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During World War II, Jewish inmates of the Yanov labor camp in occupied Poland defied their Nazi guards, secretly conducting religious services inside their darkened barracks. To observe their ritual, the Jews had cut religious scrolls into sections, bound the parchment pieces around their bodies, and walked them through Yanov’s front gate. They hid the fragments wherever they could--beneath the floorboards of their barracks, inside hollow bedposts, even in a camp cemetery.

After the camp’s liberation in 1945, one survivor collected the scattered pieces. He assembled them into a single ragged scroll, the Yanov Torah. Three decades later, the Torah--its parchment warped and water-stained, its patchwork sheets held together by fraying threads--found its way to Los Angeles and into the hands of a leader of the city’s Reform Jewish community, Rabbi Erwin Herman, who devoted the final years of his life to telling its remarkable story.

Think of the dedication to the word of God that these people had! Imagine risking your life to keep a copy of the Bible--even if it was in fragments and hidden all manner of places. How much more should we hide the word of God in our hearts!

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