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“Hashem does not forget…a story about marriage and the holocaust.”

This is a Reb Shlomo Carlebach story about marriage and the holocaust..

 

“Hashem does not forget…”

“A true and touching story about marriage and the Holocaust that happened to Reb Shlomo Carlebach. z”l (“The Singing Reb”)…

Reb Shlomo Carlebach used to travel far and wide to sing for Jews and gentiles alike as he was a world-famous Jewish artist and. on one of his many flights, Reb Shlomo was pleasantly surprised to see a stewardess davening (praying) from a siddur (a Jewish prayer book). He waited until she finished davening and then he said to her, “I see that you are praying from a siddur, are you Jewish?” The stewardess replied, “My parents are non-Jews but ever since I can remember, I was attracted to Judaism. When I grew older I learned Judaism from an Orthodox Rabbi and recently, I converted according to the Jewish laws of the Torah. As you see, I now lead an observant life and keep all of the commandments.”

One of the passengers signaled for her attention and so the stewardess had to break off the conversation and excuse herself.  Reb Shlomo resumed his seat and looked out of the window for a time, presumably for some spiritual upliftment and inspiration from the cloud patterns breezing swiftly past the plane’s wings.

A few minutes passed and then the stewardess approached Reb Shlomo again. She inquired of him if he was a Rabbi.  He of course responded in the affirmative. She then told him of her dilemma. “Maybe you can help me. I have an urgent problem. Recently I met a nice Jewish young man and I’m a kallah (a bride-to-be).  We very much want to get married but his parents are adamantly against the shidduch (match) because I am a convert, his parents have threatened to cut him off and sever all ties with him if he goes through with his proposal to me. We love each other very much but he’s very attached to them and doesn’t want to cause them any grief. He’s heartbroken and I fear he’ll call off the wedding. Can you help me?”

“‘I’ll certainly try” was Reb Shlomo’s immediate response. “Give me their phone number and yours as well and I’ll see what I can do. I’ll try my best to convince your chatan’s (groom-to-be) parents that they shouldn’t oppose your marriage to their son.”

Later on that day, when Reb Shlomo reached his destination, he called the boy’s parents. Unfortunately the conversation did not go over very well. In fact, the parents were furious at Reb Shlomo for attempting to intervene and mediate on the ‘goyish’ young woman’s behalf. The more Reb Shlomo tried to defend the merits of the girl the further enraged became the father. it got so bad that at one point he yelled into the phone,

 “Know that I am a Holocaust survivor! Because I witnessed what G-d permitted the Nazis to do to the Jews, I hate Judaism! But this is also the reason why I will never allow my son to marry a goya (a gentile) either! Only over my dead body will this marriage take place!’ The last thing Reb Shlomo heard was the phone being slammed down.

What could he do? Nothing. So Reb Shlomoi immediately called the stewardess to apprise her of the dour situation and confirm her worst fears that his attempt at mitigation had met with utter failure. As he dialed, Reb Shlomo regretted being the bearer of such bad tidings and worried over shattering the dream of the poor girl’s last hopeful expectation. Gratefully Reb Shlomo got the girl’s father on the line instead. So he told him about what had just transpired. Much to Reb Shlomo’s chagrin her father became just as upset at him as the boy’s father had been and gave Reb Shlomo another earful.

Reb Shlomo listened in pained silence as he was being excoriated for meddling in affairs that were none of his business. Afterward he tried to defend his actions, saying: ‘It says in the holy Torah that G-d occupies Himself a third of every day in matchmaking. I was only trying to help Him out a little bit. It is very clear to me that your daughter and this boy are truly in love with each other and it saddens me to see that they are being prevented from marrying.

RebShlomo’s genuine concern deeply touched the father and he replied: “I’m going to reveal to you a secret that I have never revealed to anyone else in my entire life. Up until this very moment I was certain that I was going to take this secret of mine with me to the grave. But I’ll tell you this because I see you really cared for my daughter and sincerely tried to help her out. My wife and I are Catholics in name only. We are both really Jewish.  Indeed, we are Holocaust survivors. We hate Judaism because of what G-d did to the Jews. We pretend we are Catholic even though we were never actually, officially, converted and we have raised our children to be good Catholics. Even our children do not know the real truth about us.'”

“If so,’ exclaimed Reb Shlomo excitedly, “your daughter is really Jewish from birth and she CAN get married to the boy without any objection from his parents! The father of the groom wants a Jewish girl from birth for his son and your daughter fits the bill! Wonderful news! Thank you! I’m going to call them back right away and tell them the truth of your daughter’s true identity!”

The girl’s father agreed and gave his blessing and further consented to bring his wife and daughter along to Reb Shlomo’s hotel room later that evening to meet the boy and his parents. Hours passed and the moment of the auspicious meeting had arrived, one father with his family arriving a short while before the other. when the second one entered the room he heard  a loud exclamation, “YANKELE!”. Startled the other father looked up and he too shouted out in greeting, “HERSHELE!”, as they fell into each other’s arms. A few moments later when they both regained their composure from their emotional embrace, they stood apart and began to explain to their shocked wives and children.

One father began: “Before the war we were study partners  in yeshiva (Talmucial college ). Each of us was certain that the other had perished in the the Holocaust during those terribly bitter years.”

The other one then added: “Do you remember how we used to dream about the future while were in the yeshiva? We told one another that when we grew up and got married that we would endeavor to marry our children off to each other so as to become one family. Well, we forgot our vow to each other, but G-d did not forget.”

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