Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money, and spiritual engagement
My Life Was Saved by the Tefillin I Gave Away By Mendy Pollack
There are times when Divine providence is so stark that you cannot help but take notice.
Both my father and my wife's father passed away more than 30 years ago.
My father-in-law, Menashe Bernath, was a simple man, a G‑d fearing Jew with the kindest heart. His mother died when he was a baby, and his step-mother forced him to sleep in the barn in the small Romanian village where they lived.
By the time he was seven, he had been sent away to a neighboring village to be apprenticed to a local grocer, yet he never became bitter. He divided his meager salary in two. Half he would send him to his step-mother; the other half he gave to the village rabbi who lived in extreme poverty.
He eventually immigrated to New York. Although he never received much of a Jewish education, his sweet prayers were legendary, as was his outsized heart, which stopped beating when he was only 62 years old.
My father, Shmuel Avrohom Abba Pollack, born in the Ukrainian mountains, was a devoted member of the Otynia Chassidic dynasty which was almost entirely wiped out by the Nazis. My father lost his first wife and three children to the Nazis, yet he had the strength to remarry my mother and begin anew in Brooklyn, where I was raised.
My father was a beloved figure in Crown Heights where he gave Talmud classes in the Empire Shtiebel (shul).
A printer by trade, he developed a warm relationship with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, of righteous memory, whose books he would print.
After my father and father-in-law both passed away within the span of two years, their tefillin ended up in my house where they sat on a shelf undisturbed for decades.
R. Shmuel Avrohom Abba Pollack and R. Menashe Bernath.
Around two months ago, I said to myself, "These tefillin are sacred. They were used for a mitzvah for so many years, I am sure that they can still be used by someone." I decided to send them to a scribe who inspected them both to ensure that they were in fine condition.
The day the tefillin came back from the scribe (it was a Monday), I put them in a bag and hung it up next to the front door, so that I would not forget about them.
That afternoon, around 3 p.m., I was home, which is somewhat unusual for me. I heard a knock on the door, and was greeted by a meshulach, an alms collector from Israel, who was raising money for his daughter's forthcoming wedding. I invited him in, gave him a snack and a cold drink, and sent him on his way with a check in hand.
As I walked him to the door, he remarked that in a few weeks his son would be celebrating his bar mitzvah and he had no idea how he would find money with which to purchase a pair of tefillin. I've lived in this neighborhood for 40 years and many collectors have come to my door, but this is the first time I recall anyone asking for money for tefillin.
Overjoyed, I stuck my hand into the bag and handed him a pair of freshly checked tefillin for his son. Laughing and crying at the same time, he expressed his gratitude and joy over this amazing turn of events. He then confided that his sister and brother-in-law would soon be making a bar mitzvah as well, and neither did they have money for tefillin. Without further ado, I scooped out the second pair of tefillin and handed it to the man.
My only regret is that in my great excitement, I neglected to ask the tzedakah collected for his name and contact information.
The following morning my wife and I woke up early to visit our daughter who lives in Waterbury, Conn., 80 miles to the northeast of our home in Queens.
Apparently we were both more tired than we thought, and we both dozed off, awakening abruptly when we crashed into the guardrail.
The car was totaled but we walked out without a scratch. The State Trooper could not believe it when he looked at us and at the car. Never had he seen people survive such an accident with nary an injury.
I felt that it must have been connected to the tefillin. After 30 years of disuse, I finally arranged for them to be used once again, and the following morning my wife and I were saved from a terrible accident.
A friend of mine drew my attention to the following story in the Talmud, concerning a man known as Elisha "the Winged One":
Why was he known as the Winged One? In his time, the wicked government decreed that any Jew who wore tefillin on his head would have his brain pierced. Undeterred, Elisha bravely wore tefillin in the marketplace. He once saw that he had been spotted by the government-appointed observers with his tefillin on and he ran away as fast as he could. The man caught up to him, but not before Elisha slipped the tefillin off his head and clutched it tightly in his hands. "What do you have in your hand?" asked the soldier harshly. "Oh, just the wings of a dove," said Elisha. "Oh yeah?" sneered the stranger, "open your hands and prove it!" Left with no choice Elisha opened his palms. A miracle occurred, and the tefillin had become doves' wings.
Why, of all objects in the world, did the tefillin become doves' wings? The Talmud replies: Just as the wings of a dove protect it, so do the mitzvot protect the people of Israel.
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The Israel Group Launches Battle to Expose Anti-Israel Wikipedia Editors By David Israel
The Israel Group, a nonprofit whose mission is "to cripple the boycott (BDS) movement against at Israel," is waging war against Wikipedia, or, rather, against Wikipedia editors with a clear bias against the Jewish State.
Founded by Jack Saltzberg, an old war-horse in the fight to defend Israel's reputation (he also served in an IDF anti-terrorist unit), The Israel Group has warned that "a cabal of virulently anti-Israel anonymous editors is responsible for decimating virtually the entire pro-Israel editing community. Volunteer 'administrators' (with lifetime positions), responsible for overseeing the editing process of Wikipedia, have not only allowed anti-Israel editors freedom to take over Wikipedia, they have participated by blocking and banning predominantly Jewish and pro-Israel editors."
Saltzberg said on his group's website that they have been working for many years, "under the radar," on "Wiki-Israel," which will be launched in January 2020, and fight against "Wikipedia's anti-Semitic bias against Israel."
The initiative features a website that shows "how anti-Israel editors smear Israel—both subtly and overtly—across hundreds of articles, and how the pro-Israel community can stop it."
As part of its initiative, The Israel Group outed the five worst anti-Israel Wikipedia editors, who have been "active for more than a decade totaling more than 325,000 Wikipedia edits, with the majority targeting Israel." Here they are:
1. An anti-Israel Wikipedia editor who goes by the username Zero0000. His real name, according to TIG, is Brendan McKay, a math scientist at the Australian National University. McKay is the unofficial leader of the entire cabal of anti-Israel Wikipedia editors, TIG claims. A Wikipedia administrator, he has the ability to block and ban regular editors and to delete edits and articles from the record.
2. Nishidani is "undoubtedly the most prolific and proficient of the bunch," according to TIG, which claims "he is an erudite, skilled blowhard who employs his expert Wikipedia editing proficiency to derail and obfuscate discussions, limiting most ability to add even miniscule factual content positive toward Israel." Out of Nishidani's more than 60,000 Wikipedia edits, not one is even slightly pro-Israel, NIG says.
3. Nableezy is the Hamas faction of Wikipedia. According to TIG, Nableezy is the most vile, dedicated, and ruthless anti-Israel editor, who is almost singularly responsible for getting nearly 60 Jewish and pro-Israel editors blocked or banned from editing Wikipedia, usually through subversive methods and working in collusion with Wikipedia's administrators.
4. Huldra, believed to be a woman, keeps a low profile as she assists the cadre of anti-Israel editors, says TIG, however, she is slowly and dangerously undermining the factual history of Israel on Wikipedia. Huldra is responsible for enacting the 30/500 policy, limiting visitors from editing anywhere in the Arab-Israeli topic area unless they have gained 30 days and 500 edits on Wikipedia.
5. Mshabazz, a.k.a. Malik Shabazz, has written on Wikipedia that he is Jewish, but as a former administrator has joined the anti-Israel side in every major (and minor) discussion regarding the Arab-Israel conflict, TIG says. He was removed from his administrator's position for using racist and anti-Semitic trope.
TIG promises that "when the Wiki-Israel initiative launches in January 2020, we will not only reveal the depth of the problem and its many challenging aspects, but we'll also guide people who care about Israel on how they can become experienced editors capable of fighting back."