Compilation of Memories (Memoirs)
Reminiscing about the Wood Business
Bernstein and I traveled to all parts of the country for three months. We finally made a contract with a company called “Geula” whose manager was Bezalel Yaffa to buy 500 dunam of land on the way Burka and Bnei Brak.The price was 7.75 Lei per dunam to be paid in installments; the company would get an additional fee of 10%. Bernstein gave the manager a down payment of 150 Lei and promised to send a payment from the people of Petshenishin every three months. He did not send any money. The contract was cancelled and with great difficulty, I managed to get back from the company “Geula” the 150 Lei. This was with the help of the company “Eretz Israel Chadasha”. In the same period of time, Reuben Pahan, Moshe Hochman and Dov Weiss came into the country. They began actively to acquire a large plot of land for the people of Stanislau and vicinity. Pahan and Weiss returned to their city. Hochman and I stayed in the country. We had the serious task, especially me, to take care of the land we had purchased with its many problems. People with no conscience caused us and the people abroad to lose the money invested. The land returned to the Arabs, the original owners and afterwards to the Jews in Haifa. (All the details are to be found on pages 92-96 and pages 102-104 and page 129) Whatever rights we had on parts of this land that were listed in Tabu in our name was given over for a pittance to Keren Kayemet for Jewish settlement.
One cannot take away the value of the business I developed in the country which connected the wood industry in Poland with the orange growers. The boxes for oranges from Poland were satisfactory and were fairly priced. Millions of boxes were sold and pine wood was imported for carpenters.
I was the agent for the biggest wood company in Poland that exported crates for most of the orange growers in Eretz Israel. I brought my wife and two sons to the country and worried about caring for them. As it is sometimes written, doing righteous deeds includes supporting your children and your home.
I pray that God will think good of me and my daily prayers, studies and admission of sins. I hope God will forgive me my faults just as he did King David. My heart is full of hope that by my righteous acts and mitzvot, I will be given the “lengthening of days” as promised by the Torah. There are several good measures that חזל' raised in the Talmud. “What is the lengthening of days?” By those rights, I have reached the 86th year of my life. If we are talking about old people with lengthened days there is a story from the Midrash, portion of “Blessed Ones” פרשה קדושים פרק כה that applies to this and is written in Aramaic and I will give a shortened version in Hebrew.
Hadrian the evil one (may his bones be dispersed and rot and his name be forgotten) one day was in the area of Tiberias. He saw an old man digging a hole in his garden. He asked him “What are you doing?” The old man answered that he was digging in order to plant a fig tree. Hadrian asked him how old he was and the old man answered that he was 100 years old. Hadrian asked “Will you be able to eat the fruit of the tree you are planting?” The old man replied “If God will add days and years to my life, if not, as my fathers planted for me, I plant for my sons.” Hadrian told him that if he was able to eat the fruit, he should come and tell him. After many years, the old man ate the sweet figs and took a small basket filled with chosen figs and brought them to Hadrian who asked him what the old man wanted. He said “When you saw me dig the hole for the fig tree, you told me that when I ate the fruit of the tree, I should notify you”. I came to tell you that I lived to enjoy the fruit and brought you a basket filled with figs as a gift. Hadrian received the gift and ordered his treasurer to fill the basket with gold coins. The treasurer said “Is such a simple act, worth making this Jew rich?” Hadrian replied “If God recognized and honored him and gave him a long life, why would I not recognize and honor him with a most important gift”. Even though these words came from the mouth of an evil one, the good from this will be received and done. One learns that old age is a gift from God who honors and respects old age. May I be one of those old ones and live to bless my grandson on his Bar Mitzvah on כב מרחשבן תשיג next year. May he receive the duties and obligations of being a Jew. Amen
Content last updated Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 07:16 PM Mountain Standard Time