Weekly Story: Looking Forward (1 of 2)

by Rabbi Sholom DovBer Avtzon

Being that the numerous shluchim and shluchos on campus are preparing for the upcoming year, I am posting an additional horaah (guidance) that the Rebbe gave Malka, which is pertinent for every Jew who goes to college or is moving out to live on his or her own to be conscious of. With the hope that if it is brought to the attention of the students and their parents before their boarding arrangements have been finalized, it will influence them to act accordingly.

As a reminder, last year I chronicled aspects of Malka’s life. She came to the Rebbe in the mid 50’s, shortly before her bas mitzvah, after being informed by her parents that she was adopted. Since the adoption papers were sealed, it was assumed that her birth parents were not Jewish and she would have to undergo a geirus. The Rebbe informed her in that Yechidus that her birth parents were Jewish and that they had died in a car accident. He requested of her a promise to keep Shabbos, Kashrus and visit him once a year. This is something she has kept the past six decades since that Yechidus, until today, notwithstanding the suffering of the loss of both of her adopted parents a few years later, in her late teens, and other extremely painful incidents.

As was recounted in the previous articles, at almost t every visit, the Rebbe would add a point in guiding her on this path. With her permission, I am sharing another guidance that the Rebbe gave, in order to benefit others. In order to clarify it somewhat, I added some explanatory words which are marked in the [ ].

At one point, she moved to a town where there was no other Jew living there and she was completely on her own. As both her biological parents and adoptive parents were survivors of the holocaust, there was no family to turn to.

Some time after she settled in the town, the Rebbe told her the following, and I am presenting it in her words.

There was a conversation in which the Rebbe explained to me that I must be aware that if a non-Jew were to live in the house with me [as an apartment mate], besides the numerous prohibitions involved if the non-Jew is a male, G-d forbid, even having a non-Jew female would also breach my commitment to maintain eating kosher and keeping the sanctity of Shabbos.

The inevitable cooking by a non-Jew [who’s an apartment mate], even if [my] kosher ingredients were to be used, would make the food, dishes, pots and pans etc. forbidden for future use by a Jew, [as then it is bishul akum]. Likewise the non-Jew doing certain acts on Shabbos that are forbidden for a Jew to do, such as opening lights, would then make it forbidden for a Jew to derive benefit from that action, as [it is considered, as if] the non-Jew acted as a messenger for the Jew [as they are aware that the Jew cannot turn it on, so they will be turning it on for them to use. Additionally it potentially creates a situation] which makes it like the Jew did the forbidden act themselves etc. [The Alter Rebbe mentions this in the beginning of chapter 243 in hilchos Shabbos, that midrabanan we are machmir and say that the non-Jew is my messenger and it is as if I did the work myself].

Then the Rebbe added that he does not at all suspect someone with my Jewish soul would ever allow for a non-Jewish male [to share the apartment], G-d forbid, but even with having a non-Jewish female [share the apartment], there is a need to educate and prepare me on the topic because I should have “the medicine before the disease” due to the circumstances I am in.

As my arrangement is, before I post anything about her interactions with the Rebbe, I show it to her to check for accuracy, and this is what Malka replied as additional points.

It is very difficult to remember small details from so long ago – especially with the immense pressure to be as accurate as possible.

Jogging my memory: The Rebbe mentioned then the point of havdala is separation – “bein yisroel lo’amim” which is a theme of Shabbos and kosher – “lehavdil bein hatahor u’bein hatomei”. This is why a Jew must never live with non-Jewish room/house mates.

However, I am not sure if he said “lehavdil bein hatahor u’bein hatomei” or the loshon hapossuk “bein hatomei u’bein hatohor” – he might have purposely reversed the order of the possuk. [Which is something the Rebbe did quite often, and I was told by mashpiim that it was in order not to say words of the written Torah by heart].

Malka concluded, “This is a lesson also to PARENTS, since the Rebbe filled in for my absent parents, to forewarn and fully educate their children (of all ages) of foreseeable situations BEFORE they encounter them. “

This week’s article is in honor of the birth of my new granddaughter, larichas yomim v’shonim tovos. Eli and Baila may you both have tremendous chassidishe nachas from her and everyone else.

Rabbi Avtzon is a veteran mechanech and the author on numerous books on the Rebbeim and their chassidim. He is available to farbreng or speak in your community and can be contacted at avtzonbooks@gmail.com

81 Comments

  • 1. I missed Malka wrote:

    Welcome back Malka, we all missed you! You are a living inspiration! Every neshama made a promise to keep all the mitzvos (as stated in opening words of Tanya). If only we would have the same integrity as you have with your promise, that we would keep the promise we made. I tell my kids your story. It isn’t a story from Russia but rather America as I assume. I never got clear if you live in America or elsewhere, can we know? But it doesn’t matter, you are a hero to many.

    Reply
    • 2. In the hood wrote:

      She only promised to keep 3, not 613. It isn’t that hard to keep only 3.

    • 4. I missed Malka wrote:

      If you re-read the earlier parts, the Rebbe was able to take these 3 mitzvos and expand them to include ALL the mitzvos (as reminder: kosher includes brochas and negel vasser and eating only after doing certain mitzvos… shabbos includes all yomim tovim etc.). Mitzva goreres mitzva – not just that one mitzva CAUSES one to keep another unrelated mitzva, but each mitzva is LINKED and interwoven to the next mitzvah.

  • 5. Mashpia wrote:

    There are many seforim that DAVKA misquote the possuk as such “lehavdil bein hatahor u’bein hatomei”. One such sefer is the Gur Aryeh on Parshas SHmini perek yud, possuk yud. It ISN’T just when “speaking” but even in written form (as in a sefer)! There are reasons for this beyond the scope of this website (such as, to start with tahor before tomei, to follow the seder of other havdalos…)

    Reply
    • 7. Mashpia wrote:

      I wrote source: Gur Aryeh. P’ Shmini yed,yud (tes/yud). He writes multiple times the exact loshon quoted by Rebbe which is reverse of possuk.

    • 8. Source? wrote:

      I checked and it is amazingly exactly as you said. How the heck did you know this Gur Aryeh? What are you, an expert on Gur Aryeh??????

  • 9. Rabbi K from BMG wrote:

    Amira l’akum based on shlichus, creates a leniency allowing to tell a goy to do something which is in of itself muttar: drag a heavy bench across the mud (dragging a bench in of itself is muttar), even though it is a p’sik reisha that a groove will be created in the mud (hence plowing – and therefore this activity is ossur for a Yid but a goy can be instructed to do sobecause creating a groove was not the “shlichus”). This is ossur according to Peri Megadim 253:41 but muttar ltzorech shabbos according to Mishne Brura 253:51 and a leniency from Rav Shulchan Oruch and Yeshu’os Yaakov 253:14; Tehilla Le-David 336:4.

    Reply
  • 10. Rabbi K from BMG wrote:

    This is a prime example of sichas chullin shel talmidei chachomim tzrichim limud. That even casual conversations of a talmid chochom contain the depth of his Torah knowledge.

    Reply
  • 11. Rabbi K from BMG wrote:

    Yet I am unclear how the common heter of “ada’ata denafshei” (a goy doing a melacha on his own initiative) was addressed? From the wording it seems that the Rebbe adopted the opinion of most
    poskim who maintain that if the gentile does the activity with clear intent to benefit the Jew, it
    is forbidden. This could apply even when the Jew never said a word to the gentile.

    Reply
  • 13. "visit him once a year" wrote:

    “This is something she has kept the past six decades.”

    That makes no sense. From the mid-50’s till mid-90’s is only 40 years, not 60 years? Does she visit him once a year after Gimmel Taamuz??

    Reply
    • 14. Anonymous wrote:

      Yes she goes to the ohel as was clearly written in previous segments

    • 15. Levi wrote:

      Yes. I believe it was mentioned in a story with Malka a few months ago. I don’t remember of she said the Ohel , 770 or both.

    • 16. She visits after 3 tammuz wrote:

      She visits after 3 tammuz. It was in other articles

    • 18. Chill! wrote:

      Rabbi, you gotta take a chill pill. Maybe read about maavvir al midosov. A little bittul. The yeshus of your self ego balloon is a bit over inflated and ready to burst. How about learning a bit chassidus?

    • 19. Rabbi G from BMK wrote:

      First of all, it doesn’t say that mevazeh chaveiro barabbim isn’t absolved by teshuvah. Don’t go and make up halachos. If you’d bother to learn a little rather than looking out for your own kavod all the time, you would discover that the Rambam’s list of 24 things that are מעכב את התשובה doesn’t include that (and anyway, he says at the end of the list that אינן מונעין את התשובה).

      What it says is that המלבין פני חבירו ברבים אין לו חלק לעוה”ב. But I don’t think this applies here, for the simple reason that how could your face have been נלבן ברבים, when neither I nor the readers here know who you are or have met you in person, let alone saw you when you read the comment?

      You don’t want to be mochel? Then I guess you don’t want Hashem to be mochel you for any of your failings either. Unless of course you think that you don’t need any mechilah, and that you’re perfect as is.

    • 20. Rabbi K from BMG wrote:

      To “Rabbi B from BMK”, when you are mevazeh me, you are mevazeh Torah, because I am a cheftza shel Torah, I am like an aron hakodesh that holds the sifrei Torah in it. When someone is mevazeh Torah, he can’t simply use teshuva which is actually a part of Torah, to undo the damage he caused to Torah.

    • 21. Rabbi G from BMK wrote:

      Okay, why didn’t you say to begin with that your whole persona here is a joke. No one would call themselves “a cheftza of Torah” unless as a caricature of the old-time misnagdim.

      But just in case you’re serious, I suppose you think you know better than the Rambam, who states that even someone who attacked the Torah itself – a min, apikores, etc. – is able to do teshuvah and Hashem will accept it. So maybe you need to take a good hard look in the mirror and consider whether you yourself are in the Rambam’s list of 24, as a מגלה פנים בתורה שלא כהלכה.

    • 22. Rabbi K from BMG wrote:

      “No one would call themselves “a cheftza of Torah” unless as a caricature of the old-time misnagdim.”

      You are so out of touch with the Olom Hatorah. The limud of Lomdei Hatorah give existance to the entire world – is THAT chazal “a caricature of the old-time misnagdim”. I know chassidim lowered the value of lomdei Torah but this is what Chazal say and one is a kofer if he does not believe so.

      The entire world was created bishvil Hatorah and the learning protects not only klal Yisroel but gives reason for the world’s existence.

      So yes, I am a cheftza shel Torah because I dedicate my life to learning and being marbitz Torah l’rabbim – including the time I post on this site (which you will notice is only pure Torah or my Daas Torah).

      After the Churban we lost our powerhouses of Yeshivos and Lomdim, with the value and chashivus of Lomdei Torah. Gedolei Yisroel rebuilt it and now we have lomdei Torah that are responsible for kiyum haolom.

      Unfortunately, some are so out of touch, thinking that kiruv and being erlich ballei batim is all the world needs.

    • 23. Rabbi G from BMK wrote:

      And you still don’t get it. Your entire argument is a straw man; Chassidus doesn’t say, and never has said, that “kiruv and being erlich ballei batim is all the world needs.” From the beginning, contrary to your fantasies and those of your fellow misnagdim, Chassidus has stressed the importance of studying Torah.

      But that study has to be with an awareness of one’s own bittul. That means that you don’t say about yourself “I am a cheftza shel Torah” and other such egotistical mutterings. You say such about other talmidei chachamim, and perhaps they do or don’t say it about you, but not about yourself. And certainly, to conflate a satire on your posts here – in which you regularly assume that you know halachah better than our Rebbeim, better than giants of Chassidus of previous generations – and claim that this constitutes an attack on Torah in general, demonstrates that you have no sense of perspective, no sense of bittul, and that any Torah that you learn is purely לקנתר and is for you a סם המות.

  • 24. Rabbi K from BMG wrote:

    And another thing, “Rabbi B from BMK”: You are a mechutzaf that does not give kovod to talmidei chachiomim. That is nasty.

    Reply
    • 25. Chill! wrote:

      Man, you need to chill! Take a few deep breaths.Not good for blood pressure.

    • 26. Rabbi G from BMK wrote:

      No, I give kavod to talmidei chachamim. But I also am entitled to indulge in a little leitzanusa da’avodah zarah, and that includes your puffed-up gaavah.

    • 27. Hop Cossack wrote:

      It was probably Milhouse. He always has something to say to K @ BMG.

    • 28. Rabbi G from BMK wrote:

      No, Hop, I’m not Milhouse. I know who he is and what he’s done, and can assure you that I am utterly different: I’ve never been in the country he’s from, I’m not from a gezhe family…

  • 30. How? wrote:

    How can one keep shabbos and kosher in a place that there are no other Jews and only Goyim? Impossible.

    Reply
    • 31. Rabbi Sholom Avtzon wrote:

      With Malka’s permission I will answer.
      She chose to become a vegetarian so there is no problem of meat etc.

      Concerning Shabbos last year she inquired if I can help her make an eruv around her property.
      Being that I am not a Rov I forwarded her question to Dayan Raskin of London and after receiving answers to his questions concerning the terrain of of her property and dock he replied.
      Last year she communicated to me the the council passed an ordinance and required her to remove the strings and poles on the dock so she requested that I present it to Dayan Raskin.
      So yes on Shabbos she doesn’t drive and remains home and does a lot of reading
      Before Shabbos she prints out pages off the Internet about the parsha and other jewish points of interest.
      Would I say it is easy I don’t think so.
      But she without the support of a group or community finds the inner strength and that is something we all can learn from her.

    • 32. Thank you for this added info wrote:

      You know, with this added info in Rabbi Avtzon’s answer, I find her life and commitments so much more inspirational.

    • 33. No disrespect wrote:

      No disrespect to women but HOW can a woman on her own make an eruv? Eiruvin is among the most complex dinim! I don’t know any woman that can make an eiruv on her own!

    • 34. Chosid wrote:

      You are right. No woman I know would be able to make an eiruv, but Malka is not an ordinary woman.

      No doubt she is extraordinary.

      Certainly the Rebbe treated her special.

      I imagine her as the Daughters of Rashi that taught Torah to sages or Devorah the Shofetes who presided over dinei Torah of bnei Yosroel.

    • 35. Milhouse wrote:

      You write “no disrespect” but you do disrespect women. A woman on her own makes an eruv exactly the same way a man on his own does.

      How does a man make an eruv? If he doesn’t know hilchos eruvin he asks a rov who does know it for instructions, and follows them. In what way do you think a woman is less capable of this?

      In this case you were explicitly told which rov gave her instructions; do you doubt his expertise, or her ability to do as he said?

    • 36. No disrespect wrote:

      Milhouse, would YOU use her eiruv? I didn’t think so. Case closed.

    • 37. Hop Cossack wrote:

      Aha! I knew it! Milhouse always is around when K from BMG is around. The fox is watching the hen house.

    • 38. To ND wrote:

      People keep kosher but Milhouse might not eat intheir house. There are many places that have an eiruv but some people still don’t use the eiruv. An eiruv exists even if some do not use it!

    • 39. Milhouse wrote:

      I would have no more hesitation in using an eruv made by a woman than one made by a man. In both cases I would want to inspect it myself, or if that was not possible I’d want to know the halachic bases on which it was made, and/or who is the authority relied on.

      In this case the rov who gave the instructions is an eminent halachic authority, whom I know to be a talmid chochom and yerei shomayim, so if a personal inspection was not possible I would be willing to rely on it without one. Whether the person who implemented the instructions is male or female would make absolutely no difference.

  • 40. Thank you for this wrote:

    Thank you so much for this!
    I had this question of using a goy to turn on lights on shabbos that my landlady turned off and rabbi schwei told me i couldnt do it.
    Now i understand better why he said that.
    I didnt think it was a problem living with a goy of the same sex

    Reply
  • 41. Where are earlier chronicles wrote:

    How do I find the earlier chronicles of Malka’s life? Is it in Rabbi AVtzon’s book?

    Reply
  • 43. Complicated Laws of Shabbos wrote:

    I am surprised the Rebbe would discuss such complicated Laws of Shabbos with this young lady. These particular Laws are beyond the abilities of most layman. I find this so surprising that it leads me to wonder about the accuracy of the story.

    Reply
    • 44. Anonymous wrote:

      You evidently don’t remember that she accepted to the seminary in Gateshead, which at that time early 60’s was the preeminent Seminary.
      So evidently she is quite learned.

    • 45. She went to Gateshead? wrote:

      Does she have a misnagdish background?

      I thought her parents went to yechidus for her bas mitzvah because they had a connection to Chabad?

      Is she a FFB (frum from birth) that went OTD (off the derech) and then became a BT (balas teshuva)?

    • 46. Earlier Chronicles wrote:

      Her natural parents were unobservant. No indication if their heritage was chassidic, Misnagdish, Yekkish, Sefardic…

      Her adopted parents were not Chabad, but possibly chassidic, since their Rov suggested they go to the Rebbe for advice and they were agreeable.

      Many personal details were not shared and Rabbi Avtzon made clear that Malkie wants to protect her privacy.

  • 47. Hoyraah Protis! wrote:

    This directive was given TO AN INDIVIDUAL. There might be SPECIAL reasons why THIS PARTICULAR individual requires this directive. What makes you think it applies to EVERYONE???

    Reply
    • 48. Anonymous wrote:

      Why would it be forbidden for one person and not for another?

      The reason why shew as given it, is as she writes at the end of the article, the Rebbe filled in as she no longer had anyone else to connect to.
      If i remember correctly, she told the Rebbe that her parents had abandoned her, but the Rebbe informed her that they still love her.
      The Rebbe seeing the future that her adopted parents are also going to pass away in a few years, asked her to promise that she visits him once a year, and he never abandoned her.

      This is halacha,not middos chassidus

    • 49. If the hat/shoe fits... wrote:

      If the hat (or shoe)fits….the reasons apply to you…then it is a horaah to you.

  • 50. Mezuzah? wrote:

    No mezuzah if sharing room with a non-Jewish roommate! Why wasn’t that addressed? Does Malka not keep mitzva of mezuzah?

    Reply
    • 51. Dov wrote:

      I asked Rabbi Avtzon about that and he replied that the Rebbe gave her a mezuzah.
      he hinted that it will be fortchcoming

    • 52. Mivtzoyim wrote:

      In one of the earlier segments section of comments I think someone offered to sponsor her mezuzos.

    • 54. To Dov wrote:

      it will be fortchcoming – can’t wait! This series is best all stories on site.

  • 55. Non-Jewish Live-In Housekeeper? wrote:

    Many people have non-Jews living in their house! Haven’t you heard of a non-Jewish live-in maid? Surely that is not forbidden! So why would a non-Jewish roommate be forbidden?

    Reply
    • 56. L'fi Daati wrote:

      There is a huge distinction between a live-in maid and a live-in room mate. A room mate has equal ownership in kitchen and household. A maid follows direction of her employer.

    • 57. Mi'Haychi Taitzei wrote:

      Who says live-in goytas are ok? There could be many problems of yichud and them having a tzelem or their bible in the house! Just because people do it, doesn’t mean it is 100% ok!

    • 58. Historian wrote:

      I heard that once there was a Lubavitcher Yeshiva in Newark and bochurim were having nightmare dreams and hearing strange sounds. Rebbe said to check the building. A tzelem was found. When it was removed, the bad spirits left. No one wants atzelem or a goyish bible in their house. It is the opposite of a bayis moeh seforim.

    • 60. Anonymous wrote:

      There was no Jew there and she moved away from the Jewish community, so no she wasn’t going to look for a Jewish person.
      The Rebbe forewarned her of the possible halachic pitfalls of a non-Jewish apartment mate.

      So to the other commentators, why do you think it doesn’t apply to all

    • 61. Attorney wrote:

      The issue went to court and this complaint was dismissed. A person has the right to request a fellow religious observer as a room mate. It is LEGAL!

  • 63. Newbie wrote:

    I am new to this weekly series. Can you give a brief summary of past segments? It sounds facinating but hard to understand what this Malka is all about. Is she a baalas teshuva from the 50’s? Why does she live among goyim – for parnasa? Health? (You mention “painful incidents” but don’t tell what they are).

    Reply
    • 64. Devorie wrote:

      Newbie, you gotta read the earlier parts. It will all make sense. It is an amazing story.

  • 65. Yasher Koach wrote:

    Thank you for such riveting tales each week. I read them in Barcellona. My one complaint, usually I must wait till after shabbos here because of the time difference, can you publish the stories earlier so that Jews in Europe can read them before shabbos?

    Reply
    • 66. Erev Shabbos wrote:

      The stories usually come out erev shabbos at around plag hamincha. Probably a kabbalistic reason. One could light shabbos candles right after seeing the weekly story is in CH.Info.

    • 68. Yasher Koach wrote:

      How do you get an email? I need to wait till it comes out on this site, and by them it is shabbos here in Barcellona, so I can only read it after shabbos.

  • 69. At Guthrie Clinic wrote:

    I was getting treatment at the Guthrie Clinic in Corning N.Y. (for women’s issues) and noticed down the hall stood an older woman around 70 years old in a white clinical uniform. She was about to drink from her water bottle, she closed her eyes and was moving her lips before drinking. I was pretty certain she was making a brocha! I asked my doctor who she is and was told she is a visiting infertility expert. I was amazed to come across someone who probably was (and looked) Jewish and especially keeping mitzvos in such an off the beaten path place but I couldn’t be sure she was even Jewish. She looked very energetic, smart and regal. She was dressed fully tznius, classy, no sheitel. I regret not running up to her to speak. By the time I mentally put 1 plus 1 together, she was gone. Could it have been Malka?

    Reply
    • 70. Rabbi Sholom Avtzon wrote:

      Malka requested that i respond in her name

      It may have been Malka, indeed she is in that profession, but if it was or wasn’t Malka doesn’t matter.

      What matters is, was this commentator inspired in her emunah that “ani Hashem rofecha” – that Hashem has many shluchim to send healings?

      What matters is, was this commentator inspired to close her eyes and make a brocha to Hashem “shehakol nihyeh bidvoro” – that everything is made by Hashem?

      Did she get chizuk for her neshama? Refuas hanefesh brings refuas haguf! We have bechira in everything that happens: Did this commentator take a positive lesson from what she saw or was it just negative idle gossip?

      If she was inspired from this fleeting encounter, then there was purpose for visiting such a clinic. It became a Bais Refuah for her nefesh and guf. It accomplished what needed to be accomplished and all will be well.

      The identity of “Malka” is irrelevant because she wishes to remain that way (based on an underlined Hayom Yom message, which was posted before yud tes kislev).

    • 71. Quotation wrote:

      You wrote “Malka” in quotations. Is her real name Malka or not? And does she actually use that name or maybe her English name?

    • 72. At Guthrie Clinic wrote:

      It probably wasn’t Malka because I think the doctor called her Mellonie or Melinda or something like that, but definitely not Malka. It was just strange and very surreal to see someone appear to make a brocha with eyes closed. It was a holy moment that sent tingles up my spine. I imagine it would be like watching the Kohen Gadol in the Kodesh Kodoshim.

  • 73. Zalman wrote:

    She definitely goes by her English name, as she placed Malka in quotations. So from the names you gave or something similar to that, that could be her English name.
    Reading into her answer that she did not negate it, shows she indeed visited that clinic, just it may be at a different time than your visit.
    But if it was her, she asked that you don’t pursue her. She sent you a message and brocha.

    I you need to know something pertinent, perhaps you should contact her through Rabbi Avtzon .

    Reply
  • 75. Emunah Teen Camp wrote:

    Reading the story. Feeling strong hiskashrus. Wish Malka would speak to girls like me that need our hearts lit on fire. No other story reaches right into my heart. This is a special story for girls. No matter where we are, we are never alone. The Rebbe cares for us so we must make him proud.

    Reply
    • 77. Earlier Chronicles wrote:

      Neshek is part of keeping shabbos! Whatever she keeps, she keeps 110% and her mitzvos expanded to include all mitzvos a woman must keep. Read the earlier chronicles. We know she does hayom yom, I wouldn’t be shocked if she does chitas and rambam too.

  • 78. Anonymous wrote:

    Reading into her answer, i am quite sure it was, as she doesn’t negate that she was in that clinic.
    Obviously she goes by her English name, which is what you heard.
    However, being that you yourself want anonymity, which is understood and should be respected, she too deserves the respect that her wishes be honored and she can retain her privacy.
    if you would need to contact her, you can see if Rabbi Avtzon would be willing to forward your email to her.
    May her brocha to you be fulfilled.

    Reply
  • 80. Why so many comments? wrote:

    An average “Weekly Story” gets what: 0-3 comments? Why do stories about Malka get 5-6 DOZEN comments? Some segments got over 100 comments! Ma Nishtana: Why is this story different than all the other stories of Weekly Story?

    Reply
  • 81. When is Part 2 coming? wrote:

    When? I can’t wait! The weekly story has the best stories ever! This is the best of the best!

    Reply

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