The Drug Smuggler’s Rebirth

The Drug Smuggler’s Rebirth

Before he became a drug smuggler, Ronen had tried out a bunch of other pursuits.

He spent a few months on a high as a wildly successful Indian-style party organizer. But after a while he felt like it was too much responsibility and too much stress, so he closed his business and ran away to the Sinai.

He then spent a few months on a high as a wildly successful music magazine publisher that was almost sold for 2 million dollars. But after a while he felt like that also was too much responsibility and too much stress, so he closed his business and ran away to India.

He then spent a few months on a high as a religious Jew in the Holy City of Tsfat, praying, studying Jewish mysticism, and dunking in ice-cold mikvahs. But after a while he felt like as a religious Jew he was also putting more in than he was getting out, and he bought a one-way ticket to India to leave it all behind…

But then, a few days before his flight, Ronen met Odelia. After speaking with her for only a few minutes, he was head over heels in love, and after two dates they had scheduled a wedding date.

After the wedding, Ronen opened a store in Tel Aviv that sold Indian products. It was a big success, and within a few months he was opening up another store. But the costs of running a store were high, and Ronen was 100,000 shekels in debt.

And then he had an idea. He could pay back that debt with a single flight, carrying drugs from India to Switzerland. And that’s what he did…

The only problem was that he got caught.

From the first day, Ronen was planning his escape from the jail….And after a year and a half he amazingly did manage to successfully escape back to Israel. (You can read Ronen’s entire incredible story in the page-turner of a book Escape from India: A True Story by Aviygail Myzlik. )

But what is most extraordinary in the book is not Ronen’s dramatic escape to freedom.

What’s most extraordinary is watching Ronen, for the first time in his life, NOT escape. And seeing the profound and life-altering connection with Hashem and Torah that he is forced to develop in that meter-wide cell.

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On Shabbat I came across a JewishMOMs death notice in Meah Shearim.

This woman, I read, moved to Brooklyn after the Shoah, had been a true help mate to her rabbi husband, and had raised a entire generation of Torah scholars.

And reading this last point, my heart was filled with burning and yearning. “ME TOO! I want that TOO!” I also want to raise a generation of Torah scholars…!! What could be cooler than THAT!

And then I turned the corner and walked towards the tiny shul where my husband davens on Shabbat mornings, and I saw a memorial for another JewishMOM.

In the shul’s courtyard stood a splinter-packed, collapsing table made from unstained lumber with a small sign that read, “For the elevation of the soul of our dear mother, Henshe Yehudis.”

And I thought of the glowing glory of that first death notice. A JewishMOM who is spiritual royalty. Contrasted with our dear mother, Henshe Yehudis. The cleaning and the laundry and the food and the socks darned yet again and the 7 children crammed into a two-room apartment with a leaky roof.

And I understood that these aren’t two different kinds of JewishMOM. They are one in the same.
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In the Holy Temple, Hashem’s voice spoke through the cherubs.

Some commentaries say that the cherubs are two children. Others say the cherubs are a husband and wife.

In either case, it seems clear. Hashem speaks to us here, in our homes.

To the woman who sees that it is too much responsibility and too much stress, and she does it anyway. Because that’s what Hashem wants from her, so that’s what she wants too.

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2 comments

  1. I appreciate your tribute to mothers and all they give, but one line worries me,
    “To the woman who sees that it is too much responsibility and too much stress, and she does it anyway. Because that’s what Hashem wants from her, so that’s what she wants too.”
    I don’t know if Hashem wants us to have too much stress and “do it anyway”
    There are too many Jewish mothers who try to do “too much” and in the end their mental health suffers, their children suffer, their husband suffers.
    I don’t think you meant it this way, but many women may read this and justify how they take on way more than they can manage because “it is Hashem’s will” (kiveyahol)

    • JewishMom

      thanks bracha…I think this is a good point. Taking care of children always involves a certain amount of stress and a tremendous amount of responsibility. But it’s important for us to find the correct balance. We need to be kind to ourselves, and to keep ourselves healthy and happy.

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