Inspirational Stories

The Strength of a Jewish Child

The Russian Army during the time of the tsars, used to kidnap Jewish boys and force them to become soldiers. But there was also a profit motive. The kidnapping soldiers could be bribed with ransom to free the boys. After a community would redeem a child they would be broke for the kidnappers knew they would get their price.

One day another Jewish boy was kidnapped in the town of Leipzig. That was bad enough, but this boy was also an orphan who had no one to look after him financially and the coffers of the community were empty.

The Rabbi of the community at the time was Rabbi Baruch Taam. He requested everyone to come to the main synagogue and he opened the Holy Ark. He then stripped the Torah scrolls of all their adornments the whole time crying; “Torah Torah, You are both important and dear to us! But there is one thing the creator of the world considers more important than you, that is a Jewish child! We request that you the Torah pray for this Jewish boy to your G-d to save him from all misfortune!”

The cries from the synagogue rent the heavens as the rabbi begged forgiveness from the Torah scrolls for removing the ornaments to sell them so he could redeem the boy.  The boy himself was present, surrounded by his heavily armed kidnappers waiting for their ransom. He saw the whole fuss and commotion to save him and cried out before the whole community: “I accept upon myself the Kingdom of Heaven and I promise to dwell in the halls of Torah study my whole life!” The boy was then redeemed and fulfilled his promise.

This orphan boy  seemed average to the point that people didn’t expect to see greatness from him. But he in fact grew up to become a judge in the Court of Rabbi Taam and became one of the Torah Giants of that era.

Rabbi Zilbershtein retelling this story to the children of Ramat Elchanan in Bnei Brak turned to the children with encouragement saying: “See the strength of a Jewish Child! See how high he can climb and grow in Torah greatness and fear of heaven!!!


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