7/6/2014A Letter from Israel by Rabbi Shay Schachter https://ui.constantcontact.com/visualeditor/visual_editor_preview.jsp?agent.uid=1117840386874&format=html&print=true2/8
So the stewardess proceeds to make an announcement in tears, to a plane filled almost tocapacity with Birthright groups; "Rabotai! We have on our plane, a shliach Mitzvah! Comemeet a Rabbi who was sent by his Kehillah to perform the great mitzvah of nichum aveilim,for those whom they feel are their own brothers and sisters! Our plane is safe because wehave a shaliach mitzvah on board with us!"This led to a whole pandemonium, and after I finally got to sit down again, the young mannext to me informs me that he is 26 years old, from Seattle Washington; he works in anational zoo, and is going to Israel for his first time.He then proceeds to tell me that he was so inspired by our kehillah, and that he would liketo borrow my Tallis to do a mitzvah that he has not done since his Bar mitzvah celebration(at age 16) in memory of the three precious neshamos.I gladly gave him my tallis and then proceeded to ask him if he knew how to recite abracha. He said "sure I do", and went on to take out a small piece of paper from his pocket,and recited the "Tefillas Haderech". This was the one and only Hebrew Bracha that he wasfamiliar with, so he decided to recite it as well on the Tallis.He then asked to borrow my Tefillin as well, which was followed by a long conversationwith the other members of the plane, who were all taking pictures of this highly unusualscene.But that wasn't it; after a few minutes he turns to me and says "Rabbi, I am so inspired, butin Seattle Washington we don't have these boxes. But I want to continue to do somethingspecial for these three precious souls, even after I return home. So what would yousuggest I do?"I was in complete shock, and overwhelmed with emotion, so the Satmar Chassid in thenext row turns to this tattood and pierced young man and says, "Sweet Jew, if you promiseme you will try and wear these Tefillin each and every day, I promise I will have a pair sentby FedEx to your home in Seattle Washington by the time you get back from Israel!" Theythen exchanged phone numbers and information, and the deal was done.Now I ask you, is Klal Yisrael anything short of amazing and absolutely incredible? Lookwhat our Kehillah alone has already accomplished! I almost felt like taking the next flighthome, and calling this trip the greatest success I could have ever imagined!But things only continued to became more and more meaningful as the day went on.I landed in Eretz Yisrael over two hours late, and had already missed two out of the threehomes that the OU was planning to visit.So I met them on the way to the Shaer home which is located in Talmon, a neighborhoodof 280 families, which is surrounded on all sides by Arab Villages.We arrived there at 3:30, and were told by the Policemen, that the family was resting until5:30. So the OU van decided to leave, but I chose to stay and wait it out.So there I was, alone, in a far flung Yishuv that I have never heard of, drenched with sweat,with not a living person in sight, in any direction.I begin to walk around looking for a Beis Midrash, and after about a minute, a women walksout of the Shaer residence, and I sheepishly asked her, "By chance, do you speakEnglish"? And she says, "Yes, I am from the States, but I live in Talmon for over 20 years?