I met Calev ben Yefuneh

Friday, 4 June, 2021 - 4:00 am

 This week I met Calev ben Yefuneh. Well, not him exactly, but someone who reminded me of him; his name is Yisrael Lieberman.

Rabbi Yisrael Lieberman is the Rebbe’s shaliach in Kowloon in Hong Kong. I didn’t know him so well before, but he sent me the following message at the end of last week:

“R’ Zalmen, I don’t know if you know, but we have a son who is over a month old, whom we haven’t been able to perform his brit.

“After many unsuccessful attempts to get a Mohel into here, we got the idea of making the brit in Europe. There is a flight from Hong Kong to Zurich. Do you think we could come to you in Basel?”

From the moment my wife and I said, “Yes” – and that was pretty instantaneously – he began to make arrangements for the trip. Believe me, everything that could get stuck, got stuck; everything that could interfere, interfered. Every few hours, almost, a new problem popped up, and until the very last moment uncertainty reigned.

But Rabbi Yisrael and his wife Rebbetzin Menucha wouldn’t let anything sway them from the goal.

Like the Spies in this week’s parasha, the world and its logic were saying, “We will not be able to ascend, because he is stronger than us,” but Yisrael and Menucha, like Calev and Yehoshua, looked at reality in the whites of its eyes and said, “We will indeed ascend, because we will indeed be able.”

Personally, I must confess that there were moments when I didn’t believe they would be able to overcome the challenges and the barriers that kept appearing. But they just said, “Our son has to enter the covenant of Avraham Avinu and there is no force in the world that will stop us.” And they succeeded and proved, once again, that the world knows how to give in when faced with the power of a Jewish truth.

At the seudah of the brit, I told them the truth. I told them that they had given me a lesson in emunah (faith), a lesson in bitachon (trust in Hashem), and a lesson in knowing that there is Someone in charge of this world.

And, oh yes, we gained wonderful guests.

Shabbat Shalom,


Rabbi Zalmen Wishedski

Comments on: I met Calev ben Yefuneh
There are no comments.