My father served as chief rabbi of Dniepropetrovsk, a major city in Ukraine, which supplied wheat to large parts of Russia. When the time came to prepare flour for matzah, people flocked from the surrounding areas seeking flour that was certified kosher for Passover.
At the government’s request, my father accepted this responsibility, but he informed the authorities that, despite the cost, he must adjust some of their production procedures as well as appoint his own kosher supervisors. After accusing him of trying to rob the state, they sent my father to Moscow to take up his issue with the president of Russia himself. After meeting with the president’s circle, he returned with permission in hand, accompanied by an official order that the rabbinical supervisors’ instructions must be followed, no matter the cost.
The lesson: when a Jew wants to raise his children according to his beliefs, and when he wants to observe any part of Jewish law, he need only stand proudly and appeal to the proper authorities. Not only won’t they obstruct him, they’ll command others to assist him as well.
18 Nissan, 5744 · April 20, 1984
From Living Torah Volume 104 Program 413