Last week, Russia’s Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar was faced with a dilemma: he needed to be at an important ceremony with President Vladimir Putin, but it was scheduled for Friday, on the eve of Shabbos.
The memorial event, Arutz Sheva reports, was to be located in the Belgorod region, in the town of Prokhorovka, commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Prokhorovka.
The Kremlin promised Rabbi Lazar that a plane would depart immediately following the ceremony, two hours prior to the start of Shabbos. This would have him be in Moscow an hour before hadlokas neiros, as the flight was only an hour long.
Rabbi Lazar boarded the plane on time, but the pilot did not depart as scheduled, because military aircraft were still in the air, participating in the ceremony. Although the rabbi asked to be let off the plane, the pilot did not allow it, reports Arutz Sheva. Instead, he vowed to make sure his Jewish passenger would reach Moscow at least 10 minutes before Shabbos began.
He kept his word – but it meant that Rabbi Lazar had barely enough time to call his son to let him know he would be delayed.
Rabbi Lazar set out on foot, walking the 19 mile (30 kilometer) distance to his home – an eight-hour journey. He arrived at about 6 a.m., just in time to grab a quick bite to eat and a nap before going to daven at the Marina Roscha Synagogue.
Source: Arutz Sheva