Sometimes a bad thing can turn into the catalyst for something good.
We are stationed in Oshawa, Ontario. There is a shopping mall here called the Oshawa Centre. Like most malls, there are Israelis in this mall selling Dead Sea salts and other things. One of these Israelis—we’ll call him Dekel—is a traditional fellow. While he may not keep kosher, he knows that he is Jewish and would never dream of eating pork. This week Dekel ordered a meal at one of the eateries at the mall food court. Horror of horrors, a few bites into his meal he discovered that he was eating pork—something that he had never done in his entire life.
Distraught and in tears, Dekel looked up and saw Mrs. Borenstein, the co-director of the closest Chabad center, walking by. Mrs. Borenstein had not been to the mall for a very long time. In fact, the last time she was there was with her husband who had come to read the Megillah for Dekel and his fellow merchants this past Purim holiday. Recognizing her through his tears, Dekel rushed over and unburdened his heart, sobbing about his terrible mistake.
The next day we came to visit Dekel and his friends. We had a long chat about how every step back must lead to a giant step forward—that way it is transformed into something good. After wrapping himself in tefillin, Dekel encouraged his fellow salesman to do the same. The fellow, who had not put on tefillin in many years, was so inspired by Dekel’s sincerity that he followed suit. Dekel then decided that from then on, no non-kosher meat at all—not just pork—would ever pass his lips again.
And that is how a bite of pork wound up bringing some Jews closer to Judaism.