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Jewish Thinking

I Can Identify All the Jews in Two Minutes

Published on Tuesday February 18th, 2020

"It will take me two minutes to identify all the Jewish children," proclaimed Rabbi Eliezer Silver.

His long beard and his new army uniform were a bizarre sight in the Krakow monastery. "In two minutes? Impossible!" said Father Hugo. "These children came to us as infants and there is not the slightest indication that they are Jewish. I will grant you exactly two minutes to identify them, and you will not be able to come back!"

With a smile on his face, the good rabbi continued, "So you'll allow me two minutes tomorrow at lunchtime?"

"And not one minute more," replied Father Hugo, and the rabbi was gone.

Rabbi Silver arrived in Poland immediately at the end of the Second World War, determined to locate and extract the hundreds (or thousands) of Jewish children in monasteries across Europe. Their parents placed them in non-Jewish families - who then decided to minimize their risk by sending them to monasteries.

The next day at noon, he was standing in the dining room of the monastery, facing 100 children in the middle of lunch who looked at him curiously. The rabbi put his hand over his eyes and shouted the words "Shema Yisrael Ado-nai Elohei-nu, Ado-nai Echad!'' "Hear Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One."

Immediately, 30 small children started crying, "Mommy!" This prayer that had been uttered by their mothers every night before they went to sleep, was anchored in their little hearts.

"They are Jewish children," proclaimed the rabbi.

"You can take them...", the astonished priest replied, and 30 Jewish children returned to their people.

Rav Emmanuel MIMRAN - © Torah-Box

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