MATZA SAVES FROM DEATH
May 1, 2016
Beis Moshiach in #1018, Pesach, Tzivos Hashem

By Nechama Bar

What is the food that can be the sweetest thing you eat on Pesach? Matza from the Rebbe, of course! Imagine this, children, matza from the Rebbe for seder night! Today it seems like a sweet dream, but not that many years ago this dream was reality.

May Hashem help us and this year, may we be able to eat this delicacy, along with the korban Pesach in Yerushalayim. In the meantime, here is an amazing story about the Rebbe’s matza.

All the Chassidim in Eretz Yisroel looked forward to a precious gift, a piece of matza from the Rebbe. Every year, the Rebbe sent packages of matza to Chabad centers in Eretz Yisroel and every Chassid received a piece for the seder.

Shmura matza, as the name indicates, needs special watching. So the packages of matza were not sent by plane the way suitcases and other luggage is sent. Instead, it was watched the entire time by a Chassid who was on that flight.

The Rebbe asked that the matzos not be sent in the cargo hold where the passengers’ luggage was placed, but that they go in the passenger cabin with the Chassid so they would be watched the entire time. It wasn’t easy to get approval for this arrangement but Chassidim were successful in obtaining permission from El Al management.

Years went by and the method changed. The packages of matza were placed in a big container which was placed in cargo. Of course, the container was thoroughly cleaned of chametz and locked afterward. On the lock was a special seal to ensure that nobody opened it. If someone tampered with it, it would be noticeable.

The devoted Chassid, R’ Yekusiel – Kuti Rapp a”h, shliach at Kennedy Airport in New York, was in charge of this.

All the packages of matza were first brought to the library in 770. The Rebbe arrived and took off challa, as is required by Halacha, and then gave the people there a dollar each and a “general letter.”

The year our story took place, the Chassidim took note of certain changes in the Rebbe’s conduct. First of all, the Rebbe asked R’ Rapp, “What’s with the plane?”

R’ Rapp did not understand what the Rebbe meant.

That was not the only surprising thing. All present, who were used to receiving one dollar and one general letter were given two dollars each and two letters.

In addition, the Chassid who was supposed to be on the flight on which the matzos would be sent, only received a letter and not a dollar for shlichus mitzva, and this was so surprising.

All these unusual things indicated to the Chassidim that something untoward was about to happen.

On the appointed day, the packages of matza were brought to the airport where they were prepared for the usual shipment. They cleaned the container, covered it with new, clean paper, locked it and sealed it. Then the box was put in the belly of the plane.

But this time, things did not work out as usual. The pilot, who showed up suddenly, noticed the container of matza that had been put on the flight and he announced, “I have no permission to take that. Take the container out.”

They tried to explain. “This is not the first time. We send a container like this every year. We have explicit permission for it.”

All their entreaties were to no avail.

“I have no permission from security. I’m not taking the container. Send it on another flight.”

R’ Rapp stood there in confusion, not knowing what to do. Should he argue? Try to use his connections at El Al? Or should he listen to the pilot and send the container on a different flight? But then there wouldn’t be a Chassid, a shliach mitzva, to watch it.

He decided to call the Rebbe’s office and ask what to do. The Rebbe’s instruction was not to insist but to send the matza on another flight. “All the passengers will be shluchei mitzva,” said the Rebbe.

Things started becoming clear. R’ Rapp remembered how the Chassid had not received a dollar for shliach mitzva and he connected this to the fact that in the end, he was not the shliach to supervise the matzos.

The container was taken off the plane. The Chassidim prepared another container, cleaned it and covered it with new paper and put the matzos inside. This container was put on another plane.

Now R’ Rapp understood why they had received two dollars and two letters – for preparing two containers! This time, the pilot did not get involved and the container was taken along with the passengers to the Holy Land. The plane was supposed to make a stop in England and after a few hours, continue to Eretz Yisroel.

A few hours went by and they heard that something had happened to the flight. The news spread quickly – the plane had landed in England and there, as passengers boarded, a man gave a woman a suitcase for her to take on the flight.

The security people felt something was not right and they asked to check the suitcase. To their horror, they discovered a bomb set to explode!

Now the Chassidim understood why the Rebbe said all the passengers on the plane were shluchei mitzva. Shluchei mitzva are not harmed and thanks to the Rebbe’s matza, they were all saved!

Another miracle occurred in that the container was in cargo and not in the passenger cabin. What’s the big miracle in that? As soon as the security people found out about the bomb, they boarded the plane and began checking every passenger and opening every piece of luggage to make sure everything was fine. If the matza had gone on with the passengers, the container would certainly have been opened and would not have been able to be used.

The Chassidim saw how every movement of the Rebbe, every word, even what seems unimportant, is significant.

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