Rav Grossman and the Parchment of Rebuke that Came Home


rav-grossman-parchmentBy Aryeh Savir

Rav Yitzchak Dovid Grossman, head of the Migdal Ohr Institutions, sat in his home in Migdal Ha’emek, bewilderingly re-examining the piece of Torah parchment he was given. Cut by a Nazi almost 70 years ago from a Sefer Torah in an Eastern European shul, the sacred parchment was used by the Luftwaffe officer as a wrapping for his ID card during World War II.

How did Rav Grossman come into the possession of such a unique and shocking piece of history?

Moti Dotan, the Head of the Lower Galilee Regional Council, had recently returned from a ceremony honoring of the 25th anniversary of the twin cities pact between the Regional Council and the Hanover district in Germany. Dotan was approached at the conclusion of the event by a member of the Hanover District Council. “My father, Werner Herzig, died a few weeks ago,” said the man. “Before his death he said he wanted to share with me a secret. He told me he had fought in World War II and told me about his involvement in those awful crimes, such as his participation in the burning of a shul on the Russian front. ‘It’s important for me to tell you this, because today there are those who don’t believe that it happened,’ he told me.”

Dotan relates that Herzig junior gave him the ID document and parchment and asked him to locate a holy man in the Galilee and present it to him. “I thought of the holy work that Rav Grossman does, and that he was the most suitable person to receive the document and parchment,” says Dotan. “When I came to him to give him the document, I shared with him the story. As he held the parchment tears started to flow from his eyes,” recalls Dotan. He said that Rav Grossman symbolizes to him all that is good in Judaism and will make proper use of the item.

Rav Grossman held the piece of parchment and read from the text. The parchment is from Sefer Devorim, in the parsha of Ki Savo. He read: “...and distress which your enemies will inflict upon you, in your cities… Then the Lord will bring upon you and your offspring uniquely horrible plagues, terrible and unyielding plagues, and evil and unyielding sicknesses… Also, the Lord will bring upon you every disease and plague which is not written in this Torah scroll, to destroy you. And you shall be left few in number, whereas you were as the stars of the heaven for multitude” (Devorim 28, 57-62). These pesukim are known as the Tochachah, verses of admonishment.

Rav Grossman is convinced that this is a “Supreme message of Divine providence. After 60 years, this document arrives in Israel, wrapped in these words of scolding, and is calling on us ‘to awaken.’ After all, the German could have cut the parchment from any of the Chamishah Chumshei Torah, and he specifically cut out the section that speaks suffering, servitude and then of redemption,” said Rav Grossman.

Rav Grossman has shown the ID book and parchment to young people, and tells of the great excitement it causes. “It’s a tangible object, which you can see with your own eyes. You can see here the embodiment of evil; how after the destruction of a shul, this man had the audacity to enter and cut from the Sefer Torah, only because he thought that the parchment was a suitable way to preserve his document.”

Rav Grossman has vowed to continue to visit schools and young people with the document and to share this awe striking story with them.

{Tazpit News Agenc/Matzav.com Israel}


  1. Probably the sedrah those monsters burnt the shul. Does this help locate the town? Hard to imagine the insensitivity that anyone could have “sistering” up with a Germ-man city. Or accepting their gelt, invitations to visit, or offers of a passport.

  2. Frightening. Read Rav Avigdor Miller’s book, “The Divine Madness.”

    The symptoms are recurring, R”L.

    Hashem yerachem.

  3. This is clearly prophetic. The very people who strove to decimate and destroy the very people who are doing G-ds work tried to use G-ds voice and word as their own problem solving event to “hide and protect their ID card”. This is of course sacrilege and hateful and despicable, but think about How Hashem eventually put it in the hands of a rabbi. That’s where this story gets interesting.

    This teaches us a Torah lesson. Torah does not fix the worlds last cause of hate, but Torah does have its own future and it often is an admonishing of hate and suffering for the volume of a true dynasty of Jewish protection.

    And I could almost laugh to see that we won this war and will always win with Torah.

    Give the Nazi’s their Tee Pee and watch how they burn it down too. A nation that can not protect human liberty and freedoms has no captivity for human service. And the teepee of the road map of violence was always a lost object on the plains of life.

    Never Again.