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A Chanukiah Filled with Sacrifices

Published on Thursday January 14th, 2021

A Holocaust survivor who lost his family in a Nazi concentration camp decided to build a family of his own but chose to hide his Jewish identity from his children, who, in turn, had no way to know they were Jewish.

The family settled in Brazil. When the eldest son reached Bar Mitzvah age, the father took him on a shopping spree to a big mall so the boy could pick a gift for his birthday. The father expected his son to choose something fun, like a game or gadget. But against all odds, his son went into a Judaica shop, where a wooden Hanukiah caught his eye. He decided he wanted that gift and nothing could change his mind.

His father tried to reason with him and talk him into buying something more interesting and useful than this old relic. However, the boy insisted. But the shop owner refused to sell this particular piece because the story behind it was very close to his heart. This Chanukiah was built by a Jew in a concentration camp to allow his inmates to perform the mitzvah of lighting Chanukiah candles. Putting his life in great danger, this man proudly succeeded in cheering up his companions by allowing them to do a mitzvah. Miraculously, the Chanukiah survived. So, the shop owner was very fond of it.

The son persuaded his father to buy it for him. After bargaining back and forth and settling on a large sum of money, they purchased the rare piece. The son was very proud of it and showed it to everyone.

One day, this wooden Chanukiah slipped from the young man's hands and broke. The son shed warm tears but his parents tried, somehow, to console him. They decided to pick up the pieces and repair the Hanukiah. When they started to glue the pieces together, they found a small piece of paper, a message from the craftsman who made it. This tiny vestige contained his story: how he had amassed bits and pieces of wood in the camp to make this Chanukiah raise the spirits of his inmates and allow them to perform a Mitzvah. He added a request to whoever would find this written testimony: to light the candles for the elevation of his soul and that of his murdered family. Then he signed: "Shlomo Levin".

When the young man's father read this message, he collapsed and passed out. After regaining consciousness, he collapsed again. It turned out that the author of this message was his own father.

His children discovered with astonishment that they were Jewish. They were convinced that this Chanukiah had reached their hands to convey a message from heaven.

The family later relocated to a Jewish community. Over time, they became observant and closer to Judaism through the merit of their grandfather's Messirut Nefesh (abnegation).

The Torah-Box Team - © Torah-Box Account

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