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On The Road To Redemption
By Shneur Zalman Berger

“I have two daughters – one that had been kidnapped and was returned to me after the Rebbe gave me a blessing, and the other who was born after a blessing from the Rebbe. That’s why I dedicate my life to the Rebbe and to his holy directive to publicize the coming of Moshiach Tzidkeinu.”
The story of R’ Efraim Kapara of Rechovot

Nothing in the world happens by chance, but one of the workers of the Chabad House in Bat-Yam unintentionally hitting the parked car of Yemenite Efraim Kapara was definitely predetermined!

The accident occurred one ordinary afternoon, and passersby crowded around the damaged car. Efraim wasn’t there at the time, and when he returned to his car, a young bearded Lubavitcher with a hat approached him and said, “I hit your car. If you go to the Chabad House, the director, Rabbi Zimroni Tzik, will pay you for the damages.”

A few days later, Efraim went to the Chabad House. Rabbi Tzik paid him without a murmur, and Efraim was turning to leave when Rabbi Tzik said, “The fact that you came to the Chabad House is by Divine providence!”

“What’s the connection?” asked the young Yemenite.

“A Chabad House is a home for every Jew. Certainly you too can find something here.”

“I have no plans on becoming religious in the near future,” said Efraim indifferently.

“Perhaps you will tell me something about yourself,” said Zimroni as he tried another tack. “Do you have children?”

Today, twelve years later, Efraim Kapara remembers the conversation that changed his life. When Zimroni asked him that question, tears came to his eyes. “I have one little girl who was kidnapped,” he said brokenheartedly. Zimroni realized that here was a Jew who needed help and he offered him a chair and listened to his story.


Efraim’s grandfather, Menasheh Kapara, had immigrated to Eretz Yisroel with a large group of Yemenite Jews. The members of his group had settled in the neighborhood of Shaarayim in Rechovot. Menasheh did much work on behalf of the Yemenite Jews of the city. In fact, after his passing, his work was acknowledged by the city council, who named the main street of the neighborhood after him. Today Efraim lives on that street.

“I was raised in a traditional home, but I was far from anything having to do with religion. My mother changed my name when I was a child. She thought Efraim was old-fashioned and felt I needed a more modern name. So she changed it to Ofer, Ofer Kfir.”

After elementary school, he lived in the dormitory of an agricultural school in Nahalel, and then served as a paratrooper in the Israeli army. “I did a lot of things in those days,” recalls Efraim. “I studied physical education at the Weingart Institute, I was a member of the local dance troupe, and I was a guidance counselor and dorm counselor at Hadasim. I traveled to the U.S. for the Youth Pioneers, under the auspices of the Jewish Agency. Through them, I ended up being a counselor in a camp for handicapped children.

“I was at the camp for a long time. There I met a Christian girl, and we got married in a civil ceremony. We moved to Utica, New York and were involved with the Jewish community there, which was mostly Reform.

“At some point, I decided that my wife had to convert. I did not want my children to be gentiles. Realizing how important this was to me, she agreed to study Judaism and undergo a kosher conversion. At the time, I thought that conversion was only a formality. I didn’t know that it is a process involving the soul and faith and wholehearted acceptance of Torah and mitzvos.

“After two years of study, my wife converted and we returned to Eretz Yisroel to my hometown of Rechovot. About a year later my oldest daughter was born.

“At that time I experienced what the Rebbe has said many times about the destructiveness of intermarriage. My wife wanted to go back to the U.S., as she did not identify with the country and the Jewish nation. We mutually agreed to divorce. Our divorce papers gave me custody of my daughter and gave my ex-wife visitation rights at any time. In addition, one month of the year our daughter would live in the U.S. with her mother.”

Everything seemed to be peaceable, but problems began in the summer of 5747 (1987). Efraim’s ex-wife took her daughter to the U.S. for a month. When the month passed with no word from them, he began to worry. A call to her parents revealed no further information. A red light went off in Efraim’s mind. He consulted lawyers and private investigators, but came up with nothing. “I ran around like a madman. At night I couldn’t sleep – I just thought of my daughter and how I could find her.”

Weeks passed, as Efraim tried to get on with his life as best as he could under the circumstances. He and a friend opened a gym in Bat-Yam and made a nice living.

“Four months of searching has passed,” concluded Efraim, “and I don’t know what to do now. Despair is eating away at me.”

Rabbi Tzik listened closely to Efraim’s tale of woe. Unfortunately, he is accustomed to hearing sad stories. He advised Efraim to go to New York to try to locate them. “She is probably in a Christian kindergarten, and her mother is raising her as a Christian. This makes it a case of pidyon shvuyim (the mitzva of redeeming captives),” he explained to Efraim.

Efraim felt as though a fire had been ignited within him. The thought of his daughter being raised as a Christian was unbearable. He decided to go to New York to do whatever he could to find her. Rabbi Tzik gave him the addresses of directors of Chabad Houses in different cities who could potentially help him.

“I began searching everywhere. I went to the police, to the Israeli Consulate, to government agencies, but after hearing my story, they all threw up their hands and said this involved sensitive legal issues between Israel and the United States. I despaired. I stalked the streets of the city in desperation, looking all around as though my daughter would suddenly emerge from one of the nearby houses. I walked and cried, and for the first time in my life, I prayed (!) that I would find my daughter.

“Zimroni had suggested that I go to the Rebbe on a Sunday to get a dollar and a bracha. I didn’t want to, though. I just didn’t believe. However, after two weeks of despair, I decided to go.

“I stood in line to see the Rebbe not knowing what to ask or how to ask. Next to me stood a kind bachur, Chanan Kochanovsky (who today runs a Chabad House in the Ramat Eliyahu neighborhood of Rishon L’Tzion). He encouraged me, telling me miracle stories of the Rebbe. He was confident that I would receive a bracha and would find my daughter very soon.

“I soon found myself standing before the Rebbe. I was so overcome that I didn’t say a word. The Rebbe gave me a dollar and wished me “bracha v’hatzlacha.” I was about to leave, when the Rebbe gave me another dollar and said, ‘This, give to your daughter.’

“I was stunned. I hadn’t said a word! How did the Rebbe know I had a daughter, and that she needed a bracha?

“Chanan told me: ‘That is a clear indication that salvation will come quickly.’

“At that moment, I knew I would find my daughter soon.

“After receiving some information, I had reason to believe that my daughter was in Yonkers. I got hold of a rabbi in Yonkers and asked him for help in locating my daughter. He called me back a few days later and told me he had found my daughter. She was in kindergarten #9, a Catholic school.

“I immediately went to Yonkers, to school #9. I wanted to go in, but a security guard did not allow anyone to enter without permission from the principal. The principal came out and examined the documents I had brought with me from Eretz Yisroel. The divorce papers and the court decisions had been translated into English and had been approved by the American Embassy in Israel. The principal immediately called the police, and informed my ex-wife that I was here.

“After half a year of yearning and worry, tears burst forth the moment I saw my daughter. It was the third day of Chanuka 5748. I gave her a dreidel and a doughnut.”

Efraim’s joy, however, was premature. For after an emotional visit with his daughter, the police decided to return the girl to her mother. Nevertheless, they called the parents to court, and the battle began. The mother arrived without the girl, and Efraim realized that she would not give her up easily.

The judge examined the documents and arranged for another meeting. That very day, mother and daughter disappeared.

“The worrying began all over again,” recalls Efraim, “but this time I knew where to turn. I wrote to the Rebbe and asked for his blessings.”

Efraim met a childhood friend with whom he had attended school in Nahalel, named Yitzchok Nachum. Yitzchok, who had become a baal teshuva and was living in Crown Heights, shlepped Efraim to a Tanya shiur. This was the turning point in Efraim’s life, for he began to think about the Divine providence accompanying him every step of the way.

“I bought a kipa and tzitzis, and began to learn Chitas every day. I began attending the Rebbe’s farbrengens. I took step after step in my observance of Torah and mitzvos. I knew already that for the Rebbe’s bracha to find my daughter to bear fruit, I had to ‘sow seeds’ by making good hachlatos and changing my life, and I did just that.”

One day several weeks later, Efraim received a call from the courts: “We have found the woman. Come quickly.” The judge told Efraim to get a lawyer, so he went to a well known law firm in New York. The senior lawyer heard the story and laughed, saying, “There’s no way you can get the girl from her. Israeli law is completely different from American law.” After pleading with him, he agreed to provide a rookie lawyer.

“I arrived at court with only one hope in my heart — the Rebbe’s brachos. The judge looked at the papers, and after brief consideration, banged her gavel and announced, ‘I will not open the file of the Israeli court’s decision. The girl belongs to her father.’

“There was an uproar! The journalists there couldn’t get over it! The fact that an Israeli citizen was permitted to take an American citizen out of America made headlines.

“Today my daughter is studying in Beis Rivka in Kfar Chabad. As a result of this story, I have become observant and a Lubavitcher Chassid.”


After a relatively quiet year, Efraim married an observant girl and moved to Rechovot. For many years they did not have children. When his wife finally became pregnant, she miscarried. The next pregnancy proceeded satisfactorily until she became so toxemic that her life was endangered. They asked for the Rebbe’s advice and blessing, and the Rebbe said they should speak to a rav and a doctor friend. Both felt that the complications with the pregnancy were so severe that they had no recourse but to abort.

“It was Tisha B’Av for us. We returned sadly from the hospital after the procedure and found a letter from the Rebbe in the mailbox. The letter was a bracha for a healthy pregnancy and an easy birth! The letter was dated the 25th of Tishrei, but we only received it in Teives! We didn’t know how to react to the letter. The pregnancy had just ended that day, and here was a letter from the Rebbe about an easy birth!

“In my heart, I knew this was a bracha for the next pregnancy.”

“In order to strengthen ourselves, we decided to exert ourselves in the Rebbe’s mivtzaim. I started going on Mivtza Tefillin at the Kaplan Hospital in Rechovot three times a week. I went from department to department and put tefillin on with patients and doctors. On Fridays, I made Shabbos parties with the children in the pediatric ward. I became a virtual Chabad House at the hospital. On Shabbos, I organized Shabbos parties for the children of Rechovot.

“Two years later we were again expecting a child, and this was without any treatment or running from doctor to doctor. It was really most unusual, and I knew there was only one reason for it – the Rebbe’s bracha. The due date was around Rosh HaShana, but I felt the birth would be on the 25th of Tishrei, the day the Rebbe had written the letter with the bracha for an easy birth. The doctors laughed at me; they wanted to induce her earlier. My wife gave birth on the 25th of Tishrei and everything went fine.

“I have two daughters,” says Efraim Kapara. “The one that was taken from me was returned to me thanks to the Rebbe’s brachos, and the other daughter was born in the merit of the Rebbe’s blessing. That is why I have dedicated my life to the Rebbe and his holy directives, particularly regarding publicity about the Geula.”

* * *

Whoever knows Efraim Kapara knows a man on fire with enthusiasm and energy. He lives an intense, dynamic life. He never sits still, and is always cooking up original ideas.

He began with the besuras ha’Geula on the basketball courts. Mr. Ami Feinstein, a member of the town council of Rechovot and the local minister of culture and sport, approached him. “Perhaps you can send someone to help the Macabi Rechovot team like you did for other teams?” he asked.

Efraim started going to games with giant Boruch Ha’ba Melech HaMoshiach” and “Yechi Adoneinu” signs. The signs were prominently displayed. During breaks, Moshiach songs played over the loudspeakers. The crowds loved it and began shouting “Moshiach, Moshiach!”

Did they win their games?

“What do you think?”

“It was my first game, and I came to cheer for the local team. The crowd sang “Moshiach, Moshiach.” The atmosphere was special, but the opposing team led by 14 points. I wanted the atmosphere and his’orerus to continue, so I wrote the Rebbe a letter asking for help. During half-time, I went over to the team and asked them to put money in the pushka. “You guys are going to win by 14 points,” I told them to boost their morale. “14 is the gematria of Chabad,” I added.

“During the second half of the game, the score was even. At the final moments, the local team began to lead and was ahead by 12 points. In the last seconds of the game, they got another basket, which gave them another 2 points, for a total of 14 more points than the opposing team!”

Did the team acknowledge why they had won?

“At the end of the game, they hugged me and said, “Kapara, you’ve got to come to every game. We won because of you!” I told them, “You put on tefillin before every game, and put money in the pushka, and you’ll have many victories.” Since then, many athletes have gotten more involved in Yiddishkeit.”

Doesn’t the connection between Moshiach and sports seem strange to them?

“Not at all. On the contrary, they greet me with open arms, and do whatever I tell them. They give tzedaka, put on tefillin every day, and they even stopped playing on Shabbos! They also say ‘Yechi.’”

Most people don’t know about the enormous effort Efraim put into convincing the directors of Macabi Shaarayim and the members of the team to schedule games for Motzaei Shabbos and days other than Shabbos. When he finally succeeded, the local papers of Rechovot were full of articles about it.

Rescheduling the games was marked by a ceremony in which Rabbi M.M. Gluckowsky, the rav of the Lubavitch community in Rechovot, and Rabbi Shlomo Mizrachi participated. The Chief Rabbi of Rechovot, Rabbi Simcha Kook, also came, blessing the members of the team for their courageous decision. “The athletes, the trainer and the management signed a declaration agreeing to the games being played on Friday instead of on Shabbos. In the written agreement, they also accept the leadership of the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach and they commit to publicizing the besuras ha’Geula during games.”

“We organized an evening in honor of Yud-Alef Nissan with various sports stars and other sports figures in Rechovot. It was an interesting event, which unified the different groups. Rabbi Refael Cheruti of Nachalat Har Chabad spoke about the realization of the Rebbe’s prophecies.”

Efraim had other ideas for pirsum ha’Geula. One day he learned the Rebbe’s sicha discussing the situation that had occurred when the Arizal had asked his talmidim one Erev Shabbos to go with him to Yerushalayim. This was from Tzfat, ordinarily an impossible trip in the brief time before Shabbos. The talmidim wanted to first consult their wives. But because of that hesitation, the Arizal informed them that an opportunity for Geula had passed. The story touched Efraim, and he decided to correct the mistake of those talmidim of long ago. On the 4th of Iyar 5752, he began walking from Rechovot to Yerushalayim, holding a sign that proclaimed “Marching to Greet Moshiach.” People driving on the road to Yerushalayim saw a smiling bearded man with tzitzis blowing in the breeze, marching to Yerushalayim holding a sign explaining the purpose of his march. Drivers honked their approval, and when he stopped at a rest spot along the way, he got positive reactions from people there, as well.

You don’t think the idea was a bit strange?

“I simply wanted to wake people up,” Efraim answers with a smile. “In addition, we believe that Moshiach can come at any moment, so at least let us show him we are on the road to Redemption!”

However, Efraim felt he hadn’t pursued the idea to the fullest. A few months later, he began an even longer march – this time from Tzfat to Yerushalayim! He began walking a week before Yud-Alef Nissan with the goal of reaching Yerushalayim by Erev Pesach. Efraim was accompanied by one of the Tmimim and a resident of Sederot. The three of them set out on a well-planned walk. 

How did drivers react to the unusual sight?

“We got warm responses, with drivers honking and asking for material on Moshiach and Geula. We distributed quite a bit of material. We stopped in the cities in order to help dozens of Jews put on tefillin. The giant sign, ‘The Geula March,’ inspired many Jews who came over to ask us more about Geula.”

Groups of Anash and Tmimim accompanied them on different legs of their journey. A large group accompanied them as they left Tzfat. They went to Rosh Pina, and then to Teveria to sleep for the night. There a group of Anash from Natzeret in a Mivtza Tank accompanied them to Afula. From there, they went to Chadera. News of their impending arrival had preceded them, and dozens of children on skates greeted them, accompanying them to the home of Rabbi Klonymous Kupchik, director of the local Chabad House.

They spent Shabbos in Chadera, but they did not rest. There were farbrengens in shul, and on Motzaei Shabbos they organized a Kiddush Levana in the streets of the city.

The march ended on Erev Pesach at the Kotel HaMaaravi. “When we arrived at the Kotel, the soldier on duty did not allow us to enter the plaza with our signs. He said we were not allowed to bring in any propagandist material, and thought that we wanted to create a provocation. When we insisted, he called for his Druze commanding officer. The latter allowed us to enter immediately, and said uncomprehendingly, ‘They believe in Moshiach – why shouldn’t they enter?’”

How have you been publicizing the besuras ha’Geula lately?

Every Erev Shabbos, I drive through the main streets of Rechovot to announce the candle lighting time and the imminent revelation of Moshiach. Sometimes I stop off in some of the exclusive cafes in the north of the city where my old friends congregate. I help them put on tefillin and give out material about Moshiach. When some express their doubts to me, I tell them how the Rebbe MH”M gave me my two daughters.



Efraim In The Eyes Of The Media:

This is how the local sports writer described one of Efraim’s peulos with the local sports teams:

“Macabi Shaarayim will hold its games on Friday. The management of the team came to this decision with Chabad representative, Efraim Kapara. By doing so, Kapara has established a monopoly on all professional sports in the area, after having already adopted the Macabi Rechovot basketball and handball teams.”

Kapara: “I am happy that the management of Shaarayim has opted to seek Divine assistance and changed their games to Friday. I didn’t promise them anything, but I will do everything I can to bring in the crowds and to print a giant sign with the team’s logo and Moshiach slogans.”

The manager of the team, Ezra Kufrali: “We met with Kapara, and in two weeks we will be hosting a game against Ramat Amidar on Friday.”

This week, Kapara arranged a ceremony in which the team members put on tefillin, and he signed them up for the declaration of Moshiach’s coming.


On the Road to Redemption:
From Tzfas to Yerushalayim


I knew already that for the Rebbe’s bracha to find my daughter to bear fruit, I had to ‘sow seeds’ by making good resolutions and changing my life, and I did just that.


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