Contact Us
Blog

Lighting Sparks in Denmark

Lighting Sparks in Denmark

 Email

We had just finished meeting with several Jews in the city of Aarhus, concluding a month of traveling through Denmark to visit Jews living in places without an established Jewish community.

As we looked through our list of Jewish contacts we noticed that there was one gentleman, Chanan, with whom we had not yet touched base. We deliberated for a few moments since he lived a good two hours away, but our deeply ingrained belief that every Jew counts prevailed and we dialed the number.

“Hi Chanan, my name is Mendel and I’m from Chabad. My friend and I would love to visit if you’d like.”

“Chabad? Yes, please, come over.” He sounded excited.

So we drove up north and arrived at Chanan’s house just as he was eating dinner. He offered us fruit, apologizing that he couldn’t serve us anything else. Of course, we told him not to worry as we made ourselves at home around his kitchen table.

We began with some small talk, but Chanan quickly opened up to us. “I was married for ten years and we had two beautiful girls. Recently, I got divorced.” He sighed heavily. “Unfortunately, my ex-wife has full custody of the girls, and I currently have no contact with them.”

“This morning,” he continued, “I was at work and feeling particularly depressed about my current situation. So I spoke to G‑d. I told Him how hard this is for me, how lonely I feel, and I asked Him to please show that He cares.”

He stopped and looked straight at us. “And then I see an unknown number on my caller ID!” His astonishment still very much evident. “Someone by the name of Mendel is on the phone. He is calling from Chabad and he wants to come over and say hello. There was no clearer sign for me. This was G‑d’s way of reaching out to me, of telling me He is here with me in this struggle.”

We spoke with him at length, sharing words of support and comfort, based mostly on our years of studying Chassidic philosophy. We encouraged him to focus on the positive, and to try and see all the good and beauty that G‑d has granted him in his life. Then we offered to help him put on tefillin.

“I haven't put tefillin on in years, but this is as good a time as ever, right?” He became very emotional when we helped him wrap them on his arms and head, and he choked up while repeating the blessings. We stayed on, discussing belief and trust in G‑d, as well as how G‑d watches over every Jew, which segued into the topic of mezuzah, and culminated with Chanan proudly affixing a new one to his front door.

Before we left, he told us about a Jewish Danish philosopher friend of his, Casper, who he felt would be interested in meeting us.

When we arrived at Casper’s apartment in the city center the next morning, he greeted us warmly and shared some of his background. His grandfather had been deeply involved with the Jewish community in Copenhagen and had even established the Jewish school there. Casper himself had no affiliation with Judaism, although due to the nature of his work he was interested in Kabbalah.

We quickly covered a range of topics including tefillin, which Casper had never heard about before. When he understood the significance and unique power of this mitzvah, he was more than happy to give it a go.

He was so overjoyed that he started dancing with us right there in the middle of his apartment. He brought out some drinks and we all made a heartfelt l’chaim (toast) for his bar mitzvah at the age of 47 on a regular Thursday morning.

We could sense how much he had enjoyed our visit, which was confirmed when he sent us a warm email follow-up expressing his gratitude, and inquiring as to where he could purchase a pair of tefillin. We plan to purchase them for him in New York and send them over to Denmark.)

Later that day, he posted on social media: "Today I became bar mitzvah—an adult Jew."

More than anything, we think these stories illustrate something the Rebbe repeatedly emphasized: there exists an inner spark in the depths of every Jewish soul that lies dormant, awaiting the day it will be ignited, often with the help of one of his emissaries. We hope that hearing about two precious Jews in a place like Aalborg, Denmark, will inspire you to reach out to a fellow Jew in your corner of the world.


Mendel Danow & Levi Loewenthal
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
Start a Discussion
1000 characters remaining
Related Topics