THE RUSSIAN EDUCATION MINISTER AND THE REBBE’S PROPHECY
July 29, 2015
Nosson Avraham in #983, Miracle Story

Dr. Eli Eisenberg, senior deputy director general and head of research, development, and training at ORT Israel, tells about the fulfillment of two prophecies from the Rebbe that he witnessed with his own eyes.

Tanks in Moscow’s Red Square. A calming message from the Rebbe.Translated by Michoel Leib Dobry

For those unfamiliar with him, Dr. Eli Eisenberg is the senior deputy director general and head of research, development, and training at ORT Israel. Over a period of many years, he has been advancing technological education in Eretz Yisroel, which he considers to be his life’s mission. At his direction, the ORT network has also entered ultra-Orthodox educational institutions in recent years, including Chabad programs such as Yeshivas Chanoch L’naar in Tzfas. “Together with the director-general, Mr. Tzika Peleg, we work day and night, investing considerable efforts to advance children educationally based on their strongest points. Many children, for example, are extremely adept in working with their hands.”

Mr. Eisenberg briefly presented his educational doctrine, stating that he has tried to learn from the Rebbe’s approach: “The Rebbe has shown me the connection between Torah and flour. I know that the Rebbe had already foreseen this many years ago when he founded the Kfar Chabad vocational school back in the fifties. I know many children whom we brought back to the fold through training in modern technology, and with the passage of time, they eventually established proper Jewish homes.”

When he starts mentioning the Rebbe, the senior deputy director general’s tone of voice becomes filled with great esteem and admiration. “I’m quite certain that the Rebbe and his unique leadership have transformed the Jewish world into a better place,” he says with determination. He then asks if he can tell us a miraculous story that he personally experienced with the Rebbe’s bracha.

Although many years have passed since this story occurred, it stays with him at all times. Despite his numerous activities, anyone acquainted with him knows that he likes to work behind the scenes and doesn’t crave publicity. However, at our request, he agreed to tell us his story after we told him about the positive influence it would have upon Chassidim.

FIRST PROPHECY

“1988 was the year of my post-doctorate. That year, I received an offer to fly to England and establish a center of technological education at Carmel College. This learning institution, founded by Rabbi Kopul Rosen, is committed to educating the next generation of Jewish leaders. Located between London and Oxford, it has also attracted young Jews from outside England. I was given the task of strengthening its technological study program. It was only later that I learned about the powerful connection between Rabbi Rosen and the Rebbe.

“Carmel College is situated alongside the banks of the Thames River, covered with attractive foliage and green lawns. While I have seen many college campuses in my life, this one is by far the most beautiful. I quickly fit in with the educational staff and founded the technological study program. One of the staff members was Rabbi Rony Greenberg. He was a very unique personality, and as soon as I arrived at Carmel, we became very good friends. The friendship soon grew very close. This young avreich was the Rebbe’s shliach on the campus, and he taught Jewish subjects there. He would emphasize his role as a Chabad emissary at every opportunity.

“The close friendship between us included our respective families as well. When we returned to Eretz Yisroel in 1990, in the days before the Persian Gulf War, we were deeply concerned about the threats of Saddam Hussein (may his name be erased) to rain down missiles down on Eretz Yisroel. When I expressed my concerns to Rabbi Greenberg, he assured me that there was nothing to fear, ‘for even if missiles do fall, there will be tremendous miracles and not a single Jew will be harmed by them.’

“How do you know?” I asked.

“Naturally, there came the clear answer: the calming message he had heard from the Lubavitcher Rebbe, and so it was.

THE REVOLUTION
CAME SUDDENLY

“In 1991, as an educator with international experience, I was invited together with Gen. Elad Peleg, then-director general of the Israel Ministry of Education, to serve as the country’s representatives at an international education conference in Prague. The title for the conference was ‘Between East and West.’ During this time, the Soviet Union was led by President Mikhail Gorbachev, who was implementing his perestroika program to create unprecedented change and repeal the principles of the hard-line Communist regime that had ruled the U.S.S.R. for more than seven decades. As a result, Russia and its neighbors were beginning to develop more democratic governments and a free market system.

“Government ministers and educators from all over the world took part in this conference, including from newly independent nations recently freed from Communist dictatorship. One of the conference’s most important guests was Russia’s new minister of education. During the first two days of the conference, several high quality meetings were held among the participants. I even managed to give a well attended lecture on technological education in Eretz Yisroel.

“Then suddenly, we received the dramatic news from international press reports that President Mikhail Gorbachev had been taken prisoner and no one knew his whereabouts.

“It was Sunday, the 8th of Elul 5751. A delegation of four Soviet government officials – Defense Council deputy chief Oleg Baklanov, KGB head Vladimir Kryuchkov, premier Valentin Pavlov, internal affairs minister Boris Pugo – came to the vacation home of President Gorbachev in the Crimea and informed him that they were stripping him of his ruling authority and restoring the pre-glasnost system.

“The conspirators planned the rebellion well. Together with informing Gorbachev of his ouster, all lines of communications were cut from the dacha, carefully watched by KGB agents. Additional guard reinforcements were rushed to the location with strict orders not to let anyone leave the premises, effectively placing the Soviet president under house arrest. The conspirators demanded that Gorbachev declare a state of emergency or step down and appoint Vice President Gennady Yanayev as his replacement. Gorbachev refused to accept the ultimatum. The plotters left the house, and Gorbachev remained under confinement.

“At nine o’clock the following morning, rows of tanks and other armored vehicles started moving towards the center of Moscow. Red Square was surrounded by a chain of Soviet army forces and paratroop units, preventing anyone from heading towards the square or Lenin’s tomb. The streets of Moscow were filled with soldiers, as roadblocks were strategically placed at various points throughout the city.

“The conspirators were preparing to arrest Russian Federation president Boris Yeltsin, who was about to return to Moscow from a visit to Kazakhstan. However, their plans failed, and Yeltsin managed to reach the White House, the seat and stronghold of the government of the Russian Federation.

“Even before the plotters, who called themselves the “State Committee on the State of Emergency,” came out for a press conference to proclaim the overthrow of the government, there was already a concern that the deposed members of the Soviet Communist Party, who wanted a return of the previous totalitarian system, would now try and make a new Communist revolution.

A MEETING IN THE HALLWAY

“It was clear that this would also have an effect upon the place hosting the conference we were attending – Prague, capital of the former Soviet satellite of Czechoslovakia. The festive event was halted at once, as the atmosphere in the streets of Prague was one of tense anticipation. Gas stations and stores were closed, and people refrained from walking through the streets. Everyone waited to see what would happen. The atmosphere was most unpleasant, and the conference organizers informed all members of the various delegations that they should remain in their rooms.

“We began to worry that we would be stuck in Prague for at least several days, and who knew what would happen afterwards and at whose mercy we would be subject.

“As there were no mobile phones in those days, I went down with my wife to the hotel lobby and called officials in Eretz Yisroel to inform them of the developments at the conference. One of those whom I called was Rabbi Rony Greenberg from Carmel College. I told him where I was, adding that there was serious concern among the delegation from Russia and the other Soviet republics. However, he immediately told me that there was nothing to worry about and within a couple of days, the situation would get back to normal. He spoke in a tone of absolute certainty. I was a bit surprised by his resolve, and I asked him how he knew this.

“He replied that this was the opinion of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, whose Chassidim in Moscow had asked what to do in light of the new situation. The Rebbe’s message was reassuring: In another two days, everything would be restored to normal.

“I heard these calming words and became relieved. I remembered well how the Rebbe had foreseen the great miracles during the Persian Gulf War, and I returned to my room with a greater sense of assurance.

“On the way to my room, the delegation of the Russian education minister came towards me. She was extremely frightened and concerned. For her, the meaning of a Communist overthrow was quite clear: exile in Siberia or worse. I don’t know where I got the courage, but I stopped her and asked, ‘How are you?’ She was a little impatient, and the tension in her face was all too evident. I told her the news that I had just received and then added, ‘Madam Minister, you have nothing to worry about. In another two days, everything will be back to normal.’

“She was in total shock. ‘You’re talking nonsense!’” she boldly challenged me. “I was born and raised in Russia, and revolutions in Russia don’t end after two days. You Israelis don’t just like to stick someone with a knife, you also like to twist it with relish,” she added in an apparent suggestion that we were happy about the unstable situation in the Soviet Union. I apologized for getting her angry, assuring her that I was only expressing my wish that everything would be all right. She told me that it was apparently only a matter of time before her family would be sent to Siberia. Democracy in Russia now seemed to be a long way off. 

“The main concern was not just for her own lot, rather for the whole world – particularly the Soviet republics that had just come out from under the Communist boot, due to the fear of a totalitarian resurgence. Everyone was certain that the Bolshevik tyranny was on its way back. People were frightened for their lives, their families, and their livelihood. The Western world, already quite happy about the developing democracy in the Soviet Union, became very troubled with the news of its leader’s disappearance. It still wasn’t clear who the plotters were and where this whole story would eventually lead.

“As mentioned earlier, the coup leaders also tried to detain Russian Federation president Boris Yeltsin; however, he managed to reach the White House. The following day, after consulting with his advisors, he came out with a declaration together with his prime minister and the federation’s acting Soviet chairman that the rebellion was reactionary. They ordered the army that had begun to besiege the capital city of Moscow not to join the rebellion until Mikhail Gorbachev could be allowed to address the Soviet people. The proclamation was printed on leaflets and spread all over the city.

“Unlike in the past, Russian citizens slowly started to gather their courage. By the afternoon, the residents of Moscow began to assemble around the White House and erect barricades. In response, Vice President Gennady Yanayev declared a state of emergency in the city of Moscow, effective at four in the afternoon. However, it was of no help to him. Tens of thousands of citizens blocked all the access roads for the tanks, extricated the soldiers, and proclaimed by their actions that the revolt would go no further. By the following day, the rebels understood that their plot had failed, and the Soviet Union would continue along the path to democracy.

“Just two days later, exactly as the Rebbe had predicted, President Gorbachev was released, and the democratic revolution pressed forward without death or injury.

THE EDUCATION MINISTER ASKS FOR CLARIFICATION

“Upon receiving the happy news, the conference organizers decided to resume the program from the point where the original schedule had been suspended. Even before the speeches and lectures began, I suddenly received an urgent invitation from the Russian education minister for an unofficial talk with her. ‘How did you know?’ she asked me again and again, totally stunned. The truth is that at first I couldn’t figure out how to respond. What could I say to her? Explain that there’s a Rebbe in New York who knows everything?

“When she continued to press me, I finally told her that indeed there was a great rabbi sitting in New York, and he knows what will be happening anywhere in the world. I then described the miracles he foresaw during the recent Persian Gulf War and how they came to pass exactly as he said. He also knew that the attempted coup would be over in two days. She was completely astounded and she told her entourage about the Jewish rabbi who successfully foresaw Gorbachev’s release.

“As the Pesach holiday approached, I decided that I must visit the Rebbe that year for Yom tov. Rabbi Rony Greenberg arranged a guest apartment for us in Crown Heights for us, and this is where we stayed. We participated in the Seder night meals at the home of one of the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s secretaries, and I was privileged to soak in the uplifting holiday atmosphere.”

CONNECTING TO THE CREATOR THROUGH ACTION

According to Dr. Eli Eisenberg, the Rebbe symbolizes the pinnacle of Jewish values, connecting latent spiritual values with the world of action. “For me and many other people, the Rebbe is a model to be emulated,” he says, adding that the power to form and build is the ultimate connection with the Creator. “It is written that everything is created for the honor of G-d, and the Rebbe is the one who connected our world with the loftiest G-dly ideas. Our life’s mission is to connect to the Creator through our action.”

Article originally appeared on Beis Moshiach Magazine (http://beismoshiachmagazine.org/).
See website for complete article licensing information.