A Natzi Returns the Parchment of Rebuke to Rabbi Grossman
Every year, Rabbi Grossman pulls out an incredible piece of a Torah and tells our students about its chilling journey home.
Rabbi Grossman Stories
April 20, 2023

A Natzi tore this piece out of a Torah scroll almost 70 years ago after he burned down the synagogue it belonged to. He used it to wrap his ID card during World War II.

Today, it belongs to Rabbi Grossman, founder and dean of Migdal Ohr.

So, what’s the story?

The parchment was delivered to Rabbi Grossman by Moti Dotan, the Head of the Lower Galilee Regional Council, who received it from a member of the Hanover District in Germany on a trip.

Moti says, "I was approached by a German man who told me, 'My father, Werner Herzig, died a few weeks ago. Before his death, he shared a dark secret with me. My father told me that he had fought in World War II and participated in the burning of a synagogue on the Russian front. 'It’s important for me to tell you this, because today there are those who don’t believe that it happened.’"

Herzig gave the ID document and parchment to his son and asked him to locate a Rabbi Grossman in the Galilee and deliver them to him.

Moti remembers that when Rabbi Grossman received the parchment tears started to flow from his eyes. He turned over the piece of parchment and saw that it had an excerpt from the book of Deuteronomy, in the weekly portion of "Ki Tavo."

The rabbi read: “(if you do not keep the Torah)…and the distress which your enemies will inflict upon you, in your cities... Then the Lord will bring upon you and your offspring uniquely horrible plagues, terrible and unyielding plagues, and evil and unyielding sicknesses... Also, the Lord will bring upon you every disease and plague which is not written in this Torah scroll, to destroy you. And you shall be left few in number, whereas you were as the stars of the heaven for multitude" (Deuteronomy 28, 57-62). These verses are known as the verses of admonishment.

Rabbi Grossman is convinced that receiving this parchment was a "Supreme message of Divine providence. After 60 years, the notebook arrived in Israel, wrapped in these words to call us 'to awaken.' After all, the soldier could have cut the parchment from any of the Five Books of the Torah and he specifically cut out the section that speaks of redemption!” says Rabbi Grossman.

On Yom HaShoa, Rabbi Grossman takes out and shows the ID book and parchment to his students.

"It gives them goosebumps to see!" He says, “This is a tangible object, which you can see with your own eyes. You can see the embodiment of evil; how after the destruction of a synagogue, this man had the audacity to enter and to cut from the Torah scroll, only because he thought that the parchment was a good way to preserve his ID card.

And yet, G-d always has a bigger message, He is always teaching us, and calling us to come home."

Adapted from an article by Aryeh Savir via Tazpit News Agency

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