Weekly Chasidic Story #1182 (s5780-45/ 13 Av, 5780 / Aug 3, 2020) This week

New/Old Security Technology

I received a phone call from the chief of police in the district of Chengu, China: "Rabbi, I want to meet with you!"


Story in PDF format for more convenient printing.

New/Old Security Technology

Four years ago, Rabbi Dov and Sarah Henig, the emissaries of the Lubavitcher Rebbe in Chengdu, China since 2012, returned there with their three small daughters from a visit to Israel, where he is from (she is from Brooklyn). The rabbi tells:

After a very long flight and with lots of suitcases in tow, we headed towards the complex where our house is. But the security guards wouldn't let us in. They told us that they need to call the police.

What was the reason? While we were away there were many robberies in the area, so they were sure that during the three weeks we had been out of the country the robbers had also "visited" our house.

The police officers arrived with devices to check fingerprints and walked with us towards our home. We opened the doors with a heavy heart. When burglars break in, they also leave a big mess. We were also worried to see what they took.

We all went inside and thank G-d, everything was in its place, looking exactly as we left it. Nothing was stolen from us; all was well.

Two weeks later I received a phone call from the commanding police officer in the area. He said "Rabbi, please come. I want to meet with you!"

I arrived at the police station and immediately was shown into his office. He says to me, "Remember what happened when you arrived and we told you about the burglars? Well, we caught them! And can you guess what our first question to them was? It was: 'Why didn't you break into the house of the foreigners, the home of the Rabbi?'

"In reply, the burglars took out their phones and showed us photos of the doorways of your home, and that thing attached on the right side of the doorframe of each of your external entrances. They said, 'We know how to deal with and control many different security cameras, alarms, remote programs, wireless and WiFi systems, but this is a technology that is completely unknown to us. That's why we took photos of it, so we can investigate it and know how to deal with it in the future.'"

The commander turned to me and asked, "Rabbi, maybe this is special technology from Israel? Perhaps you can bring it here as well!"


[1] The capital of southwestern China's Sichuan province, with the country's fifth highest population, more than 16 million in the 2019 census.

Source: Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from the video of Rabbi Henig telling the story, based on the faithful transcription by Mrs. C. R. Benami. (If you would like to receive a copy of the video by WhatsApp, send a whatsapp request to +972-526-770-137.)

Rabbi X's conclusion:
I explained to the Chengdu police what a mezuzah is all about. For those Jews who are unfamiliar with this mitzvah, know that we are commanded in the Torah to put a mezuzah parchment scroll on the entrances to our home. This mitzvah is first of all a protection for us and for our home. On the outside of the rolled scroll is written the Hebrew letters shin-dalet-yud, which, in addition to spelling one of G-D's holy names, is an acronym for "Shomer Deletot Yisrael" -- "He who watches over the doors of the Israelites." [Indeed, an excellent security device! -yt]
Too, it reminds us that we have to be proud Jews also when we are at home and no one is watching us as well as when we are outside on the streets. So if you want this special 'security technology' and you don't have it yet, order it from the Chabad House nearest to you [or from a reliable authorized Jewish scribe]. If you already have a mezuzah but haven't had it checked in a while, and especially if it has been years, it's worthwhile to have it checked now.

Connection: Weekly Torah Reading of Ekev -- and of Vaet'chanan) - contain the source verses of the mitzvah of mezuzah.


Yerachmiel Tilles is co-founder and associate director of Ascent-of-Safed, and chief editor of this website (and of KabbalaOnline.org). He has hundreds of published stories to his credit, and many have been translated into other languages. He tells them live at Ascent nearly every Saturday night.

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