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The Dollar Finds its Place
by Rabbi Berel Pachter, Paris
One evening, not long after the third of Tammuz, 5754, my wife Naama and I sat together and decided that it wasn’t right to keep the dozens of dollars from the Rebbe in our possession, while many others desperately wanted to receive a dollar as a blessing. It had been several years since we had last seen the Rebbe, and there were many chassidim and other Jews who had never been privileged to receive a dollar from the Rebbe’s holy hand. Such people were longing for these precious tokens of a holy blessing and there was no reason that they should have to wait while we had many of these dollars in safekeeping.

We put this plan into action and began giving the dollars to those who needed them. Anyone who turned to us or whom we saw could use the blessing, we gave him a dollar from the Rebbe with a joyful heart. In some cases we gave dollars to people who had waited many long years for a child, and they were blessed to become parents. That’s when we knew we had done the right thing.

Then some of our older children came to us and asked, “Why should we be deprived? If you give out all the dollars, what will be left for us?” Realizing that they were right, we informed them that we would put aside one dollar for each of the children, to be given to them as a keepsake on a special occasion.

When our first-born son, Menachem Mendel, reached the age of 21, he went as an emissary of the Rebbe and rabbinical student to Miami, Florida. Before he went to the airport, my wife gave him a dollar from the Rebbe, received on the seventh of Teves, 5752.

The person who had received this dollar from the Rebbe’s hand was my mother-in-law, Mrs. Aliza Eliav. She had come together with her husband, Rabbi Aharon Eliav, to see us in France two weeks before the birth of our son Menachem Mendel. On the way from their home in Argentina, they made a stopover in New York to visit the Rebbe’s synagogue.

When my mother-in-law passed by the Rebbe for dollars and requested a blessing for her daughter, my wife, leading up to the birth, the Rebbe replied: “An easy birth,” and gave her a dollar. My mother-in-law was already on her way out, when the Rebbe called her back and said,”L’zera chaya v’kayama” (for healthy and viable children). My mother-in-law had been in 770 on many occasions, had been privileged to have numerous private audiences with the Rebbe, receive his answers, and was quite familiar with the manner of his blessing. So she was surprised by this unusual response and wrote it word for word on the dollar. When she arrived in France a few days later, she gave the dollar to my wife. Needless to say, we were all very pleased by the answer.

On the 22nd of Teves, my wife gave birth to our first-born son, and we gave him the name Menachem Mendel.

Many years passed, 21 to be exact, and our son grew up to be a Chassidic young man, ready to join his friends on the Rebbe’s mission in Miami, Florida. My wife decided that this was the appropriate time to give him the dollar received just prior to his birth.

Our son was very happy to have this blessing, and set out on his mission with an uplifting feeling of great encouragement.

A few months later, I received an unexpected telephone call from one of the Rebbe’s representatives in Miami, Rabbi Yehoshua Rubenstein. This rabbi knew my wife’s family very well, as his parents and my in-laws were neighbors. The two families developed a very deep friendship between them over the years. After exchanging a few pleasantries, Rabbi Rubenstein asked if he could read me something, asking if the words were familiar to me. He then read the following line: “7th of Teves. For the daughter Naama, easy birth. Healthy and viable children.” I hear this sentence and gasp in amazement. These are the words that were written on the dollar that my mother-in-law had received. Just a few months earlier, we had given the dollar to our son. I immediately realized that the shliach had this dollar.

“How did it reach you?” I asked him. At first, I thought that perhaps my son had come to his Chabad House and was staying there. However, his answer totally surprised me. He told me that he had gone to the nearby gas station to fill up his tank, and the attendant had given him the dollar as change. The only “Naama” he knew was my wife, and since the two of them had grown up together, he decided to call me. The rabbi didn’t even know that my son was in Miami as a rabbinical student, not far from where he was.

I wasted no time and immediately called my son. He checked his wallet and discovered that the dollar was missing… He said that just a few days earlier, he had been riding on public transportation in Miami, and he apparently had given the dollar to the driver by mistake to pay his fare. When I told him where the dollar was, we were both equally thunderstruck.

A single dollar bill floating around Miami, the largest metropolitan area in the southeastern United States with a population of five and a-half million people, together with billions of other dollars, and it made its way straight into the hands of Rabbi Rubinstein, who was closely acquainted with our family.

Even if this dollar would have come to another Chabad chassid or another rabbi, there still would be virtually no chance that it would return to us, as he wouldn’t have the slightest idea to whom it belonged.

However, this is only the first part of the story; the rest is even more surprising.

Over the years, my wife and I asked ourselves why our first-born son had been privileged to receive such an unusual blessing.

At the end of that year, 5773 (2013), we received a suggestion for a match for our son – Feige Green from Kfar Chabad. Rabbi Rubenstein brought the dollar to my son at the airport terminal, just before he boarded his flight to Israel.

To our great joy, the match proved successful, and a date was set for the wedding.

One day, as our son looked at the dollar in his possession, he suddenly rose from his place in a very excited state. The date of the seventh of Teves – the day when the dollar was given – was the birthday of his fiancée, who was born exactly a year after the Rebbe had given it to his grandmother…
 

 


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