When the Tsunami happened on March 11, 2011, the Japanese people were stricken with extreme fear. There was the threat of radiation from the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Many people were afraid to go outside. Many basic necessities were gone from the store racks because people were buying in panic.
Embassies sent out mails urging their citizens to go back home. Narita was packed with people sleeping in the airport lobby waiting for upcoming flights. Panic and fear loomed in the air.
There was one person however who did not fear, and his one and only thought was- how can I help the people who suffered such a heavy loss.
On Saturday evening, March 12, Rabbi Edery and several volunteers of Chabad Japan set out with a van full of relief for the people of Tohoku. Some asked him, aren’t you afraid of radiation, how can you risk your own life, you have a wife and children. He calmly answered with a question: If it was your child, or sister or brother in danger and in the need of help, wouldn’t you go immediately to help? That is what I am doing, and do not even have one ounce of hesitation.
During this time, Rabbi Edery and Efrat were expecting another child. People advised the Rabbi that it wasn’t safe for a pregnant woman and children, but the Rabbi confidently answered that people are more afraid than the actual reality and time will tell. He said to them that when people are dying one needs to focus on saving lives, and G-d Almighty will protect us.
On August 28, 2011, five months after the Tsunami, a beautiful, healthy baby boy was born to Rabbi Edery and his wife.They named him Nissim Ariel. Nissim means miracles, this was a prayer to G-d, thanking Him for the miracles during the Tsunami, and also a prayer that from now on, Japan should only see miracles and good things. Ariel means Lion of G-d, and represents overcoming difficulty.
Soon after, the people of Tohoku gave a beautiful gift to the Rabbi for the birth of the baby in appreciation for his constant support and selflessness during Tsunami and its aftermath. A frame with many blessings and good wishes handwritten by each person.