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Amazing Story of Yankel: Odyssey of a Jew to Remember


There was a Jew who lived and owned a bakery in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York. His name was Yankel and he had survived the Nazi concentration camps. Here is his moving story:

You know why it is that I’m alive today? I was a kid, just a teenager at the time. We were on the train, in a boxcar, being taken to Auschwitz. Night came and it was freezing, deathly cold in that boxcar. The Germans would leave the cars on the side of the tracks overnight, sometimes for days on end without any food, and of course, no blankets to keep us warm.

Sitting next to me was an older Jew – a beloved elderly man whom I recognised from my hometown. Although I knew him, I had never seen him like this. He was shivering from head to toe and looked terrible. So I wrapped my arms around him and began rubbing him to warm him up. I rubbed his arms, his legs, his face, and his neck. I begged him to hang on.

 All night long, I kept the man warm this way. I was tired, I was freezing cold myself, and my fingers were numb, but I didn’t stop rubbing the heat onto this man’s body. Hours and hours went by this way.  Finally, the night passed, morning came, and the sun began to shine. There was some warmth in the cabin, and then I looked around the car to see some of the other Jews in the car. To my horror, all I could see were frozen bodies, and all I could hear was a deathly silence.

Nobody else in that cabin made it through the night – they died from the frost. Only two people survived: the old man and me. The old man survived because somebody kept him warm; I survived because I was warming him.

There is Kingdom life in the commandments of Christ:
–  Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. – John 13:34
Do to others as you would have them do to you. – Luke 6:31

The first law of the Kingdom is selfless love, and the highest manifestation of this is through service. Just like that boxcar, this world can be a dark and cold place. We live by serving others. There is no other way. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to help, and to give His life a ransom for many. – Mark 10:45

May I tell you further – the secret to survival in this world?  When you warm other people’s hearts, you will remain warm yourself. When you support, encourage and inspire others, then you will discover support, encouragement and inspiration in your own life as well.

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