All For a Lonely Neshama

Erev Pesach 5750. An awe-inspired silence prevailed in Gan Eden HaTachton, as one after the other, rabbanim, shluchim, askanim, and various public figures received matzos from the Rebbe for their communities and mushpaim. It was shortly after midday, and as soon as they received the matzos, the shluchim rushed home to prepare for the holiday.

Nearly every one of them was preparing a public seider in his city for dozens, hundreds, or perhaps even thousands of people. Time was of the essence.

Among them was Rí Moshe Tamarin, not a shliach, but a young man who lived in Moscow who had come to New York for Pesach and was about to direct a seider for Russian immigrants in New Haven. Rí Tamarin was asked to get the matzos for the participants at the seider as well as for the Lubavitchers who lived in New Haven.

Usually the shliach, Rabbi Moshe Yitzchok Hecht, personally got the matzos from the Rebbe for his city, but this year his carís engine had burned out and he couldnít make it to Crown Heights. Binyanim Katz, the organizer of the seider, had asked Rí Tamarin, who would be arriving in town that day, to get the matzos for them.

Among the people waiting for the Rebbeís matzos was Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Stock, shliach in Bridgeport near New Haven. Rí Stock was also holding a seider in his town and had invited ten Russian families to his home. Since Rí Tamarin didnít have a car, Rí Stock was going to take him until the highway between Bridgeport and New Haven, where he would meet a driver waiting to pick him up and take him to New Haven.

Rí Moshe Tamarin, followed by Rí Yossi Stock, were among the first in line so that they could get back home in time for Yom Tov. When it was Rí Tamarinís turn, he told the Rebbe in Russian, "Öfor the seider for Russian immigrants in New Haven." After the Rebbe gave him a package of matzos he asked for matzos for Rabbi Moshe Hecht.

The Rebbe leaned forward and asked, "Ah?" Rí Tamarin repeated his request for matzos for the seider for Russian immigrants and for the community in New Haven. The Rebbe, as though not hearing him, asked, "Youíre going to make a seider with Russian immigrants in Bridgeport?"

For a moment Rí Tamarin was stunned into silence. He thought that the Rebbe hadnít understood him, so he repeated, "No, itís for New Haven." The Rebbe held the package of matzos the entire time. An uncomfortable silence prevailed. The Rebbe turned to Rí Stock and asked, "Heís going with you?"

"Yes," said Rí Stock in amazement, for how did the Rebbe know they would be traveling together?

"Do you understand what heís saying?" asked the Rebbe.

Rí Stock shrugged as if saying, "I donít understand Russian."

Rabbi Groner finally told the Rebbe that Rí Tamarin was going to New Haven and was asking for matzos for Rabbi Hecht.

The Rebbe raised his hands and said, "Nu!" as if to say, "If thatís the case..."

The Rebbe gave Rí Tamarin and Rí Stock each a package and wished them "a kosherín un a freilichen Pesach." The two silently left.


Rí Stock and Rí Tamarin drove the two-hour drive from Crown Heights. When they got to the highway between Bridgeport and New Haven, there was nobody waiting there for Rí Tamarin.

Precious minutes went by, so finally Rí Stock said, "Come and have the seider with me. I am also making a seider for Russians, and I donít have anybody who speaks Russian to run it properly."

Rí Tamarin agreed - did he have a choice? He couldnít very well stand on the highway right before Yom Tov and just wait there! Rí Stock was happy and even Rí Tamarin was pleased.

Now they both realized that the Rebbe knew where Rí Tamarin was going. That was why he had asked, "Are you going to make a seider for Russians in Bridgeport?"


Right before Yom Tov began, the shliach in New Haven, Rabbi Berel Levitin, noticed that Rí Tamarin had not arrived. He called the driver who was supposed to have brought him and discovered there had been a misunderstanding.

The disappointment was great, for the Lubavitchers of New Haven would not have the Rebbeís matzos for the seider that year. Rabbi Levitin had received the Rebbeís matzos each year since he was a child. It bothered him so much that he didnít have them that year that he got up early the next morning and started walking to Bridgeport, a distance of 25 miles! "I figured that if I left early I would manage to get there and back by evening, and then we would have the Rebbeís matzos for the second seider."

He took along his tallis so that he could daven on the way, and some matzos, for perhaps he would meet someone Jewish and could give him the opportunity to fulfill the mitzva of eating matza.

He walked through little towns and the surrounding sparsely inhabited expanses and fields. Sometimes he crossed bridges and rivers. The sun began to rise and illuminate his surroundings and then he realized he had erred. He looked around and tried to figure out where he was, but he quickly saw that he had to retrace his steps and make a different turn.

After four hours of walking he found himself on the edge of a small town. Not far from where he stood was a large hospital. Rabbi Levitin decided, "Getting to Bridgeport today is highly unlikely, but maybe itís worth going into this hospital and seeing if there are any Jews there to whom I can give this Ďbread of faithí and awaken their Jewish souls."

He entered the hospital lobby and asked whether any Jews were there. He knew there were no religious Jews in this city, and that the number of Jews living there were few.

The woman looked at her lists and said, "Yes, thereís one old Jewish woman who has been here for a few days. Sheís on the second floor. You can ask the nurse of that department."

Rabbi Levitin went up to the second floor and asked to see the Jewish woman.

"I see you are a rabbi," the nurse remarked to Rabbi Levitin, noticing his hat, sirtuk, and tallis. "Perhaps you would know what matza is. She keeps asking for matza..."

Rabbi Levitin entered the womanís room and upon seeing him, the woman burst into tears. When she calmed down she said that she kept asking the doctors to bring her matzos. "I am Jewish and itís Pesach, and on this holiday we eat matza. I told them, but they said they canít get matza here in this town. I was so upset and I prayed to G-d that He send me matza, and a few minutes later you appeared with matza!"


"After meeting with the woman in the hospital, I turned around and headed for New Haven," concluded Rabbi Levitin. "Along the way I thought about how this all came about for the sake of the woman in the hospital. Divine providence arranged things so that the driver forgot to pick up Rí Tamarin, and I went to find him and got lost, and all this happened so that I would get to the hospital and give the woman matza. Since I finished the mission, it was time to get back home.

"When I got home it was nearly sunset. I made Kiddush and washed my hands for the Yom Tov meal. I was in awe, and full of thanks to Hashem for having merited to do the Rebbeís shlichus of visiting that lonely neshama in the hospital."


Why didnít the Rebbe acknowledge what Rí Tamarin said? Why wasnít the driver there to pick him up? Why didnít Rí Levitin have the Rebbeís matzos this year? It was all by Divine providence...




It bothered him so much that he didnít have them that year that he got up early the next morning and started walking to Bridgeport, a distance of 25 miles!




"...I was so upset and I prayed to G-d that He send me matza, and a few minutes later you appeared with matza!"


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