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Thought for the Day: The Right Jew at the Right Time and Place

Two incidents, one happened two thousand years ago, one happened less than a century ago.  Find the common thread.

Rav Yechezkel Abramsky, z"tzl, was exiled to Siberia in 1929 C.E.  Pressure and politicking forced his release in 1931.  While waiting for his train, R' Abramsky saw one of the commanding officers from the labor camp walking around the station.  R' Abramsky tried to stay as hidden as possible, but shuddered as he watched the officer walk straight toward him.  "Let me see your ticket!", he was told.  R' Abramsky had no choice but to surrender his ticket.  "Just as I thought", said the officer as he pocketed the ticket.  Then he reached into a different pocket and handed the rav another ticket.  Seeing the look of confusion, the commanding officer explained, "I am a Jew.  My mother told me on her death bed that her only request was that if I ever had the chance to save the life of a Jew, I should do it.  They gave you a ticket for an open car and in this weather you would have been dead in no time.  The ticket I gave you is for a heated car."  With that, the officer was gone.

Hillel once brought an animal for an olah to the beis hamikdash.  It was Yom Tov and a group of scholars from Beis Shamai came to Hillel and asked him about the animal.  Hillel said it was a female (which can't be brought as an olah) in order to avoid a machlokes because Shamai held it was assur to bring an olah l'chatchila on Yom Tov.  The scholars of Beis Shamai decided to make a play to assert that the halacha was like them.  Bava ben Buta, who was a talmid of Shamai (not Beis Shamai, but Shamai himself) was there and knew the halacha was like Beis Hillel.  Bava ben Buta sent for the best male sheep in Yerushalyim and announced that anyone who wanted should come to bring an olah.  That established the halacha like Bais Hillel and no one ever again even thought to argue.

What's the common thread?  Only someone as far from Yiddishkeit as that unnamed officer could have had the authority to exchange those tickets for R' Abramsky.  He was carefully groomed his whole life to be able to be in just the right place to save the rav's life.  Planted, as it were, as a mole by HaShem Yisbarach in the Communist army for just that moment.  Bava ben Buta, a talmid of Shamai himself, was the only one with the stature and authority to have been able to kovei'a the halacha like Beis Hillel.

Each of us is being groomed and prepared for our job, for our time to be just the right Jew and just the right time to justify our entire existence.  Be on the lookout.

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