32 Jewish children (out of 42) in one class

Thursday, 26 January, 2023 - 8:19 pm

“When I was a child in the 1950’s, the Soviets no longer had anyone to fight. The Jewish people in Russia had surrendered already – only a few stubborn Chabadniks remained.”

So said my dear uncle, R. Shlomo Wishedski, who passed away 6 years ago, today.

“We were 32 Jewish children (out of 42) in one class, in the elementary school in Czernowitz. The teacher was Jewish, too.”

Thirty-two Jewish children in one class!!! But how many of them continued to live as Jews? How many of them left behind offspring who are part of the Jewish People?

I don’t know. Maybe none.

That is, almost none – because in that class there were two children, twins – a boy and a girl, Shlomo and Sarah Wishedski, who knew that they were Jews of the covenant. They also knew that it was a covenant made in blood.

The Jewish People were redeemed from Egypt, as is told in this week’s Parasha, and they were redeemed in the merit of the blood of the covenant – the Brit Mila (circumcision) that they performed on their children.

The blood of the covenant of the Children of Silence in Russia was not only that which flowed when they were eight days old.

The blood of the covenant of the Chabad Children of Silence was mainly that which fled their faces and their parents’ faces every time there was a knock on the door, and not on the window, as had been agreed upon among the Chassidim.

“When everyone is Jewish,” my uncle told us, “you can’t make up stories that you were sick on Shabbat, since they all know what the source of your illness is, especially the teachers, and Shabbat comes every week.

“In the 1920’s and 1930’s it was terrifying to keep Shabbat, but at the end of the 1950’s, when I was a child, it was embarrassing to be a primitive, old-fashioned religious person who observed Shabbat. Every week we were in a state of great apprehension.”

The blood that fled the face of that child every Shabbat is what saved him and protected him, so that he remained a stubborn, G-d fearing Jew, who merited leaving this world pure and holy, with his children, who are following his ways exactly, standing around his bed. His soul ascended to heaven while they were singing the Chabad Niggunim (tunes), which are an inseparable part of that blood covenant that preserved him, almost the only one among 32 children who did not have fathers and mothers who maintained that covenant.

The story of my beloved uncle is the story of our people. These children who did not give up even when it was difficult, to them we owe our existence.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Zalman Wishedski

Comments on: 32 Jewish children (out of 42) in one class
There are no comments.