Tuesday, March 21, 2006
I went to the girl's high school production tonight. It was based on a true story of six Lubavitcher boys, learning in an underground yeshiva in Berditchev, Russia. Perhaps I should say the Soviet Union, as it was during Stalin's time.
Anyway, their yeshiva got busted by the secret police, and the boys - all around 14 years old - got put into a communist orphanage. They were to be "reformed" of their religious heresy.
They secretly made contact with chassidim on the outside, who managed to get them train tickets to Kiev. They were instructed how and when to escape. Five boys got on the train. The 6th one - Folleh - ran back to get his tefillin and missed it. The five who got on the train eventually made their way to America and Israel.
Folleh escaped to a local city, Sartov, and continued his learning. He eventually became the Rav and lived out his life there.
The other five stayed in touch through the years, but no one knew what happened to Folleh. They only knew he missed the train, and feared the worst.
One day, 50 years after the escape, the old Sartov Rav went to the local sofer to have his tefillin checked. In the sofer's office he met a young man, and they started talking. It turned out this man was one of the sons of the other five! He was so excited to find out Folleh's fate, and a reunion was arranged for the 6 "escapees."
Alas, Folleh passed away before the reunion took place. But man, what a story, right?
The most poignant part of the production was a video clip of the Rebbe at a farbrengen. I think it was during the 70's. He was crying. There were Jews behind the "iron curtain" who couldn't practice Judaism, through no fault of their own. Seeing the Rebbe cry like that made me start to cry.
I'm glad I didn't wear mascara.