In wake of the recent earthquakes and subsequent tsunamis which left death and devastation, Chabad emissary, Shliach of the Rebbe MH”M to Tokyo, Rabbi Binyomin Edery traveled to the beleaguered town of Sendai to try and locate Jews and participate in relief operations. In response to the question of whether to leave Tokyo to go south, Edery received a letter from Rebbe Melech Hamoshiach through Igros Kodesh that “There is no basis for panic”, and requested that they prepare accordingly for upcoming Purim farbrengens and activities.
On Sunday, 7 Adar II, March 13, 2011 the Israeli Consulate in Tokyo called and asked Rabbi Edery for assistance in trying to locate a Jew in Sendai with whom contact had been lost due to the collapse of the media in the city following the earthquake.
Sendai, a city located in the Pacific Coast, is the largest city which was affected by the destruction of the earthquake that occurred at noon (Japan Standard Time) Friday, Adar II, March 11th.
The city of over one million was first struck by earthquake damage in which entire neighborhoods of houses were destroyed, but then came the wave of the tsunami that swept through the whole region and changed the area almost beyond recognition.
The response of the Rebbe MH”M Shlita through Igros Kodesh, that Torah and mitzvos must be maintained even when it is fraught with difficulties and tests, left no doubt. Rabbi Edery understood that he was obligated to help. The very next day he set off, accompanied by a group from his Chabad Center, known as the “Goyim of the Geula” (Gentiles of Redemption).
Rabbi Edery related the following about the painful scene: “Once you travel approximately 300 km north from Tokyo along the east coast of Japan the sights are very difficult. There are miles of decimated houses, cars and trees. Unfortunately, there are too many bodies.
We came very close to the area hit by tsunami waves, there is just incomprehensible destruction. People still do not digest that their world had been destroyed.
People here generally respond in a quiet fashion… Water distribution is done from time to time without urgency. The survival conditions are difficult; there is no electricity, water, food and fuel, everything is stuck. Many public venues have become concentrated in shelters.. We brought water and food with us that was distributed there. People did not know how to thank us.
We met with representatives of municipal and security officials who expressed admiration with our initiative. Of course, we distributed leaflets and cards everywhere of the Seven Noahide Laws with the picture of the Rebbe MH”M Shlita.
Finally, we decided that we could not continue further and that we had to start our journey back. Then it became clear that we had run out of fuel. We left the car in one of the parking lots and by Divine Providence we managed to hitch a ride toward Tokyo.”