My good friend, Esther Alovitch told me this true story. It
is truly remarkable.
Pessach 1950...Seder night in Jaffa.
Avraham and Chaya Coopershlack, religious new immigrants who
had barely survived the Holocaust, arrived on Israel's shores
in 1948 from Poland via Russia, Germany and the most horrific
of the extermination camps. They lived in a small apartment
with Chaya's sister and niece and were sharing the Seder
night with her brother.
As war refugees, they had no parnossah. Just each
other. Avraham Coopershlack was a shoemaker who had come from
generations of shoemakers, maybe going back to Yochanan
HaSandlar. Who knows?
Seder night. The small group read from the Hagaddah. They
came to the part of Shfoch Chamos'cho and opened the
door to receive Eliyahu Hanavi. As they were reciting the
passage, there was a knock at the door. An old woman was
standing there with a basket in her hand. She told them that
she had nowhere to sleep and asked for a place to rest. In
the small apartment, there was no empty bed to give her but
they graciously laid out a blanket for her to sleep on the
Not everyone felt comfortable giving this woman a place to
sleep, but who could refuse her request? After the
seder, they all went to bed.
Chaya Coopershlack woke up suddenly just before dawn and
tentatively went to check on "her guest." The old woman
wasn't there. But in her place, she had left the basket she
had been carrying. Chaya woke her husband who ran outside
with the basket trying to find the old woman who had left so
suddenly and mysteriously. The whole episode seemed very
strange to them.
After Pesach, Chaya went out with the empty basket and as she
went about her errands from place to place, she announced
that her husband, a shoemaker, was looking for work fixing
shoes. Everywhere she went, they gave her shoes to fix. She
went out in the morning with an empty basket and returned
home with a basket full of shoes that needed mending. And
from that day on, Boruch Hashem, they had
After a few months, the basket was lost. But the
parnossah kept coming in and Avraham eventually opened
a store. He understood that this old woman had to have been a
good messenger, perhaps Eliyahu Hanavi in disguise, and that
now the basket had gone to someone else in need of a
May this Pesach bring us all a Yeshuah, individually
and as a nation.
Pesach kosher veSomeach!