Chief Rabbi Metzger visits Chabad in Spain – recounts special encounter with Rebbe
Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Yona Metzger & Rebbetzin Metzger came to Madrid Spain on a historical mission. To thank the King of Spain (only days before the royal wedding of prince Philippe).
The King of Spain, Juan Carlos greeted Rabbi Metzger in his royal palace, [originally audience was to be up to 20 minutes, but is was held for 40 minutes!]. Rabbi Metzger spoke in Hebrew, while the Israeli ambassador to Spain, Mr. Victor Harel translated his words into Spanish.
Rabbi Metzger brought from Israel a large Shofar, which had a silver plate with the royal crown engraved in the silver plate, which he gave to the king as a gift. Giving this to the king, Rabbi Metzger told him a story about a Shofar in the days of the inquisition. He said it with details, and the king listened to the story attentively.
Rabbi Metzger told the king, that in the times of the inquisition, when the Spanish kingdom forbade Jews to live & practice their religion, and if caught they would pay the price with their life, especially the Maranos who live as Jews in secret. Seeking for a solution to keep the precept of hearing Shofar oin Rosh Hashana, they came up with an idea. They decided to approach the Spanish king of the time, with an offer to hold a very special and unusual concert of only ‘wind’ instruments (precisely on Rosh Hashanah) of which the king was delighted.
The day of the concert came, and there gathered hundreds of musicians, each one with his instrument, and one brought a simple Shofar. The concert began, and each one was exhibiting his ability to blow his instrument. Then the (hidden) Jewish musician took out his Shofar, and told the king: I have a special instrument, which the Jewish people blow in a unusual way. But first they say 2 blessings like this: Baruch Ata etc. Then they blow 30 blasts like this… and he blew the 30 sounds… The kind was impressed, and this musician was able to fulfill the Mitzvah of Shofar EVEN IN PUBLIC on that day, together with many of his marrano colleagues who attended this concert on Rosh Hashana.
Upon finishing telling this story to king Juan Carlos, Rabbi Metzger hands the silver plated Shofar to the king, and says, I have come from Israel to thank you in the name of our nation, that nowadays Jews can live in your country with true freedom of religion, that on Rosh Hashana we can sound the Shofar in our Synagogues without any fear, and practice our religion openly in true freedom, to which the king smiled and said: “of course!”
The Rabbi then said that he wishes to bless the king, as is commanded in the holy bible. Both the king and the Rabbi rose, the Rabbi closed his eyes, and recited the blessing with strong meditation. When he ended the blessing Rabbi Metzger opened his eyes and was amazed to see that the king had some tears in his eyes.
Rabbi Metzger spent the entire Shabbos near the Bais Chabad, where he prayed and gave Tora talks. In his public talk he mentioned the value of bringing peace among Jews. He brought a quotation from the Baal Ha’tanya, that when a Jew makes “room” for another Jew in his heart, there is plenty of room for everyone.
The Shliach of Spain, Rabbi Yitzchok Goldstein and his wife & children joined the Chief Rabbi & his Rebbetzin and prominent members of the Kehila in Seudat Shabbat. After singing and saying Lechayim, Rabbi Metzger told everyone the amazing story how the Rebbe had foreseen that he would become chief Rabbi of Israel!
He spoke with lots of emotion, and said that 13 years ago he was offered a position as head Rabbi of all Tel Aviv, which he considered was a nice position, but felt that he should first get The Rebbe’s opinion and blessing. So he traveled to NY to hear from The Rebbe. One Sunday in Cheshvan he came to dollars, and he asked the Rebbe if he should take the position and head Rabbi of all Tel Aviv region? The Rebbe nodded disapproval, and waved his hands, no. Then the Rebbe said, that to become the Rabbi of the land where Hashem’s eyes are upon it from the beginning of the year till the end of the year. (all Israel), in the month on Aviv, right before Z’man Cheiruseinu, and it should be in a auspicious hour. Rabbi Metzger said, he understood not to take that position, but was kind of confused why the Rebbe is talking about Pesach now (in Cheshvan). He said, now, 13 years later everything became crystal clear!
Rabbi Metzger said that he has a video copy of this audience which he had kept for 13 years. Recently, when the elections for a new chief Rabbi was to be held, as usual in the month of Adar (B), he was wondering if he will be elected as chief Rabbi?. His wife said, we have a blessing from the Lubavitcher Rebbe! Let’s see that video again.
However things did not look too promising, as the voting committee suddenly decided to postpone the elections till 3 months later (Sivan). His wife said, The Rebbe said Chodesh Aviv. Let’s see what happens. Then the committee realized Israel needs a Rabbi to sell the Chometz BEFORE PESACH. So on Yud Alef Nissan Rabbi Metzger went to Kfar Chabad to Farbreng (while his colleagues were still rallying to win). And so the elections were (very strangely) held on 12 Nissan, and he obviously won, as The Rebbe had foreseen.
Rabbi Metzger proudly said, that wherever he goes the Chabadnik’s are his friends, as he knows that in Israel ALL CHABAD voted Metzger, and he had The Rebbe’s Prophecy and Brocho.
This article was written from memory without notes – please excuse any factual errors if they may have occurred.