preparation for the month of Elul, the Month of T’shuva, Beis Moshiach
presents the following stories about making the move towards t’shuva. *
Part 2 of 2
Don’t Know Me,
But Take My Number
Ben-Tzion Grossman told the following story:
rav who lived in a certain city in South America also served as
the shochet for the Jewish community. He wasn’t a Chassid, but
he was familiar with Chassidim from the time he lived in Russia, and he
respected and appreciated them.
many of his compatriots, he had difficulties concerning his children’s
chinuch. There was no Jewish school in the immediate area, never
mind a Talmud Torah or any other educational institution al taharas
ha’kodesh. Having no other choice, the rav and his wife
sent their children to public school, where they were educated along
with other Jews and gentiles. At home, they did their best to give their
children a traditional Jewish education.
rav’s oldest daughter also attended public school. However,
unlike other Jews her age, she decided to continue on at the public high
school despite her parents’ displeasure. Her next step was to go on to
university, where she began studying sociology. She enjoyed her studies
and put many hours into her work. Eventually she had to focus on a topic
for her doctorate thesis. She chose to investigate the Jewish-Arab
conflict, so she set off for Eretz Yisroel, where she could observe the
phenomenon up close.
spent weeks traveling among various Arab settlements. On one of her
trips, she went to an Arab village in the Galil, where she was accepted
as an observer in the local school. This enabled her to closely observe
the Arab education and lifestyle and their attitudes towards Jews.
met an Arab student at the school who was studying sociology at a
university in England. The two had a lot in common and their friendship
quickly grew. It was only a matter of time before they decided to marry.
days she wondered how to break the news to her parents. She
procrastinated for as long as she could but then finally decided to tell
them the facts, come what may. At first her father thought it was all a
bad joke, but his daughter’s serious tone finally made him realize
that she actually meant what she said.
father tried to get over the shock and reason with her. “You’ll lose
out in the end, if not now then in the future.” But she was strong in
her resolve. When he saw that she was adamant, he told her that if she
married the Arab he would cut off ties with her.
father was beside himself. More than anything else, he worried about how
his wife would take the news, a concern that turned out to be justified.
The mother collapsed at the very thought that her daughter was to marry
an Arab. Her heart couldn’t take it and after a few weeks, she passed
the father’s burden was too much to bear. He had lost both his
daughter and his wife, and was sorely bereft. In the meantime, his
daughter was married. They had a son a year later, followed by a
that time, a shaliach of the Rebbe arrived in the city where the
father lived. He heard about the rav’s tragic story from people
in the community and was deeply sympathetic to the man’s anguish. In
his very first meeting with the rav, the shaliach told him
about the Rebbe and about the miracles he performs. “Write to the
Rebbe and he will certainly help you,” he urged.
the rav sat down and wrote out the entire story. At the end of
the letter he asked for the Rebbe’s bracha and advice, and gave
the letter to the shaliach to deliver to the Rebbe.
Rebbe’s answer was, “Take advantage of an auspicious time when they
rav was taken aback. “How can I know when they quarrel if I
don’t even know where she lives? And anyway, what does the Rebbe mean
to take advantage of an auspicious time? What exactly am I supposed to
shaliach, however, was confident that it would all work
out. “Don’t worry about it,” he said. “Rely on the Rebbe and be
confident that when they quarrel, you will know about it and you will
also know what to do.”
young couple from the rav’s city moved to Eretz Yisroel and
lived in Teveria. When the woman had heard the story about the rav’s
daughter, she was beside herself. In fact, the rav’s pain had
moved her to the point that she resolved to do all in her power to bring
his daughter back to Yiddishkeit. She had heard about the
Rebbe’s answer to make use of an opportunity in which the couple
quarreled, so she decided to work along those lines.
began an intensive search for the woman and eventually made a few
connections with classmates of hers. After great effort, she managed to
get information about where she lived, her circumstances, and even her
courageously picked up the telephone and called the daughter’s number.
Fortunately, the Arab husband wasn’t at home and the woman answered
the phone herself.
my name is Chaya. First, I ‘d like to say that you don’t know me,
but I heard the story of your life and would like to offer my help in
case you ever need me.”
do you know me?” wondered the daughter.
doesn’t matter,” said Chaya, “just take a pen and write this
gave the woman her home telephone number and the woman, strangely
enough, wrote it down. “Whenever you feel the need, give me a call,”
said Chaya, and that was the end of the conversation.
course, Chaya had no way of knowing when she would get the telephone
call, but she was sure that the argument that the Rebbe had referred to
would take place and then perhaps she would get a call.
passed. Chaya nearly forgot the entire story, until one day the
telephone rang and the rav’s daughter was on the line. The
quarrel had taken place.
the daughter recounted the story of her life, how she had achieved the
pinnacle of happiness on all fronts: in her personal career, socially,
and in marriage. “You have to understand,” she said to Chaya, “I
least that was the case until a few days ago. For some reason we had a
terrible fight, which hasn’t ended yet. I realized that the situation
was about to get out of control and I decided to leave it all and run
away. Although I am pregnant now with my third child, I took my two
other children and fled.
days have passed since I left the house and my money has run out. I
looked through my purse trying to find a few coins and I saw the scrap
of paper with your telephone number. I am calling you from a public
telephone in a park in Chaifa where I have stayed the last two nights.
You said I should call if I need your help, so I called. I don’t have
money for food for my children, and I have nowhere to turn. Please help
took down the number from the telephone the woman was calling from and
promised to call her right back. Her mind began racing furiously until
she finally decided to call Rabbi Ben-Tzion Grossman of Migdal HaEmek.
The fact that he lives in the north is what clinched it.
Grossman made his home available and the woman came immediately. They
realized that the woman had to be smuggled out of the country, along
with her children.
woman then contacted her father, who just couldn’t believe his
daughter wanted to come home. He quickly flew to Eretz Yisroel, where
the meeting between father and daughter took place. A few days later the
woman gave birth to a boy. The bris was made on the eighth day
and the baby was named Shneur Zalman.
much planning, the woman managed to leave the country in a roundabout
way along with her three children, and returned home, where she reunited
with her family. Some time later she married a Chassid and has since had
other children. Today she lives a full Chassidic life, and her oldest
son serves as a rav in a Chassidic community.
the Chassid and artist R’ Hendel Lieberman went off to an
international art exhibition, he had a private audience with the Rebbe
and asked for a blessing for success. The Rebbe inquired about various
details connected with the exhibition, then suddenly changed the subject
and asked R’ Hendel where he would be staying. When R’ Hendel
mentioned the name of the hotel, the Rebbe asked him to stay at a
certain hotel in the city. R’ Hendel had no idea why the Rebbe told
him to switch hotels, but being a loyal Chassid, he followed the
days after he arrived at the hotel, a Jew knocked at his door and asked
whether he could borrow tallis and t’fillin. The man,
who didn’t look observant, aroused R’ Hendel’s curiosity. R’
Hendel decided to follow him.
Hendel watched the man enter a room, put on the t’fillin and daven,
crying copiously. This same routine repeated itself day after day.
returning home, R’ Hendel asked the man to explain his strange
behavior. The man replied that when he saw a man of Chassidic
appearance, with beard and pei’os, going about the hotel, it
reminded him of his Jewish roots and inspired him to teshuva.
B.G. of Crown Heights, relates:
few years ago, I was visiting a certain college campus for mivtzaim.
I worked there for quite a while but didn’t see the fruits of my
labor. Disappointed, I wrote to the Rebbe and asked for advice. The
Rebbe replied, “You don’t always see immediate results.”
few years later I had occasion to visit that university for a large book
fair. We took advantage of the event to display Jewish books and to do mivtzaim.
young man came over to me and asked, “Do you remember me?” I looked
at him and said, “Perhaps you could remind me how I know you.”
young man replied, “You once came to the university to put t’fillin
on with the Jewish students and to speak to them about Judaism.
Among other things, you spoke to one student about the prohibition of
marrying a gentile woman and the ramifications of doing so.
crowd of students gathered round to listen to the discussion, and I was
among them. I remember that you said, “No matter what, they will
always remember your being Jewish and the girl’s family will even
remind you about it.”
the time, I too was about to marry a gentile girl,” the young man
continued, “and what you said was very pertinent to me. All the same,
I was quite skeptical.
before I was to marry, my fiancee and I quarreled. Our argument quickly
deteriorated into a volley of curses from her about my being Jewish.
That reminded me about what you had said, and on the spot I decided to
call off our marriage.”