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
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)