Inspirational Stories

70 Years Later the Tallit Remained Intact

Rabbi Elimelech Biderman of Lelov, who heard it from Rabbi Mendel Eckstein of Bnei Brak, told the following story (Rabbi Eckstein is an expert in delivering coffins from one country to another.)

This is the story of an old Jew from Bnei Brak, who, during the Holocaust, when he was a young boy, fled with his father from Poland to Samarkand, just like many other Jews who escaped to save their lives. That Jew’s father could no longer fight his illness, and died of a heart condition at a young age. Before he died, he asked his son to transfer him to be buried in Israel once things calm down.

Seventy years later, when that ‘boy’ was nearing the age of ninety, he decided that it’s time for him to fulfill his father’s wish. He went to Rabbi Eckstein and gave him all the information he had available to him regarding his father’s grave in Samarkand, and Rabbi Eckstein indeed flew there and found the grave.

When the grave was opened, he was amazed to find that the prayer shawl that the man was buried in was still intact. He was afraid to continue transferring the bones, as the first thing to be ruined would be the shawl, so how could it be that it remained whole for seventy years?

Although his body was not whole, the father was eventually buried in a cemetery called Eretz HaChaim in the city of Beit Shemesh. Prominent Rabbis attended the funeral and Rabbi Eckstein recounted the Tallit story to one of them. The Rabbi, who was also amazed, had a talk with the son. At first, the old man only said that his father was a pious man and a learned scholar, but the Rabbi understood that there must be a much greater secret behind this prayer shawl. “Can’t you try to remember anything else?” And suddenly the son recalled; “From the moment my father had worn the Tallit, he resolved not to engage in idle talk.”

“That’s the secret!”, the Rabbi ruled, and that’s the secret of accepting something good upon oneself ruled Rabbi Biderman. “That man took something on that stood in his favor.”

Even though in Israel, it is not customary to bury with a Tallit, the Rabbi decided to make an exception for him, and bury him with the amazing prayer shawl.

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