A Wrong Number, But a Right Result
"Just as I was about to apologetically hang up the phone, I realized what the woman was saying... * A story of hashgacha pratis.

Rabbi Yaakov Minsky relates:

I’ve been in the field of chinuch for decades in the Chabad system in Lud. In 5741, I was told by the Rebbe to go to Be’er Sheva with my family and to establish a school there for boys and for girls.

I rented an apartment in Be’er Sheva and prepared for the transition and new challenge. On moving day, right in the middle of the move, as the truck waited downstairs and workers were going in and out carrying my furniture, the phone rang. I distractedly answered the phone, keeping an eye on the movers, and heard an irate woman on the line. She said, "Is this Minsky? … Because of you I have no peace, not by day or by night. The phone in my house rings non-stop with people looking for Yaakov Minsky. No sooner do I conclude one conversation than the phone rings again. Everybody’s looking for Minsky. Don’t you think it’s time to do something about this? How long must I go on being bothered because of a Minsky I don’t even know?"

She was upset and was letting me know it. When she finally allowed me to speak, I told her the fault was that of Bezek (the phone company). Instead of having my number down as ending with 94, it was printed ending with 04, which was the woman’s number. I explained that this annoyance was not actually my fault and that Bezek had promised to correct the error in the new edition of the telephone book, though this information didn’t seem to appease her.

I attempted to end the conversation because the time she had chosen was not exactly convenient. Before I could hang up she asked me, "What are you? An organization? An office?"

"No," I answered shortly. One of the workers had nearly dropped the refrigerator. "A private home." At the time I was thinking, ‘My private home is being packed up… For Heaven’s sake, I’m busy now.’

"A private home?" she said in amazement. "Every time I’m called, I’m asked about t’fillin or mezuzos, sifrei Torah, shuls. Before Pesach - about matza and wine; before Sukkos - about lulavim and esrogim. This is a private home?"

"Something like that," I said, as I shifted from one foot to another and transferred the phone from ear to ear. "We from Tzeirei Chabad try to help people in need of help." The workers wanted to ask something and I couldn’t hear them. In half-sentences with hand motions, I asked them to repeat what they had said. It was extremely noisy and I prayed that this conversation would come to a speedy conclusion. Thank G-d I’m not the type who hangs up the phone on people.

Just as I was about to say some words of apology about the very, very imminent end of our conversation, I grasped what the woman was saying. "Maybe you can help me, too. I also need help," she said with her voice breaking. I covered my other ear in attempt to direct my focus to this phone call, encouraging her to tell me her problem.

In a broken voice she told me she was married for over ten years and had no children. I asked her about the t’fillin and mezuzos in her house. She said that she didn’t believe there was a problem with them. I promised to call her back soon and wished her with all my heart that she’d hear good news. I jotted down the information and rushed back to deal with the thousand things I had to do.

I called my brother-in-law in Lud a few days later from Be’er Sheva. I told him about the woman’s call and asked him to get involved, giving him the woman’s address. I told him to check the t’fillin and mezuzos, and to see what had to be done.

In Be’er Sheva I had my year of hard work waiting for me. I had to start a school for boys and girls, hire teachers, register children, and prepare a curriculum. All this demanded days and nights of work. This was all in addition to the usual difficulties one encounters when a family moves to a new place. The conversation with the woman flew out of my head.

A long time after the mosdos were established, I was told by the Rebbe to return to Lud. The mosdos in Be’er Sheva were strong. In fact, they are still active, providing hundreds of boys and girls with a Jewish education.

Upon our return to Lud, we were greeted by friends and family, including the brother-in-law I had sent to take care of that woman. The conversation with the woman on moving day came to mind, and I asked my brother-in-law what had happened with her.

My brother-in-law remembered the story. He told me that when he had gone to her home, he had discovered that neither the t’fillin nor the mezuzos were kosher. On the spot, he helped them exchange and buy new mezuzos, and spoke to them, strengthening them on some areas that needed chizuk, and that was it.

We both wanted to know what had happened, but because it was nearly midnight we didn’t call. Since that night was Thursday and the next day was Erev Shabbos, we decided to call her Sunday morning.

On Sunday we called the woman. An old woman answered the phone, the mother of the woman we wanted to speak to. She happily informed us that her daughter had given birth that day to a son, after years of waiting.

A wonderful feeling of joy and thanks to Hashem washed over us. We were blown away by the amazing hashgacha that we called precisely on the day of the yeshua.

There are no mistakes in life. If Hashem wants to connect someone with Jews who could help out, He can do so even through a wrong number in the phone book.

(This story appeared a few years ago in HaModia)


I covered my other ear in attempt to direct my focus to this phone call...


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