Historians have noted that “proof of a living Gd can be derived from the continued existence of the Jewish nation.” Beginning with our forefather Avraham, there has not been a generation where the world has not sought to annihilate us. Yet here we are, alive and flourishing, while many of them are long forgotten in the dust bins of history.
Am Yisrael Chai
The Torah states that even when we will be exiled in the lands of our enemies, Hashem will not allow us to be annihilated. Chazal tell us that we are assured to not only survive but to thrive. There is, however, one condition – in each generation there will need to be those who maintain a steadfast conviction to uphold our holy Torah. A “tree of life” was entrusted to us at Sinai and in it lies the secret to our immortality. So long as we hold onto it, both during periods of abundance and hardship, we will grow and prosper even while the world around us struggles to do so.
The words “steadfast conviction” brings to mind a woman who has forever impacted the life of my family – Rebbitzen Batya Barg. Her book titled “Voices in the Silence” has been translated into more languages than I can list and ranks among the select few that I reread once or twice a year. It is the book which Rabbi Wachsman says “Must be found in every Jewish home.” It is a book which demonstrates the great levels of steadfast conviction our nation is capable of, and that all of Stalin’s conspirators are no match for the iron will of the Jewish nation.
Story after story will leave you amazed and inspired. Here are but a few examples of the level of sacrifice you will read about in the book.
Imagine parents who have lost seven of their children in the holocaust and are left with one last daughter. One child to carry on their legacy. Now imagine this child being encouraged to roll in the snow in the hopes that she contract an ailment so she wouldn’t have to attend school on Shabbat and perform acts of desecration. Imagine parents that love this daughter more than anything in the world that nevertheless encourage this week after week in an era where no medicine exists to cure pneumonia.
Imagine spending three years in the Czarist army and refusing to ever put non-Kosher food past your lips as you wither away from starvation and face execution if caught.
Imagine running a full-fledged Yeshiva, disguised as a carpentry shop, and a Mikvah built under your kitchen table, right under the noses of the KGB.
Imagine spending your childhood scavenging through garbage dumpsters, week after week, to find scraps of fruits and vegetables because your parents feed all of the hungry in your town.
Imagine arriving home starving after a long day of working for the government, only to find that your parents have fed your dinner to a poor man that showed up at their door hungry and broken. Your replacement dinner – a glass of tea. Now imagine being ecstatic by the thought that you merited such a Mitzvah.
Indeed, it is difficult for any of us to imagine any of this yet all this actually transpired.
I have personally read hundreds of books and can attest that there is no other quite like this one. It is a book that has taught me more about endurance and commitment than any other. I urge you to read it, re-read it, and encourage your family and friends to do so.
Available at the following Judaica Stores:
- Berman (Flatbush)
Eichler’s (Boro Park)