Rabbi Shalom Mordechai Rubashkin, recounting anecdotes from his years in prison, told an audience at the Agudath Israel of Bayswater last Wednesday night how his emunah sustained him.
A pasuk in Tehilim summed up his approach, he said — throw upon the Aibishter (Hashem) your problems and the Aibishter will sustain you.
“It’s up to us to have the emunah,” he said.
Bayswater’s rav, Rabbi Menachem Feifer, said that Rubashkin’s experience — he was sentenced to 27 years in federal prison and severed more than eight — reminds us “that we are in golus (exile). Sometimes we get too comfortable in America, we think that this is our home. We are living in a land that is not ours, in a world that is not ours. Ours is the world of geulah (redemption), golus is not ours.”
Rubashkin’s final judicial appeal was denied on the seventh day of Chanuakah last December. Unexpectedly, on the eighth day of Chanukah, President Trump commuted his sentence, allowing him to immediately go free.
“At the darkest moments, the Yiddisher emunah flares up” and we’re reminded that “the Aibishter never abandons any Jew and it’s the job of every Jew to say connected to the Aibishter through Torah and mitzvahs.”
One of the first things Rubashkin needed to decide when entering prison was whether he would go along to get along. But this was no choice for a G-d-fearing Jew, he said.
He strove to keep mitzvot and to be a light to others despire his circumstances. “When a yid stands strong to do a mitzvah it’s not his strength, it’s the Aibishter’s strength,” he said.