Purpose in the Pain

No longer do his feet lightly skim the streets in a carefree skip; no longer is Dovid Tzvi a child… at seven years old, he is a man. True, only seven years have passed since his birth when you count the days, but a lifetime has passed when you weigh the experience in his years; when you compare the Hungarian street scene he was born into to the one he now knows. Bustling vibrancy has melted into the thundering silence of fear; life and color and joy have been trampled beneath the heels of polished Nazi boots.

Two years and a million tears ago a pounding at the door snatched Dovid Tzvi’s father from home. He was taken to the Russian front lines and the family hasn’t heard from him since. The silence sends a message louder than any letter or phone call. Dovid Tzvi and his brothers and sisters are no longer part of a happy, whole family. They are orphans.


The door rattles beneath beating fists. Eyes widen, hearts pound.

Perel tastes the fear in her mouth as she calls gently, “Kinderlach, come.”

She opens the door with quaking hands — Shema Yisrael! Hashem Elokeinu! — uniformed beasts, glinting guns, a widow, orphans… gleaming black boots fill her vision, and she knows, she knows, she’s just welcomed Death into her home.

“Kinderlach, listen to whatever they say.” Her voice is low; she clenches her teeth.

Their shouts slice through the warm afternoon. “Everybody out!”

Hashem Echad!

And little Chana is calling in her small voice, “Mama, the envelope!”

Perel, beckoning for her children to follow, her blood ice in her veins, answers, “Not now, mein kind.”

Insistence fills Chana’s voice — “The envelope!” — because she is naive, she’s clinging to the light of hope, but Perel knows nothing stands in the way of the animals at her door; they fill the entry, casting a shadow over her entire world, choking out all light and hope.

An envelope means nothing.

A ray of sunlight sneaks in, throwing its warmth across the entryway and Chana is on tiptoe, reaching for the envelope — sent from Eretz Yisrael by the family’s friend Reb Moshe Salomon — handing it to her white-knuckled mother who silently passes it to the Nazis as she steps past them in what’s apparently destined to be her final goodbye to the home she toiled to build.

The sound of the envelope being violently torn open accompanies the vicious shouts splitting the air. And then the shouts die suddenly, their echo ringing in Dovid Tzvi’s ears, louder… louder… louder.

And the papers are back in Perel’s hands, and one last command is issued: “Get back in the house and await further orders.”

They’re back in their home, the door slams shut, their hearts race. Perel looks at the papers in her hands, and finally, finally, breathes. At the bottom, stamped in black ink, is a name. Raoul Wallenberg. (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 737)


Oops! We could not locate your form.

Tagged: Cut n' Patse