In this Oral History, by Amud Aish Memorial Museum in partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Sara Seidman shares her story.
Sara, wife of Dr. Hillel Seidman, was born on August 29, 1922 in Turda, Romania. As a girl she was surrounded by her extensive family and Jewish community, while also witnessing the rise of antisemitism from a young age. After finishing high school in Ukraine, Sara taught in a Bucharest orphanage where everyone was Jewish but disguised as Polish refugees. After the war came to an end, Sara traveled around various parts of Europe, eventually arriving in the Föhrenwald displaced persons (DP) camp, where her mother was a nurse and Sara taught in the Bais Yaakov. While in the DP Camp, Sara saw part of her role as cheering up the children mourning their lost mothers. Sara eventually obtained entry to America, where she settled and had a family.
Rabbi Chaim Tirar (1760-1816) of was the author of the Be'er Mayim Chayim and the renowned spiritual and Chassidic leader of the northern Moldovian city of Chernovitz for 18 years. In 1813, Rabbi Chaim emigrated to Eretz Yisrael and resided in Tsfat.
The pasuk in this week’s parshah says, “If you don’t pay heed to the curse and veer from the path…”
It’s interesting to note that when the Torah instructs us to pay heed to the berachos (blessings), it only says we should “listen”, not mentioning the extra words “staying on the path” as it does regarding the curses.
The Be’er Mayim Chaim explains the following distinction: Regarding good deeds, Hashem has told us that if we intend to perform good deeds, even if we don’t have the opportunity to execute them, it is considered as if we did perform them. Therefore, if our attitude is a positive one and our focus is to listen and pay heed to the blessings, even if without actualizing them, it is considered as if we did.
However, regarding negative deeds, Hashem only holds us accountable if we execute our negative intentions. Hence, when discussing the curses, we are told that they occur only when we do not pay heed AND also stray from the path through our actions.