vutza Lag B'Omer lashon ha'ra Lech Lecha letter Litvishe maamer Machatzis HaShekel mahn Mar-Cheshvan marriage Massei Matot Mattos Mattos-Massei Menachem Av Menora Metzora Mexico Miami MiKeitz MIkvah Mishkan Mishpatim Mitteler Rebbe Mitzva Tank Mitzvah Tanks Mivtza Kashrus MIvtza Neshek Mivtza T’fillin Mivtza Tefilin Morocco Moshe Rabbeinu Moshiach & Geula Moshiach Seuda music Napoleon Naso niggunim Nissan Nitzavim Nitzavim-VaYeilech Noach Noachide North Africa olive oil painting Parshas Parah parshas re'eh Parshas Zachor Pesach Pesach Sheini Pinchas Pirkei Avos P'kudei Poland prayer Prison Purim R’ Avrohom Schneersohn Rabbi Hillel Zaltzman Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu Rabbi Shlomo Galperin Rambam Ramban Rashbi Rashi Rebbe Rebbe Maharash Rebbe Rashab Rebbe Rayatz Rebbe Rayatz & Joint Rebbetzin Chana Rebbetzin Chaya Muska Rebbetzin Rivka Red Heifer R'ei Rishon L'Tzion Rosh Chodesh Rosh HaShana Russia S’firas HaOmer Samarkand seifer Torah s'firas ha'omer Shabbos Shabbos Chazon Shabbos Hagadol Shabbos Nachamu shalom bayis Shavuos Shekalim shiduchim Shlach shleimus ha'Aretz shliach shlichus Shmini Shmita Shmos Shoftim shtus Shvat simcha Simchas Torah South Africa Sukkos summer tahalucha Talmud Torah Tanya Tazria-Metzora te Tehilim Teives Terror teshuva Tetzaveh t'fillin the omer the soul tisha b'av Tishrei Toldos Tomchei T'mimim Truma t'shuva tTruma Tzanz Tzav Tzedaka Tzemach Tzedek Tzfas tzimtzum Tzitzis Ukraine Upsherinish VaEira VaEs'chanan VaYakhel VaYakhel-P’kudei VaYechi VaYeilech VaYeira VaYeishev VaYeitzei VaYigash VaYikra VaYishlach Vocational Schools Winter women Yechidus Yerushalayim Yeshiva Yisro Yom Kippur Yom Tov Zohar Zos HaBracha. B'Reishis סיביר
Visitor Feed
Tuesday
Mar292016

A SHUL – AGAINST ALL ODDS!

Shuls always held a central place within Jewish communities, whether in European countries, African countries, the Middle East, ancient Babylon or modern New York. Not for naught were shuls called miniature sanctuaries, for in shuls, the Jewish people found consolation when there was no place to encounter the Creator face to face and offer sacrifices. This is the reason why shuls are looked upon with respect and their holiness is treasured

The following story illustrates how precious shuls are to the Jews.

PART I

The communist regime rose to power in Russia after a bloody civil war between the Whites and the Reds that lasted three years. It did not immediately oppose religion. At first they announced the separation between religion and the state and made religion the private business of individual citizens.

However, the communist party considered religion primitive and something to oppose. In the first stage, they promoted anti-religious propaganda in the newspapers and youth clubs, and wherever else they could. The communist party line went something like this: The old world is gone, religion is primitive, and we are building something new.

Right away, in the first year of power, the communist party set up a Jewish department called the Yevsektzia. Its main function was to promote the importance of the communist party and its heretical views among Jews. It was in effect anti-religious propaganda. The Yevsekim, even more than the communists themselves, began viciously persecuting anything connected with Judaism, as though to purge themselves of any religious connection whatsoever.

Within a short time, shuls were shut down, mikvaos were destroyed, and Jewish schools were shut down. Rabbanim, mohalim, shochtim, and scribes were persecuted, arrested, and sent to Siberia. Sometimes they were even executed.

PART II

It wasn’t only in central Russia that Jews were persecuted, but also those living in distant sections of the Soviet Union such as Uzbekistan, Georgia and other parts of the Soviet Union. The Chassid, R’ Nachum Shmarya Sasonkin was the rav of the city Batum in Georgia at that time. He was sent there by the Rebbe Rayatz. R’ Sasonkin served as rav in Batum from 5683-5688.

He was there when the communists closed the big beautiful shul that served the Jews of the city for many years. They didn’t just close the shul but turned it into a club. They left just a small section at the rear of the building as an apartment for the shamash.

About two years after the authorities closed the shul, an electrifying event occurred in a far-flung Georgian town that had ramifications for all the shuls in Georgia. This is what happened:

There was a town in Georgia called Oni which is not far from Kutais. The road that led there was difficult and dangerous. At a certain point, travelers had to pass through a narrow path that was suspended over a deep and terrifying abyss. This is why very few went or left the town and those that ventured forth only did so because they had to, for otherwise, who would put his life in danger unnecessarily?

There was a community of simple, goodhearted Jews who lived in Oni and they had a beautiful shul and many sefarim. They had whatever they needed thanks to the spiritual leaders – the chacham, the shochet, melamdim for the children and maggidei shiurim. They were simple but very sincere when it came to religious observance.

They were so far from the people in larger cities that news of the closing of shuls in Georgia only reached them two years later.

PART III

Then came the order from the communist regime to close the one shul in Oni. The communists also ordered to confiscate the sifrei Torah and holy books and bring them to a museum while the shul building was to be turned into a youth club.

Although the Jews were simple, gentle people, they were horrified to hear that the holy house of G-d that had been their second home, would be transformed into a secular place. They decided that this would never happen and the shul would not be closed.

On the appointed day for the shul’s closing, no Jews went to work. All the Jewish residents gathered around the shul and when the soldiers came with their studded boots to close it, they rose as one and did not allow them to do their work. They stood in the doorway like a wall and did not allow the soldiers to approach the shul.

The soldiers were astonished. They never imagined that there were people who would dare oppose a decree of the ruling party, and in such an open and brazen manner, no less.

Word of the opposition reached the head of the local branch of the party and he decided that this would be shameful for the party; that they had closed shuls throughout the country, in cities large and small, and only in this forsaken place they could not carry out their wishes. The people’s opposition angered him and he decided to deal forcefully with the Jews.

One morning, a battalion of soldiers, tall and stony faced, arrived in the town. They began shooting into the air in every direction in order to frighten the people and dissolve any organized opposition. Then the soldiers angrily burst into the shul, threatening with their weapons anyone who tried to oppose them.

At first, the Jews tried to fight and protect their treasure, the shul. In anger and pain they grasped the Aron Kodesh, they caressed the furnishings, but the soldiers were stronger and they forcibly dispersed the Jews.

Their cries rose to heaven. They pleaded that this terrible thing not be perpetrated. With great cruelty, the soldiers removed all the sifrei Torah and other sefarim in the shul and threw them disgracefully into trucks that stood waiting nearby. They closed the doors of the shul and sealed them with the official seal.

PART IV

The Jews of the town did not remain idle. They sent messengers to Moscow with the request that the shul be restored to them. The Jewish community in Moscow helped them hire a top lawyer and he is the one who met with President Kalinin. The lawyer told him that if word got out to the rest of the world, it would create a storm of protest and this would be humiliating to the Soviet government.

Kalinin took this seriously, especially when they pointed out to him that this was not an isolated case in Georgia. There was an uproar in the Kremlin and they decided to send the president to Georgia to see the situation in person.

Upon arriving there, he rebuked the local authorities for the shameful incident and ordered that all the shuls that had been closed in Georgia be reopened. He further chastised the government officials when he said, “We only close shuls when people stop using them but we don’t forcibly close them!”

And that is how, thanks to a handful of simple Jews in a small, forsaken Jewish community, all the shuls in Georgia were reopened, including the big shul in Batum. One fine day, the authorities called for the gabbai of the shul and gave him the keys for the building that had been locked.

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.