Matzah-Baking in the Warsaw Ghetto

Matzah-Baking in the Warsaw Ghetto

On this tense Shabbat, I found comfort and perspective in the following story by Avraham Handel, former manager of “Shop Schultz,” a Warsaw-Ghetto factory owned by German war criminal Fritz Schultz and his partner to make Nazi uniforms etc. using Jewish slave labor.

“It was right before the final Pesach of the Warsaw Ghetto, and the ghetto was wallowing and drowning in slime and mud and rivers of blood, and beyond all that stood the leaders of the Jewish people…
“I want to tell you about the secret nocturnal procession of those great rabbis at the risk of their lives to draw “Mayim SheLanu,” water to prepare matzah.
The owner of my factory, Fritz Schultz, who had dealings with senior Nazi officials secretly whispered to me several days before Passover that something terrible would happen to the Jews during the holiday.
“I thought it was my duty to convey this warning to those who needed to know about it. But this warning did nothing to slow the preparations for baking matzah in strict accordance with Jewish law. A very deep well was discovered in the ghetto, and it was necessary to go down countless steps to reach it. The rebbes of the ghetto rushed down those countless steps to fulfill this mitzvah, the rebbes of Krimolov, Piacezna, Sokolov as well as the rebbes of Strykov, the elderly Rebbe of Sosnowitz, two brothers of the Rebbe of Alexander, and the brother of the Rebbe of Radomsk, and more and more. All of them came to draw the water as they sang the Hallel with bated breath.”
This incredible story reminded me that everything in life falls into one of three categories: my business, their business, and God’s business.
And my business right now is taking care of my family and getting ready for Pesach with as much calm, normalcy and joy as I can muster.
And the war and the recent threats from Iran are their business, the business of Israel’s leaders, who I pray will make the right decisions, as well as God’s business, who I pray will protect us and the entire Jewish people, please God.

[This story appears in the Piacezna Hagaddah by Amotz Shapira (Hebrew)]


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