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Serendipitous Surprise

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Rabbi Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg ztz”l. Rabbi Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications and is the author of the books, Fascinating Insights and Incredible Insights. His writings inspire people across the spectrum of Jewish observance to live with the vibrancy and beauty of Torah. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes, and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.

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Serendipitous Surprise

On a visit to Yad Vashem, R’ Berel Wein toured the Children’s Memorial, the tribute to the 1.5 million children, under age 12, slain by the Nazis. R’ Wein was expecting to see pictures of the murdered children, recordings of their names and maybe even a video depicting the horrors the children endured. He expected statistics about the children and informative pamphlets and books. However, that wasn’t the case, as he entered an underground room — 8 to 10 stories in height — which was completely dark. In the middle of this darkness, there was a single burning candle. The light of this single candle was multiplied infinitely in all directions by a series of glass panels and mirrors that lined the walls, floors and ceiling. Countless specks of light were visible in the otherwise dark room. He heard a recorded voice being broadcast throughout the room, reciting the names of the murdered children, as well as their age and country of origin. “Simcha Katz, three years old, Vilna.” “Sarah Jacobowitz, six years old, Sarajevo.” A seemingly endless litany of names.


When R’ Wein exited this cavern, he thought, “I did not hear my name. I am of the age…” He took this as a lesson that he had much to accomplish and would always strive for the next level. “If I can take one more boy into yeshiva or give one more drasha, I will.”


With this, R’ Wein explained why Hashem referred to Moshe by this name throughout the Torah — the name that Paroh’s daughter coined[1] (and not by one of his other nine names[2]). Each time Hashem called Moshe, it was a reminder that he had been saved from the water, unlike the many thousands that Paroh killed.


We must take this lesson to heart as every Jew alive today was personally saved from the murdered in the annals of history. What will you do with your time in this world?

[1] See Shemos 3:4.

[2] See Vayikra Rabba 1:3 that Moshe had ten names.

Author of Four Books including the recently released “Amazing Shabbos Insights”

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