DOMINO EFFECT: BEIS MOSHIACH MIRACLE STORIES RESULT IN MORE MIRACLES
January 12, 2016
Nosson Avraham in #1004, Miracle Story

Many stories publicized in Beis Moshiach have created considerable excitement over the years, including significant changes and improvements in the lives of countless Jews. In commemoration of the magazine’s recent one thousandth issue, Nosson Avraham, lead contributor to the B’didi-Miracle Stories column, discussed an amazing succession of Divine Providence stories and how its continuous spiritual influence saved six Jews from assimilation…

Translated by Michoel Leib Dobry

The Rebbe stated on countless occasions the saying, “We are assured by covenant that any wide-ranging effort and labor [in outreach] pursued wisely and with friendship is never fruitless”. During my twelve years working with the Beis Moshiach magazine, I have seen the fulfillment of this adage over and over again.

It is no secret that the column I enjoy the most is B’didi Hava Uvda, presenting our readers each week with miracle stories of Divine Providence, together with descriptive and thrilling life experiences.

I saw the tremendous influence of the written word for myself with one of the first articles I submitted for publication in the magazine – the fascinating life story of R’ Yotam Klein.

Yotam was born in Kibbutz Gesher, enlisted in an elite IDF unit, and then spent years searching for G-d. Among other things, he participated in an arduous and exhilarating backpacking journey through South America. When I asked him for some pictures to illustrate his experiences, he gave me some photos with him holding real alligators and anacondas. The editors selected one picture for the article showing him with a frightening snake in his hands. As I had hoped, the article made a very positive impression. Many shluchim called Yotam and asked him to deliver a lecture on his life story.

Over the next two years, I wrote many more articles and stories. One night during Tishrei 5766, when I was staying in 770, I was sitting at a farbrengen for bachurim. Among those speaking was a baal t’shuva studying in Ramat Aviv, and he was telling the story about how his connection to Chabad developed. According to this bachur, the clincher came when he was sitting in one of the Chabad Houses in India during the early stages of his kiruv process, and he was having doubts whether he was doing the right thing. There was an issue of Beis Moshiach on the table and he began to leaf through it.

Suddenly, his eyes came across a picture of a typical Israeli tourist holding a giant snake. The photo aroused his curiosity, and he read the accompanying article. It moved him to take action. “If this young man with his unique life story can come close to traditional Judaism after being so far away, then I should be able to follow the same path,” he thought to himself.

I felt a sense of elation as I heard him tell his story. This showed that I played a modest, albeit important, role in his return to Yiddishkait, in the merit of the article I had publicized in Beis Moshiach.

I have since heard countless reactions to my printed articles, particularly the miracle stories. These stories possess something that touches and arouses the hearts of our fellow Jews.

CHOOSING “THE” STORY

In honor of the one thousandth issue of Beis Moshiach, I was asked to write about the spiritual impact from publicizing these stories in the magazine. The truth is that there have been many articles. After almost every B’didi column, there has been a wave of telephone calls from people who were very impressed by the story and asked for more details. However, if I had to choose the article that created the most positive revolution among our readers, it would be the story of the Jew who was saved from assimilation that appeared in print toward the end of 5768, and was followed by more and more articles of a similar nature. They represented a direct continuation of the same amazing and miraculous story.

1.

On a Shabbos for yeshiva bachurim that took place that year on Shabbos Parshas BaMidbar, HaTamim Shneur Zalman Aharon told the following story:

Last summer, I was on shlichus in Prague, he began. R’ Itzik Gershowitz and his wife also arrived there in preparation for conducting local High Holiday activities sponsored by the Chabad House. R’ Yitzchak (Itzik) led the Rosh Hashanah meals with great skill while integrating Chassidic stories from the past and present. One of the stories he told was uniquely inspiring, primarily due to its exceptional ending:

“Several years ago I was learning in the Chabad yeshiva in Tzfas,” said R’ Yitzchak Gershowitz as he began his story.” As part of the mivtzaim activities we organized, I would go each Friday to a car dealership in Natzrat Illit, put t’fillin on passers-by and employees, while making certain to reach the owners as well. On one occasion, I walked between the rows of cars for sale, and seeing a Jew standing near one of the cars, I approached him and asked, ‘Have you already put on t’fillin today?’

“Instead of replying, he made a request, ‘Tell me a nice story.’

“No problem,” I said, and I immediately began telling the following story. “One day, a typical Israeli (as per “Israeli tradition”) arrived in Belgium. He had left Eretz Yisroel, traveling all over the globe to earn money, “living it up,” and above all, leaving behind the noisy and hectic life in his native homeland. Now, far away from his parents and teachers, whose answers to his many questions never seemed to satisfy him, he tried to fill the empty void within his soul.

“Regrettably, this young man, whose knowledge of Judaism was minimal, became acquainted with a local Gentile woman and the connection between them grew very strong. After a relationship of three years, the two decided r”l to get married. However, the young man told his girlfriend that since he realized that he was about to take a very significant step in his life, he first wanted to seek the advice of a rabbi. ‘At least I’ll know where I’m heading,’ he explained, and the Gentile woman agreed.

“The young man went to a certain rabbi and discussed his future plans with him. Realizing the gravity of the situation, the rabbi used all the powers of persuasion he could muster to try and dissuade him from carrying out his intentions. He explained to him that throughout their years in exile, the Jewish people had acted with great self-sacrifice for their holiness, doing everything to preserve their unique status. As a result, he urged him not to make such a decision.

“After a lengthy discussion, the young man was convinced and he left his non-Jewish girlfriend.

“However, after just a few days, he reversed his decision and returned to her. Shortly before their scheduled wedding, he again told her that he still wanted to speak with another rabbi. ‘Maybe he won’t see things as seriously,’ he thought to himself.

“The second rabbi also made an intensive effort to convince the young Jew to change his mind. ‘What will you say to the coming generation?’ he objected. ‘According to traditional Judaism, your future progeny, forever, will be Gentiles.’ He then explained that according to the Christian faith, his children will be Jews, ‘and their lives will become complicated at every turn.’ The rabbi’s words had a strong effect upon the young man, and he agreed to put an end to the relationship.

“However, it turned out that the test was too difficult for him, and before long, he again returned to his Gentile girlfriend.

“Shortly before their wedding, this young Jew decided again to see a rabbi. This time, he was determined that this would be the last meeting of this kind and he would abide by the results, even if it required considerable effort. By Divine Providence, the young man came this time to the Rebbe’s shliach in Belgium, Rabbi Shabtai Slavatitzki, and presented his case. As with the previous two instances, Rabbi Slavatitzki did everything he could to show him what a grievous error he was about to make. After several hours of discussion, the young man remained unyielding in his position. Seeing that his arguments weren’t being successful, Rabbi Slavatitzki thought for a few moments, and then said, ‘Ask the Rebbe!’

“The young man agreed and traveled to New York. He soon found himself standing in a long and crowded line in front of 770 for dollars distribution. He was filled with tension and anticipation as he slowly moved forward, step by step, preparing to come before the Rebbe. When the moment finally came, he was deeply moved. In a voice choking with emotion, he opened his heart to the Rebbe and asked for his advice. The Rebbe gave him a warm and affectionate look with a broad smile, as if he was the only person in the world.

“‘I’m jealous of you!’ the Rebbe told him. Before the young man could open his mouth, the Rebbe explained what he meant. ‘Every Jew is given a test that he can meet. The test is like a ladder by which he can climb to higher levels! I never had such a test. While such a test is definitely hard, it is fitting and important to take advantage of the moment and climb,’ the Rebbe said as he concluded his message of encouragement.

“The young man managed to hear the words ‘Bracha V’hatzlacha’ as he soon found himself outside the building, amazed and perplexed. The whole experience had left a powerful impression upon him, instilling him with greater strength and fortitude. He felt that the Rebbe had found the words that he needed to hear. A short while later, he made a steadfast decision to leave his girlfriend, once and for all!

“Later, when Rabbi Slavatitzki asked him why it was specifically the Rebbe’s words that had led him to make the right decision, he replied, ‘The other rabbanim with whom I spoke before coming to the Rebbe had a different style. One spoke with me about the gloried past of the Jewish People, the other spoke about my future children’s complications and lack of religious identity. However, the Rebbe focused his words on the present, on the great opportunity that had come my way. This imbued me with the strength I needed to make the right decision.’

“I told this story to the young man standing in the dealership’s lot. I failed to notice the profound effect it had upon him. After a few moments of silence, he managed to collect his thoughts and in a quavering voice said:

“‘Did someone send you here? How did you know to tell me this particular story? This is exactly what’s happening with me; this is the very problem facing me now! I can feel the truth in the Rebbe’s words because I too am struggling over whether to leave my non-Jewish girlfriend. However, I have now decided to leave her, once and for all, in the merit of the Lubavitcher Rebbe!’

“This Jew’s determination stemmed from a deep sense of regret, and he felt certain that he was now doing the right thing. I maintained contact with the young man, and he did leave his Gentile girlfriend. Nearly a year later, he married a Jewish woman and established a proper Jewish home.”

THE STORY THAT CREATED A REVOLUTION

The farbrengen participants sat awestruck by this fascinating story, amazed to discover that there was more to hear. “Our story is not quite over,” Shneur Aharon continued:

There was an Israeli Jew in the Prague Chabad House who also wandered to faraway places to run away from his people. Regrettably, he too fell into a relationship with a non-Jewish woman – named Cristina. While we tried several times to convince him to leave her, all our logical explanations were for naught.

Now, in the middle of the Rosh Hashanah evening seuda, as R’ Itzik Gershowitz told his story, I looked toward this Jew and saw him deeply immersed in thought.

The next day we read in the Torah about Akeidas Yitzchak, when Avraham Avinu gave his beloved son to be sacrificed in order to fulfill G-d’s command. This Jew came up to me after the davening and said, “Today I too am offering a lamb for a sacrifice…” When he saw my look of bewilderment, he began to explain. “I’m offering Cristina today…,” he said in a voice shaking with emotion.

2.

The story was publicized in the Beis Moshiach magazine and had a very powerful effect. In fact, three Jews were saved from spiritual assimilation due to this one article. However, an even more amazing reverberation from this story came in the form of another article publicized several years later in Beis Moshiach from Rabbi Heschel Greenberg, the Rebbe MH”M’s shliach in Buffalo. It turns out that the magazine had an important role in continuing this story at the other end of the globe, as Rabbi Greenberg tells:

One of the regular guests at our Chabad House is a young Jewish man named John (not his real name). John has been with us already for twelve years. He frequently davens at the Chabad House and even comes to eat the Shabbos meals at our house. With the passage of time, John became closer and closer to Yiddishkait. He began to observe Shabbos, eat kosher, put on t’fillin each weekday, and more. John’s parents, who were also regular guests in our home, did not object to their son’s spiritual reawakening. However, to my regret, there was one thing that they were stubborn about. John learned in a secular school, and all our efforts to convince them that this was a serious mistake proved unsuccessful.

For his part, John went around his school surroundings with Jewish dignity. He had no problem demonstrating pride in his Judaism against anyone who tried to smash his nose or break his teeth. We couldn’t say that the secular school had a bad influence upon him. At least, that’s what we thought.

One day, the bitter truth became abundantly clear. John had maintained contact for many years with a young woman whom he wanted to marry. There was only one problem: she was a Gentile. Every time I tried to speak with him on this matter, I came to the same sad conclusion. This was a test far too difficult for him. His evasive answers were greater proof than a thousand witnesses. Even John’s mother agreed. She was unwaveringly opposed to having a non-Jewish daughter-in-law, but John was just as stubborn and unyielding.

As we have mentioned, his family were regular guests at our Chabad House. One Shabbos during the meal, I decided to tell them a story I had read that week in Beis Moshiach. I don’t always have time to read the magazine – it usually depends on how early I come home before Shabbos. However, by Divine Providence, I was able to go through it that week. I came across one story in particular and I decided to tell it during the Shabbos meal.

Thus, I was sitting with a copy of Beis Moshiach on my knees, as I translated this story into English.

John sat spellbound. He looked at me in disbelief. While I imagined that he would be quite moved by this story, I never dreamed that his reaction would be so intense. I didn’t understand why this story I told had managed to stir him so deeply. After a few seconds in shock, John began to speak as his whole body trembled with emotion. “Cristina is my girlfriend’s name…” John mumbled. His mother sat near him and gave me a look of sheer gratitude. She could feel the turmoil of her son’s tortured soul during those moments.

As it turned out, her motherly instinct was right on the mark. That same week, John went to his mother and happily informed her that he had completely broken off from his Gentile girlfriend.

Two years passed, and as with many Chabad Houses throughout the United States, the Chabad House in Buffalo periodically hosts groups for student Shabbatons – special Shabbos programs geared primarily for students. For most of the students, this is a once-a-year opportunity to experience authentic Judaism. Naturally, we do everything to make it as enjoyable for them as possible (so that they will want to come again…). However, our real objective is to connect them to Yiddishkait.

About a month ago, one such group of students came to the Chabad House. They spent a very joyous Shabbos with us, filled with much singing and dancing. The Shabbos meals aroused some very high spirits among the participants, and thank G-d, they enjoyed themselves tremendously. Each meal was highlighted by words of Torah and stories where I tried to stress the inner meaning of Shabbos.

At one of the meals that Shabbos, I told the story that I had read in the Beis Moshiach magazine with my own small addition, the story of John.

A hush fell over the group. It appeared that the young people in attendance identified with the heroes of this story and were very inspired by its happy ending.

At a certain point, one of the female students got up and said, “Rabbi, this is only the second time I’ve come for a Shabbaton, and yet this is the second time I’m hearing this story. While the first time wasn’t with you, this is still a most interesting coincidence.”

“First of all,” I said to her in reply, “for a Jew, there are no ‘coincidences,’ rather ‘Divine Providence.’ Secondly, had you already heard the aftermath of this story before?”

“No,” she admitted.

“Nu, so you’ve left with something else,” I concluded with a smile.

The following week I had to be in New York for a simcha. One of my acquaintances came up to me and pointed to a young lady standing in one of the corners of the events hall.

“Do you know her?” my friend asked.

“No,” I replied.

“This girl was with you last week for a Shabbaton and because you told some story, and this was exactly…”

“Ah, yes,” I said, cutting him off, “I remember now. But what were you starting to say that happened because of this story?”

“This girl left the Gentile boy with whom she had been.”

3.

As a result of these stories and the rounds they made, a total of five Jews were saved from the evils of assimilation.  However, it turned out that their influence was still there, and this time, by Divine Providence, it took hold of one of my best friends. In my wildest dreams, I never would have imagined that the dénouement of this story would take place so close to me.

Due to the powerful spiritual effect of Rabbi Greenberg’s story, we chose to publicize it about a year later.

The main character in the next chapter of this story was one of my close friends (to preserve his anonymity, we’ll call him Shimon). He is a young man who had become associated with Chabad and its teachings at a very young age. I became acquainted with him much later, as his connection to Chassidus and the Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach, grew. He learned in a Chabad Talmud Torah and later even in the mainstream Chabad yeshivos. He was a typical bachur who toed the line and did everything he was supposed to.

I heard from him one evening and we had a kind of confessional talk that continued well into the night, and he confided in me that he had begun a relationship with a young non-Jewish girl. When he told me this, I was left speechless. Here was a situation that I would have never imagined from a graduate of Tomchei T’mimim, especially not with one of my closest friends. This is someone who stringently davened three times a day, learned Chassidus morning and evening, knew well the concept of a Rebbe, and understood the profound significance of his actions.

My first reaction was a long silence, followed by an equally long stammer: What? How? Why? It was only as we continued talking that I slowly managed to absorb this news. Finally, I succeeded in blurting out a whole sentence: How did you come to this?

It turned out that the story wasn’t so complex. He was eating lunch at a restaurant. The waitress was a Gentile. They became acquainted, and the rest was history. At first I hoped that this ‘spirit of folly’ would pass as quickly as it came, and he would leave the Gentile woman. However, as the days and weeks passed, I was proven wrong. On the contrary, their relationship became even closer.

At a certain point, he even introduced himself to her parents and family at their home in New Jersey. They loved him at first sight. The girl’s mother was positively delighted that her daughter had become involved with a Jew, even though he was Orthodox, although she did initially ask him how he could betray his way of life. Nevertheless, she considered it a great achievement that her daughter had found a member of the Chosen People.

My good friend was getting sucked into a spiritual whirlpool. Incredibly, it didn’t cause the slightest change in his outward appearance. He continued to walk in the streets with a yarmulke on his head and enwrapped in woolen tzitzis. He put on t’fillin each weekday morning, Rashi and Rabbeinu Tam, davening three times a day. My heart sank as all my efforts to explain to him that he was making a grievous error fell on deaf ears. We had many long conversations lasting hours at a time. I referred him, discreetly of course, to seek the advice of people who deal with such issues, but nothing seemed to help.

He repeated the same thing, over and over again: “I know everything, I’m fully aware of my actions, I even know and understand that I’m making a grave mistake. However, I’m already into it far too deeply and I can’t cut myself off.”

Later, there naturally began a spiritual deterioration. This was to be expected. Gradually, he changed his attire and his manner of speaking.

I still had one ray of light left when I thought that there might be an opportunity for him to leave the Gentile woman and realize his mistake with the onset of the High Holiday season. This was a bachur who knew Torah, learned and reviewed Chassidic maamarim, and he davened on Rosh Hashanah in 770. When the huge congregation sang the niggunim of the Rebbeim before T’kias Shofar, he stood close to me and I saw him burst into tears. People near us were puzzled by this reaction, while I was actually quite happy and encouraged.

On Yom Kippur, he woke up early and davened with great solemnity. The day before, during the Kaparos ceremony, he swung the chicken over his head. Our eyes met for a few seconds. He lowered his head and said, “Alm-ghty G-d, You created this world, You give it existence literally out of nothing at every moment, and You know what will happen, what has happened, and what is happening now. Please help me to separate from this Gentile woman as easily as possible.”

I now felt relatively certain that he fully realized the situation and what was at stake. I hoped that the separation would come soon. However, to my great sorrow, the Tishrei holiday season passed and the inner spiritual arousal and reawakening went with it. Like someone under the control of an evil spirit, he went back to his non-Jewish girlfriend, and it appeared as if all was lost.

Around this time, I went on a shlichus mission outside of New York, but I continued to be in touch with him. For the most part, I was praying for him – what more could I do? One day, during a telephone conversation, he told me that without his knowledge, his girlfriend and her mother had begun to learn about Judaism in a Reform temple in his honor. I began to cry, but not from excitement. “How the mighty have fallen?” I thought to myself in pain.

Even my growing sense of pessimism in the face of this gloomy situation had not prepared me for what he said in yet another phone call. He said that he and his girlfriend had decided to move together to Florida. I didn’t know what to do. How could I possibly slam the brakes on this runaway locomotive leading my good friend into the abyss? I knew that he would realize his error sooner or later, but what price would he pay in the meantime?

He then said, “We are currently making the final preparations. We rented an apartment, bought a car, and in another week, we will be there with all our belongings.”

This time, I took off the gloves. I had an ethical and Jewish obligation of the highest order to tell him some very unpleasant things. “Don’t say that you weren’t warned,” I said. “You are standing at a crossroads and turning willingly toward a tragically forbidden path. You are not just making yourself miserable; this is something that relates to generations to come. Change your mind; this could be your last chance!” I failed. If I thought for a few moments that I had breached his wall of determination, his response proved to me once again that nothing had changed.

Several weeks passed. My extremely busy life removed him from my mind. Periodically, I had thoughts about my friend and where he was in the world, but this soon dissipated with the passage of time.

One night, my telephone rang. It was very late at night and I was getting ready to go to sleep. “Who could be calling me at this hour?” I mused sleepily. I quickly shook myself awake as I heard my friend on the line. His tone of voice was quite different this time.

“I left her two weeks ago,” he said. “To be more specific, I ran away from her.” By this time, there was no question of my falling back asleep, and our conversation lasted until morning. He spoke with great pain about the difficult period he had just gone through, about all the warning signs he had passed along the way, and how he didn’t have the courage to act as he should. The one who finally got a hold of him and put him in his place was, in his words, “the Rebbe himself in all his glory,” just one day before he was scheduled to travel to Florida with his Gentile companion. “I have no other explanation,” he said.

That night, he went to have dinner at one of the kosher restaurants in New York. He was confused and distressed. He understood that he was about to take a step that would determine his whole future and he wanted to relax a bit.

During his meal, seated at a table near him was the Rebbe MH”M’s shliach in Cholon, Rabbi Yerachmiel Gorelick, and several of his friends, including the restaurant’s manager, an Israeli émigré. The two began a lively discussion and Shimon listened to the interesting conversation.

The restaurant manager complained to the shliach: Why do his friends work on Shabbos, make a lot of good money, while he closes his business on Shabbos and earns considerably less than them? Fair question. Rabbi Gorelick listened to his complaint, thought for a moment, and then replied, “I’m jealous of you.” Rabbi Gorelick proceeded to tell his host the abovementioned story about the Jew who was about to marry a non-Jewish woman, and how the Rebbe managed to dissuade the man by explaining that he was jealous of him because of the test that Heaven was placing before him.

“I’m jealous of you too,” Rabbi Yerachmiel Gorelick said, as he moved to the moral behind this particular story. “If you are given the opportunity to face a trial on observing Shabbos, you apparently have not only the strength to overcome this test, you can also grow and develop as a direct result.”

There are no coincidences in the world, and Shimon knew this as well. He understood that it wasn’t for naught that he had come to this restaurant at exactly this moment to hear Rabbi Gorelick’s story. The message gnawed away at his conscience. Instead of relaxing a little, the heavy weight on his chest merely grew larger and more intense. However, it also seemed that this situation was like a single flash of lightning that would fizzle out in a few minutes. How could things possibly change? While he knew that he was about to do something in complete contrast to his true essence, his conscience, and his faith, he felt that he had lost all self-control.

After he finished his meal, he went down to the subway station. Suddenly, he decided to go to Crown Heights – and to 770, no less. Apparently, there was some inner force pushing him there before he fell headlong into the abyss of klipa.

It’s easy to imagine his lowly spiritual state during that time. His G-dly soul was engaged in a fierce battle with his evil inclination for his very survival. He sat on the subway, totally absorbed in his own thoughts.

At one of the stations, a young Israeli man got on board. This was the last person Shimon would have wanted to speak with about anything. This fellow liked to chat about his surroundings, the whole world – the main thing was to talk.

Shimon sat in his place and prayed that he would just leave him alone. “I’m just not in the mood to get into a conversation,” he said. However, the Master of the Universe apparently sent this young man on a special mission, and he continued to chatter away with a smile on his lips.

“I know you from somewhere,” the Israeli said gently. “All Jews are brothers,” Shimon replied politely. “It’s a small world.” He hoped that the young man would get the hint. Instead, he paid no attention and kept talking incessantly. He didn’t even wait for Shimon to respond. He first told about the new apartment he had found, the strong Jewish community in the United States, and his work as a deliveryman. Several minutes later, he suddenly stopped his chatter and said, “I have to tell you something.”

Without waiting for a reply, the Israeli began his story. “I may appear to be a traditional Jew and my grandfather was a rabbi in a synagogue. However, up until a few days ago, I had a non-Jewish girlfriend from Puerto Rico. You Lubavitchers saved me. If I would have listened to you earlier, I never would have got into this mess.”

Ignoring Shimon’s changing facial expressions, the Israeli continued his monologue. “I went out with this woman for a whole year. Her parents and family demonstrated great love towards me. They were very happy that their daughter had become acquainted with a Jew and they even bought us a car.

“I was certain that this connection would only get stronger. However, every time I came to Crown Heights and stayed with friends there, they wasted no effort in explaining to me in the clearest possible terms that a union between a Jew and Gentile is something that cannot produce a happy and normal family life. I didn’t know what they wanted from me. I’ve lived among my people; I always thought that Israeli girls only wanted to take my money away from me. Now there came a Gentile woman who only gave to me without making any requests… Why do they say such things about non-Jews? I liked the way they related to me. I knew that when I would decide to marry her, I would get her to convert just like many others do.

“A few days ago, I was driving our car through Manhattan on some errands. As I was traveling along the city streets, I again asked myself what the Chabadnikim want from me. If I would listen to them, I wouldn’t even have a car, as her parents had bought it for both of us. Just fifteen minutes later, I was involved in an automobile accident. While the car was not seriously damaged, I quickly called my Gentile girlfriend’s mother to let her know what had happened. When she heard that I had been in an accident, she began to shower me with anti-Semitic curses such as ‘dirty Jew,’ etc.

“I never would have believed that she would speak to me in such a manner. She had always been so friendly and pleasant to me, but it seems that she was just giving me lip service. I suddenly realized that the Chabadnikim were right!

“Today,” the young Israeli continued, “I learned the first chapter of Tanya with one of the Chabadnikim. The Alter Rebbe writes there about the concept of ‘The kindness of the nations is sin.’ Indeed it is… That very same day I informed my Gentile girlfriend that I was leaving her. She pleaded and apologized, but I now realized that it was a waste of time. A Jew and a Gentile together in a relationship just won’t work. I headed straight to 770, where I started coming on a daily basis…”

The young Israeli finished his story and the train came to a halt. The conductor announced that they had arrived at the Kingston Avenue stop.

Shimon almost couldn’t get up from his place. Just two hours earlier in a restaurant he had heard a story about a Jew whom the Rebbe had saved from assimilation, and now he’s hearing another amazing anecdote from a strange young man about his own rescue from assimilation, all while he is facing an identical conundrum. The Israeli youth didn’t understand why the Chabad bachur sitting near him appeared totally dumbstruck.

Shimon felt that the powers of Heaven were trying to help him in reaching the right decision. “The fact is that I heard today two stories in a row about Jews saved from assimilation. I had never heard or read such stories in my life.”

Upon leaving the subway station, the Israeli parted from him, but not before tossing him another insight on life: “These Gentiles, they can show you that they like you, but if the Torah says ‘Eisav hates Yaakov,’ then that is the actual reality, and I’ve experienced this for myself. It was only for this reason that I recently got closer to G-d.”

RISING FROM THE BOTTOM

Shimon sat for a good long time on one of the benches in front of Beis Chayeinu, trying to recover from this encounter. His life passed before him in his mind like a moving picture. Am I in a dream from which I will soon awake? he thought to himself. The buds of a true spiritual awakening began to blossom within him. It’s forbidden for you to do this, he heard a tiny voice ordering him. Father in Heaven, please help me get out of this mess. In his thoughts he saw himself sitting at farbrengens, thirstily drinking the words of the rabbanim and mashpiim.

He recalled his moments of hiskashrus to the Rebbe, the nighttime Krias Shma, and the fact that as a Tamim he never let a morning pass without going to the mikveh. He remembered learning the Rebbe’s sichos and maamarim each morning. All these recollections penetrated his being like a sword. He looked at the T’mimim going in and out of 770, saw their gentle and peaceful faces and his heart filled with envy. What have I come to? How have I reached such a state? He burst into sobs from the depths of his troubled soul.

It was only some time later that he gathered the strength to go into 770. He soon found himself joining a minyan for Mincha, although his thoughts were somewhere else entirely.

When he finished davening, he sat down on one of the benches in a state of pensiveness. Suddenly, he noticed a copy of Beis Moshiach lying on a nearby table and began to look through it in an almost absent-minded manner. He recalled with a sad sense of nostalgia how he would wait in yeshiva for the magazine to come out every Wednesday and read all the articles, including the Chassidim Ein Mishpacha column. He smiled bitterly as he thought where they would write his name when he married his non-Jewish girlfriend…

He was quickly turning the pages, when his eyes picked up the word ‘assimilation.’ He went back to that page and saw a story told by Rabbi Heschel Greenberg, the Rebbe’s shliach in Buffalo, about how the Rebbe saved a Jew from assimilation. As he read the story, it turned out that he had the same name as this Jew and the non-Jewish girlfriend in the story had the same name as his girlfriend. The story ended with the Jew deciding to leave his Gentile companion…

Shimon was shocked. This was the third message he had received that day – a sharp and clear message.

Tears rolled down his cheeks for a long while and he didn’t try to stop them. A number of bachurim were sitting and learning near him and they looked at him in puzzlement. They tried to find out if he needed help with something, but he gently rejected them. I’ve already got my help and these tears are the result, he thought to himself.

He didn’t waste much time. He got up from his place, traveled to his apartment, and brought all his things to 770.  He then bought an airline ticket for a flight out of New York scheduled for the next day. In the meantime, he destroyed his mobile phones to prevent the woman from having any way to contact him.

“My heart pounded uncontrollably,” my friend Shimon said as he recalled the chain of events in that telephone conversation lasting until the following morning. “Since leaving everything behind I entered yeshiva where I learn from morning until night. During my free time I do mivtzaim with other Jews. G-d saved me!”

FORTUNATE ARE WE, HOW GOOD IS OUR PORTION

Indeed, “any wide-ranging effort and labor [in outreach] pursued wisely and with friendship is never fruitless.”

Three stories publicized in Beis Moshiach – six Jews saved from assimilation among the nations of the world.

These are only a few stories among many I have encountered during my years of writing for the magazine.

Here’s another example: During this past year, I interviewed Rabbi Dr. Bar-Ami, who was privileged to have the Rebbe give him a spiritual segula for childbirth. Since then, I have been flooded with calls from people who wanted to contact him, for who knew if there would be another appointed time? Dozens of sweet little Jewish children were born and happy Chassidic families were established in the merit of publicizing this story in Beis Moshiach

Fortunate are we, how good is our portion that this is our shlichus and objective in Beis Moshiach – to publicize the words of the Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach, his path, and his teachings to spread the announcement of the Redemption.

Article originally appeared on Beis Moshiach Magazine (http://beismoshiachmagazine.org/).
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