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Purim Saddam

"Hi, Mom. Got my orders today," David Zuk said. "I'm going to Saudi. I have to leave first thing tomorrow morning.

"Oh, no," his mother said, her "no" echoing in her 20-year old son's head.

"I was assigned to the 101st," David said with a sinking voice, as he slumped against the glass wall of the phone booth. "I almost cried when they told me."

The 101st Airborne Division, nicknamed the "Screaming Eagles," fought on the front lines during all the wars: World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and Viet Nam. Only a fraction of the early ranks had ever returned alive.

David's mother tried to find encouraging words for her only son, but it was hard. She had never been able to get used to her son's unpredictable life choices. When he was 16, he had become involved with Orthodox Jews and made himself separate from the family by eating only kosher. Two years later when he joined the Army, she just about gave up. Now, upon hearing this ominous news, all she could think was, "I told you so."

The Gulf War had broken out a month earlier, on January 17, 1991. David knew he would be on the front lines, facing the open jaws of the ravenous war. "They said we'll be there at least a year," David said, not knowing when he would see her next. "Take care, Mom. I love you," he added faintly,

David closed the door of the phone booth and ambled back to his barrack. Gazing at the snow-covered hills surrounding Fort Knox Army Base in northwestern Kentucky, he was awe-struck by their quiet beauty, as if seeing them for the first time. He wondered if he would ever see them again. He thought of the preposterous story circulating around the army base that someone had predicted the war would end by Purim, the Jewish holiday instituted to thank and praise G‑d for saving the Jewish people from a decree of annihilation some 2,300 years ago.

"Purim's only a month away. No way it will be over by then!" David said to himself.

Saddam Hussein, thought David, certainly fits the character of Haman, the villain of the story of Purim. The wicked Haman got the king of Persia to issue a royal decree to command the populace to massacre all the Jews in the Persian Empire. Similarly, for a whole year Saddam Hussein had been boasting that he would "burn half of Israel" with SCUD missiles laden with deadly chemical gas. Those missiles would surely maim and kill thousands of Israelis and prove to the Arab nations that Israel was vulnerable. Then the world would clearly see that G‑d had forsaken the Jews as the "Chosen People," and that instead Saddam Hussein had been chosen to rule the world. The scenario sounded preposterous... until Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.

Back at the barracks, David stood beside his cot and daavened (prayed) the evening prayer. How ironic that he was being shipped to war to defend Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Before falling asleep, he vividly recalled news clips of the SCUD missiles fired at cities in Israel. These 40-foot Soviet-made missiles had been enhanced with a 600-pound, European-made payload of explosives. Designed to flatten buildings, the explosion of a SCUD warhead creates a frontal pressure wave that blasts away concrete and sends shattered glass flying up to 1,400 feet away in all directions, creating a torrent of lethal "knives."

As David lay in his bed, he continued to recall the news he had heard and read from Israel. The first night that SCUDS were fired at Israel, one of them made a direct hit on an apartment house in a crowded Tel Aviv neighborhood. As a result of this midnight strike, 400 apartments housing 1,200 people were either destroyed or damaged. Tel Aviv hospitals were prepared to handle mass casualties, as had been the experience in Teheran, Iran, when Iraq fired SCUDS into Teheran's neighborhoods in 1988 during the Iran-Iraq War.

The ambulances arrived at a Tel Aviv hospital. One young man had some scratches from broken glass; a woman had a sprain; the injuries were all minor. "The 'victims' could have doctored themselves," said one of the hospital staff. "Even the non-religious declared it a miracle."

During the first week of war, Iraq fired about two dozen SCUDS at Israel and damaged or destroyed thousands of apartments and other buildings. On the first Saturday of the attacks, one SCUD scored a direct hit on a bomb shelter, which was used as a makeshift synagogue on Saturday morning; two hundred worshippers were packed inside. The blast flung the people around like rag dolls. Only the shelter's eastern wall, upon which the ark housing the Torah scroll leaned against, remained standing. When Prime Minister Yitzchak Shamir visited the site he asked if there were any people in the bomb shelter. "Yes," replied Tel Aviv Mayor Shlomo Lahat, "Two hundred. They were saved by a miracle." No one was injured.

How long would their mazal (good fortune) last? To protect Israel, David was ready to risk his life. With that thought, David whispered the Shema Yisrael ("Hear O' Israel") prayer and fell asleep.

The next morning David and more than 300 other soldiers boarded a chartered 747 headed towards Saudi Arabia. They refueled in Rome at midnight and took off after two hours. Within minutes, David drifted into a deep sleep. In what seemed like minutes later but in reality turned out to be six hours, a blinding light flooded the cabin of the jet. David peered through the thick window next to his seat. "So this is Saudi," he mused. A harsh sun reflected off the whitest sand he had ever seen. Miles and miles of sand. For the next hour and a half, all David saw below was white sand, with an occasional darkened area which appeared to be some sort of man-made rock formation.

The 747 jet landed in the coastal city of Dhahran. David stepped down from the plane into the 115 degree heat. He felt like he had marched into a huge solar oven. The soldiers were transported across the burning sand to a stadium-size tent. They were directed to their cots and told to go to sleep.

At 5:30 the next morning, nerve-shattering alarms blasted the dawn. In a heartbeat, David reached for his gas mask, took the required quick breath, and strapped the mask to his face. The maximum time limit for this procedure was 15 seconds; David did it in 3 seconds flat. Thousands of gas mask rehearsals had finally paid off. Like a machine gun firing into the dark, David's heart pounded uncontrollably at an invisible enemy. Three minutes later, an officer came into the tent and announced, "The Iraqis fired a SCUD, and our Patriot missile intercepted it. No gas has been detected. Keep your masks on until the signal is given."

No gas was detected and no one was injured, but Saddam won a round on the psychological battlefield. Besides the constant fear of chemical weapons, Hussein had another silent ally: the desert. The first troops sent in August had all become sick with heat strokes. Even in the "winter," the midday temperature always rose above 110 degrees Fahrenheit. The desert proved to be a harsh, foreign environment. Water had to be rationed. Showers were allowed only once a month.

Every day, just before sunset, the hot, white sun would turn bright red, and at sunset, it would appear to melt into the sand — an orangish red lava flowing off a huge ball of fire across the white sand. Then, within minutes, the temperature would drop 50 degrees. Everyone would have to wear thermal gloves and a warm jacket to keep from shivering. The temperature would be only 60 to 70 degrees, yet because of the rapid and drastic change in temperature, the soldiers would feel as if they were freezing.

Hussein was proving himself to be more cunning and his soldiers more entrenched than originally thought. Dave heard reports that Hussein could drag out the war for years.

Saddam Hussein kept firing SCUDS into Israel. Civilian targets were hit, buildings were destroyed, but the human injuries were surprisingly light. Back in the States, many Americans were concluding that the SCUDS were basically harmless, giant firecrackers.

Then, on the morning of February 25, David and 100 other soldiers received orders to fly that evening to Al-Khobar. They would be staying in the nearby Army barrack, which had originally been a large, steel-framed warehouse. Later that evening, during suppertime, a fragment of a SCUD blasted through the barrack's metal roof, followed by a gigantic explosion which was heard for miles around. Nothing was left of the barrack, except an eight-foot deep crater. Twenty-eight soldiers were killed in the ensuing explosion; 89 others, wounded.

"I'm supposed to be dead," David said to himself. At the last moment, the plane scheduled to transport David and 100 fellow soldiers to Al-Khobar the previous evening had malfunctioned. The "malfunction" saved their lives.

Before that attack, the American soldiers felt no anger towards the Iraqis, but now they were enraged. They wanted Saddam Hussein dead. Hussein became their Haman, the very embodiment of evil. They felt like the Jews who stamp their feet when the name of Haman is mentioned during the public reading of the Scroll of Esther on the Purim holiday: they wanted him stamped out, once and for all.

The Gulf War intensified and the Allied forces became more aggressive, sending countless air-raids into Iraq. The Army transferred David to the front lines, 50 miles from the village of Ur Kasdim, where the Jewish patriarch Abraham had refused to bow down to the idols of King Nimrod. The pagan king subsequently threw young Abraham into a fiery furnace, yet miraculously he was not burned.

On the quiet nights, when sorties were not taking off from the Army's makeshift runway, David often gazed at the stars. There were no lights for hundreds of miles and David could see thousands of stars in the Milky Way. Here G‑d's blessing and promise to Abraham, "I will increase your seed as the stars of the heaven" (Genesis 22:17), had great meaning.

By now Saddam's army had fired more than 30 SCUDS which struck Israel. If only he could drag Israel into the war, then the other Arab nations would unite with him, and he would rule the oil-rich Middle East and the world would be at his mercy.

Suddenly, then the long-awaited land war was underway. The Allies marched into Kuwait and invaded Iraq. Then, on February 27, after a mere 100 hours of Allied fighting, the BBC announced that the Persian Gulf War was over. Not for a moment did any of the soldiers believe it. Two weeks later, on March 11, 1991, Newsweek published a cover story on the war and called the Persian Gulf War "a triumph of almost Biblical proportions." Only after returning to the United States, did David find out that the War had actually ended on Purim.

With David, every single soldier in the 101st Airborne Division returned home, alive! Like in the days following the miracle of Purim, joyous celebrations and prayers of thanksgiving were held in towns throughout America, and "the days of darkness were tranformed to light, joy and happiness."

Thirteen months after the Gulf War ended, while stationed at Fort Campbell, David spent Shabbat at the home of Rabbi Zalman Posner in Nashville, Tennessee. "Have you seen this booklet?" his host asked. David glanced at it, and saw it was entitled, "I Will Show You Wonders: Public Statements of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, Before and During the Gulf Crisis."

David had never before heard of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. On that Shabbat, he learned about the Rebbe's predictions regarding the Gulf War, how the Rebbe publicly proclaimed that the Land of Israel would be safe and that nobody in Israel would need gas masks, and that it was said in the Rebbe's name that the Gulf War would end by Purim.

Following the Gulf War, David completed a two-year stint in the Army and then joined the ranks of young men studying Torah in the Yeshiva Tiferet Bachurim at the Rabbinical College of America, in Morristown, New Jersey.

Sources: Private First-Class David Zuk; "Missiles and Miracles: The SCUD Story" David Rothschild (Nefesh Magazine, 1992); "Why Were SCUD Casualties So Low?" S. Fetter, G. Lewis & L. Gronlund (Nature, Jan. 1993).


The Purim Song

To know the true meaning of Purim joy, one had to go to Mezhibozh and spend Purim in the company of the saintly Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov. Many were the lucky ones who did. So great was the crowd that there was not much left of the Purim feast in the way of food or drink to go around. But there was much to drink of the endless fountain of Torah which flowed from the lips of the Baal Shem Tov. It was an experience which forever remained engraved on their minds and hearts.

One of the happiest of all was young Rabbi Meir Margolis. He was a faithful follower of the Baal Shem Tov, and on this occasion he had brought with him his five year-old boy, Shaul. Shaul was a bright little boy, with a sharp little mind and a very sweet voice. The Baal Shem Tov placed Shaul next to him and asked him to sing.

Shaul knew a very nice song. It was Shoshanat Yaakov, the prayer said after reading the Megillah on Purim. It was about "the pure Lily of Jacob (the Jewish people) which rejoiced and was glad, when all saw Mordechai in purple clad, because G‑d has been Israel's salvation and hope in every generation..."

His singing was even sweeter than the sweet honey cake that the Baal Shem Tov gave him. And no one had to tell little Shaul what blessing to make over it.

When Purim was over and everyone prepared to go home, the Baal Shem Tov said to Rabbi Meir, "I know you have to return to Lemberg to take care of your community, but leave young Shaul with me for a few days. After Shabbat, please G‑d, I will personally bring him home."

Rabbi Meir Margolis was very happy that the saintly Baal Shem Tov took such a great liking to his little boy, and he knew that there must be a good reason for his great teacher to want little Shaul to stay with him over Shabbos. If only little Shaul would be willing to stay!

When Shaul was asked if he wanted to stay with the Rebbe, he eagerly agreed. "Yes, Father, I will stay, and I promise that I will not cry."

Shaul's father left, and little Shaul stayed. And the great Baal Shem Tov spent much time with little Shaul and taught him Chumash (bible), as he had long ago taught the little children when he had been an assistant schoolteacher before he became known as the famous Baal Shem Tov.

The Baal Shem Tov, at that time, did not want people to know much about him, so he could mix with simple folk and spread his teachings in secret. He loved children, loved to carry them to school, teach them to read in the siddur (prayer book) and learn Torah with them. For he knew that G‑d listened to the holy words coming out the pure lips of the little children, and he gathered them like precious jewels...

Spending time with little Shaul was to the Baal Shem Tov like the good old times which he missed so much, for now he had big children to teach, many of them great rabbis themselves.

On the morning after Shabbat, the Baal Shem Tov ordered his sleigh and set out on the way to Lemberg. He sat little Shaul next to him, and took two other young men from among his favorite students to accompany him.

There was still snow on the road, and the sled glided swiftly along.

After covering quite some distance, they passed an inn from which came the sound of drunken voices. The local peasants were apparently having a rousing good time.

Suddenly, the Rebbe gave an order to turn around and stop at the inn. His students were surprised. What could they possibly do in the company of drunken peasants? Surely they would be passing other, more suitable inns on the way! But of course they said nothing. The Rebbe's wish was to them a command, and so they all got out of the carriage and followed the Rebbe into the inn.

Holding little Shaul by the hand, the Baal Shem Tov stood for a few moments among the noisy peasants. Then he clapped his hands to get their attention. "SILENCE!" he called out in their language, which the Baal Shem Tov knew well.

Immediately there was silence, and all turned their eyes to the unexpected visitors whom they had not noticed before.

"Do you want to hear real singing?" the Baal Shem Tov called out, and not waiting for their answer, he added: "Listen to this boy and you will know what real singing is!"

Then he turned to little Shaul and said to him, "Shaul, sing Shoshanat Yaakov." Little Shaul felt that there was something special about all this, and he sang with much feeling. He sang as he had never sung before. The peasants listened with rapt attention, and tears streamed down their faces. When Shaul finished they remained as if spellbound for a moment, and then all of them suddenly burst out, "Bravo! Bravo! Wonderful!"

The Baal Shem Tov raised his hand, and all became quiet again. He turned his face to three young peasant children, who were about Shaul's age, and beckoned them to come forward.

"What is your name?" he asked one of them.

"Ivan!" replied the boy, a little frightened.

"And yours?" he asked the second boy.

"Mine is Stepan," replied the boy.

"And yours?"

"Anton!" replied the third boy.

"Now boys," said the Baal Shem Tov, "meet little Shaul, who sang for you. Do you like him?"

"Oh, yes!" they replied eagerly.

"Well then," said the Baal Shem Tov. "Remember, just as you feel friendly to little Shaul now, you should always be friendly to him. Remember that!"

"Yes, Rabbi, we will," the boys promised.

The Baal Shem Tov and his party then said good-bye, and departed as suddenly as they had appeared.

The peasants in the inn were left speechless at the sudden appearance and disappearance of the holy man and his followers. But the Baal Shem Tov's students were also greatly puzzled by their Rabbi's strange conduct. Surely there must have been an important reason for this, but what that reason was they could not imagine.

Many years passed. Shaul was now grown to manhood. Shaul Margolis was a respected and honored name, for he was a Talmud scholar and a successful merchant.

It was the Fast of Esther and Shaul was hurrying home from a business trip. He wanted to be on time to hear the Megillah at the onset of Purim that evening, and he drove his horses as fast as they would go. He was also anxious to get out of the dark forest through which he was passing. Suddenly he had to halt. Three murderous looking bandits jumped out of the thick woods, armed with knives and hatchets.

While two bandits seized him and tied him to a tree, the third grabbed the bag in which Shaul was carrying a large sum of money. "We are going to kill you," the bandits said.

Shaul pleaded with the bandits to give him a few minutes to say his last prayer to the Almighty. "Pray all you want," they said. "Your G‑d cannot help you now."

Shaul said Vidui (the last prayer before returning one's soul to G‑d), while the bandits were counting the money and dividing it among themselves. Shaul's eyes were closed and filled with tears. A vision of his wife and children rose before him. They would be waiting for his return, to celebrate Purim with him, yet he would not be there. He always used to read the Megillah for them at home, in case they missed a single word of it in the synagogue, and then he would sing for them Shoshanat Yaakov, as he had once sung it for the holy Baal Shem Tov. The mere thought of this joyous Purim prayer made Shaul feel better. Yes, if he had to die, he wanted to die with Shoshanat Yaakov on his lips.

The Lily of Jacob rejoiced and was glad
When all saw Mordechai in purple clad
You, O G‑d, has been Israel's salvation
And their hope in every generation...

Shaul sang with all his heart and soul, the way he had sung in the inn for the drunken peasants when he was a little boy. When he finished, he expected a death blow at any moment, but all was quiet. He opened his eyes. There were the three bandits standing before him, open-mouthed in wonder, as the peasants had stood then in the inn. He looked again, and suddenly it occurred to him that he knew who they were.

"Aren't you Ivan?" Shaul cried out to the first man. "And you surely you are Stepan! And you, your name is Anton, isn't it?"

As he spoke he could see that the bandits had also recognized him. Gone was the fierce look on their faces, and in its place there was sheer wonder and, yes, friendliness.

The next moment, the three bandits fell on their knees before Shaul. "Please forgive us," they begged.

Then they hastily set him free and returned his money to him. "Go in the name of G‑d. There will be no more robbery for us from now on. You have made us different men."

Filled with gratitude to the Almighty for saving him from certain death, Shaul sped home. Now he knew why the holy Baal Shem Tov had stopped at that inn and made him sing for the drunken peasants and introduced him to the three peasant boys.

You can well imagine what a happy Purim that was for Shaul and his family, and how prayerfully they all sang Shoshanat Yaakov after the Megillah.

 

Purim Hebron

Among the special "Purims" which are celebrated by certain Jewish communities on certain days of the year, to commemorate some miracle, there is also a special "Purim" which the Sephardic Jews of Hebron used to celebrate on the fourteenth day of Teveth. The historic details of this happening are hidden in the mists of the remote past. Our story is based on that event.

Many, many years ago the old city of Hebron was inhabited by a community of Sephardic Jews who had been driven out of Spain and other Christian lands where Jews were cruelly oppressed.

One day two venerable Jews arrived in Hebron from Jerusalem, for the purpose of collecting money for "Pidyon Shvuim" (obtaining release of Jews from Slave traders).

The two emissaries met with the heads of the community and explained their important mission, namely, to collect not less than five thousand piasters from the Hebron community, for their lifesaving endeavor.

The heads of the community knew that, with a vigorous effort, they could manage to raise the required sum, but they claimed that "Charity begins at home," and they had to meet the needs of their own poor people first. So they "bargained" with the emissaries who insisted, however, that nothing less than the five thousand piasters would be acceptable. And if the Hebron community refused, or were unable to raise the required sum, the Almighty would show them where the necessary help would be available, and the Hebron Jews would lose the great merit of "Pidyon Shvuim" saving Jewish souls.

The arguments and entreaties of the emissaries proved in vain, and they left empty-handed.

Now a new Pasha came into power as ruler over Hebron, and he was a Jew-hater. He lost no time in introducing new edicts against the Jewish community, draining them of their hard earned money. At first he began in a moderate manner, but very soon tired of this slow process, and looked for some way in which he could make a clean sweep and cash in all that the Jews possessed.

The Pasha was an educated man who mastered several languages in addition to Arabic which was his native tongue. He read in history books, accounts of how Christian rulers treated the Jews in their lands, and learned that, in some cases, they threw rabbis and Jewish leaders into prison until such time as their Jewish communities would ransom them for huge sums of money. Some Christian rulers, he found, even went to the extent of driving the Jews out of their country; robbing them of all their possessions.

This latter possibility appealed greatly to this Jew hating Pasha. He quickly issued a call to the rabbis and leaders of the Hebron Jewish community and told them that he had put a tax on them, in the sum of fifty thousand piasters which must be paid within the month. Failing which, the Jewish leaders would have to pay with their lives, and the rest of the Jews would be sold as slaves! And, to make sure that the leaders would not run away, a few of them were immediately arrested and put in chains.

The Pasha then sent the others home, warning them that they had better start at once to raise the demanded fifty thousand piasters. The entreaties of the rabbis and leaders that it was impossible for them, and in so short a time, to produce such a vast sum, fell on the deaf ears and stony heart of the cruel Pasha, and they left in great despair.

The heads of the Jewish community now realized that they were being punished by G‑d for having refused to find the five thousand piasters asked of them by the emissaries from Jerusalem, to save Jews from being sold as slaves. And now they were being taxed ten fold by the cruel Pasha.

The rabbis immediately decreed that the Jewish community must fast and pray to the Almighty for salvation from their desperate situation. At the same time they decided to send a "Pidyon" (literally, "ransom," but in this case, an appeal) to the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who were buried in the Cave of Machpelah which is situated in Hebron, to pray to the Almighty on their behalf and intercede for their children in their desperate hour of need.

The rabbis first went to the Mikva, and having purified and sanctified themselves, they wrote out their appeal to the Patriarchs on clean parchment, the same as is used for the holy Torah scrolls.

The problem, then, was the matter of the delivery of their appeal. How could it reach the holy Patriarchs? The Cave of Machpelah was then in Arab hands. The Moslems had built a house of worship above the cave, and Jews were not allowed to visit the holy graves. The Jews were only allowed to ascend a few steps of the building and pray to their holy ancestors from the distance. And even for this "privilege" they had to pay the guard.

The only way they could think of was to bribe the guard, that he should throw the "Pidyon" into the cave, the entrance of which was sealed, so that even he could not enter it. This, they knew. But they also knew that there was a kind of "window" there through which it would be possible to throw in the "Pidyon." For a sizeable bribe the guard agreed to do them this "favor," and swore "by the beard of his prophet," that he would attend to the matter without delay.

The night before the due date for payment, the Pasha could not sleep; his mind was full of the thought of all the money he would be getting from the Jews. The moon was full, and the following day he hoped his coffers, would be equally full. The money greedy Pasha kept his treasures in an iron safe in his bedroom. Whenever he had a sleepless night he would open this safe and take out a bag of gold coins and count them with great satisfaction. This night, too, being unable to fall asleep, he went to his iron safe and took out a large bag of money and began to count the glittering, golden coins. It totaled fifty thousand piasters exactly, and he gleefully thought that the next day he would be receiving exactly the same amount from the Jewish community.

With a happy smile he returned the bag to the safe, put the key of the safe under his pillow, and fell blissfully asleep.

Suddenly, he was startled to see three old men in his room. "Give us the bag with the fifty thousand piasters if you value your life," they demanded. In fear and trembling he got the bag of money and handed it over to them. And, as suddenly as they appeared, they vanished as if into thin air.

The Pasha awoke in a cold sweat. What a terrible nightmare! He at once put his hand under his pillow and was reassured to find the key just where be had left it, so, with a sigh of relief, he went back to sleep.

The following morning the Pasha awoke and completely forgot about his nightmare of the previous night. He did not forget, however, that this was the day when he would be receiving the fifty thousand piasters from the Hebron Jews.

The previous night had also been a sleepless night for all the Jews of Hebron. They had assembled in the Beth Hamidrash. They prayed with all their hearts that G‑d would save them, as "the hour of reckoning" had come.

Early the following morning the Pasha, accompanied by his soldiers, arrived at the Beth Hamidrash. They began banging on the door, crying: "Open the door for the Pasha!"

As the Shamash walked with faltering steps towards the door and was about to open it, he gazed with unbelieving eyes at a strange bag which lay in the basin in which the congregants washed their hands on entering the Beth Hamidrash. He could hardly lift the heavy bag which he quickly handed to the head of the community. With unbelieving eyes they saw its precious contents.

The Shamash rushed back to open the door for the Pasha and his soldiers.

"I have come for the fifty thousand piasters which are due today," the Pasha demanded.

"Here is your money," said the president of the community, handing over the bag to the Pasha.

The Pasha looked at the bag of money and could hardly believe the evidence of his eyes.

"Why, this is indeed my bag of gold!" he cried out in a shaky voice, his face turning pale. "How did it get to you?" But he did not wait for a reply. He knew the answer from his dream. Slowly, he began: "I will tell you how you got the money. Your holy Fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob rose from their graves in the Cave of Machpelah and brought it to you. I saw them in my dream. The Guardian of Israel does not sleep, and I beg you now to forgive me for my evil intentions. Pray for me and I promise I will never again attempt to do you harm in any way."

So, as this particular miracle took place on the fourteenth day of Teveth, when the Jews of Hebron were saved from a dreadful catastrophe, they took upon themselves to celebrate every fourteenth day of Teveth as their "Purim," which came to be known as "Window Purim" in remembrance of the "window" in the Cave of Machpelah which had brought them the miraculous salvation.

(Note: Now that the Cave of Machpelah has been freed from the Arabs, and Jews can enter the building above the cave, it is possible, still, to see the "window" in the first room where the tombstone of Isaac and Rebecca are on view. The grated "window" marks the sealed entrance to the Cave, and Jews can now pray there during specific days throughout the year.)