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Monday
Mar302015

THE LONG ROAD HOME TO 770

Naava Karmon has many miracle stories to share as well as her journey from Moldavia, working in the high-tech arena and becoming a baalas tshuva through Arachim, and finally becoming a shlucha of the Rebbe.

shlucha in Gedera, a skilled computer programmer and more. This was the third year in a row that she went to 770 for Chanuka to draw renewed chayus and strength for her personal shlichus. Every year she brings along one of her daughters and provides her with a powerful spiritual experience. I met her on the flight to Beis Chayeinu and added her to the list of fascinating women who ought to be interviewed.

RETURNING HOME

Naava says:

It’s great to go to the Rebbe every year and it’s very hard to leave. You feel the Rebbe in 770 where he is definitely to be found, even though he is not seen. I joined a group of women which was organized by N’shei Chabad of Tzfas, led by Rebbetzin Rochel Hendel. They get better every year, from the material perspective and especially from the spiritual end of things. The farbrengens and shiurim I attended had the best lecturers. The highlight was a symposium on Moshiach and Geula with R’ Zalman Liberow of Flatbush and R’ Hendel. Pointed questions were asked which everyone thinks but most don’t dare ask. The answers were solid and I am sure that for most of the women, they were satisfying.

EARLY YEARS

I was born in Moldova in Beltsy. I made aliya from Kishinev when I was 21. In Kishinev I studied computers and worked for Apple. I became a baalas t’shuva through Arachim and learned in a Litvishe school, Beis Yaakov, in Yerushalayim. I had a job and wanted to get married, but for some reason shidduchim were not working out. I was on the verge of despair when my husband was suggested. After meeting four times over a week, we decided to marry. We informed our parents that on Motzaei Shabbos the parents would meet. They nearly fainted; they hadn’t known anything was going on. Two months later we were married and boruch Hashem, we are very happy.

FROM LITA TO LUBAVITCH

We became baalei t’shuva through Arachim and after we married we moved to Gedera. My husband wanted to learn Torah and a group of Litvishe people had opened a kollel there. He tried getting someone there to learn with him but since they wanted to do their own learning, they had no time to learn with someone who needed help and explanations. When he asked his contact person in Arachim, a Slonimer Chassid, what to do, he told him to find Chabad in Gedera. That is how we got to R’ Binyamin Karniel.

My husband arranged to learn with him and after a while became very interested in Chabad Chassidus. When R’ Karniel traveled to the Rebbe he asked whether I wanted to write to the Rebbe for a bracha. I wrote to the Rebbe and asked that we become Chabadnikim, that we move to a place with an organized community, and that my brother start putting on t’fillin.

All my requests were granted one by one within a short time. I was amazed that I was answered so quickly. This happened in 5756, not long after Gimmel Tammuz.

Since we lived in the same courtyard as my in-laws it wasn’t possible to sell the house to strangers. My father-in-law came up with an idea that we sell the house to his daughter and then we could buy an apartment in Rechovot. That’s what we did. We bought a huge apartment compared to the matchbox we had in Gedera. We slowly became involved in the Chabad community of Rechovot.

My husband started learning with R’ Mendy Amar and I learned with his wife Maya. We began attending farbrengens, shiurim, etc. and were hosted by families and became part of the community. Our girls attended Chabad preschools. I forgot to mention that my brother suddenly started putting on t’fillin for no apparent reason.

Thanks to Maya, I began covering my hair with a wig (when my husband became a baal t’shuva they told him that his wife could not be expected to wear a wig all the time. When R’ Mendy Amar showed him sichos from the Rebbe about the importance of covering the hair with a wig the opposition disappeared).

All along the way, with amazing answers in the Igros Kodesh and incidents of divine providence, we see how the Rebbe takes care of all his Chassidim and is always thinking of them.

One day, I began suffering from headaches and dizziness. At that time, I read a story about an answer from the Rebbe to a woman whose baby in the womb was in a breech position, which said she should check the mezuzos. The mezuza on her back door was upside-down and when they fixed it, the baby turned over!

I put two and two together and decided to see what was going on with the mezuzos in our apartment. 90% of the mezuzos were upside-down! I turned over the ones I was able to do and when my husband came that evening I asked him to check the mezuza at the entrance. Even though he was very tired he had pity on me and did so and my headaches and dizziness stopped. After that, we bought a volume of Igros Kodesh.

One year, my husband was very sick with infectious mononucleosis and was coughing and vomiting. This was after he bought new t’fillin. I wrote to the Rebbe and opened to a letter which said that regarding his health, he should check his t’fillin and make sure they are kosher.

Although the t’fillin were new, my husband gave them to be checked to R’ Yeres of Lud. The next day, the sofer called and asked: Is your husband all right?

I said, not at all. He said, the parshiyos of the t’fillin are full of letters touching each other. It took me all night to fix it! He fixed the problems and my husband gradually recovered. We have many other stories with the Igros Kodesh.

RETURNING TO SHLICHUS

After five years, R’ Karniel asked us to return to Gedera to strengthen the community there. I wrote to the Rebbe and asked for a bracha for the move and asked what about chinuch for my children, a babysitter, shopping, a k’hilla, etc. I opened to two letters. In the first letter the Rebbe appointed us to influence others to keep Torah and mitzvos and to be Chassidim. In the second letter there was one line in Hebrew: You do your part and Hashem will do His.

R’ M. M. Gluckowsky told us to stay in his Rechovot community for one more year. A year later he blessed my husband with success in his shlichus in Gedera. Before we moved, we asked the Rebbe for two things, a son (we only had daughters until then) and a dollar from the Rebbe.

When I became pregnant, I wrote to the Rebbe and the Rebbe’s answer said that just as they brought him into the covenant of Avrohom Avinu, so too would he merit to raise him to Torah, chuppa, and good deeds. Thus we knew the baby’s gender.

An especially wonderful surprise took place one day when my daughters’ babysitter said to me: You are such a good person and I really like you, so I want to give you a dollar from the Rebbe.

She had lived in the US and for a number of years she had gone to the Rebbe on Sunday and received a dollar from him, so she had accumulated many dollars and had decided to give me one of them. I was very excited and moved by how the Rebbe fulfilled my request and put it into her heart to give one to me.

I was ready to give birth but it was extremely difficult. I asked whether I should take something to speed things up and the Rebbe’s answer was: “One doesn’t urge speed except to those who do things quickly.” I took this literally even though the context was about a shul. Boruch Hashem, it helped and our baby was born on Acharon shel Pesach, 20 Nissan. He was jaundiced and the Rebbe wrote about a bris on time.

We moved with this baby to Gedera. We sold our apartment in Rechovot with incredible divine providence. When we decided to sell it, we debated about whether we should advertise it or not. As we discussed this, someone knocked at our door and said: You’re selling the apartment, right?

We were stunned. How did you know? He had seen a sign on another house and had come to us by mistake and ended up buying our apartment after renting it for a year.

TO LIVE IN 770

In the meantime, we lived in a rented apartment in Gedera but didn’t know where to go from there. The Rebbe wrote the same letter to me and my husband that we need to build a house in the new neighborhood from the ground up, and this will be a victory for the Alter Rebbe.

We went to a neighborhood that was in the construction stage. The contractor had gone bankrupt and decided he would sell the last two lots cheap. We bought our lots for $77,000 (100x770). We wrote to the Rebbe about the laying of the cornerstone and the answer was from 1 Adar with a bracha for the laying of a cornerstone of a shul, precisely on the date we were laying our cornerstone. It was all replete with miracles and wonders.

We wanted to do the construction with bricks since it was cheaper and quicker. When we went to the contractor, whose mother’s name is Schneersohn, my husband thought we should make it to look like 770. A very talented architect made some sketches and also completed the arrangements for the construction, the permits, etc. We ended up building a regular building with a facade that looks like 770.

We had to leave the apartment we were in, but our house was still under construction. We had no choice but to move in without windows and stairs …

That Shabbos, a building supervisor passed by and when he saw us he asked whether we had the permits to move in. Since we didn’t, we were called down to court. We asked the Rebbe about this and the Rebbe wrote that we need to make a Chanukas Ha’bayis for the shul that was just built. We made a very joyous farbrengen and the next day the judge asked my husband why we entered the building without permits. My husband said we had no choice and the judge said he was dismissing the complaint; we should just obtain the permits as quickly as possible.

THE REBBE APPEARS IN A DREAM

My father lives with us. The room he sleeps in is a replica of the Rebbe’s room in the original 770, the first room on the left. He always laughed at us for having so many pictures of the Rebbe.

One morning my father got up and asked me for a picture of Dadoshka (Grandpa), which is how he referred to the Rebbe. My husband asked him why he wanted it.

The Rebbe had come to him in a dream which was actually a long yechidus in which he was asked, “How is it that when you lived in Russia you had so many pictures while here, in my house, you don’t have a picture of me?”

My father replied, “This is my daughter’s house which she built with her husband.”

The Rebbe said, “Right, but this is my room and I have many buildings like this in the world.”

Needless to say, since then, he has a picture of the Rebbe in his room. The Rebbe went on to ask him about his parents and he told the Rebbe how the Nazis had expelled them from where they lived. The Rebbe said, “Yes, I also hate the Nazis.”

Then my father asked the Rebbe why he did not go to Eretz Yisroel and the Rebbe said it was G-d’s will. Finally, the Rebbe asked him, “Do you want a bracha or a dollar?” My father said that just standing there in front of the Rebbe was the biggest bracha. The Rebbe said, “You are an emese Yid” (their entire conversation was in Yiddish).

Since having that dream, my father’s emuna has become stronger. For example, at first he was opposed to Havdala but after we explained how it brings blessings into the home he eagerly awaits Motzaei Shabbos and is particular about making Havdala, much to our delight. And now he is growing a beard.

My father suffered from a serious degenerative disease whose end, according to natural prognostications, is not good. He could barely open his eyes. I wrote to the Rebbe and the Rebbe said to check the t’fillin. It turned out that the order of parshiyos was incorrect. For seven years he had been putting on pasul t’fillin. R’ Yeres sold him a fine pair of t’fillin and boruch Hashem, his eyes opened and no vestige of his illness remains.

SPREADING THE WELLSPRINGS AT A HIGH-TECH COMPANY

When I was 14, I knew what field I would go into. In the 80’s, when I was still in Kishinev, I greatly enjoyed computer animation which I studied. I became acquainted with Apple computers and I still work in this field.

I worked for Kodak and SAP in Raanana. At Kodak I arranged menorah lightings on Chanuka and gave out brochures about Judaism and Chassidus. Five years later I was at a crossroads with three job opportunities. The Rebbe wrote that there is a “field that is not yet plowed” for spreading the wellsprings, and when I got there, indeed there was. I went to work there and started with Rosh Chodesh gatherings.

A short time later I became very sick and I knew already to check the mezuzos. I took the mezuza of my room at work to be checked and the sofer said it was never intended to be kosher. I went to the human resources department and told them: You gave me a pasul mezuza and now I’m sick from it and can’t work. I bet all the mezuzos in the building are pasul.

They took this seriously and checked the kashrus of all the mezuzos and changed them over a period of a few months. This was a building of 12 floors with fifty rooms on each floor. Whenever I felt embarrassed I said to myself: You are a shlucha of the Rebbe and have nothing to be ashamed about!

I worked there for two intense years. I would travel every day to work for 3 hours, there and back. It wasn’t easy and when I couldn’t take it anymore I decided to leave.

When I left, they wrote me a very moving letter about how the outreach I did inspired them to Judaism and connecting with the Rebbe.

Before I left, the Rebbe arranged work for me from home in computer programming. I work on apps for Smartphones and Apple products; the company my husband and I started is called Moshiach Times. It deals with managing and developing projects for Apple and Android products and we mostly get jobs through word of mouth. We are also involved in a global Sheva Mitzvos B’nei Noach project, and we always try to encourage and sign up as many gentiles as possible to commit to observe their mitzvos.

SHLICHUS IN GEDERA

In Rechovot there is a Chassid who prints Tanyas everywhere in the hopes that each printing is the last one in the merit of which Moshiach will come. He called and said, “We heard you have a house with a 770 facade, but they’ve already printed a Tanya in Gedera.”

We said, “Yes, but not in the new Gedera.”

So the Tanya was printed in our house and there is an edition called “Gedera HaChadasha.” Another victory for the Alter Rebbe as the Rebbe already said.

We have a Tanya shiur going on in Gedera for nearly twelve years which is now given by R’ Meor Cohen. There is also a shiur in D’var Malchus given by R’ Meir Arad of Rechovot. We arrange activities for the holidays for new immigrants from Russia and also contribute toward the activities done with them. They have a class on Judaism and the plan is to make chuppos for older couples who are hosted by us on the holidays. For them, attention is extremely important.

The Tzivos Hashem club is very active and successful here, organized by my daughters, and it goes well beyond just organizing the davening of Kabbalas Shabbos in shul. A branch of Tzivos Hashem for boys will open soon. In the merit of all these activities we await the revelation of the Beis HaMikdash in the original 770 from where it will go to Yerushalayim.

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