Jan 24, 2013
A Touching Email From Cell #217
On the eve of his daughter's wedding, COLlive has received an emotional email directly from Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin titled "All yidden Invited to Rubashkin wedding."
By COLlive reporter
R' Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin, the former kosher meat executive in Iowa, was denied release for his daughter's wedding which will take place in Brooklyn's Crown Heights neighborhood.
There were hopes for a miracle but all efforts have thus been failed for him to be present with his family as Mushka Rubashkin marries Yehuda Zaltzman of Toronto, Ontario.
Instead, Rubashkin will be remaining imprisoned in cell #217 at the Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville, New York. So he came up with Plan B.
On Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 11:40 PM, an email received in COLlive inbox from the Rubashkin's personal email address, titled "All yidin Invited to Rubashkin wedding."
In it, he invites "my dear brothers" to fill his place at the chuppah which will be held on Thursday, 5:00 PM in front of Lubavitch Headquarters 770 Eastern Parkway.
COLlive has verified with the family that the email was indeed authentic and we present it in full (with minor edits for easier reading):
Parshas "vayehee beshalach paroi es ha'om"
Yud Aleph, or l'Yud Bais Shvat,
Tiere brider, reb pinchas, askonim, and all my family sheyichyu :)
Boruch hashem for the simchas chasunah of our children b'ezras hashem yoim chamishi, Yud Gimmel Shvat; we want to invite all of our mishpacha, you tiere yidden, brothers and sisters in klal yisroel.
Please come to the chupah and chasunah of our children as you came together so many times before in tefillah, with the ahavas yisroel and achdus yisroel you have shown to our family all through the difficult time.
See and rejoice together with these wonderful children and give them your brochos for everything they need. By coming together with unity, we will all be reunited again, to serve hashem with greater simcha with our very own geulah proti together with our geulah kloli now with moshiach tzidkainu.
The holy Ohr Hachaim begins with the first posuk, and asks why does the posuk use the expression of pain and say "vayehee" in a place where there should be "gilah and rinah" joy and song!? Also, why does the posuk infer that it was Pharaoh that sent the Jews out of Egypt when it really was hashem himself, who took the Jews out of Egypt!?
He answers that the reason for the pain is because the Jews were going to endure hardship in this parsha as they are chased by Pharaoh and the Egyptians. And the posuk explains that this pain came because it was Pharaoh who sent the Jews out.
Meaning, Pharaoh thought that it was him! His permission is what made it possible for the Jews to leave Egypt when he said "get up and go!" Because of this, Pharaoh later had the idea to chase the Jews when he realized they were leaving forever, and this is what causes the pain for the Jews when he chased them.
Had it been clear to Pharaoh that it was G-d Almighty who released the Jews, Pharaoh would never have chased them. This is why the posuk says "vayehee" an expression of pain, and the pain was because it was "beshalach paroh es ha'om." Pharaoh thought that it was he who sent the Jews out of Egypt.
This teaches, us that when people think that its "they" who made it "happen," then there is the "vayhee" - the pain that comes with it. However, Jewish people know that everything is from hashem and therefore there is no pain and we go on to serve hashem knowing as it says in this parsha, "hashem yelochoeim lochem veatem tacharishun!" As rashi says, in the merit of our fathers and in the merit of our emunah we are worthy for the miracle as big and "difficult" as the splitting of the Red Sea.
* * *
As my family is preparing for simchas chasunas bonainu on Yud Gimmel Shvat, being busy with all the chasunah preparations both in realm of gashmius and ruchnius; most likely one can't imagine what type of preparations is done in a place called prison.
The world is compared to a wedding feast, where we receive the blessing for a binyan adai ad - with children and children's children and so on that will continue learning Torah and doing its mitzvos. This world is a place where we are able to go from temporary existence of creation, to become a eternal existence by connecting with hashem who is eternal, through learning his Torah and doing its mitzvos.
There are many different parts that make up this world, and the chasuna is the part of the world where we have the "unity" and "life" that goes on for all generations. A wedding is universally recognized as a time and place for family members to come together, blessing and rejoicing with the chosson and kallah on their special day, giving them the brochos they need as they are united to build a Jewish house.
However, for a family member trapped behind the iron curtain, this unity can only be experience in the spiritual sense. This is the part of the world that is more like the cemetery, where family members reside who are separated and are limited from coming to the chasuna in a physical sense.
Just like a cemetery, this place called prison is encircled by the long endless chain link fence, circling and choking off this place from the rest of the world; the iron curtain is topped and bottomed by shiny stainless steel barbed wire, guarded over by the ever watchful eyes of the guards who endlessly count their inmates, housed behind heavy steel doors, behind high brick walls, with small windows blocked by heavy iron bars.
People who have family and children are forcibly separated and stopped from coming together with their own family, even for the short period that is so essential to the well-being of their children.
There are procedures that allow for inmates to be able to attend "once in a lifetime" situations (much less than is available in other countries for their inmates).
There is the ability to allow inmates to leaved in secured fashion, and obviously these procedures were drafted by officials who saw the need for this for the health of the family and children as well as the inmate. Yet these procedures are denied when requested. Of course, the denial needs no explanation...
There is much talk in the news now about children "under 18" who live here and who need to be taken care of, and this is about those children whose parents are not citizens of this country. Yet it's argued and publicized that the rational person needs to have for mercy and compassion even for "others" children. Then please ask yourself how much more so, must there be mercy and compassion for the children on one's own citizens and countrymen!?
* * *
Truthfully, there is some advantage for those who exist in this place called prison in relation to those who reside in the place called cemetery.
They are limited and can only be by the chasunah in a spiritual sense -they enjoy the nachas of their children but can't share that joy with those in this world because most humans do not have the "equipment" needed for communication with the souls :)
In this place, however, there are telephones, and one could theoretically use the telephone and join in by voice.
But then there is the unexplainable limitation on telephone use to the average of 9 minutes per day... After 15 minutes of communication, the phone shuts off, and can't be accessed for another half hour. And that is only if the 4 phones available for about 150 inmates is not being used.
(And then there is frustrating struggle for the time that it takes until the "voice recognition system" recognizes your name...)
All of this also eliminates the ability to share a time with a child, talking about their day in school, or having a meaningful conversation on a topic that is bothering them, or coaching them in a area that only a parent can weigh in usefully, or share with them some exciting thing they are doing in school.
I remember going to one of the parenting classes here and the facilitator demanding from all of us to be involved in our children's education. He said we need to communicate with the child and his teacher, we need to show we have a interest in their growth and to make sure they grow up properly.
But when asked "how?", the facilitator refused to acknowledge and made himself blissfully ignorant of the lack the ability to be involved; caused by their own, unexplained, design which eliminates even the practical use of the telephone.
* * *
The time for this email has finished and will shut off; so to finish with the request that really means so much to me and our whole family:
Please, please, tiere yidden; come and join our family in our simcha in any way you can, as you are not restricted and can use a computer or a telephone to join our children in their simcha, giving them added simcha, as they will be very happy to know that as they go to their chupah there are so many in klal yisroel that are joining them under their chupah.
And this will maybe fill in a little the empty place in their heart, the place that is left empty and ready for their father to join them under their chupah.
And we have emunah and bitachoin that the place will not be empty because its not Pharaoh who takes the Jews out from behind the iron curtain of Egypt, but it is our father in heaven who will show his infinite rachamin and chesed chinom to bring me to join all of you with great simcha and with the greatest simcha of all the coming of moshiach tzidkainu now!
Besurois toivois and didan notzach,
Sholom Mordechai halevi ben Rivka sheyichye :)
The Chuppah will take place tonight, Thursday, January 24 at 5:00 pm at 770 Eastern Parkway