The Tzadik Who Defeated The Nazis


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    The Tzadik Who Defeated The Nazis

    Hundreds of years after the Ohr Hachaim was nistalek, World War Two began. The Nazis controlled most of Europe and killed millions of Yidden. It was a terrible time. They planned to conquer the whole world c”v! After taking over Europe, they prepared to march into North Africa, take control of Egypt, and then conquer Eretz Yisrael • Full story

    By Baila Brikman, Beis Moshiach

    The Ohr Hachaim HaKadosh was a big tzaddik. He was born and lived in Morocco about 300 years ago, which was during the times of the Baal Shem Tov. To make a parnassa, the Ohr Hachaim worked as a goldsmith and made things out of gold. Each month, when he earned enough money to pay for his basic needs, he would stop working and spend the rest of his time learning Torah.

    Once, the governor wanted gold threads sewn into a piece of fabric. He sent his servants to ask the Ohr Hachaim to do it for him. To their surprise, the Ohr Hachaim didn’t want the job! He had already made enough money for the month and was busy learning Torah.

    When the governor heard that the Ohr Hachaim had refused, he was furious! No one ever disobeyed him! He ordered his guards to stop feeding his lions until they would starve. Then, they would throw the Ohr Hachaim into their den and watch as the lions ate him up!

    What a shock they had when they threw him in! Instead of hungrily pouncing on the Ohr Hachaim, the lions sat calmly by his feet and watched as he said Tehillim! From then on, the governor knew that the Ohr Hachaim was a holy tzaddik and not someone to mess around with.

    The Baal Shem Tov explained that he and the Ohr Hachaim had different parts of Moshiach’s neshama. If they would meet, Moshiach would come right away! The Baal Shem Tov tried traveling to the Ohr Hachaim, but Hashem prevented them from meeting. It was not the right time yet for Moshiach to come.

    Reb Pinchas of Koretz said that the Ohr Hachaim’s sefer protects the home, and learning it affects the neshamah as much as learning the Zohar! The Rebbe Rayatz said that the Or Hachaim wrote his sefer from the Torah thoughts that he would teach his daughters.

    The Ohr Hachaim was nistalek on the 15th of Tammuz and his Kever is in Yerushalayim on Har Hazeisim.


    Hundreds of years after the Ohr Hachaim was nistalek, World War Two began. The Nazis controlled most of Europe and killed millions of Yidden. It was a terrible time. They planned to conquer the whole world c”v! After taking over Europe, they prepared to march into North Africa, take control of Egypt, and then conquer Eretz Yisrael.

    Together with the Arab leaders, they plotted to build concentration camps and kill all the Yidden in Eretz Yisrael. The Yidden living there knew about the destruction in Europe and were scared for their lives.


    On June 30, 1942, the moon was full. It was the 15th of Tammuz, the Yahrtzeit of the Ohr Hachaim. All of a sudden, terrible news came to Eretz Yisrael: The Germans had arrived in Egypt and were ready to conquer it! Then, they would march into Eretz Yisrael and kill all the Yidden!

    The news hung over their heads like a thick, black cloud. Their hearts were filled with worry. The rabbanim told everyone to fast and to beg Hashem for rachmanus. Everyone turned to Hashem, davening with all their strength to be saved from the wicked Nazis.

    The Husiatiner Rebbe of Yerushalayim (A grandchild of the Ruzhiner Rebbe) and the Zhviller Rebbe, along with 20,000 Yidden, went to daven in Yerushalayim at the holy kever of the Ohr Hachaim. They poured out their hearts, begging for a miracle.

    Reb Berel Ludmir, an elderly Boyaner chassid, stood next to the Husiatiner Rebbe. As they davened, he noticed the Rebbe staring intently at the kever.

    After a long while, the Rebbe turned to Reb Berel. “It will be good,” he said simply. Later on, the Rebbe explained that he had seen the four letters of Hashem’s name floating on top of the kever. He understood that Hashem was sending him a sign that He was with them and would save them from harm.

    The Rebbe also knew that everything would be okay for another reason. When he had learned that week’s parsha, he came across a pirush written hundreds of years before by the Ohr Hachaim.

    The passuk says that after Yaakov fought with the malach and was called Yisrael, the Yidden prospered. The Ohr Hachaim explained that if Yaakov is called “Yaakov,” he will be killed by Rommel. However, if he is called “Yisrael,” Rommel will not destroy him and the Yidden will win!

    Although the Ohr Hachaim had written this pirush almost two hundred years before the war, he had spelled out the name Rommel in Hebrew!

    The Husiatiner Rebbe knew that the Ohr Hachaim was probably referring to Romulus, one of the founders of Rome. However, seeing the name Rommel spelled out clearly in the pirush and seeing Hashem’s name hovering over the kever made him certain that Hashem would save them.


    On that same day, the German army stood ready to attack Egypt. General Rommel rubbed his hands together in excitement, a proud smile on his face. Just one more battle in Egypt, and then they would conquer Eretz Yisrael…

    He stared across the sandy hills of the desert and laughed wickedly. In just a few short days, it would all be his! The weak British soldiers in Egypt didn’t stand a chance against his powerful German army!

    His men were well trained. They knew exactly what to do. With the light of the full moon, they would creep into Egypt at night and launch a surprise attack. Egypt would fall into their hands, and then they would conquer Eretz Yisrael!

    He watched with happiness as his men prepared for battle. Suddenly, as if out of nowhere, a heavy sandstorm rose from the desert and surrounded the German army with its swirling winds!

    This was not part of the plan! General Rommel panicked. They had to retreat! All their equipment could get clogged from the sand!

    Quickly, Rommel sent a message to Hitler, the head of the Nazis. Could they please move their tanks back until the sandstorm passed?

    Hitler’s reply was swift and firm. “Absolutely not!” he declared. “The German army must always continue forward!”

    Left with no choice, Rommel flew to Germany to convince Hitler that they had to turn around until the sandstorm would end. When Hitler finally agreed, three days had already passed and the moon was no longer full.

    Rommel’s men couldn’t attack at night when the moonlight was weak, so he pushed off the attack for another month. To his dismay, the next month of July was unusually rainy! The sky was filled with clouds that blocked the light of the moon! Once again, Rommel was forced to push off the attack for another month.

    Time wasn’t on his side anymore. In the meantime, General Montgomery had become the new commander of the British army. He led the British troops to battle against the German army and successfully stopped Rommel in his tracks!

    The Germans never came any closer to Eretz Yisrael. From that point on, they got weaker and weaker and barely conquered any more territory. By November 1942, just a few short months later, they lost most of their territory in Africa. Then, in 1945, they were utterly defeated! Baruch Hashem!

    Wilhelm Keitel, the commander of the entire German Army, the man who personally signed the surrender of the Nazis (that ended the war), testified in court after the war. “The last day of our success was June 30th, 1942,” he said. “From that day on, everything went downhill—until the end when we were forced to surrender!”

    Does that date sound familiar? It was the 15th of Tammuz, when 20,000 Yidden went to daven by the Ohr Hachaim’s kever on his Yahrzeit! On that very day, the Husiatiner Rebbe saw Hashem’s name floating over the kever and knew that Hashem would protect them from harm!


    From shortly after World War Two until 1967, Jordan controlled the Old City of Yerushalayim. Once, they decided to build a road through the cemetery on Har Hazeisim! To build it, they would need to destroy thousands of Yiddishe kevarim, but they didn’t care.

    When the bulldozer came near the Ohr Hachaim’s kever and was about to destroy it, something strange happened. The engine sputtered and died! The next day, when they tried to demolish the kever again, the bulldozer flipped over and fell into the valley below, killing its driver!

    The Arabs learned their lesson and didn’t try again. They gave up their original plan and built the road in a different area.


    In Parsha Vayechi, the Torah says that Yosef kissed his father after he passed away. The Ohr Hachaim HaKadosh asks a question on this passuk: How could Yosef kiss Yaakov’s dead body? Wouldn’t that make him tamei with tumas meis (impure from touching a dead body)?

    The Ohr Hachaim and the Ramban give an interesting answer: it wasn’t a problem, because Yaakov didn’t really die! It just looked like he was sleeping, but really he was ALIVE. Tzaddikim don’t die, even though it seems that way to our physical eyes. They are really right here with us, davening for us and helping us fulfill our mission in this world.


    Do you have a story about a tzaddik or the Rebbe or a nes you had from being at the kever of a tzaddik. M[email protected]


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