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Two Torah Scroll Stories

For some children and their families, purchasing a letter in the Sefer Torah has had a far-reaching effect. The Rebbe told the following story during a farbrengen on 17th Tammuz, 5741:XiJj690644.jpg

In Russia a small boy once asked his father, "What is a Sefer Torah?" The child's father, who had been born many years after the Russian Revolution, had no idea. However, his curiosity had been aroused by his son's question and he asked him where he had heard about it. The child replied that someone had asked him if he wanted to buy a letter in a Sefer Torah that was being written for children around the world.

"Ask some of the old people," suggested his father. "Maybe they know what it is."

The elderly Jews whom the child asked him all they could remember about Judaism. Later on, the family sneaked into a Shul to see a Sefer Torah for themselves. This was only the beginning of the family's return to their heritage.

Another story:

One day, a family was enjoying a picnic on the banks of Lake Kinneret when one of their children went astray. After searching the area thoroughly, the family found him in the lake. The child was rushed to the intensive care unit at the Poriyah Hospital in Tiberias. When the doctors there managed to resuscitate him, he was transferred to the hospital in Afula. After a few hours of intensive treatment, his family were informed that the damage caused to his central nervous system meant that, although he would live, he would be completely paralyzed.

The child's family was devastated. While they were still trying to absorb the shock, a young girl came to the hospital. When she heard about this terrible tragedy, she tried to comfort the family. She suggested that the child's parents buy him a letter in the Children's Sefer Torah. They immediately agreed to do so. The parents also wrote to the Rebbe asking for a blessing. In the answer that they received, the Rebbe asked if the child had purchased a letter in the Sefer Torah. The parents were very pleased to be able to give a positive answer.

Two days later, the child's condition dramatically improved. By the time the girl visited the hospital during the following week, he was already out of intensive care and well on the road to recovery.

The special merit and protection that comes from acquiring a letter in a Sefer Torah is also alluded to in the book of Daniel: "...and that time your people shall be delivered, every one who shall be found written in the book." (Daniel 12:1)


A Letter for Peace

By Esther Scharf

Sunday, June 7 1981

Six F-15 escorts and eight F-16 fighter bombers roared off the runway from Etzion Air Force Base in southern Israel. The air was thick and tense. Prior to take-off, Lt. General Rafael Eitan briefed the pilots. "The alternative is our destruction," he said, displaying unusual emotion.JgKq2046224.jpg

Israel's intelligence had recently confirmed that Iraq had intentions of producing weapons in their Osirak nuclear facility. The atomic bombs which the Iraqi reactor would be capable of producing from enriched uranium or plutonium could be as fatal as the one that landed on Hiroshima. Realizing the mortal danger facing the people of Israel, the Israeli government decided to attack. At 3:55 p.m., while the country innocently bustled about its daily activities, the fighter jets secretly took off.

Every detail of the mission was planned meticulously. The target was distant: 1,100 kilometers from Israel. The courageous group of elite pilots included Ilan Ramon, may his memory be blessed, as well as others selected from the crème de la crème of the Israeli Air Force's fighter corps.

After a tense but uneventful low-level navigational route, the fighter jets reached their target. At 5:35, they identified the reactor's dome, gleaming in the late afternoon sunlight. The enemy defenses, caught by surprise, opened fire too late. One minute and twenty seconds later the reactor to lie in ruins. All six planes returned home safely.

Israel – and the entire world – was saved from mortal danger.


June 7 1981, Day before ShavuotFGcQ2046222.jpg

The grand gathering in honor of the completion of the third Children's Torah Scroll at the Western Wall. The Torah was written specifically in the merit and for the unity of Jewish children worldwide. An urgent directive from the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, was dispatched from his headquarters in Brooklyn. The Rebbe instructed his emissaries around the globe to stop their usual pre-holiday activities and spend every spare moment "selling" letters in the Torah to Jewish children. The emissaries were then to send back a report on that same day exactly how much was accomplished.

Two months earlier, the Rebbe had explained the importance of writing Torah scrolls in which thousands of Jewish children will be partners through purchasing one letter for the minimal cost of one dollar. Through every child "owning" his own letter, hundreds of thousands of Jewish children around the globe would be united in one joint scroll.

In a public address, the Rebbe stated that “we now live in a world rent with confusion and turmoil . . . Nowadays, even a single deranged, demented, or frustrated individual who has access to a destructive button or trigger can upset an entire region or country. . . Such unprecedented chaos must be countered with unique measures.” The Rebbe continued that this new campaign for Jewish unity achieved through the communal children’s Torah – in addition to taking the natural steps necessary to achieve peace – would ensure peace in Israel and across the world.

The past two months had been full of activity, as thousands of children participated in this wide-spread campaign. But it was a mystery to all why on the day before Shavuot, amidst the many holiday activities, the Rebbe had suddenly deemed it crucial to obtain as many letters as possible. The emissaries followed his directives, while wondering about the sudden urgency.

At 5:36 that afternoon, the threat of horrific terror against Israel, and its repercussions around the world, was averted.


Could there be any connection between this dramatic miracle and the Rebbe's urgent directive?

You can draw your own conclusion, but let me just add one detail:

The following year, on the holiday of Chanukah, the Rebbe announced that he had received a letter about a certain prophecy in Daniel which was connected to the "Letter-in-the-Torah-campaign." The Rebbe was so enthusiastic about this find that he said it deserved an entire gathering just to share it.

The unique prophecy that so piqued the Rebbe's excitement was a verse in Daniel (12:1), discussing the wars prior to Moshiach's arrival: "Whoever is found in the Sefer [scroll] will be saved."

The children's Letter-in-the-Torah Campaign is still active, and has since been broadened by the Rebbe to include adults too. This Shavuot, as we stand united together to reaccept the Torah -- and as the threats the Rebbe alluded to are as present today as ever -- it would be an appropriate time to get as many Jews involved in this campaign. May the unity of these letters be powerful enough, to avert any new threats to global peace.

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