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Wednesday
Mar252015

CHANGING PLANS

Friday night. 770 in Kfar Chabad. A group of Chassidim were farbrenging, eating a little from the refreshments and drinking l’chaim. They blessed one another with all their hearts and sang moving and joyous songs. They sat there until late, not noticing the passage of time.

New people join nearly every week – mekuravim, baalei t’shuva and others who come to be warmed by the atmosphere of 770, the Rebbe’s home in Eretz Yisroel.

At these farbrengens, many miracle stories are told. The following story was told at one of these special farbrengens.

***

Ezra, a young dynamic person who lives in Ramat Gan, wears a knitted kippa. He appeared in 770 in Kfar Chabad at one of these Friday night farbrengens. Although he looked different than the Chassidim sitting there, he fit in well with the unifying atmosphere at the farbrengen. He drank l’chaim, blessed and was blessed, and you could see he was deciding whether to speak or not.

Some of the Chassidim noticed this and sensed there was an interesting story waiting to be told.

“Come on Ezra, tell us.” Someone tapped him on the shoulder and said, “It is very important to publicize miracles. It hastens the Geula.”

Ezra was convinced and began his story:

I am a successful computer technician. I am not yet married and I am very busy with my work. I have many customers and they are very happy with me, thank G-d. In recent years, I’ve become more committed to Torah and mitzvos and I have even drawn other people along with me. I go to shiurim and drag along some friends. Everything was fine and good but I felt I was missing something, that I wasn’t realizing my potential here, so I decided to leave the country.

I gave a lot of thought about where to go and consulted with friends. I decided to go to Australia. Since I’m in the computer field, I figured I wouldn’t have a problem finding a good job and making a lot of money there.

Everything was ready – a visa, a date of departure, and I had already told friends I was leaving. I had almost started packing when one “chance” encounter with a friend changed everything.

It was just a stroll I took one evening. I saw a good friend of mine heading my way by the name of Avri.

“Ezra, how are you? How’s work? We haven’t seen one another in a long time.”

“Thank G-d, great, work is fine, the customers are happy, but … I have plans for a new and much better future.”

Avri looked puzzled and I filled him in.

“In a few days I’m flying to Australia on an open ticket.”

“Really? What’s not good about right here? Why do you think you’ll be happier there?”

I did not go into detail since I didn’t think it was necessary. I had made up my mind and wasn’t going to change it.

“Listen,” said Avri. I have a small request to make of you before you make such a significant move. Write to the Rebbe through the Igros Kodesh and seek his counsel and ask for a bracha. Believe me, you won’t be disappointed.”

The truth is, I had heard some miracle stories of the Rebbe that happened through the Igros Kodesh, but I hadn’t expected to hear about this from Avri.

“What connection do you have with the Igros Kodesh?” I couldn’t help but ask, and Avri went on to tell me a miracle he had personally experienced.

“My mother was very sick. The doctors gave up on her. By divine providence, I found out about the Igros Kodesh and we asked the Rebbe for a bracha. You can probably guess the end of the story. My mother miraculously recovered! Since then, I tell everyone not to make a significant move without writing to the Rebbe and asking for his bracha,” said Avri.

I wasn’t convinced, but for some reason I decided to give it a try, maybe because I didn’t think it would change my mind. Upon Avri’s recommendation, the next day I went to R’ Dovid Ushki, director of the Chabad house in Ramat Aviv, and we wrote a letter together. He explained to me that I needed to commit to doing what the Rebbe said. I hesitated but finally agreed.

After making the appropriate preparations, I wrote out my plans and put it into a volume of Igros Kodesh. I was amazed by the answer on the page; it was like nothing I had expected. I copied the answer and here it is, word for word: “Your question regarding moving from … I don’t see it at all. Since Hashem has given you the privilege of being in a place where you can be effective … in truth, in matters of Judaism in general and matters connected with Chassidus in particular, it is not at all understandable why you are thinking of moving and looking in other countries.”

I found it hard to utter a word. I looked at R’ Ushki and he too, did not say a thing. He just smiled broadly, happy I had opened to a clear answer.

“I think this is quite clear,” he finally said. “So you’ll stay?”

I nodded and stammered, “Uh … yeah, of course, I … I’ll stay here.”

I left his house in a turmoil. On the one hand, it was hard for me to change all my plans at the last minute, to cancel my ticket and all my exciting plans. On the other hand, I was happy. I felt that there was someone guiding me in the best possible way. The Rebbe said I had a mission to accomplish with friends and that I had to continue to influence them and indeed, I try. I also committed to a certain hiddur in mitzvos as a gift for the Rebbe.

***

Ezra finished his story and the Chassidim spontaneously burst into the singing of “Yechi,” for the Rebbe is chai v’kayam.

 

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