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  • Yehuda Pevzner

You Never Know

Wednesday afternoon, just another regular day with the tank. But it wasn't at all for Moshe, who stood across the street. A year before, he lost his (non-Jewish) wife, whom he lived with in Georgia, far from anything Jewish, and now he was alone. He took to traveling around the world, and that's how his feet brought him to New York.


While walking the streets of Manhattan, he suddenly heard Jewish music. And that's how he found himself standing across the street, staring at the tank.


After a few minutes, one of the "Tankists," who noticed a man staring for a while at the tank, approached Moshe and inquired if he was Jewish.


"Yes, I am Jewish, but I don't keep Shabbos. I used to", Moshe replied.


"Shabbos is not the issue right now," answered the Tankist, "it's cold out; would you like to come inside and have a warm drink?".


"But I don't keep Shabbos," replied a startled Moshe. "I haven't been to shul for over sixty years."


"Today is Wednesday. I'm not judging you".


Moshe went up into the tank, sat down with a cup of tea, and started looking around. Seeing the Tefillin on the table, he sighed.


The Tankist asked him again, "Would you like to put on Tefillin?"


As if awakening from a dream, Moshe replied, "Tefillin... Can I?". The Tankist started to wrap the Tefillin on him, and suddenly Moshe remembered, I know how to put it on, and started wrapping the straps.


Taking the paper with Shema in his hand, Moshe started saying Shema, with tears streaming down his face. "I haven't put on Tefillin in years".


After praying, Moshe sat back down, and they began to talk. Moshe tells over with pain about his wife, how he moved out to a secluded estate with her, and being far away from any sort of Jewish community and Shul, he slowly stopped keeping any Mitzvos.


"Maybe now that you are alone," said the Tankist, "it would be a good time to start putting on Tefillin every day, sitting there in the estate looking out at the water and the endless trees, and think about Hashem a little?"


"Good idea," agreed Moshe.


"What about Shabbos? Here, take some Shabbos candles", the Tankist offered. "When Shabbos comes, light them, take your old Kiddush cup, and make Kiddush."


Suddenly, Moshe stood up, "I have to go; it's too much for me to return to this."


When Moshe was already standing outside, he continued off-handly that he donated his wife's body to science, and he plans on donating his as well when the time comes.


Alarmed, the Tankist said, "Maybe it's worth thinking about a Jewish burial?" Moshe replied that it was too late, "I already signed it over. I don't need my body when I'm finished using it."


Moshe started walking away as the Tankist called after him, "Maybe you don't need it, but the Rebbe does."


Moshe walked away, getting swallowed up by the crowd. Behind stood the Tankist, thinking to himself about how many more people like Moshe there are out there. Maybe in a few years, we will know the ending of the story.


One story we do know the ending to, though! Lighting Shabbat candles always brings more light to the world!


Light the Shabbat candles on Friday, before 4:18 PM


Shabbat Shalom!

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