Faith & Trust
“What Do I Do, I Can’t Read and Write?”
י״ז במרחשון ה׳תש״פ (15 בNovember 2019)
Years ago a Moroccan Jew wanted to move to Israel. He had one problem that seemed insurmountable; He couldn’t read and hardly even knew what a letter from the alphabet looked like. All his friends scoffed at his unrealistic expectation to get to Israel and somehow earn a living without knowing how to read and write. They told him: “In Israel people are intelligent and learned, how do you think you’ll get accepted to work in Israel?!”
The Jew was hurt by these words and had no recourse but to go to his Rabbi the holy Rabbi Meir Abuchatzeira the son of the Baba Sali, Rabbi Yisrael Abuchatzeira. This man was wholehearted and prepared to do anything the rabbi would tell him.
Rabbi Meir heard his misgivings and told him: “Go to the Holy Land and remove all worry from your heart! G-d is the one who provides from the greatest animals to the tiniest eggs of lice; do they know how to read? But G-d still gives them sustenance so why are you afraid that G-d won’t provide for you?”
Rabbi Meir saw that this man was still worried and reassured him: “You should know that if G-d wants, you will have a livelihood specifically because you can’t read and write!” This Jew accepted these words and went to Israel happily and kissed the land when he arrived.
After getting organized and renting an apartment he went to the employment office to try and secure a job. He waited a long time and started to despair as he looked around and saw many people much younger than him who had a good education. “Which employer will want me as opposed to these educated youngsters?” he thought to himself. When his turn finally came up he went to the clerk and said: “I just made aliya and moved here and I’m looking for work.” Being confused he also blurted out, “And I don’t know how to read and write.”
The clerk took his details and this man was deeply disappointed with himself “why did I blurt that out”? he asked himself. But then he strengthened himself and said that “G-d will look after me just as my rabbi said and I will have a livelihood.”
This man got a phone call the next day and was asked to go to a certain office in the ministry of security. “You are invited to a work interview and should come right away” they told him. When he got there they told to wait in the waiting room until they call him. He waited and waited and was getting bored and desperate. People are going in and out and he is being totally ignored. After waiting 3 hours he got fed up and started getting ready to leave. Only then they called him into the office.
The clerk in the office started interviewing him but mainly was interested in if he could read or write. The man explained honestly: “I didn’t learn in a school when I was young and when I got older I couldn’t master the skills needed for reading and writing.” The clerk got up and said: “You are hired! Your work is in our weapons design factory and your job is to shred the documents…”
This Jew was totally astounded at the miracle that just happened. But when he started working he understood what his work involved. This company had tons of top secret documents that needed to be shredded on a daily basis. But who could do this they couldn’t waste the engineers time and an outsider might read the documents and spy. So they ended up looking for someone who couldn’t read to shred the documents. They gave notice to the employment agency that if someone who can’t read comes their way the agency should immediately refer them to the ministry of defense.
It comes out his waiting in the office for 3 hours was a test to see if he would pick up a magazine and start reading. There was a concealed camera and the clerk had his eyes glued to the screen watching this man in case he would start reading. The man was so bored he picked up a newspaper and actually looked at it but he held it sideways because he really couldn’t read!
The man was immediately accepted for work which was clean and organized with good conditions and great financial benefits that his more educated friends could only dream of. Eventually this man wanted to retire and enjoy the generous pension waiting for him. But the company came back to him and said: “We were sure we’d be able to replace you with someone else but it’s just not happening… we want you to come back and you’ll get a salary in addition to your pension!
This Jew concluded his story saying: “I merited seeing with my own eyes how the words of my rabbi and mentor Rabbi Meir Abuchatzeira came true. Specifically because I couldn’t read I was accepted to work and if I would have known how to read who knows if I’d have earned such a livelihood!”
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