This week’s Torah portion, Shemot (Exodus) discusses the spiritual decline of the Children of Israel in Egypt after josephs passing. The Midrash Rabbah on Shemot writes that “when joseph passed away the Children of Israel abolished circumcision. They said ‘let’s be like the Egyptians’. Once they did that G-d took the Egyptians favoring the Jews and turned it into hate, looking for clever ways to harm them.”
This Midrash teaches us what history always proves over and over; when a Jew tries to look like the nations around him and follow their customs it causes a boomerang effect and the non-Jews distance, hate and persecute him.
The Dirshu website brings down a story with this same chilling message that happened not long ago.
A woman came crying to the Admor of Kopycznitz O.B.M. in America, and explained her dire situation. She was a widow with an only son who wants to marry a non-Jewish woman forever severing the chain of Judaism in their family. The mother doesn’t know where and how she can stop this and came begging the Admor; “Please! Perhaps the Rabbi can speak to my son and dissuade him from this decision”?
The Admor answered, “But I don’t know him and he doesn’t know me why should he listen to me! My chances of success are next to nothing especially with my broken English.” The widow answered “my son knows Yiddish so maybe the rabbi can get through to him somehow. This is my last hope!”
The Admor feeling bad for the widow asked her to bring in her son to meet him. The Admor hoped that G-d would put the right words in his mouth to say to the widow’s son. The widow full of hope went home to get her son. Knowing her son, she didn’t say ‘the Admor wants to speak to you’ rather “let’s go to the Admor so he can bless your upcoming marriage.” The son thought this was suspicious but his mother’s tears and begging wore him down and he agreed to ‘get a blessing’ from the Admor.
The Admor began talking with the young man and told him the following story. “This happened on Kristallnacht in November 1939 when thousands of synagogues were burned down in Germany and Austria, thousands of Jewish owned stores were looted, hundreds of Jews were killed and over 30,000 Jews were imprisoned.”
“I was also amongst those imprisoned that night” the Admor related to the young man. “The Gestapo troops burst into my home and hitting and cursing me threw me into a great dungeon which was full of Jews in shock, scared and bleeding, some crying and some silent.”
“A 40 year old man was one of the prisoners waiting to be questioned. He was perfectly clean shaven, wore fine clothes and his back was turned away from us as he was busy banging his head into the wall from grief. I turned to him and told him; “even if a sharp sword is by your neck do not despair from G-d’s mercy. Don’t torture yourself and trust in G-d. The man ignored me so I grabbed his hand because I feared he would lose his sanity. I told him to calm down”, the Admor told the young man.
“The man turned to me with red eyes and answered with a broken voice: “Let me be! I don’t deserve G-d’s mercy! “I answered G-d forbid! G-d has mercy on every Jew in every situation!” But the Jew stubbornly disagreed and told me his story.”
‘My parents immigrated to Germany from Galicia generations ago and raised me with a very watered down Jewish education. The very little that I know I threw away as I married a non-Jewish woman. I severed connections with my parents and they did the same with me. I sacrificed everything for my non-Jewish wife; I denied my being Jewish to such extreme that no one would suspect I am Jewish. But yesterday my wife turned me in to the Gestapo. Gestapo “law” forbids her marriage to a Jew and as far as she’s concerned they can imprison him, torture him and send him to exile and she will get to keep all of my property!”
The Admor concluded the story and turned to the young man saying: “Remember this story before you cause great pain to your mother and cut off the branch that connects you to the Chosen Nation when you tie your fate with a non-Jewish woman!”
The young man jumped up as if bitten by a snake flew out the door and when leaving, placed his hand on the mezuzah swearing; “I will never marry a non-Jewish woman!”
If you too know of a potential intermarriage please contact Hidabrut for assistance.