Brothers We Are

In any case, brothers and sisters: Sivan Rehav Meir tells a chilling story

On the eve of Tisha B'Av, a Chabad emissary in Colombo requests to share with the people of Israel an emotional story of self-sacrifice. He and another emissary traveled to visit two Israeli brothers in remote forests, just to give them a hug. We are brothers!

(Photo: From Sivan Rahav Meir's Facebook page)

Shneur Meidenzchik, a Chabad emissary in Colombo, tells Sivan Rahav Meir an emotional story of self-sacrifice for every Jew, reminding us that we are all brothers.

And so it begins: "A few months ago, two Sri Lankan men arrived at our Chabad house in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Until today, I don't know the purpose of their visit, but they told me about two Israeli brothers, ascetic monks, living in a temple called Samnalavutha deep in the jungles. They gave me a phone number of someone who knows about this temple. I started trying to locate them and realized it's a complex story. They are located five arduous hours away from Colombo, amidst rainforests and jungles, without any accessible roads.

I searched for any lead, but found none. Today, I woke up and decided that I must find them, that I must embark on this journey. I searched for a suitable vehicle for the challenging and rough ride, and together with my friend, Rabbi Shneur Ariel, we set out at 5:20 in the morning on an expedition to the unknown..."

We asked the driver to inquire from the locals about the Samnalavutha temple, and one of them managed to lead us there. We stopped the car, and just then a monsoon began, heavy rain pouring down. We walked with everything we brought, including tefillin. We descended and ascended hills, crossed rivers, and it turned out we were directed to the wrong temple. There, we encountered a local monk who didn't speak English. We tried to communicate with him, and then he pointed ahead and said 'sodo,' which means 'white' in the local language. A white person. We understood that we needed to move forward to meet the two white men we were searching for...

We returned to the car soaked with water and drove three kilometers in the direction the monk pointed, and suddenly we saw a sign: Samnalavutha! Wow. We got out and discovered an area empty of people and vehicles. A young man on a motorcycle stopped beside us and agreed to take us inside. We walked and walked through rainforests with leeches literally sucking our blood. "I request my brothers," we said to ourselves. We didn't give up.

And suddenly, suddenly, we saw them! Two sweet Israeli brothers, twins, sitting inside a rock cave, surrounded by greenery and tranquility, only streams and birds.

They were surprised. How did we find them? For five years they had been living there quietly, alone, disconnected, and suddenly we arrived. We started talking. We didn't stop talking. We talked about love, spirituality, soul, Judaism, Chassidut, redemption...

Before parting, they put on tefillin, and they also took a mezuzah from us for protection. One of the brothers asked himself how he could immerse his utensils to purify them. But that's not the end. We set a date to meet in Colombo. We are waiting for them.

I'm attaching a picture of us. Today, on the eve of Tisha B'Av, I'm sending this message to the Land. We are brothers.

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