GOOD SHABBOS 13 12 2018 

Dear All,

The weather is Tukka Schvitzadik in the ‘Ou Transvaal’, and even though we had a few drops, the place is droooooooog……

2018 is ‘amper in sy moer in’, and it has been one hell of a tough year, with business just drying up, and everything costing soooo much, BUT… was the ‘Stan The Good Shabbos Man’ ‘Chai’ year, and I thank those that made donations to the Chev in honour… letter Mid-January….. Hope you all have a good year end……

A Rabbi waited in line to have his car filled with gas just before a long holiday weekend. 

The attendant worked quickly, but there were many cars ahead of him. 

Finally, the attendant motioned him toward a vacant pump. "Rabbi," said the young man, "I'm so sorry about the delay.

 It seems as if everyone waits until the last minute to get ready for a long trip."

The Rabbi smiled, "I know what you mean. It's the same in my business." (Mmmmm..)

People want the front of the bus, the back of the Shul, and the centre of attention.

Rugger is finished until the 6 Nations in a few months’ time….. This weekend was the Seven’s Rugger tournament in Slaaaaaaapstad and the stadium looked glorious with the sea as a back ground…..It has become very popular and the games are fast, NO wasting time, 2 minute half time, and all games seem to be interesting…… The Bokke again failed to get to the final, and Methinks that most of the Manne need a good haircut…… They have lost a few Shpielers to retirement and Cecil Afrika is sorely missed….. and a few have the 15 man Rugger code…..VERY few imaginative Shpielers left…..Biggest surprise was the USA reaching the final for the second week in a row, BUT…..Fiji ‘Klapped’ them…… Did not look like a full house..??? 

It is such an E-mazing stadium, BUT…… as predicted when built, a white Elephant……. Pity they cannot get more work and try and break even…..

Wat's die verskil tussen 'n goeie sekretaresse en 'n BAIE goeie sekretaresse?

'n Goeie sekretaresse sê: "Goeie môre, Meneer!"

'n Baie goeie sekretaresse sê: "Goeiste, Meneer, dis al môre!"

Vrou gaan sien 'n priester na haar 9de baba.

"Ek weet nie hoekom word ek so gou swanger nie. Dit moet iets in die lug wees!"

"Ja", sê die priester: "... dis jou bene."

Seuntjie aan ma: "Ek wil graag 'n boetie hê vir Kersfees!"

Ma: "Daar is te min tyd daarvoor my kind."

Seuntjie: "Maak dan soos Pappa en sit meer manne op die job!!!!!"


 "En hoekom wil jy emigreer?" 

 "Wel 20 jaar gelede was gemengde huwelike onwettig, nou is dit wettig. 

Ek waai liewer voordat dit verpligtend word."


 Vrou by die tandarts: "Ek raak liewer swanger as om 'n tand te laat trek!" 

 Tandarts: "Dame, besluit nou asseblief sodat ek kan weet hoe om die stoel 

 te stel."

'n Blonde Bankteller lê op haar rug tydens 'n bankroof.

Bestuurder skree "Lê op jou maag, dis 'n ‘blerry’ bankroof, nie 'n jaareindfunksie nie!"

The Engleeeeesh league was VERY interesting; with Manchester United showing a bit of ‘Baetzim’, and actually scoring 4 goals in one game…..They did perform well….Hopefully they can continue into the busy holiday season…. Liverpool had a GR888888 win, and are top of the log, with Manchester City beaten 2-0 by Chelsea ……WOW….and Arsenal winning 1-0 against Huddersfield……

The school teacher gave pupil two apples.  One was big the other was small.  Then she said: "When your brother comes up and asks you for one of the apples which one are you going to give him?"  

The student thought about it for a minute then replied: 

"Are we talking about my little brother or my big brother?"

How come it takes 6 men to carry a man to his grave but only one woman to put him there?? 


Said the good girl to the bad girl "It's awfully hard to be good"

Said the bad girl to the good girl "It's got to be hard to be good"

The Golf was a ‘Michiel’, and ‘KING’ Louis Oosthuizen managed to win the the Souff Effrikken open, at the Randpark Ridge Golf course…..The total purse was over a Million pounds, which is a big purse…… The course looked in GR888888 condition

Those in the USofA can get their supply of Biltong, Droe Wors and other Souff Effrikken 'Gerichten' from Joburg Kosher Foods  details at' …...

"The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time." - Bertrand Russell

 "Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." - Soren Kierkegaard 

 “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi.

May the most you wish for, be the least you get. May the best times you have ever had, be the worst times you will ever see. -  Irish Blessing

I can resist anything, except temptation. -  Oscar Wilde  

Life's tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late. -  Benjamin Franklin

If you follow a recipe for life, spontaneity will be cooked. - Khang Kijarro Nguyen 

“Self-respect without the respect of others is like a jewel which will not stand the daylight.”  -  Alfred Nobel

It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength. -  Maya Angelou

It's always too early to quit. - Norman Vincent Peale 

Making mistakes is something everyone does. Learning from them is not …

What Souff Effrikka has lost, America has gained…. Dated article, BUT….very interesting 

F. B. I. halts planned attack on 2 Synagogues ………..  

Ontario Jewish Archives Launches Southern African Legacy Project.Very interesting …..

A ‘Bissel’ Yiddish…. 

The King David Foundation Newsletter …always good interesting ‘Meisa’s’…… 

The 'Koppie' & Mountain climbers, Jeff & Jenni are still climbing every 

'Koppie' & Mountain...     'Gib A Kuk’

Still climbing every “Koppie” and posting the most E-mazing Pikchaaaaaaa’s on their website …  Serbia: Rtanj vrh Siljak, a special occasion, Sokobanja, an explosion of color in the mountains and at the Fortress.  South Africa: The Drakensberg, Champagne Valley: The Spinx and Verkykerskop from Monk's Cowl Park.

Bubba's sister was pregnant and was in a bad car accident, which caused her to fall into a deep coma. 

After nearly six months, she awoke and saw that she was no longer pregnant.  

Frantically, she asked the doctor about her baby. 

The doctor replied, "Ma'am, you had twins - a boy and a girl.  The babies are fine.  

Your brother came in and named them." 

The woman thought to herself, "Oh, no!  Not Bubba; he's an idiot!" 

Expecting the worst, she asks the doctor, "Well, what's the girl's name?" 

"Denise," the doctor answers. 

The new mother says, "Wow!  That's a beautiful name; maybe I was wrong about my brother.  

I really like the name "Denise." 

What's the boy's name?" 

The doctor replies, "Denephew." ( Brings a tear to ones eyes…….)

Met up with the ‘Koppie’ & Mountain climbers Jeff & Jenni @ Friends on Sunday, as they were visiting Parents, and it was Jeff’s Mom Ruth’s 90th ….Mazeltov…. Had a good “ Huck” and Jeff remarked that only once you leave the Beloved Country, and then return, do you realize the beauty of Souff Effikka……. They have Tukka seen the world , through a different angle, having back packed in most countries in the world, and have been back to some a few times…… Jeff was at Highlands and finished in 1969 ( a year ahead of me) and we discussed the First XV Rugger team…..Jeff played Flank, and the other Flank was Rodney Goldberg and the Eighth man was Maish Novick ( who later on went on to play Goal Keeper for Highlands Park) … they were an excellent loose forward combination….. I played Wanderers under 20A with Rodney, whose Boet Hilton was in my Boet’s class at Highlands…..

Maish had two brothers at Highlands North High also, Harold and the Late Des…..

‘Ons het baie gesels’…… and Jenni’s Schvester Hilary sacks was a teacher at the Minnie Bersohn School when my Kinderlach where there….. Hilary is married to Ernie Sacks, who was Principal of Rivonia Primary and then Yeshiva College….. Jeff & Jenni are neighbours in San Diego with Cheryl Levitt Bev Cohen’s Schvester, and at Friends on Sunday Keith, their Boet was having his birthday….Many more ‘Benjy’…… and Keith’s wife Gayle taught their Kinderlach…..What a small Yiddisher world this is…… Pictures;

4 old mischievous Bobba’s were sitting at a table at Our Parents Home. 

About then an old Zaida walked in . One of the old Bobba’s yelled out saying,

'We bet we can tell exactly how old you are !!'

The old man said, 'There ain't no way you can guess it, you old fools.'

One of the old Bobba’s said, 'Sure we can!....Just drop your pants and under shorts... 

and then we can tell your EXACT age.'

Embarrassed just a little, but anxious to prove they couldn't do it, he dropped his drawers. 

The Grandmas asked him to first turn around a couple of times & to jump up & down several times. 

Then they all piped up and said, 'You're 91 years old!'

Standing with his pants down around his ankles, the old gent asked,

'How in the world did you guess?' 

Slapping their knees & grinning from ear to ear, the 4 old Bobba’s happily yelled in unison-

'We were at your birthday party yesterday!'  …..(Otazay……………)

Chanukah ended on a very high note in the Beloved Country, with very large turnouts at the various venues…… After the tragic burning down of the Arthurs Road Shul, people have been inspired to revive the Shul, and one of the stories is from Rabbi Kraines of Ohrsom, Sandton…… Over the years I have written that whenever I go to the Shul in Gallo Manor I am reminded about the origins of some of the furniture and the Torah’s that were donated by the Lichtenberg Shul to Ohrsom, which helped them when they started, and those very same Torah’s are now on their way to Cape Town for the BEIT MIDRASH MORASHA, in Arthurs Road…… .... Rabbi Kraines and I chatted at a Bris awhile back about the Lichtenberg donation, and I explained that my old Chaver Ezra Berger ( Farmer Berger), who stills drives to Lichtenberg every week, was winding up the Shul, once the community had dwindled and offered the goods to Rabbi Kraines…… and there is also a Menora which belonged to the Late Doctor Solly Shapiro’s family, which still hangs in the Shul….. Rabbi wrote a story and mentions that the LICH (Light) of Lichtenberg is shining bright…..Well the most famous joke about Lichtenberg is; Ek is die ‘Lich’ van Lichtenberg….Pity about the ‘Okes’ from Kokstad & Kakamaas (I have been to both towns)….what a ‘Lekker’ story, and even more co-incidental further down the letter I write about Naomi Levy’s Einingkels Upsherinis & Nephews engagement….Naomi is the daughter of the Late Solly & Mickey Shapiro, and we were in Class from nursery school till standard 3….. 


By the time a man is wise enough to watch his step, he's too old to go anywhere.  

Borrow money from pessimists.... they don't expect it back.

Until I was thirteen, I thought my name was SHUT UP.

If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple of payments.

Dinner is ready when the smoke alarm goes off.

"Always remember you're unique, just like everyone else." 

Friends may come and friends may go, but enemies accumulate

“Mincer the Shlepper”… Paul Mincer has been singing in the Sandton Shul choir, and he does ‘Shlepping’ ….Besides Airport runs, Sun City etc., he also does ‘Shlepping’ of confidential documents…… 083-5426480 see for details.......

Load shedding is a nightmare, and after all the promises from the Gunovim @ Eishhhhhhhhkom, it continues, BUT…..experts say it could go on for another 5 years…?????? It is very annoying, as there are so many Load shedding schedules, you have to be a genius to work them out, so you know when you ‘gonna get hit…..

Even if you pinpoint when your area is out, when you are on the road, all of a sudden you hit a load shedding area, and all the robots are out, and the roads are grid locked, and you are late for another meeting…… Have seen many reports, where they claim that there is no coal shortage, BUT…..Eishhhhhkom are just to useless to sort it out, and are rather trying to get HUGE increases instead…… Another story about coal being loaded in Millions of Tons (Super grade) on the way to China, and fly over rights has been cancelled over Sadhana …???  Going to be a L-O-N-G haul with Eishhhhhhhhhhhhhkom in a mess with NO leadership…. 

Eli is a Genealogist of note……….. Eli Rabinowitz – 'Gib A Kuk' at his blog…E-mazing news from 'Der Heims' & The 'Beloved Country'….

Really sad that in these times, ‘Galeria’s’ still get Joy in smashing Tombstones…. It is not only Yiddisher ones and this week This week the Jewish Cemetery in Wellington was vandalised. Grave stones were knocked down and many broken. On FB there was a guy counting and he got to over 30…. I saw an item by my Chaver Howie Sundy, who grew up there and how sad it was to see headstones of people you know….. Not sure there is a way to stop this vandalism …. Actually, it is not vandalism, it is worse…. My hometown Lichtenberg had their headstones smashed a few years ago, which was not an anti-Semitic one, as they broke many others besides the Yiddisher section…. The Guys were caught, BUT… Really shocking…. 

The E-mazing Coffee Table book, ‘The Road through the Grove’, which calls back the past, of the history from the Johannesburg Drive In along the BIG LB (Louis Botha Avenue) to Hillbrow, and anything on either side from Highlands North High to KES, etc, etc …. 300 pages of news, news, news about ‘Amolikke Yoren’ in the Northern Suburbs from the 50’s….. LM Radio/John Berks…. Ellerine family, Springbok Yiddisher Minyan etc, etc and a double centre page done by Trevor Romain …and lots more…..very few copies left, and I am selling them at R500 in the Johannesburg area and will get them delivered to you….. Don’t miss this E-mazing book….What a gift!!!!!!!!! Drop me an E-mail at  … If you want them overseas a postal charge will be added…..get someone to bring it over for you….Much easier…….Had a good response….anyone going to Sydney that can take one back, please send me an E-mail……… 

Charlie Chaplin told the audience a wonderful joke and all the people started laughing... Charlie repeated the same joke and only few people laughed..???? 

He again repeated the same joke but this time no one laughed...??????

Then he said these beautiful lines...

"When you cannot laugh on the same joke again and again...then why do you cry again and again on the same worry." So enjoy your every moment of life..!! Life is beautiful!

Today is Charlie Chaplin's 125th birthday - a good day to recollect his 3 heart touching statements:-

(1) Nothing is permanent in this world, not even our troubles.

(2) I like walking in the rain, because nobody can see my tears.

(3) The most wasted day in life is the day in which we have not laughed. 

(Catch a ‘Lag’…good for U…..)

Anyone want a book, I can bring down to Slaaaaaaapstad with me…… I will leave a few Stan The Good Shabbos magazine from Yomtov at Montagu Dried Fruit, and you can pop in and pick some up…….Brian has superb dried fruits and nuts and also makes presentations for Shabbos…… His on Main Street, opposite the Pick ‘n Pay …That Centre has Tukka had a makeover ……will it survive…..who knows….. and my Swimming Pool @ The Ritz is closed, as the whole Hotel is closed, after they spent Millions last year on alterations……..Saw my old Chaver, Mandy Yachad a few times this week, and we will have a Goef in J(M)uizenberg………. Only 10 days to go……. Reckon I am going to have a Goooood Shloff this holiday…..Been a VERY trying year……. Any Highlaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaands ‘Manne’ that want to join us for Breakfast one morning, just E-mail me……. 

The Pearly Gates

A man appears before St. Peter at the Pearly Gates.

"Have you ever done anything of particular merit?" St. Peter asks.

"Well, I can think of one thing," the man offers. 

"Once, on a trip to the Black Hills out in South Dakota, I came upon a gang of high-testosterone bikers who were threatening a young woman. 

I directed them to leave her alone, but they wouldn't listen. 

So I approached the largest and most heavily tattooed biker. 

I smacked him on the head, kicked his bike over, ripped out his nose ring, threw it on the ground, and told him, 

'Leave her alone now or you'll answer to me.'"

St. Peter is impressed. "When did this happen?"

"Just a couple minutes ago." ( Eishhhhhhhhhhhhhh….)

With the Matric exams finished, and the students anxiously waiting for the results, along comes an E-mazing story of Exam markers coming to work Ongeshnozkerde (Dronk)……… Methinks that education is Tukka going to the ‘dogs’, as they reckon pupils only need 30% for a pass mark in Engleeeeesh…. 

Anne Sclar's saying for the week….. Travelworx ;

Follow your passion it will lead you to purpose ……

Justice Malala in a hard hitting article takes a swipe at the West, due to what’s happening, especially in Europe, where things are Tukka out of hand, and it looks like it is getting worse….The Riots in France are an eye opener and unless the Governments step in and stop the nonsense, the ‘rabble’ will rule….. Germany’s Far right is also rising at an alarming rate, and if ‘May’ goes in Britain and Labour get in, there will be huge problems, which unfortunately, will affect everyone… 

Einstein dies and goes to heaven ...

Saint Peter says, "You look like Einstein, but you have no idea the lengths some people will go to, to sneak in. Can you prove who you really are?"

Einstein ponders for a few seconds and asks,

 "Could I have a blackboard and some chalk?"

Saint Peter snaps his fingers and a blackboard and chalk instantly appear. 

Einstein proceeds to describe with arcane mathematics and symbols his theory of relativity.

Saint Peter is suitably impressed. "You really are Einstein! Welcome to Heaven!"

The next to arrive is Picasso. Once again Saint Peter asks for his credentials.

 Picasso asks, "Mind if I use that blackboard and chalk?"

Saint Peter says, "Go ahead."

Picasso erases Einstein's equations and sketches a truly stunning mural with just a few strokes of chalk.

Saint Peter claps. "Surely you are the great artist you claim to be! Come on in!"

Then Saint Peter looks up and sees Robert Mugabe from ZIM-BOB-WE.

Saint Peter scratches his head and says, 

"Einstein and Picasso both managed to prove their identity. How can you prove yours?"

Bewildered, ‘Uncle Bob’ says, "Who are Einstein and Picasso?"

Saint Peter sighs, "Come on in, BOB………..." (Einaaaaaaaaaah….)

The pressure is on for Shamila Batohi who will take over the Hotspot at the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority), with some very tough cases to prosecute….Zuma-Gupta’s, and the list is endless….Hopefully the ‘Buffalo gives major support and she is supported, as she seems to be very tough and ‘clean’, and good for the position… 

The Teacher asked young Patrick Murphy: "What do you do at Christmas time?"

 Patrick addressed the class: "Well Miss Jones, me and my twelve brothers and sisters go to midnight mass and we sing hymns;

Then we come home very late and we put mince pies by the  back door and hang up our stockings. Then all excited, we go to bed and wait for Father Christmas to come with all our toys."

"Very nice Patrick," she said. "Now Jimmy

Brown, what do you do at Christmas?"

 "Well, Miss Jones, me and my sister also go to church with Mum and Dad and we sing carols and we get home ever so late. 

We put cookies and milk by the chimney and we hang up our stockings. 

We hardly sleep, waiting for Santa Claus to bring our presents."


Realising there was a Jewish boy in the class and not wanting to leave him out of the discussion, she asked, "Now, Sammy Cohen, what do you do at Christmas?"

Sammy said, "Well, it's the same thing every year .. . Dad comes home from the office, we all pile into the Rolls Royce; then we drive to Dad's toy factory. 

When we get inside, we look at all the empty shelves . . . and begin to sing: 

'What A Friend We Have in ‘Yoshka’'.  Then we all go to the Bahamas." ( Oy……….)      

Chappies.. Did U know ………. %20fascinating%20story/5408

There are over 40,000 muscles tendons in an elephant's trunk

A lobster’s blood is colourless but when exposed to oxygen it turns blue


One of our neighbours has a son, Ari, age 5. Ari goes to a Jewish school, his parents are religious, but Ari has a problem. 

What is this Christmas stuff all about? 

In addition, Ari’s parents have just built a new house. 

Ari’s parents have talked to him about being Jewish but he has this little bit of insecurity. 

He went to see the new house and came out really very confused. 

He told one of his teachers that he thinks he must be half Jewish and half gentile. Why? Because in the new house there is a chimney and why is there a chimney? 

He is certain it is there so Santa can come down the chimney to visit him. But the good news! He went back to the house and had a good look at the chimney. 

It is not a gentile house at all – the chimney is too small for Santa to come down!

The biggest problem in rooting out the Corrupt Manne is that there are soooo many, and they just don’t go…. Tom Monyane, who virtually single handedly collapsed the SARS system, which ‘Amolikke Yoren’ was the shining star among Gov units…..Monyane has been to soooo many courts to try and get the case thrown out, and this week his latest bid fell flat and he has to pay costs…..Is it not time to take action against him and his cronies…??? Instead of allowing him to waste more and more time…??? The ‘Zupta’ saga is another that is just dragging on, and no one will be ‘Cheder’ at this rate…… by the time they get down to the case, no one will be able to remember the facts…

I see that ‘Young Julius’ has got some competition from Andile Mngxiama of the BLF, as to who can make the ‘shocking’ attacks on ‘Vicers’…..Andile is Tukka out of hand, and has threatened to go Underground if they expel his party form next year’s election…..Plenty space at West Park …… His latest rant is that 5 Vicers must be killed for` every black that dies….Very dangerous rhetoric……. ‘Boychick’ has a GROOOOT Bek, BUT….in the same breath says  he has no money to defend himself……Logic says, then keep your mouth shut….

Gerald David’s Taxi Service is available for reliable and friendly airport shuttles and more. Contact Gerald on either 082 907 5507 or 011786 6580 (The ‘Yiddisher Shlepper’) ……….  

FOR the MOST 'Jacked up' 'Yiddisher' Wedding registry, 'Gib A Kuk'   at;     …… Online Helpdesk … 0861 772 665 … see for details.....

Mazeltov to Kim & Jason Levy on the Upsherinis of their Zunnelle, Jonah Ezra….

Mazzies to Naomi (Shapiro) & Ronnie Levy and Sylvia & Richard Michelson …Naomi is my OLD Lichtenberg Chaver…. Mazeltov to the whole Mishpocha… 

Mazeltov to Tali (Serman) & Shmueli (Bartkunsky) on their engagement in Tooo-Run-Tooo …Mazeltov to Reeve and Caron Serman and Corinne & Colin Bartkunsky

Tali Late Mom Tobi, who passed away just over a year ago, was from Lichtenberg, and was the daughter of the Late Solly & Mickey Shapiro…. Reeve was named after his Late Uncle, Reeve Shapiro, Tobi & Naomi Shapiro’s Brother…… and Caron is the Schvester of Joel & Martin Katz, who had Mi Vami & then the Grill House in Rosebank….. Joel is in Restaurants in Sydney, and Martin has a kosher hamburger Deli in New York……Mazeltov to the whole Mishpocha….. Pictures; 

Mazeltov to Gary & Natasha (Brainin) Vidergauz on their Chasene at Sandton Shul…. Mazzies to Roanne & Darryl Brainin & Clive & Shelley Vidergauz ….

It was a VERY ‘Lebbedikke’ Simcha and the Hall looked E-mazing….  Robyn Kay did the décor…… The ‘Marathon Man’ (Johnny Birin’s big Band) were very lively, and for the ending, he did a disco, which rocked….. The Chuppa was in the Garden and looked E-mazing….. Did Gary’s Barmy ‘Amolikke Yoren’ and I know the Roanne’s parents, Bernard & Lorraine very well, having Catered for Roanne & Darryl’s Chasene ‘Amolikke Yoren’…..Mazeltov to the whole Mishpocha…….

Mazeltov to my ‘OLD’ Hotel School Chaver Mark Cohen, whose daughter Jacqui got married to Eli Solomon (Perth)…..Eli’s Dad, Marcus is a Rabbi in Perth….. 

Mazeltov to the whole Mishpocha….

Mazeltov to Gabrielle (Cutler)  and Isaac Isakow on their Chasene @ The HOD….. I remember doing Gabrielle’s Mom Ewalde & Late dad Gary’s Chasene @ The Old Jewish Guild……. Isaac’s family were involved in farming and Maxi’s butchery ‘Amolikke Yoren’ …. His Uncle Leis sang in the Sandton Shul choir for many years…..Mazeltov to the whole Mishpocha.  .



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Have a peaceful, restful Shabbos...From Stan and the Clan 

Eerbare Makelaaaaaar van Suid Afrika ………

Cell- 082-4547860

Rabbi Yossy Goldman,’                                                                                BH   
Sydenham Shul,
C/O ‘Beloved Country’

                                             The Seventieth Soul

Though at the time of the Exodus we left with 600,000 men of military age (and, according to all estimates, a total of a few million people), the number who originally went down to Egypt in the days of Joseph were only “seventy souls.” But if one goes through the Torah text, Jacob’s sons and their children – even including Joseph and his sons who were already there - only amount to a total of 69. Commentary offers several explanations. The Torah rounds off the number to the nearest ten. Or, Yocheved was born to Levi as they were actually entering Egypt. Or, Jacob himself is counted as number 70. 

But, for me, the most touching one of all comes from the Midrash.

What did the Holy One Blessed is He do? He Himself entered into the count and thus it totalled 70, to fulfil his promise made earlier to Jacob (Genesis 46, 3-4), “Have no fear of going down to Egypt, for I shall establish you as a great nation there. I shall descend with you to Egypt and I shall also surely bring you up…”

How inspiring! How magnificently encouraging. Hashem is with us in Egypt. Amidst the bondage, the pain and persecution, He is with us. And in all our wanderings and dispersions, He is there. As He assures us in Psalm 91, Imo Onochi Btzoroh, I am with him in his affliction. In all our anguish, in all our tzorres, He is right there with us!

It was this conviction of the invisible but tangible Divine Presence being with us in the Galut and in the ghettoes that sustained our people throughout a torturous history. This was the promise that inspired us with an inexhaustible fountain of faith, courage and strength to survive our enemies and to flourish again long after they were gone.

Many continue to ask, “Where was G-d during the Holocaust?” I could never even attempt to debate this question with an embittered survivor who had lost his faith. And who are we to criticize those holy tormented souls? But my father, and many like him, who survived with their faith intact could. How did they maintain their beliefs despite their suffering? One answer they might offer is this. ‘How did I survive? Do you understand how many miracles it took to get me out of Poland? Or out of the camps? And how about escaping Lithuania, Russia, Japan or Shanghai? How can I deny the hand of G-d that plucked me from danger again and again?’

Surely, the greatest miracle of our generation is that after Auschwitz Jews still wanted to be Jewish. That our people rebounded and rebuilt their families, their communities, and their homeland. For many, the certainty that a higher power was guiding them to survival is what sustained them in their darkest moments and what gave them the confidence to regroup and regenerate.

Soon, we will observe the Fast of Tevet, commemorating the siege of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. So who is having the last laugh? Do you know any grandchildren of Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon? (Saddam Hussein was not one.) All that is left of his mighty empire are a few statues. All our enemies, down to the Third Reich, have come and gone. But the Jews are here, alive and well, still doing their thing 2500 years later. 

G-d’s promise to Jacob that “I will go down with you” has kept us going. And the conclusion of the verse assures us all a happy conclusion. “And I shall surely also bring you up,” - from Egypt and from our own exile. May it be speedily in our day.