Love of the Land

For the week ending 12 March 2005 / 1 Adar II 5765

"I Have No Other Father"

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Among the many legends of how Jews braved all odds in order to reach Eretz Yisrael is one with a most important lesson.

Rabbi Yeshaya Bardaky was the son-in-law of Rabbi Yisrael of Shklov, an outstanding disciple of the Gaon of Vilna. He eventually became the leader of the Parushim community in Yerushalayim made up of the Gaons followers.

The ship on which he traveled to the Holy Land from Europe together with his two young children was wrecked by a storm and sank. No lifeboat was available so he told his children to climb on his back and he would make a desperate swim to safety. After a couple of hours of such strenuous swimming, he felt that he could no longer continue carrying the weight of both children and asked one of them to let go.

When he tried to explain to this child why she had to let go, they both wept at what this implied. But, then the little girl cried out "But Abba, I have no other father!" Upon hearing these words Reb Yeshaya told her to hold on again and made a superhuman effort to reach shore where he collapsed in a faint.

Upon waking up he turned to his daughter and asked her to forever remember what she had said to him when she was on the brink of drowning. "Remember that whenever you are in trouble," he advised her, "just turn to G-d and say to Him what you said to me that you have no other father except for me and you will discover that you do have another Father Who can and will come to your rescue."

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