Sneak Preview of Newly-Released Rebbetzin Kanyevsky Bestseller

Sneak Preview of Newly-Released Rebbetzin Kanyevsky Bestseller

I just finished reading the wonderful newly-translated bestseller Tuesdays at Dawn: Stories and Advice from Rebbetzin Batsheva Kanyevsky (who passed away this Succot). For me, reading this collection of stories that Rebbetzin Kanyevsky shared over the years with the book’s author, Ruth Attias, was a magical experience. It enabled me to put aside my skepticism for a few hours in order to see the world through Rebbetzin Kanyevsky’s holy eyes…eyes of perfect faith and unwavering clarity, eyes that perceived how the entire world is conducted, at all times, in accordance with Hashem’s clear and perfect will.

In this book, the author shares the Rebbetzin’s favorite stories about the revealed miracles that took place when simple people gave tsedaka, or started keeping Shabbat, or refused to get angry, or made sacrifices for a husband’s Torah learning, or were careful to say “Amen” after hearing a blessing. Several of the miracle stories relate to the importance of modesty, like this incredible story “Finding Lost Family in the Merit of Tsniyus” which was the story in the book that I loved the very most. Rebbetzin Kanyevsky zt”l often shared this story with her visitors…

During World War II, many Jewish children were hidden in Catholic monasteries throughout Europe and thus survived the War. Afterwards, the Jewish Agency tried to locate them back to their people and settle them in the land of Israel.

Sadly enough, the agents were determined to place these children in the secular kibbutzim of HaShomer HaTzair, where every vestige of Yiddishkeit would be uprooted from their young souls.

Among the children brought to Eretz Yisrael was a little girl who came from a religious home where she had received a solid Jewish education. Strong willed, she refused to eat the food which she knew was not kosher. Nor would she agree to wear the clothing that the kibbutz provided, because it was not modest.

The counselors in the kibbutz tried to get her to wear pants. They did everything in their power to get her to compromise her level of Yiddishkeit, especially her modesty in dress, but she was adamant about wearing her only skirt at all times. She suffered ridicule and punishment, but nothing would make her swerve from her determination to maintain her principles.

An outing was planned one day for all the children of the kibbutz. Once again, the counselor tried to persuade her to give up her skirt and wear pants like all the other children, girls as well as boys. Our little heroine held her ground and refused.

Much against his will, the counselor decided to let her go on the outing nonetheless.

The children boarded buses and not long afterwards the group arrived in Haifa. They were organized in one long line and marched through the streets. It was an unusual sight, hundreds of children dressed similarly and one lone girl wearing a skirt.

A religious woman happened to be on the street at the time and couldn’t believe her eyes. What was that one religious girl doing amongst all those secular kibbutz children? She drew closer to satisfy her curiosity and suddenly, she gave a loud cry.

“Raizel! Aren’t you Raizel, my sister’s child?”

She ran to the girl, her lost niece, and gathered her into her arms, kissing her and hugging her tightly.

Raizel wept with surprise and joy at having found a dear relative—one who she had never even known existed. She had been so young, she did not remember her aunt.

“I knew that you had survived,” the aunt exclaimed. “You are the only survivor from my sister’s family. We searched all over for you, but couldn’t find you.”

It was only thanks to her strong will in maintaining her modesty that Raizel was finally reunited with her family and could return to observing the mitzvos according to her upbringing. She was released from the kibbutz and went to live with her aunt. She grew up to be a noted Rebbetzin and a big tzadekes.

Read another excerpt from Tuesday at Dawn, “Rebbetzin Kanyevsky’s Favorite Tips.”

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