Spirituality

It Really Happened: Miracles in Cyprus

What happens when you found a yeshiva without strong financial backing but with a lot of faith in G-d? What happens is that you get to see miracles at every turn. The Madregas ha-Adam Yeshiva founded by Rabbi Jacques had gone through many incarnations and functioned in many locations. This story took place in 2010, when the yeshiva was located in the north Cypriot village of Esentepe, in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, a Turkish protectorate established in 1983 and recognized by it alone. Madregas ha-Adam is designed for Israeli boys who find it difficult to study in typical Israeli yeshivas. The yeshiva’s unique atmosphere reconnects them with Torah study and yeshiva life, and the staff gives them a lot of support, advice and encouragement. Many adults remember it with love and gratitude, and just as much, they remember the extraordinary heavenly assistance accompanying the yeshiva.

Illustration (Photo: Jonathan Sindel / Flash 90)

At the end of the summer semester, the students were looking forward to a trip of several days, which the yeshiva staff had promised the boys as a reward for a couple of months of serious and diligent study. The boys had learned well, but one small problem remained: the yeshiva had no money to pay for the trip. Considering Madregas ha-Adam’s history, this was not an unusual situation, and the solution that popped up was no exception: an anonymous donor suddenly contacted the yeshiva and contributed the necessary money for the trip. The students and staff traveled to a ski resort and enjoyed a few days full of fun. But when they returned to the yeshiva, they found all the rooms turned upside down and their belongings helter-skelter in all directions. A local criminal gang had taken advantage of the yeshiva staff’s absence to break into the yeshiva building and steal all the yeshiva’s and boys’ money and valuables. The yeshiva’s students immediately complained to the police. The mustachioed Turkish policeman meticulously wrote down the claims, but it was clear that nothing would come of the complaint. In fact, almost everyone in the village knew who the thieves were, and also knew there was no way the police would stop them. The perpetrators were a well-connected gang who was safe from the law.

It was Thursday, and the yeshiva didn’t even have money to buy groceries for the Shabbat meals. What should they do? They prayed. That evening, as the boys and the staff were still coming to terms with the break-in, one of the yeshiva students crossed the road not far from the yeshiva building. There were two cars parked along the sidewalk: the yeshiva vehicle, and a few yards away, another car. “I do not know why, but I felt an inner voice telling me to go around the cars and not to pass between them,” he says. A moment later, the driver of the second car, who was completely drunk, wildly reversed the car and smashed into the yeshiva car, damaging its bumper. The miracle was not just the private miracle of the boy, but a miracle for the entire yeshiva. The offending driver, a local construction worker, was terrified that they would report the accident to the police. He was not well-connected to the police and it was clear to him that a police investigation would reveal a number of details about his activities that he would prefer to keep away from law enforcement. He came to the yeshiva staff with a proposal: he would pay generous compensation for the accident, and in return they won’t report him to the police. That’s what they did. The driver raised cash from all his friends and brought it on Friday to the yeshiva directors. The yeshiva didn’t care about fixing the bumper; it was a strong and durable Fiat Dakota, the defect was cosmetic, and the vehicle still drove well. This money was used for a completely different goal: to cover the damage which the break-in caused the yeshiva. The staff rushed to buy food, and the three Shabbos meals were ready before the Shabbat. A miracle? Definitely. One of a long line of miracles in the history of Madregas ha-Adam.

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