THE DREAM BECAME REALITY WITH A KNOCK AT THE DOOR…
November 7, 2018
Nosson Avrohom in #1140, Life on Shlichus , Miracle Story

Difficulties with their work responsibilities brought Rabbi and Mrs. Nemni to the decision to leave their shlichus after only one year. An amazing dream about the Rebbe together with a surprising gift changed their plans.

Translated by Michoel Leib Dobry

Rabbi Mordechai Nemni of England, now living in Crown Heights, became very moved as he revealed his amazing story, which began during the last “Shnas Hakhel” and reached its climax at the start of this year. In a voice filled with excitement, he tells us the chain of Divine Providence that he experienced together with his wife and family, when they reached the only conclusion they could – there is a Rebbe in this generation!

“No one who has heard this amazing story could help but be affected by it profoundly,” Rabbi Nemni told us at the outset. “We saw clearly how the Rebbe was with us and accompanied us in the process.”

In recent years, the Nemni family were the dorm parents at the ‘Machon Chana’ Dormitory on President Street in Crown Heights. Mrs. Nemni had been asked to run the dormitory after the passing of Mrs. Gita Gansburg, of blessed memory, who had served as dorm mother for decades and even merited to receive expressions of the Rebbe’s utmost appreciation. Mrs. Nemni had worked with Mrs. Gansburg for a number of years before her passing.

The following story took place as a result of that job offer.

A LIFE’S SHLICHUS

“At the beginning of the last Shnas Hakhel year we were privileged to be blessed with the successful purchase of a home in the Rebbe’s sh’chuna, after living in rental apartments over a period of several years. In order to move into this new house, we had to make some massive renovations – and so we did. We invested a considerable amount of money to turn this house into a suitable place of residence.

“Before we moved into our new home, Mrs. Gita Gansburg passed away. Mrs. Gansburg had run the Machon Chana dormitory for several decades and with great success.

“For many long years, when Rabbi Itchke and Mrs. Gita Gansburg served as dorm parents, they lived in a small apartment located in the dormitory building. Over the years, Mrs. Gansburg was privileged to receive detailed instructions and unique expressions of warmth from the Rebbe in connection with their work.

“The crown jewel was the Rebbe’s visit to the dormitory each year on the first night of Pesach. After the Rebbe visited several institutions in the Crown Heights community, he would come to the Machon Chana dormitory. On one occasion, the Rebbe said to Mrs. Gansburg, ‘Thank you for raising my daughters.’ On a different occasion the Rebbe went upstairs to visit the dormitory rooms, make inquiries, and ask that the girls’ material conditions be at a very high level.

“Mrs. Gansburg was and remains one of the legendary figures of ‘Machon Chana.’ She was the girls’ mentor, and she made certain to tend to their material and spiritual needs in every detail. You can hear stories directly from hundreds of her students who today run their own Chassidic homes, and some of whom serve on the Rebbe’s shlichus in locations all over the globe.

“After her passing, the school administration looked for an appropriate replacement to be responsible for running the dormitory. My wife was then working as a teacher and mashpia, and in this role she had worked with Mrs. Gansburg.

“At this point, the Principal, Rabbi Shlomo Majeski, turned to us and asked if my wife would accept the position of dorm mother. He suggested that we live in the dorm, in the apartment that the Gansburgs had once occupied, until the administration found someone suitable for the long term.

“You have to understand that this apartment was very small, appropriate for an older couple who had married off their children – two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchenette, and a shower.

“The truth is that we weren’t thrilled by the offer and had serious doubts about accepting it.

“A few days later, we wrote a letter to the Rebbe while seeking the advice of mashpiim and friends. Everyone felt that it would be proper for us to accept the offer. Now, we spoke to our children. We told them about the importance of this shlichus and the unique way the Rebbe related to the position, including how he would personally visit the dorm mother’s (small) apartment. This was the reason why Mommy was accepting this job.

“We rented out our newly renovated house to others and we moved into the small dorm apartment, as my wife became the new dorm mother.

“One year passed, and the following summer, there was a fundraising dinner for the institute. At the conclusion of the event, a video presentation about Rabbi and Mrs. Gansburg and their tremendous work with the dorm students was shown to the assembled guests.

“There wasn’t much that we could say. As we saw the pictures and heard the stories, our mood turned somber. Who are we and what are we? Simple people as opposed to giants, Chassidim from birth, educated behind the Iron Curtain, working tirelessly and with great self-sacrifice for the Rebbe. Could we possibly follow after them?

“This feeling merely amplified the hardships that we were facing due to our constrained living conditions. It was severely cramped and we were not accustomed to living in such conditions. We couldn’t have guests, and our two children slept in the same bed, while a short distance away we had a large spacious house in which we had invested a great deal of funds to purchase and renovate. In addition, our family was having a difficult time managing with my wife’s round-the-clock work responsibilities with the students. This isn’t a clearly defined role, such as a rav or mashpia, with set hours when it begins and ends each day. She literally lived with them.

“Whenever a student went out on a shidduch, she would have a conversation with my wife before and after the meeting, sometimes into the wee hours of the morning. These girls are baalos t’shuva, and they ask for guidance in the path of Yiddishkait, mitzvah observance, Chabad custom and conduct.

“In the conversations my wife and I had during those days, we discussed the difficulties, the pitfalls, the problems we were facing – but less about our designated mission, the concept of shlichus and the successes we did have. This was a stage where we didn’t see the light concealed within this avoda and it was clear to us that this would be our final year in the dorm.”

ALONE BEFORE THE REBBE

“After the ‘dinner’ we returned home and concluded that this work was too difficult and simply not suitable for us.

“That night, we wrote a letter to the Rebbe. In our letter, we listed in great detail the many difficulties we had encountered, and we asked the Rebbe to release us from this job.

“From the answer that we received, we didn’t understand what we were supposed to do. We went to sleep in a state of great confusion.

“Very early the next morning, I woke up with a start, covered in cold sweat. I immediately remembered the amazing dream I just had. I’m usually not a ‘dreamer,’ but this time the dream seemed so real and palpable. It took me a little while to calm down and collect my thoughts.

“In my dream, I saw the Rebbe sitting on a chair inside a large hall. His face radiated with majesty and grandeur; his eyes piercing. The Rebbe sat in the hall by himself, and I was the only chassid there. I wondered to myself in the dream where everyone else had gone. How could it be that the Rebbe is in this huge hall alone with no one else here except me? As for the Rebbe, he looked at me warmly and asked if I conduct activities appropriate for ‘Shnas Hakhel.’ I said that I do, while adding that I don’t settle for that and I would be happy to do more.

“The Rebbe spoke with me on a few other personal matters, and then he gave me three dollars, one after another. On the first dollar, the Rebbe said, ‘Bracha v’hatzlacha,’ on the second dollar, the Rebbe noted one of the personal matters we had discussed, and on the third dollar, the Rebbe said, ‘This is for “Machon Chana” …’

“When I woke up from this dream, the first thing I did was to wake up my wife and give her the details of what I had just dreamt. Naturally, she was very happy as we were both overwhelmed with excitement by this revelation. A chassid knows that a dream about the Rebbe does not fall into the category of ‘Dreams speak lies.’ We felt that we had merited to receive the Rebbe’s blessing after just the night before we had considered leaving our shlichus in the dormitory.

“The truth is that at this stage we didn’t imagine that there would soon be more developments. Yet, it soon became clear that this dream was only one pearl in a string of Divine Providence we were privileged to experience.”

THE DOLLAR SUDDENLY ARRIVED

“I had this dream very early on a Thursday morning. The following morning, I went to teach in the cheider where I am a melamed. When I returned home that Erev Shabbos, I had a big surprise waiting for me, which essentially was a continuation of that dream.

“This time, it was my wife’s turn to surprise me.

“It turned out that just an hour earlier, a friend of my wife handed her an envelope. My wife opened the envelope and was stunned to see that it contained a dollar from the Rebbe bearing the words, ‘For Machon Chana’… When my wife asked the woman what motivated her to bring a dollar from the Rebbe at this time, the response was even more startling. She said that in the past, she had given some of the dollars she had received from the Rebbe to Rabbi Gansburg, who would distribute them as a segula to soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces.

“The years passed, and then just the day before, this woman realized that my wife might never have received a dollar from the Rebbe, and she made a decision to give one to my wife as well. ‘You are a soldier of the Rebbe through your shlichus in the dorm,’ the woman said in giving the reason for her decision.

“It turns out that this woman had received this dollar from the Rebbe, many years earlier, along with all the other students in ‘Machon Chana’ around the time that the Rebbe spoke for the graduating girls. And so, she had written on the dollar ‘for Machon Chana.’ Now, after so many years, she decided to give the dollar to my wife…

“When I heard this story, I couldn’t help crying. I was simply overcome.

“The truth is that there was no need for more than this. Who would have believed such a chain of amazing Divine Providence, one occurrence after another? First, the clear and amazing dream, then just a day later, the Rebbe sends us a dollar bearing the exact words I had been privileged to hear in my dream. Just think how this woman had kept that dollar with her for all those long years, and now, of all times, she decides to give it to my wife…

“Naturally, all our doubts vanished as if they had never existed. We realized that this is our shlichus and the Rebbe wants us in the dorm. In an instant, the difficulties were transformed into challenges.”

A CHANGE OF ROLES

The Nemnis were privileged to live four years in the ‘Machon Chana’ Dorm (during which time the school led by Rabbi Majeski began to operate under the name ‘Machon L’Yahadus’), while Mrs. Nemni continued to serve in her role as dorm mother to the satisfaction of her family, the faculty, and the students.

During this time, the Nemni family grew, and it became clear that the institute had to find someone to replace Mrs. Nemni, preferably a woman whose children were already adults and could therefore devote all her time and attention to the position. The role of dorm mother allows for no compromises. Rabbi Majeski and the rest of the Hanhala searched for an appropriate candidate and chose Mrs. Shterna Rodal (nee Baumgarten) to assume the shlichus, while Mrs. Nemni made plans to return to her previous role as master teacher and beloved mashpia.

“We are happy for the great privilege we had to serve in this role on the Rebbe’s shlichus,” said Rabbi Mordechai Nemni, as he concluded his story in a voice choking with emotion.

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