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Tuesday
Oct172017

HEAVENLY CLOSURE 

Rabbi Shneur Bitton did not plan to come to the Rebbe for Tishrei last year, but two identical dreams changed his mind. Two incidents that complemented one another happened to him, one on the flight to New York and another on the flight back to Eretz Yisroel, thereby closing the circle in an amazing demonstration of Divine Providence.

Translated by Michoel Leib Dobry

It never dawned on Rabbi Shneur Bitton that he would be flying to Beis Chayeinu for Tishrei last year. He had considerable educational responsibilities as a teacher at the Chabad Talmud Torah in Teveria and he now had a small child at home beginning to take his first steps. This led him to the decision that he would spend the High Holiday season with his family and among his young friends and neighbors in the Chabad community of Tzfas. However, an amazing dream that repeated itself again and again caused him to change his mind, pack a suitcase, and board a flight for New York.

I HAD A DREAM…

“A few weeks before the High Holidays, Chassidim were already actively planning for their trip to the Rebbe. In our community, there were many avreichim who had already made their way to Beis Chayeinu. Some went for the first half of the holiday season, while others, most of them, traveled for the second half – Sukkos and Simchas Torah. In light of the prevailing circumstances, I decided that I would remain in Eretz HaKodesh.

“On the Shabbos before Rosh Hashanah, I woke up in the middle of the night after having an amazing dream. I dreamt that I saw the tumult of Simchas Torah in 770 in all its glory and excitement. In the midst of all this, I noticed the Rebbe standing on his platform, surrounded by a most joyous atmosphere of dancing Chassidim. Suddenly, the Rebbe turned towards me and motioned with his finger for me to come to him.

“At this point, I woke up.

“I told the dream to my wife, but I didn’t attach any significance to it. I simply thought that I had the dream due to all the talk around me about people traveling to 770.

“The following afternoon, as I took a short nap, the dream repeated itself with remarkable precision in every detail. The Rebbe, surrounded by the many Chassidim around him, dancing and singing, again turned to me and motioned with his finger that I should come to him. When I woke up, I told my wife, ‘That’s it, I’m flying to Beis Chayeinu this year.’ After a dream so clear and identical to the first one, it was obviously a sign of something.

“On Motzaei Shabbos, I checked my passport and visa, and I found them both to be valid.

“I remembered that one of my older brothers told me that he was debating whether he should go for Tishrei. After I called and told him about the dream, he immediately said, ‘I’m flying with you.’ We made plans to travel together immediately after Rosh Hashanah to Miami, where we would help another brother, Rabbi Levi Bitton, who does tremendous work with the local Moroccan Jewish community. We would then fly to New York to spend Sukkos and Simchas Torah in 770. Since the most reasonable ticket we could find was with Turkish Airlines, we made a stopover in Istanbul, and from there we continued to Miami.”

THE WORD OF THE KING REACHES ALL NATIONS OF THE WORLD

“During our connecting flight, a man sat on the seat next to us, but we did not interact with him. At a certain point, I took out the weekly ‘D’var Malchus’ booklet and started studying the daily Chitas and Rambam shiurim. As I finished and prepared to put the booklet back in my carry-on, this man turned to me and asked what I had been learning. He spoke in English with a heavy Russian accent, and my brother, who had been on shlichus in Moscow and knew the local language, began speaking with him in Russian. The man identified himself as a Jew and he then surprised us when he said that he lived across from the ‘Marina Roscha’ Synagogue, where he visited on numerous occasions and saw similar booklets in various colors.

“After we explained to him about the ‘D’var Malchus’ and what it contains, there began a lively discussion between us. He even said that he has great love for the tradition of our forefathers. During the previous Yom Kippur, he had participated in the prayer services at the ‘Marina Roscha’ Synagogue. He spoke about his two children, a son and a daughter. His son was a student in medical school; his daughter was also a student, but she was a source of much personal anguish for him. He said that she had been in a relationship with a Gentile for a number of years, and now she was talking about her desire to marry him and raise a family. This matter distressed him deeply and he had a difficult time trying to talk her out of her plans.

“He spoke with great pain, and we told him in response that we were on our way to the Lubavitcher Rebbe. We promised him that we would pray for him and his family, requesting a bracha on their behalf. He was very pleased by the offer, and he gave us his daughter’s name and her mother’s name: Anna bas Victoria.

“As we had planned, we spent the Yom Kippur holiday with our brother in Miami. We helped him in his activities, and were impressed by his marvelous work in spreading the wellsprings of Chassidus and bringing his fellow Jews closer to Yiddishkait. Immediately after Yom Kippur, we boarded a flight for New York to celebrate ‘the time of our rejoicing’ in ‘Beis Rabbeinu Sh’B’Bavel’ with thousands of guests who had come to see and be seen. The atmosphere was simply magical: We participated each night in the Simchas Beis HaShoeiva celebration, dancing until the wee hours of the morning and then joining the Rebbe’s minyan for Shacharis in 770.

“Obviously, we didn’t forget our promise to the embittered Jew we met on the flight to Miami, and we mentioned him and his daughter before the Rebbe for a bracha.

“On the Wednesday after Simchas Torah, we boarded a Turkish Airlines flight from Kennedy Airport to Istanbul. As one would expect, this flight’s passenger list included numerous Chabad chassidim returning from their stay in Beis Chayeinu for the month of Tishrei, and the atmosphere was uplifting. In a nearby seat, there sat a middle-aged woman. During the flight, no conversation between us took place. Then, as our stopover landing in Turkey approached, I took out my weekly ‘D’var Malchus’ booklet and started to learn the daily shiurim while completing unfinished studies from previous days.

“Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed this woman looking at the booklet while she kept her eyes firmly planted on me. When the flight crew informed the passengers that we were preparing to land, I put the ‘D’var Malchus’ booklet back in my carry-on. Just then, the woman turned to me and spoke in broken English. She identified herself as a Jew and asked about the content of the ‘D’var Malchus’ booklet. Once again, it turned out that while the person conversed in English, she was Russian in origin. Here too, my brother offered to give an explanation in her native tongue about the booklet and its contents. We couldn’t get over the fact that we had been asked the same questions about the ‘D’var Malchus’ on our flight to New York by another Russian Jew. However, nothing prepared us for the shock that was about to hit us in the next few minutes.

“When my brother finished explaining to her about what the ‘D’var Malchus’ contained, he told her that on the first leg of their journey, they had met a Jew from Russia who also inquired about the nature of this booklet.

“‘Where did you travel?’ she asked.

“‘To Miami.’

“‘When was this?’

“We gave the date, adding that he had told us that he lived across from the ‘Marina Roscha’ Synagogue. When she heard this, the color drained from her face as she went completely pale. The shock was so great that she couldn’t open her mouth.

“Later, we told her what the man had told us about his daughter who wanted to marry a Gentile.

“‘She won’t be marrying the Gentile,’ she said to our great surprise.

“‘What do you mean?’

“‘You met my husband, who was flying to Miami for a family get-together.’ She then told us that there had been a serious argument between their daughter and her Gentile fiancé. As a result, they decided to break off their relationship.

“Now it was our turn to be impressed by the Hand of Divine Providence. We told her that we had prayed for her daughter, and a quick computation revealed that the bitter quarrel took place on the same day that we arrived at Beis Chayeinu and davened for her.

“This was the first time in my life that I had experienced such an amazing demonstration of Divine Providence,” R’ Shneur Bitton recalled. “And who knows if this was the reason why the Rebbe had asked me to come and stay with him in 770? A man’s steps are established by G-d. While I had experienced many things in my life that I would call ‘Divine Providence,’ every Jew has had such experiences. However, this story was so electrifying, it was like the first time for me.”

A CONTINUOUS ACTIVITY

“We were deeply moved by the circle closed through this story, and the woman was also overcome by the intensity of the miracle.

“We took advantage of the opportunity to ‘strike while the iron was hot.’ My brother explained to her that in order that such a situation should never happen again and her daughter should not ch”v start a relationship with another Gentile, they must set a proper example by strengthening their connection to the path of Torah and mitzvos,” R’ Shneur said as he concluded his story with tears of emotion glistening in his eyes. “This woman, Victoria, promised us that she sees this incident as a clear sign from Heaven to strengthen the Jewish identity in her home and her family. As a result, she will become a regular guest at Chabad activities in Moscow.”

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