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Inspired To T’shuva
By Menachem Ziegelboim

In 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

You Don’t Know Me, But Take My Number

Rabbi Ben-Tzion Grossman told the following story:

A 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.

Like 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.

The 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.

She 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.

She 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.

For 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.

The 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.

The 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 on.

Now 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 daughter.

* * *

Around 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.

Tearfully, 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.

The Rebbe’s answer was, “Take advantage of an auspicious time when they quarrel.”

The 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 do?”

The 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.”

* * *

A 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.

She 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 telephone number.

She 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.

“Hello, 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.”

“How do you know me?” wondered the daughter.

“It doesn’t matter,” said Chaya, “just take a pen and write this down.”

Chaya 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.

Of 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.

Years 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.

Tearfully, 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 lacked nothing.

“At 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.

 “Two 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 me!”

Chaya 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.

Rabbi 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.

The 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.

After 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.

Seeing A Beard And Pei’os

Before 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 Rebbe’s wishes.

Two 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.

R’ Hendel watched the man enter a room, put on the t’fillin and daven, crying copiously. This same routine repeated itself day after day.

Before 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.


Rabbi B.G. of Crown Heights, relates:

A 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.”

A 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.

A 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.”

The 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.

“A 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.”

“At 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.

“Shortly 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.”





“Hello, 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.”







“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 me!”


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