I was sent this email by a friend of mine, who knows the son of the person who saw this.... yah, it's one of those stories, BUT, I did confirm it by calling New York and speaking directly with Rabbi Bloom, who should be, G-d willing, on my radio show next week to speak about this. The original email was written I believe, by the Rav's son in law, Eliyahu Rubinovich. Here is what was written in the email:
"Rabbi Shmuel Bloom of Agudath Israel of America is a busy man involved in important matters concerning Klal Yisroel.
Why would he, then, spend a considerable amount of hours traveling to look at bananas (all the way up north near Tiberias) during his recent trip to Eretz Yisroel?
(Aerial photo of Israel)
A completely secular farmer whose produce is bananas decided that he would undertake to keep Shmitah this time around. He approached the Keren HaShviis for assistance and they stipulated that he would be registered in their program if he would also undertake to be personally Shomer Shabbos throughout Shmitah. He agreed. Keren HaShviis (Here, I was told by Rabbi Bloom, that it was actually the Otzar Bet Din of Bnei Brak) undertook to cover his farming expenses in return for which all the produce would become the property of Otzar Beis Din and would be distributed in full accordance with Halacha.
Israel has suffered a significant cold spell over the past 2 to 3 weeks. Bananas don’t like cold. Cold doesn’t like bananas. Needless to say, they don’t get along. When bananas are still growing and get hit with frost, they turn brown and become rock-solid hard.
The hero of our story, Gibor Koach the banana farmer, knew he was in deep trouble when the relentless cold hadn’t let up for over a week. He lived a distance from his orchard and hadn’t yet seen the damage with his own eyes. He began to receive calls from his neighbor farmers, who have orchards bordering his, complaining bitterly that their entire banana crop had been destroyed by the frost. He decided it was time to inspect the damage up close, no matter how painful it may be.
He drove up close to Tverya (Tiberius) to inspect his orchard, as well as those of his neighboring farmers. As he passed from one orchard to another, he was overwhelmed by the damage. Not a single fruit had survived, no tree was spared. His neighbors took quite a beating. All the bananas were brown, hard as a rock.
He could only imagine how bad his trees must have gotten it.
Yet when he finally got to his orchard, he was awestruck! ALL of his bananas were yellow and green. It’s as if his orchard was not part of this parcel of land. His orchard bordered those of his neighbors, but not a single tree of his was struck by the frost. It’s as if a protective wall kept the damage away. At first he thought he was imagining it, and as he rushed from one section of his orchard to another, the realization that more than the farmer keeps the Shmitah, the Shmitah keeps the farmer hit home.
He immediately called his contacts at Keren HaShviis and yelled into the phone, “Karah Nes, Karah Nes!” ( A miracle happened, a miracle happened!)
A miraculous modern-day manifestation of “V’Tzivisi Es HaBracha”.
There is no way to explain this other than that HaKodesh Baruch Hu keeps His promises. He says keep Shmitah, and I’ll take care of you. He sure does!
Keren HaShviis reports that farmers that until now refused to keep Shmitah, have been turning to the Keren following the losses suffered as a result of the frost, they are now ready to commit to Shmitah observance.
And so, Rabbi Bloom took the time to travel all the way to Tverya (Tiberias) and back to witness this awe-inspiring phenomenon. During the previous Shmita (2000-2001) Agudath Israel of America provided over $1,000,000 to Keren HaShviis. It plans to do even more this time around."
Above Photo: Standing amidst the destruction of the non-observing fields where everything is brown.
Below Photo: Rabbi Bloom with rabbis from the Otzar Bet Din standing next to yellow and green bananas of the field that sanctified Eretz Yisroel and the Shmitah year.
Below: Good, unharmed bananas from the Shmitah observing field.