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[Page 256]

Ruzhany

[Nehora, Lakhish District]

Translated by Moshe Kutten

Edited by Yocheved Klausner

I studied in the Yeshiva of the city Ruzhany and during the Shabbat, we would sometimes tour the Jewish colonies which were close to the city.

I was captivated by the life of the Jewish farmers and their peace of mind compared to those of the town people whose occupation was mainly in shop keeping and craftsmanship.

During one of the Shabbats, I entered the colony's synagogue. During the opening of the ark, for taking out the Torah scroll, one of the residents came up to the Ark and stated that he is delaying the reading of the Torah. It was customary that any person, who felt to be deprived by somebody in the crowd, was allowed to delay the reading, and force the public to intervene and correct the wrong. So that person announced that he is delaying the reading, since he was deprived by his neighbor in that his neighbor collected the dung droppings from half of the street near his house after the herd passed there. The crowd considered that action of the neighbor a public scandal and decided to impose a fine on the neighbor who collected the dung droppings on the side of the street, which was not located near his house.

During that time, as a yeshiva's student, I saw in that behavior by the village residents as desecration of the sanctity. Can a dispute about dung be brought up to the podium where the Torah reading takes place? However, when I grew up, I realized that the village atmosphere, which I absorbed in the Jewish colonies during my childhood, was much stronger than my distaste from the desecration of the sanctity, and that those experiences from my childhood were the ones that lead me to the settlement in Eretz Israel. Only then, I understood the sanctity of that delay in reading the Torah, because of the robbery of the dung in the half of the street near the house of that farmer.

Mordekhai Guber[1]

 

Translator's note:
1. Mordekhai Guber, a famous public figure, one of the people who established Kfar Tuvia and Kfar Warburg, and new immigrant settlements in Lakhish District. He was the husband of Rivka Guber (see article page 248) and a father who lost two sons in the Israel War of Independence. Return

 

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