I.L. Peretz has a well known story "Drei Matones" ("Three Gifts") in which the soul of a departed Jew is requested to bring three gifts to the Creator of All Mankind.
The story is a very powerful tale and is good reading before we all face our own Judgement for the coming year in a few days, but I have my own sequel to Peretz’ story…
The Fourth Gift
Many years ago there was a Pious Jew who lived in Amsterdam who was also a talented Scribe. To show his devotion to HaShem, the scribe spent a year of his life working on a unique project, he wrote a Sefer Torah that was only 5 centimetres high, this Sefer Torah, although tiny was a true work of art, every letter was written clearly and with love.
As the years passed, the Sofer moved on to the World of Truth and the Sefer Torah remained as a treasured possession of the Jews in Amsterdam for many years.
As time moved on, the winds of war moved in from the East and the Army of Amalek arrived in Holland from Germany. As they rounded up the Jews each person took whatever belongings he could fit into a single bag as they were deported to an unknown destination.
The Chief Rabbi of Holland, Rabbi Simon Dasberg packed his Talit and Tefilin, and also took the tiny Torah with him on his unknown Journey, and managed to smuggle this Holy item with him as he entered the Kingdom of the Night, Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. While in the camp he kept the Sefer Torah hidden while his very soul was tortured by the worst evil that man has ever inflicted upon man.
While in the camp, Rabbi Dasberg met a young prisoner, Joachim Joseph, a young 12 year old boy. As Joachim approached his Bar Mitzva, the Rabbi decided that even in this Hell on Earth this Jewish child needs to celebrate his coming of age, and so it was that the older Rabbi and the young boy rose at 4:00 am every mornig to study from the Tiny Torah, and on the day of his Joachim’s Bar Mitzva all the inmates shared their meagre rations to celebrate a new adult in the Jewish Community.
That evening Rabbi Dasberg spoke to his student and presented him with the Torah and ordered him to survive and live to tell the tale. Soon thereafter, Rabbi Dasberg returned his pure soul to his Maker.
Joachim did survive and eventually made his way with the Tiny Torah to America where he became a successful scientist studying atmospheric physics. Joachim had students of his own, including an Astronaut, Ilan Ramon, who was about to become the first Israeli in space.
Ramon realized that while in the heavens, he was not only an Astronaut, but was also an ambassador of the Jewish Nation, and asked Professor Joseph if he could take the Tiny Torah with him to the Heavens. And so it was that this simple Torah, written so lovingly in Amsterdam was now broadcast around the globe in the hands of a true Israeli Hero.
As is well known, Ramon’s mission never returned to Earth. The Space Shuttle disintegrated as it re-entered Earth’s Atmosphere.
No remains of the Torah were ever found. Maybe it was caught by one of the Holy Angels who placed this gift beneath the Divine Throne, together with the Three Gifts.
This week a new soul arrived to the Heavenly Beit Midrash. Asaf, the son of Ilan was called back to the World of Truth.
Maybe this Rosh HaShanah, as the departed pray in the Heavenly Beit Midrash they will read from the Tiny Torah as they give Shlishi to Asaf ben Ilan
תהי נשמתו צרורה בצרור החיים
May His Soul Be Bound in the Bonds of Eternal Life