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Ori Megidish's uncle, Maurice Elul, explains how he came to keep Shabbat

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Maurice Elul - the uncle of Ori Megidish - told this story in an interview with channel “Achshav 14”, November 2023:

Maurice: "Two or three days after she (Ori) was abducted, I went over to my brother’s house to offer some support.

That day, a live program was aired, two chapters of Tehillim were being read out loud. I suggested that we join in. We read those two chapters, and Ori’s father then went and changed the mezuzah on the doorpost of Ori’s room.

I then told him – “You know, I’ve a feeling that Ori is getting some special protection from Up on High…”. We hugged, exchanged goodbyes, and I left.

On Friday, I send out my usual Shabbat Shalom greeting to my children on the family group, and my children urged me to keep that one Shabbat. “Come on, Abba...,” they said. “Do it for Ori!”.

And I said: “You know what, I’ll do it for Ori”. I went to stay with my son and observed that Shabbat with his family – and everything went well. On Shabbat morning I went up to the Torah. I blessed her and all the hostages that they should return home safe and sound, and all… and that’s it.

We then returned home, sat down to eat, and they started talking to me about miracles and stuff like that.

I told my son: “Listen. I like hearing about miracles and wondrous things. I’ve heard all sorts of things. But you know what – I’ll take it as far as it goes!

I want Hashem to prove to me that he hears my prayers. And if He accepts my prayer, and brings Ori home safe and sound, with the soldiers, I will keep EVERY Shabbat!”

“Dad, you’re crazy,” my son said. “Have you any idea what it is you’re committing to? It’s major!”

But I said: “I want proof. I want to see the miracle happen with my own eyes…”.

My son replied: “You know what, Abba?  I’ll daven for you that Hashem should do this for you as a tikkun that you should become religious, because it seems that only that will do the trick”.

And I said: “Fine. Prove it to me!”

On Sunday evening {right after this Shabbos with his family, my note} I’m at work, when a friend calls and says: “Maurice, didn’t you say you had a niece who was being held hostage? The army has just released her…!”

“Are you nuts?” I shouted! “Don’t joke about it!”

“I’m not joking,” he said. “It’s for real!”

I go and check the news, and they’re saying: “We’ll go back to the news item that we started with – the soldier Ori Megidish has been set free by the IDF forces – alone”.

I heard them say “Alone” and I broke out crying.

I immediately called my children – the ones who wanted me to become frum (religious). They are students of the Rav Yoshiyahu Pinto, from Yeshivat Shuva Yisrael. Tzaddikim. Avreichim. And my son says: “You see, Abba – see the power of Shabbat?!”.

We began crying together.

I couldn’t take it. “Yannai, my son – who am I?! Who am I that Hashem listened to me and took JUST Ori out of captivity…?! I meant that she should go free with all the hostages and then I’ll keep my part. But what… He chose JUST HER? Why? Who am I already?

Are there not other people who prayed? People who took challah, who did all kinds of things? What is this?”

It blew my mind. Till today, I cannot come to terms with it.

Interviewer: What will this Shabbat look like?

Maurice: I’ll be keeping it! That’s it. I made a promise!

Interviewer: Your entire life…

Maurice: My entire life… When it’s right in front of your eyes, you can’t argue with G-d. It’ll be hard, I admit, but I will keep the Shabbat.

Interviewer (secular): You’ll find it very easy! Speak to those who keep the Shabbat… it’s easy!

Maurice: I’ll be with my children and grandchildren. I’ll go to the yeshiva with them. They prayed – my children (forget about my part in this…) they prayed and read the Zohar, and Sefer Devarim… You see the miracles….

Maurice: "I ask that everyone continue to pray. Hashem loves us. He hears the prayers of each and every one of us. Do not give up!!! I shall spend this Shabbat with my son again, and again I’ll go up to the Torah on Shabbat morning, and pray for all the hostages to return home safe and sound.”

(End of video.)

Credit for English transcript: Tamar Ansh's CHAZAK V'AMATZ emails, and Esther Teichtal who translated the video.

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