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Tuesday
Jun282016

WHY DID THE ARAB GROW A BEARD?

By Nechama Bar

There was knocking at the Kali’s door. It was their neighbor, someone not religiously observant, who had a request. “Can I write to the Rebbe?”

R’ Kali is used to such requests. All the neighbors, near and far, know him and know to whom to turn when in trouble. He graciously invited the man in.

At the time, the house was undergoing extensive renovations. An Arab worker was on a ladder and with the roller in his hand he was painting the house. Another worker was bent over the floor, measuring, breaking old tiles and putting in new ones. But R’ Kali was not disturbed by the noise and hullabaloo and the two of them sat down at the table to write to the Rebbe.

“Wow! I don’t believe it! It’s just what I asked!” exclaimed the neighbor when he opened the Igros Kodesh. With a happy heart he said goodbye.

The Arab worker who knew Hebrew, looked on in wonder. He had observed the writing and then the placing of the paper in the volume and the neighbor’s amazement.

“What was that about?” he asked, as he dipped a brush in paint.

R’ Kali tried to come up with an explanation that a non-Jew would understand. “The Jewish nation has righteous people to whom G-d gives special abilities to bless and do miracles. In our generation, the biggest tzaddik is the Lubavitcher Rebbe and he does many miracles.” He went on to tell him about the Igros Kodesh and shared some stories.

The Arab was very impressed and he asked, “Can I do it too?”

“Sure,” said the rav, “but before you do, you need to commit to a good deed. You can commit to fulfilling the Seven Noachide Laws.”

“Ah yes, I am familiar with that. I do these mitzvos,” said the Arab.

R’ Kali suggested that he publicize the seven mitzvos in his village so that others would keep them too. When the Arab agreed, he began to prepare to write. He washed his hands, took off his smock, and wrote his requests.

In the letter that he opened to in the Igros Kodesh, the Rebbe blessed the person with a good livelihood and other blessings and also pointed out the importance of growing a beard.

The Arab wanted to understand every word and then he said, “I will grow a beard too!”

A few days passed and the renovations were finished and the workers left. R’ Kali was curious about whether the Arab actually grew a beard and whether he was helped by the Rebbe’s blessings, but he did not have a way to find out.

A short while later, he unexpectedly received answers to his questions and even heard another miracle story.

It was the afternoon and R’ Kali was on his way home. He was at a bus stop. He was busy saying Chitas when he felt a friendly hand on his shoulder. He looked up and to his surprise he saw the Arab. The man had a little beard and he looked very happy.

“Great is the rabbi of the Jews! Very great! I have a lot more money since I wrote to him. That same night, a friend who owed me money called me. He always gave excuses when I asked for my money back and I had already lost hope of retrieving it. Suddenly, he called and said, ‘Come and get your money. I’m sorry it took so long.’ I nearly fell off my chair. I couldn’t believe my ears!”

The Arab paused and then continued with his story.

“That day, an hour later, the phone rang. It was an architect. She said she wanted me to work for her. We had not been in touch for a long time and she called out of the blue. What do you say? Miracles huh? It’s only been good since then.”

They stood for a long time at the bus stop and at the Arab’s request, R’ Kali explained the importance of growing a beard according to Chassidus.

The other people waiting at the stop were quite surprised to see the unlikely pair, a religious fellow and a bearded Arab. They could not figure out the connection between them. One of the onlookers was a kibbutznik, a guy with long hair who knew nothing about Judaism. He listened to the conversation and decided to try his luck too.

“Uh, excuse me for interrupting but … I … Can I also write to the Rebbe?”

R’ Kali was happy to connect another Jew to the Rebbe. “Of course. Did you put t’fillin on today?”

The kibbutznik said no; he hadn’t put on t’fillin since his bar mitzva. R’ Kali invited him to his house to put on t’fillin and write to the Rebbe. The young man liked the idea and changed his plans. He got off the bus with R’ Kali.

“I’m about to have an operation. I am very worried about it. I don’t know what will be and am afraid to think about it. I need a miracle.”

He wrote out his situation and put the letter into a volume of Igros Kodesh. To his surprise and delight, the Rebbe was writing to someone who was sick and telling him not to be frightened by the doctors’ apprehension because the situation was not as bad as they thought it was.

The kibbutznik was stunned. Before he left the house, R’ Kali gave him his phone number and in a confident tone he said, “Don’t forget to call me with good news.”

A short time later, the young man called R’ Kali and emotionally reported to him. “The bracha was fulfilled! Although the doctors warned me and frightened me with possible complications and the danger, the operation went smoothly and quickly. I recovered completely within a short time. Boruch Hashem, I am fine, to the great amazement of the doctors who all admit that this is an unexpected miracle.”

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