Mrs. Shaina Shipskovitch was nervous about her journey on this huge ship which would take her across the sea – from France to Israel.
Thank HaShem, Shaina arrived safely.
“The ship made it! So did I! Safe and sound! Sholom everybody! I’m soooo happy! I’m soooo excited!”
“Take it easy, lady, it’s not the Titanic.”
And to thank HaShem, Shaina would need to offer a Korban Todah.
Titanic! It was a giant, brand new state-of-the-art ocean liner that hit an iceberg and sunk in the Atlantic Ocean on its very first trip (called a “maiden voyage”) in the spring of 1912.
In those days, before the jet plane was invented, people traveled from Europe to America on giant ships called ocean liners. But the Titanic wasn’t just any ship. More than 882 feet long, weighing more than 6,000 tons (that’s 120,000 pounds), it was the biggest ship ever built. It had 10 decks. In fact, the name Titanic means “gigantic.” Some of the wealthiest people on planet earth were passengers on this amazing ship!
Built using the latest technology of the day (it was able to produce more electricity than the power plant of an average city), the ship’s builders boasted that it was “unsinkable.” They were so confident that they didn’t have enough lifeboats on board! “Who needs more lifeboats?” the ship’s builders arrogantly declared, “anyways, we’ll never use them.”
Yet, just four days after leaving England, at 11:40 PM, with 2,224 people aboard, the Titanic struck an iceberg! The ship filled up with water and within less than three hours, the “unsinkable” Titanic broke apart and began to sink… HELP! SOS! Frantically, the crew saved some “special” passengers (first the women and children, and then the first-class male-passengers), by placing them in lifeboats. But due to the lack of lifeboats, most of the passengers, over 1,500 of them, tragically lost their lives in the ice-cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The Titanic split into two and plunged to a depth of 12,415 feet!
Although a terrible disaster, some good did come out of the sinking of the Titanic. Laws were passed requiring all ships to have enough lifeboats for all passengers; a special patrol was set up to keep track of icebergs; and ships were required to leave their radios on at all times in order to hear distress calls from fellow ships.
Ever hear of the famous Macy’s gigantic department store? It was once owned by two very charitable Jewish brothers: Isidor and Nathan Straus. Isidor and his wife, Ida, were first-class passengers on the Titanic. However, Nathan and his wife decided not to travel on the ship (even though tickets were purchased for them), since they wanted to spend time touring the Holy Land (then called Palestine).
When the Titanic began to sink, the first-class passengers, Mr. and Mrs. Isidor Straus, were offered seats on the lifeboats. Heroically, they gave up their lives, and chose to remain aboard the sinking ship, letting women and children take their places!
When his brother Nathan learned of the horrific disaster, he saw clearly how Tzedakah Tatzil MiMaves (“Charity Saves from Death”) and as a form of gratitude to HaShem, he gave away two-thirds of his fortune to helping build up Israel! No wonder the city of Netanya, and the famous Rechov Straus (Straus Street) in Jerusalem, were named after him.