The Human Side of the Story

For the week ending 16 April 2005 / 7 Nisan 5765

A Hair-Raising Miracle

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Give me back my sister immediately!

This is what 16-year old Yitzchak Slutzky shouted as he frantically dashed into the Nazi headquarters of the occupied village where he and his younger sister had been hiding for several months. They were the only survivors of their Polish Jewish family and Yitzchak had made it his mission to protect his sister from any harm. Returning one day from his foraging for food, he learned that their bunker had been discovered and his sister taken away to the Nazi headquarters which he now entered in a fury.

The Nazi guards drew their guns but before they fired an order came from their commander to let the youngster enter his office. When Yitzchak repeated his demand to this Nazi officer, he received a taunting response.

If you can show me hair growing on the palm of your hand, he said with a cynical smile, I will give you back your sister.

Yitzchak urged him to repeat his promise and then stuck out his hand. The Nazi, product of a German kultur that the devil has hair on the palm of his hand, almost fainted. He kept his promise and Yitzchak and his sister succeeded in surviving the Holocaust and reaching Eretz Yisrael.

Yitzchak often told friends that story of his miracle and explained the background. As a boy of seven he enjoyed walking through his fathers large bakery and looking at the various machines. One day he stuck his hand into a mixer and some of the skin of his hand was torn away. A primitive job of grafting was done at the hospital with the doctor taking skin from a part of his body on which grew hair. This disfigurement troubled Yitzchak and his family and he was forced to keep his hair-bearing hand in his pocket when he was outside.

Only after that dramatic encounter with a Nazi officer trying to have some sadistic fun at his expense did he realize that his accident was Heavenly devised to save his life and that of his sister.

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