Would You Do If You Won The Lottery
Did you ever hear the expression
"in the merit of the righteous women?" Of course! There’s almost no
class, lecture, or text referring to Jewish women as a group that does not
mention this saying. But did you know that there is an organization with this
name, led by Ruti Cohen and Shterna Sara Kanevsky from Crown Heights, who
constantly strive to do everything they can to bring about the true and complete
Redemption? * About the organization "In the Merit of the Righteous
Women" and the incredible help and guidance they continue to receive from
the Rebbe MH"M
Cohen and Sara Kanevsky first met in one of the classes in the Beis Midrash L’Nashim
organized by Ariella Benayoun. Their friendship grew, and many times they
found themselves speaking about how to best inform the world that the Rebbe is
Moshiach and that "he will redeem us" any moment.
day they bought a lottery ticket and discussed what they would do with the money
if they won… They decided they would use it for a lofty purpose – to
publicize the besuras HaGeula. "The outcome of the lottery
was a positive resolution," they say today with a big smile. "We didn’t
win the million dollars, but we decided to publicize the besuras HaGeula
even without the money!"
Ruti came to my house one day and said to me, "What are we waiting for? We
can’t just sit around doing nothing just because we don’t have the money.
The Rebbe MH"M said to act, and he’ll help us get the money." So we
founded the organization "In the Merit of the Righteous Women."
wanted to produce a pamphlet that would clearly explain the topic of Geula.
We met every day. We immersed ourselves in mountains of s’farim and we
gathered so much material that what resulted is a booklet of 32 pages, full of
majestic pictures of the Rebbe MH"M (many of which were photographed by
Shimon Roumani). Baruch Hashem, the booklet was a huge success worldwide.
We’ve published 22,000 English copies so far.
each step of the way, we received guidance from the Rebbe MH"M through
answers we received in the Igros Kodesh.
We asked if we should include in the contents the test of the Akeida. In
the answer we received in the Igros, the Rebbe MH"M wrote about
Avrohom and Yitzchak. When we were trying to decide if we should publish the
booklet in color, the Rebbe MH"M answered our request in a letter to
someone who was doing publishing in black and white, but the Rebbe MH"M had
written to him that the choshen ha’mishpat had many stones. We
understood from this that the booklet should be colorful. Right after we got
this answer, Shterna looked up from the Igros and her eyes rested on a
flag in her house which has a picture of the Rebbe MH"M holding a seifer
Torah. On the crown of that seifer Torah are some stones, and she
told me that she sees four colors of stones. She asked in the Igros if we
should use four colors, and the Rebbe MH"M said, "The four stones are
for the four Imahos."
the guidance we received in preparing the booklet’s format and design, there
was incredible hashgacha pratis in the compilation of the material
we included. It was just extraordinary – any time we learned a particular
topic in our books, that same information was presented to us clearly in another
way. We would begin a topic and then we would go to 770 and hear a class about
just that topic, or Beis Moshiach would have an article about that topic,
etc. I’m not exaggerating – each topic was presented to us like that, by hashgacha
pratis, after we started learning it on our own.
wanted the first edition of our booklet to be printed by Gimmel Tammuz of that
year, but our proof was prepared too late for the printer to have it ready by
then, and he told us so. I asked him, "Could it be ready by Gimmel Tammuz
with miracles?" The printer responded that it could be ready
"with miracles." I opened the Igros and it opened to the date
of Gimmel Tammuz. It’s clear that miracles accompanied the booklet’s
production as it was in fact ready on Gimmel Tammuz. You can see the hashgacha
pratis and the involvement of the Rebbe in every aspect of the
preparation of this book.
topics are discussed in the booklet?
The Nasi HaDor, prophecy, the halachic definition of
Moshiach according to the Rambam, the first psak din that the
Rebbe MH"M meets the criteria to be Moshiach, the Rebbe MH"M’s
eternal life, the process of Moshiach’s revelation, Gimmel Tammuz, accepting
the kingship, the Rebbe MH"M accompanying us nowadays, and miracle stories
that are happening now.
were some responses you received?
We put our addresses and telephone numbers in the booklet for responses and
comments. We got calls from England thanking us for the great inspiration the
booklet gave the women there.
I have a friend, Batya Friedman, who works as a nurse in a hospital in Aventura,
Florida. She was inspired by the booklet and she distributed copies to her
co-workers and patients. One day she gave the booklet to a professor, Dr.
Letterman, one of the top doctors in the hospital, who had an ailment and had to
walk with a cane. Before he took it, as soon as he saw the picture of the Rebbe
MH"M on the cover, he told her: "My partner was very ill with a
certain sickness. The chemotherapy made him unable to have children. His wife
was upset about that and divorced him. Some time later, he asked the Rebbe
MH"M for a bracha for a certain experimental treatment. The Rebbe
MH"M gave him a bracha that the treatment would be successful and
that he would get married and have four children. And that’s exactly what
happened – today he is the father of four precious children…"
professor added, "The wonder is that out of one hundred people who
underwent this treatment, only two were successful – my partner and one other
the story isn’t over. The professor took the booklet Batya offered him. A week
or so later he walked into the hospital without a cane. Batya saw him as he was
walking and was puzzled. "Something is different about you," she asked
him. "What is it?"
what? I took that book you gave me, I sat down and I read the book through and
through, and all of a sudden I felt a change in my condition. I now only have to
take a third of the pain killer that I used to take – and all of a sudden I
don’t need a cane anymore!"
doctor walked in and said, "Good morning, doctor. Where’s your
professor answered him, pointing at Batya, "Ask her – she’ll tell
also got a response from the Rebbe MH"M. After our publication came out, I
had to go to the doctor. I had a copy of the booklet with me and I gave it to
the physician’s assistant in the office, Tzipporah. I gave it to her on the
15th of Teives. She told me her husband would probably be interested in the
booklet because he worked as a doctor in Mt. Sinai Hospital and met the Rebbe
MH"M when the Rebbe was admitted there many years ago.
went home and spoke to Basha Oka on the telephone, who wanted to plan a new
project. While we were talking, I opened up the Igros, Vol. 14, page 282,
and found a positive answer to Basha’s project. What I saw on the next page
made my jaw drop – in a letter dated 16 Teives: "Thank you, thank you for
the gift, the holy books that were sent through the special young man, Aaron
Thal." As I was trying to remember who I gave the book to, an idea went
through my mind... I called the doctor’s office and asked the secretary what
Tzipporah’s last name is. She told me her name is Tzipporah Thal!
many editions have come out until now?
We printed eight editions – five in English, two in French and one in Russian.
the French edition, I got an answer that mentioned my grandfather, the Chassid,
R’ Peretz Motchkin, a’h, in which the Rebbe MH"M wrote to him:
"Yashar ko’ach for your work in Paris." I saw that as
a sign… Rabbi Matusof found us a professional translator in France to
translate the booklet. When it was given back to us, we had to find someone here
in America to edit it. We had two people in mind, but we weren’t sure who to
choose. When I opened the Igros, the name of one of the people I had in
mind was written there.
the French edition was almost complete, we didn’t have enough money to publish
the booklet. One day I summoned the fortitude to ask people for contributions.
That night I counted all the money I received and I saw that the amount was exactly
number of Beis Chayeinu!
Not only that – 770 is the gematria of France, as the Rebbe MH"M
said in his sichos...
day I was going to go to 770. Before I left the house, I opened the Igros
Kodesh. The Rebbe MH"M wrote "to do mivtzaim with the
French." I immediately grabbed a stack of the translated booklets and went
to 770. I wasn’t surprised to see that all of a sudden a group from France had
arrived in 770.
are your plans regarding a Hebrew edition?
The Hebrew edition is just before the final proofreading. We are about to
publish a Spanish edition, and there’s a plan to publish one in Yiddish. We
have 7,000 Russian booklets available for distribution. Mr. Eliyahu Elkin
translated the booklet into Russian for us, and Professor Yirmiyahu Branover did
While we were preparing the Russian edition, I needed to consult with the Rebbe
on different occasions and I found myself repeatedly coming up with the name of
Rabbi Levin. Whenever the name came up I immediately called the shliach
Rabbi Levin in Flatbush, realizing that right then would be a good time to reach
him. I told him that we are printing a book in Russian and that I thought he
could use it. Then Ruti found out that Rabbi Levin was making a gathering for
this past Yud Shvat. We gave him booklets, and at that gathering, Rabbi Levin
gave out at least 1,000 copies.
you had won the lottery, I wouldn’t ask – but where do you get the money to
print so many copies?
The Rebbe MH"M worries about that also! A few days after the first edition
came out we distributed all our copies and we needed to print more. A short time
later we opened the Igros and the Rebbe MH"M said, "I’m
sending you a check." Just under an hour later the phone rang. A woman from
Chicago was on the line. She wanted to donate towards the next printing in honor
of her father’s yahrtzeit.
On my birthday I wrote to the Rebbe MH"M, and the Rebbe answered in the Igros,
Vol. 12, page 152, with brachos for the birthday and then wrote,
"Regards to your neighbor." I thought the Rebbe MH"M meant my
neighbor who returned that day from Eretz Yisroel. I called her and I told her
that the Rebbe MH"M gives her greetings. She was surprised and said,
"I know why – because I wanted to contribute $500 towards your
Rami Antian’s organization helped us out, and we have some anonymous sponsors.
People sponsor our publication for yahrtzeits. Rabbi Naftali Astulin
sponsored an English printing and a Russian printing for his Chabad House in
the booklet, what other activities is the organization involved with?
Our organization joined up with the organization Basha Oka Botnick started –
Jewish Women United for the Redemption. She saw our booklet and liked it. We
joined forces and now we take part in the activities she arranges. She arranges
lectures and farbrengens in different areas all around the New York area.
She also arranges the speakers: Chava Cohen, the woman who presented the Rebbe
MH"M with the tambourine that says "Yechi" on it, Ruti,
myself, Shterna Shpritzer, and others. Women from all different backgrounds
attend these lectures – religious, non-religious, Chassidic, non-Chassidic,
you name it.
topics do you present in the lectures?
When we speak, we want to transmit the words of the Rebbe MH"M without
leaving anything out. We present the material logically, step by step, and with
the sources. The people really do accept our words and are inspired. The proof
is that after the lecture, many women invite us to come lecture in their homes
for their families and friends, because it’s important to them that they hear
start off we show a video, "The Revelation of Moshiach/Besuras HaGeula."
This video shows people singing "Yechi," addressing the Rebbe
as "Moshiach," and it shows how the Rebbe MH"M accepted it. It
also shows Chana Cohen presenting the Rebbe MH"M with the tambourine with
the words "Yechi Adoneinu…" on it. This video lets the women
see that we are not just wishing that the Rebbe MH"M is Moshiach – they
see the Rebbe MH"M accepting it and encouraging it. After that, we speak
and then we respond to questions.
are the responses from your audiences?
Lately, we’ve been concentrating more on farbrengens. The women become
so inspired at these farbrengens. Sometimes they cry from the intensity
of their own experiences with the Rebbe MH"M. We have seen over and over
again that most people already have some connection to the Rebbe MH"M, even
those who we wouldn’t think would have had any previous connection. There are
just no words to describe our experiences at these farbrengens.
The feedback is very positive. One woman who works for the Jewish Press
heard us at a lecture and wrote about us. She called our booklet a beautiful
monograph. We have letters from many women thanking us because the lecture gave
them the spirit and the strength to continue to believe. The Rebbe MH"M
said that the world is ready, and we see it in the responses we get at the
do you publicize the booklet?
We publicize it as much as possible in the media. For example, we put ads in The
Algemeiner Journal, The Jewish Week, Maariv, and The
Jewish Press. We distributed the booklets to the N’shei Chabad
Convention, we mailed them out to the shluchim around the world, and we
put an ad on the Zev Brenner radio show.
a woman came to 770 and was surprised to hear that the Rebbe MH"M himself
announced, "The time for your redemption has arrived." She was adamant
that everyone should be informed about this important message. It turned out
that she worked for Channel 13 TV, and she made a film about the Chabad-Chassidic
way of life and about the Rebbe MH"M. Now more than a million viewers of
Channel 13 know who is Melech HaMoshiach.
conclusion, what is your message to the readers of Beis Moshiach?
Start to do something! The Rebbe MH"M is with us, watching us, encouraging
us, strengthening us so we will be successful in spreading the besuras ha’Geula.
If you just start, the Rebbe MH"M will help you in every way. Whoever wants
to contribute their talents to spreading the besuras ha’Geula should
organize, get together – and remember, every small action counts.
Adoneinu Moreinu V’Rabbeinu Melech HaMoshiach L’olam Va’ed!