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Thursday
Aug012019

I Missed One Dollar, the Rebbe Sent Another

Rabbi and Mrs. Bernstein were married in the winter of 5769. From the very beginning, it was clear that the two were going out on shlichus to prepare another spot on the globe to greet Moshiach. “After the ‘first year’, equipped with a bracha from the Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach, we made our way to India and opened a Chabad House in the city of Cochin,” Rabbi Bernstein recalled.

“Weeks and months passed, and we still had not been blessed to hear that our family was about to grow. We believed that it would happen soon, but as more time wore on with nothing new to report, we began the stage of physical examinations and other tests. Each time when we made a visit to Eretz Yisroel, we made appointments with specialists in the field. Yet, while we continued to have our share of disappointments, we remained confident that as the Rebbe’s shluchim, the shepherd will not abandon his flock and it was all just a matter of time. Shortly before Shavuos 5772, a friend told me a story about a chassid living in Tzfas who also didn’t have children for a number of years. He traveled to 770 for Simchas Torah and received from a chassid in the Crown Heights community a dollar that the Rebbe had given as a bracha for children. Incredibly, before the year ended, he became a proud father. I thought to myself: How could I obtain this dollar as a segula? The problem was that I didn’t know the name of the chassid who had received the dollar, and I also figured that the dollar had probably been returned by now.

“Then, just prior to boarding our flight for New York to spend Shavuos in Beis Chayeinu, my wife and I learned who had given this dollar to the chassid from Tzfas. It turns out that he had no children for seven years after getting married, and after he received two dollars from the Rebbe as a bracha – he and his wife were blessed with the birth of twins. I was very excited to hear this, and I decided to find him and ask for one of the dollars.

“The fact is that we planned to use our stay in Crown Heights primarily for matters pertaining to our shlichus in Cochin. By Divine Providence, I met the chassid we had been looking for – Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Spalter – on Kingston Avenue, just before our return flight to Eretz Yisroel. I told him about us, about our shlichus in India, and how we were still waiting to become parents. Finally, I pleaded with him to lend us at least one dollar from the Rebbe.

“He was most impressed by the great self-sacrifice we needed on our shlichus, and then he told me his own story. It turned out that his wife’s grandfather, the chassid R’ Chaikel Chanin, had requested a bracha for them many times – at dollars distribution and on other occasions, but they never received a specific blessing. Then one year, on the auspicious day of Lag Ba’Omer, the Rebbe suddenly announced that he would be giving out dollars. R’ Chaikel also passed by the Rebbe, but he forgot to request something for his grandchildren.

“Suddenly, there came a spiritual arousal from Above. The Rebbe turned to R’ Chaikel and asked if he needed a bracha for his grandchildren. Naturally, he immediately requested the Rebbe’s bracha, and the Rebbe responded by giving him two dollars. Within the year, they were blessed with twins.

“As I mentioned earlier, Rabbi Spalter was very impressed and our situation touched his heart. Regrettably, however, he was then on his way to the airport for an important flight. The dollar was locked up in his safe at home, and no one else in his family had access to it. He added that the first dollar was still in Eretz Yisroel with that chassid from Tzfas. Therefore, he suggested that when I returned home, I should tell this chassid in his name that he should give the dollar to me.

“As soon as we got back, that was the first thing we did. We contacted the chassid in Tzfas, however, he informed us that there was a long line of chassidim ahead of us, and the dollar was currently being used among these families. Deeply sorry to hear this, I asked him to add our name to the waiting list.

“In the meantime, Tishrei 5773 was rapidly approaching. While we were filled with anticipation, there was still no good news on the horizon. We decided that since Simchas Torah was an auspicious time for personal salvation above and beyond nature, and as every chassid knows, the ushpizin for Simchas Torah is the Rebbe, I would fly to 770 and ask for the Rebbe’s bracha. Shmini Atzeres and Simchas Torah came out that year on Monday and Tuesday, and I landed in New York a few days before then.

“On Shmini Atzeres, I again met Rabbi Spalter in the streets of Crown Heights. I told him about the dollar ‘making the rounds’ and creating miracles and wonders among Anash families in Eretz HaKodesh, and I asked him if he could possibly give me the other dollar. I could see that this wasn’t easy for him, but he eventually promised to give me the dollar. He asked me to come to his house after Simchas Torah and we wished each other Good Yomtov.

“On the night of Simchas Torah before Hakafos, I along with about a hundred avreichim and t’mimim came to the house of Rabbi Amos Cohen to hear Kiddush. Suddenly, one of the bachurim got up on a bench and announced that there was a shliach from India in the house who had been married for three and a half years and still didn’t have any children. He asked everyone to give us a bracha, and they all replied ‘Amen’ and blessed us from the depths of their hearts. My initial feeling was that their brachos were an expression of true inner brotherly love, the kind that could only come from chassidim and on this auspicious day – Simchas Torah.

“On Wednesday, Isru Chag, I was supposed to go to Rabbi Spalter’s house to pick up the dollar. Just as I was getting ready to leave 770, I met my colleague and fellow shliach in Vattakanal India, Rabbi Ran Shamir, and we began to talk. He is my closest ‘neighbor’ in my place of shlichus, and we naturally speak about people passing from his town to mine, and vice versa, as we coordinate our activities. After a few minutes, another Chassidic avreich came by us and began talking with Rabbi Shamir, who subsequently introduced him to me. This chassid, who served as a mashpia in Brunoy, France – was named Rabbi Berel Pachter.

“A friendly three-way conversation developed, a kind of standing Chassidic farbrengen, the type of thing that could only take place in 770. We told stories of Divine Providence and how we dealt with our shlichus in India, while Rabbi Pachter spoke about what he had experienced over the years in Beis Chayeinu. We stood for three hours, talking without noticing the passing time. When I saw that it was already past midnight, I decided to postpone going to Rabbi Spalter’s house to get the dollar until the following day.

“While I was little sorry about this delay, as this dollar was very important to me and I didn’t want to lose the opportunity, nevertheless, it was clear to me that I couldn’t leave a Chassidic farbrengen in the middle.

“Towards the end of this impromptu farbrengen, at close to one o’clock in the morning, Rabbi Pachter said that while he had never met me before, he knew me well. How? From the article publicized about us in ‘Beis Moshiach’ the year before. He recalled that prior to the Yud-Tes Kislev farbrengen at the yeshiva, the magazine arrived at his house. Before going out to farbreng with the students, he read the article, and the farbrengen dealt mainly with stories about the Rebbe’s emissaries in Cochin, India and their work on shlichus.

“Almost as an afterthought, Rabbi Pachter mentioned that one of the participants in this farbrengen was an avreich who had gone several years without having children, and he (Rabbi Pachter) had a custom of taking a dollar from the Rebbe out of his pocket during such gatherings. He believed that the dollars he had received from the Rebbe’s holy hand did not belong to him; he was just the means through which they could reach people in need of personal salvation. He gave this dollar to the avreich, and that same year, the avreich was blessed with the birth of his first child.

“Chills went up my spine as I heard all this; I was in exactly the same situation. I immediately told him about how we had been waiting for three and a half years to have children. Rabbi Pachter was very moved, and he took a single dollar bill out of his pocket and gave it to me. Imagine how amazed we were to see the writing on the dollar: ‘Received on Yud-Tes Kislev 5746.’ The clear Divine Providence truly aroused me. Here I had thought that this farbrengen had caused me to miss getting a dollar from the Rebbe, and now the Rebbe miraculously sends me another dollar in its place…

“I felt how the Rebbe was giving us a clear sign that everything would be all right. Rabbi Pachter, a Chassidic Jew who lived the Rebbe at every waking moment, explained to me that he felt this dollar had only been on deposit with him all these years. He suggested that I imagine in my mind that the Rebbe had just given me this dollar right now and I was asking for whatever I wanted. And so when the three of us parted, that’s exactly what I did; I asked the Rebbe for a bracha that we should merit to become parents before the year was out.

“For two days, I went around in a state of awe. I felt that the channel had finally been opened, all obstacles had been removed, and the Rebbe’s bracha would soon be realized.

“As time passed, we were also privileged to receive some amazing answers and guidance from the Rebbe, which we immediately carried out.

“And so it was at the beginning of Kislev that we received the happy and long-awaited news. We were simply overjoyed and felt that all the pieces of the puzzle had now come into place. There is a leader in our generation, and throughout the long months of the pregnancy, we believed that the Rebbe was there with us, literally every step of the way.”

Rabbi Bernstein concluded his unique story with great excitement. “On Tuesday (the day when Alm-ghty G-d saw twice that it was good), the twenty-first of Elul, in a good and auspicious hour, we were privileged to see the realization of the Rebbe MH”M’s bracha with our own eyes – with the birth of our triplets, healthy and strong,” he said in a voice choking with emotion.

AN UNQUENCHABLE THIRST TO RECEIVE A DOLLAR FROM THE REBBE

R’ Menachem Ladiov: “About a year ago, my father brought me a dollar from the Rebbe as a gift. Less than a month later, I received another dollar from the Rebbe – this time from my father-in-law… It’s important to note that these were the first dollars from the Rebbe I had received in my life. One of them my wife had framed, and the other I always carry in my wallet wherever I go.

“One of my customers, a very special Jew who was one of my regular customers, started bringing new clients into my place of business, one after another. Once during a private conversation, he asked if I had ever seen the Rebbe, and I replied that I never managed to have the opportunity, and this bothered me very much. He then said that as a boy, he had learned in the Bukharian yeshiva in Kfar Chabad. On one occasion, he had traveled together with his whole class to the Rebbe and had even received several dollars from the Rebbe.

“That year, during the Chanukah holiday, while I was standing in my store serving customers, he called and asked if I was in the store. When I told him that I was, he said that he was waiting for me outside and he wanted me to come out to him. As I went over to his car, he handed me a dollar he had received from the Rebbe and said, ‘This is for you!’

“I was very honored by this gesture and I told him, ‘What is this? You don’t just give away something so valuable!’ But he replied, ‘Everything’s fine! I have several of these and it’s important to me that I give you one…’

“Several months ago, I became acquainted with another customer, a Jew with a knitted kippa who bought several electrical appliances from my store. Since then, a very friendly connection has developed between us.

“Last week, he sent his mother to me, and she came to buy a set of burners. During her time in the store, she told me that she had just gotten up from ‘shiva’ after mourning the passing of her mother. We started a conversation, and I told her about that Jew who had enjoyed my customer service, to the point of giving me a dollar from the Rebbe… She opened her eyes in astonishment: ‘Can you call him? I must have a dollar from the Rebbe.’ Nu, it wouldn’t be that simple to ask him for another dollar, and I tried to give her a variety of excuses, but she wouldn’t budge.

“As I looked at her, it was clear that she had a tremendous thirst for a Rebbe dollar. ‘You know what? I’ll bring you the dollar that he gave me! G-d willing, I’ll come by with it tomorrow.’ However, that apparently wasn’t good enough. ‘Listen, my husband and I will take you to your house right now…’

“This was an elderly couple in their seventies, and I could tell that they wanted a dollar from the Rebbe very much. After thinking about it for a while, I told her, ‘You know what? Take the dollar I have in my wallet…’

“When she heard this, she almost fainted from happiness. She was so overjoyed that she burst into tears, and then she said, ‘This is my source of comfort after the passing of my mother.’

“I felt that she wanted to share something with me. After she had calmed down a little, she told me that her son had spent some time in the Far East, where he hooked up with one of the Chabad shluchim, who gave him a dollar from the Rebbe. The son took the dollar and brought it to his mother for a keepsake.

“When her niece had become seriously ill, she brought the dollar to her in the hospital as a segula for a complete and speedy recovery. She placed it under her pillow, but it somehow got lost and she never got over it…”

“I was deeply moved to see such faith expressed by a Jew who seemingly had no connection to Chabad and the Rebbe,” said R’ Menachem Ladiov as he concluded his story. “If only it would be so with us!” ■

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