Story: Hamantashen Before Shavuos




    Springfield Banner

    Story: Hamantashen Before Shavuos

    Photo: Joshua Bousel/Flickr

    In the spring of 1967, Eretz Yisrael was in serious danger. Egypt had sent 100,000 soldiers, 1,000 strong tanks, and 900 heavy guns to the border, announcing that they were going to kill the Yidden. • Story Time By Baila Brikman, Beis Moshiach • Full Article

    In the spring of 1967, Eretz Yisrael was in serious danger. Egypt had sent 100,000 soldiers, 1,000 strong tanks, and 900 heavy guns to the border, announcing that they were going to kill the Yidden.

    Can you imagine how scared the Yidden were? They were surrounded by three powerful Arab countries, who had big, strong armies. How would they ever be able to win?


    On Lag B’Omer, a few days before the war began, twenty thousand Jewish kids gathered in Crown Heights to celebrate the special day. As they stood outside 770, the Lubavitcher Rebbe spoke about the scary times they were in.

    “Hashem is protecting the Yidden in Eretz Yisrael,” he announced to the large crowd. “Each of us can help them by learning more Torah, doing more mitzvos, and having Ahavas Yisrael!

    “Then,” the Rebbe continued, “Hashem’s promise of ‘You should live in peace in your land’ will come true. The Yidden in Eretz Yisrael will be safe!”

    The Rebbe’s words gave everyone hope. They spent the next few days adding in Torah and mitzvos, trying to get a lot of zechusim to protect their fellow Yidden.

    Many Yidden left Eretz Yisrael, but the Chassidim there didn’t know what to do. On one hand, it seemed dangerous to stay. On the other hand, the Rebbe had promised that Hashem would keep them safe.

    They wrote to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, asking what to do.

    “Continue learning Torah,” the Rebbe told them. “Stay in Eretz Yisrael, and Hashem will protect you.”

    On Chof-Dalet Iyar, just two days before the war began, the Rebbe announced: “Every Jewish man – especially soldiers in the Israeli army – should put on tefillin. Then, the Arabs will see that we’re Yiddishe soldiers, whose leader is Hashem. They’ll run away from us, and we’ll win the war!”

    Right away, Chassidim in Eretz Yisrael went to help the soldiers put on tefillin. Chassidim around the world joined in as well, going around their cities and helping Yidden put on tefillin. Everyone held onto the Rebbe’s promise, hoping that it would come true.

    On Chof-Vov Iyar, the war began. To everyone’s shock, the Israeli Army won again and again. After only six days, the Arab soldiers suddenly panicked. They ran back to their countries in total confusion – just as the Rebbe had promised!

    It was an incredible miracle.


    Just a few days after the war ended, Yosef, a bachur from Australia, traveled to New York to spend Shavuos with the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

    The plane landed with a soft thump, rolling smoothly down the runway until coming to a stop. It had been a long, tiring flight from Australia to New York. The passengers got up from their seats, stretching their aching muscles and making their way off the airplane.

    Yosef hurried toward the exit, searching for a taxi to take him to Crown Heights. He didn’t want to waste a second of his trip.

    When Yosef came to Crown Heights, he joined a group of bachurim going to the city to help the Yidden put on tefillin.

    Before they left, he ran into a nearby store to get some snacks. It was already almost lunchtime, and his stomach was rumbling. He hadn’t even eaten breakfast yet! He grabbed the first few boxes of pastries on the shelf, paid, and ran back to the car.

    As they started to drive, he pulled out his bag to take something to eat. “Anyone want any?” he offered, passing the boxes.

    Suddenly, all the bachurim started laughing. One of the boxes was full of hamantashen!

    “Hamantashen now? On Erev Shavuos!?” they exclaimed. “It’s been three months since Purim!” They helped themselves to the other cakes and cookies, but stayed far away from the hamantashen. No one wanted to eat them if they were three months old.

    As they rode, they began to chat. “Can you believe that only a week ago, Eretz Yisrael was deep into a war with the Arabs – and in just six days, they won a massive victory?” one of the bachurim asked his friends.

    “It was a massive miracle!” Yosef agreed. “Israel’s small army had no chance of winning against three strong Arab countries.”

    The bachurim nodded, marveling at the greatness of Hashem. “Remember when the Rebbe put together the tefillin campaign, just two days before the war started?” another bachur added. “He promised that the goyim would fear us when we put on tefillin – and that’s exactly what happened! The Arabs ran away, and we won!”

    Everyone cheered. “The Rebbe said to keep helping Yidden put on tefillin, even now that the war is over,” Yosef said. “Chassidim have been going around the city each week to help people put on tefillin; this is my first time. I’m so excited!”

    The bachurim pulled up in front of a big hospital in Manhattan. They split into groups of two and spread out, each pair visiting a different section.

    They went from room to room, asking patients if they were Jewish and helping them put on tefillin. Most of them were very happy to do the mitzva and rolled up their sleeves right away… but not everyone.

    When it was almost time to go, Yosef and his partner decided to go into one more room. Once they were inside, they saw that two of their friends were already there.

    “Are you Jewish?” the bachurim asked the two patients in the room. “Would you like to put on tefillin?”

    “Yes!” one replied. “Can you show me how?”

    “No!” the other yelled. “I’m as connected to Hashem as you are! I don’t need to put on tefillin.”

    As one pair of bachurim helped the first man put on tefillin, Yosef and his friend tried to calm the other man down. “It’s a great mitzva,” they tried explaining. “It only takes a minute.”

    “Go away,” the man yelled, refusing to listen. “I’m not going to put on tefillin.”

    The bachurim were confused. Why did the mitzva of tefillin make this old man so upset? They tried speaking to him for a few more minutes, but he wouldn’t budge.

    Before leaving, one of the bachurim offered the old man a fruit. “Would you like to eat this and make a bracha?” he asked.

    The man turned his face to the wall, ignoring them. But then, he suddenly turned back around. “I don’t need your fruit,” he said sarcastically, “but if you bring me a hamantash, I’ll put on your precious tefillin.”

    A hamantash?! The bachurim couldn’t believe their ears. Yosef smiled widely. “Wait right here!” he called to the elderly man, rushing toward the door. “I’ll get you some hamantashen!”

    The old man stared at him in disbelief. “Very funny,” he muttered. “Hamantashen now? After Pesach? There’s no way you can bring me any.”

    The other three bachurim kept the man company while Yosef ran to the parking lot. When he got to the car, he swung the door open and took out the package of hamantashen. What hashgacha pratis! He thought in amazement. Just a short while ago, everyone laughed at these hamantashen – and now they’re the key to get this old man to put on tefillin!

    He came back to the room and handed him the package of hamantashen. To everyone’s surprise, the old man’s eyes filled with tears. “I can’t believe it,” he whispered. “Hamantashen after Pesach? Who would’ve thought…?”

    He took a hamantash and lifted it to his mouth. One of the bachurim helped him say a bracha. He closed his eyes and chewed slowly.

    Everyone watched quietly. Without a word, the old man rolled up his left sleeve to fulfill his promise. As the bachurim helped wrap the tefillin around his arm, tears streamed down his cheeks.

    I wonder when he last put on tefillin, Yosef thought as he watched the emotional scene. It was probably many years ago.

    Finally, it was time to go. The bachurim said goodbye and drove back to Crown Heights. Knowing that they’d helped so many Yidden – especially the old man – do the mitzva of tefillin was the best feeling in the world.

    On the way back, they couldn’t stop discussing the amazing hashgacha pratis they had just seen. “Can you believe it?” Yosef said in wonder. “Shavuos is almost here. What are the chances that a store would be selling hamantashen? And what are the chances that we would buy them? But Hashem made sure that everything would fall into place – all so this Yid could do a mitzva.”

    Before Yosef went back to Australia, he had a yechidus with the Lubavitcher Rebbe. He told him the entire story, and the Rebbe smiled and replied, “Nu, if that’s what it takes, let someone bring him hamantashen every day.”


    During the Six Day War, the Lubavitcher Rebbe clearly showed us the power of our tzaddikim. The entire world thought that Eretz Yisrael would be destroyed, but the Rebbe was able to see in shamayim that Hashem would keep us safe.

    He encouraged the Yidden to strengthen their connection with Hashem by doing more mitzvos, promising that in that zechus, we would be safe.

    In the end, the words of the tzaddik came true. Eretz Yisrael won in a miraculous way, showing the world that Hashem is on our side.

    The amazing hashgacha pratis in the hamantash story shows how precious every little mitzva is to Hashem. Hashem arranged for everything to work out so the old man would agree to put on tefillin! Even the tiniest mitzva can change a life forever.


    Adapted from Sichas HaShavuah #634 with help from Rabbi Yerachmiel Tilles & Sipuri Shel Chag from Rabbi Ziegelbaum. From the collection


    Tags: , ,

    Add Comment

    *Only proper comments will be allowed

    Related Posts:

    Story: Hamantashen Before Shavuos