Monday, 5 June 2017

Part 4. 1967 Six Day War. Miracle in Stuttgart. Yosef Ben Eliezer

Miracle In Stuttgart

I met the Rebbe for the last time a few years ago when, one Sunday, I came with a friend to receive dollars. At this meeting I experienced what the Chassidim like to call a ‘moffes’ (in Hebrew: ‘Mofet’), a supernatural sign. I told the Rebbe that I planned to visit Crimea the coming week; the Rebbe was aware of the trip’s purpose. He gave me an additional dollar and said, “Give this to tzedakah, charity, in Stuttgart“.  According to my plans, I told him: “But I am not expecting to be in Stuttgart.” But it was as though he didn’t hear me...

Royal Tombs of the Valley, Jerusalem, 1850's
He said only, “Hatzlachah rabbah” - his blessing for success, and was already giving a dollar to the next person in line.  Shortly after take-off from Frankfurt, the pilot announced he was making an emergency landing... in Stuttgart.  I remembered, of course, that dollar in my pocket, and on the surprise stopover I thought to myself: How can I fulfill what the Rebbe told me? Who is there to give a “tzedakah dollar” to?  As I sat thinking, an old man, one of the passengers, sat next to me and struck up a conversation - how long I thought we would have to wait, and so on. The dialogue wandered; three beers later I had a detailed account of his life. His parents were Jewish, and he was the family’s sole survivor of the Holocaust. Either from anger or depression or fear he had decided to convert and cut all ties to Judaism. Over the years he was spectacularly successful in business.  As we spoke a wild thought darted through my mind. 

Taking the dollar from my pocket, I told him: “Listen, in New York there is a very great rabbi. I visited him this week and he gave me a dollar ‘to give for tzedakah in Stuttgart,’ though I had no intention to be here. You obviously have no need for tzedakah, but since you’re the only Jew I met in Stuttgart and the plane will take off shortly, maybe the Rebbe’s intention was yourself...“ “But I’m not Jewish”, the man cried out, not imagining until that moment that I was a Jew.  “Listen, I don’t know,” I said, “But maybe the Rebbe wanted that, at the least, you would die as a Jew?” I have no idea how these words entered my mouth, nor do I know whatever became of that elderly Jew. But the tears that welled up in his eyes when I blurted out that last sentence might point to the mission’s success.  At any rate, the Rebbe as I learned, and not for the first time - was blessed with perceptive powers that soared far beyond our own vision.

From Book: “Our Man In Dakar” page 111.  By HaRav Aharon Dov Halperin 
Translated By Tuvia Natkin  Published by ‘Sifriyat Kfar Chabad’