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At Just the Right Moment
Recent days have not been pleasant for Rabbi Yaakov Aryeh Shmeulevitz and his family, the emissaries of the Lubavitcher Rebbe in Beit She’an, Israel. With great vigor and determination, he has been fighting a fierce battle against terminal illness, while continuing to prepare his city for the arrival of Moshiach. He relates this story that recently happened, that uplifted his spirits and showed the Hand of G-d working at every moment.
I’ve already been dealing with this illness for some time now. Regrettably, my health has recently worsened, and as a result, I required a series of unpleasant treatments, culminating in my seclusion in an isolated room for a whole week. When I came out of the isolation, you can imagine that I wasn’t in a particularly cheerful mood.
My friends and acquaintances know that I usually try to remain strong and unbreakable in my faith. I simply refused to allow my physical condition to have an adverse effect upon my emotional state, and I have continued the wide range of activities I had established prior to the serious deterioration of my health. However, this time was different, and I asked my wife to invite one of my friends and acquaintances to the house. I desperately needed to speak with someone and unburden my heart. I thought for a while about who could help me in this matter, and we eventually decided to call upon the principal of the city’s religious school, my good friend Reb David Horvitz.
Just then, there was a sudden knock at the door. There was someone asking for me. “Who is it?” I asked from my bed. “Is it someone for me or the Chabad House?”
My daughters came into the room and said that the man was asking for me personally. As I approached the door, I was surprised to see who it was. Standing there was Rabbi Chezky Lifshitz, the Rebbe’s shliach (emissary) in Kathmandu, Nepal. Since I’d known him for a long time, I was astounded to see him dressed without a hat and jacket. He told me that he had just arrived from Kathmandu, and he wanted to pray the morning service. I made certain to get him something to eat when he told me that it had been a whole day since his last meal – a sandwich and nothing more.
When he finished davening and finally ate something, my wife told him that it was no accident that he had come now to Beit She’an. It was obvious that Divine Providence had brought him to us.
“What happened?” he asked.
My wife proceeded to tell him about me, my poor state of health, and how I had just asked her to invite someone to the house with whom I could talk and get everything off my chest. “You arrived just at the right time, like an angel from Heaven. Only G-d knows how you landed here.” His jaw dropped in stunned disbelief when he heard the whole story.
“Now I understand everything,” he said to my wife. He later said the same thing to me. And this is his side of the story that he told me:
“Twenty four hours ago, I had a scheduled flight from Kathmandu to Israel via Europe. However, in Nepal, as in most Third World countries, anything can happen at any moment when you least expect it. And so it was. When I got to the airport check-in counter, they stoically informed me that my flight had been cancelled. An alternative flight had been scheduled via Dubai, United Arab Emirates, with its final destination in the Jordanian capital of Amman. Since my trip to Israel was most urgent and there would not be another flight that day, I decided to take it. Before boarding this Arab aircraft, I slightly changed my Chassidic appearance in order not to attract any extra attention. After all, this was Dubai…
“I started looking for Jews from the moment I boarded the flight until I left Jordan to enter Israel. As far as I was concerned, if G-d was sending me to these places, there must be some hidden purpose here for spreading Judaism. Throughout this strange journey, I kept asking myself: Why did I have to go through all this? Our Rebbeim have taught us that every step a Jew takes is by Divine Providence. Thus, I entered the territory of Israel without understanding why I had to endure this turmoil.
“Now, as I crossed the Israeli-Jordanian border near Beit She’an, I immediately came to your house, where everything has now become clear,” said Rabbi Chezky Lifshitz, as he concluded his story.
We sat together for a long time discussing a variety of subjects. He told me about his thrilling shlichus, and slowly he succeeded in easing my emotional and physical anguish. Rabbi Lifshitz is an energetic shliach with a great record of achievement and self-sacrifice. He also knows the right things to say on matters of faith and trust in G-d, bringing the relevant Chassidic sources along with a host of stories that he personally experienced in his many years on a most unique shlichus.

The recent pain and discomfort associated with my illness seemed to fade away. They were replaced by a feeling of deep faith and connection to the Rebbe, King Moshiach, through stories of shlichus and Divine Providence. I realized that Rabbi Lifshitz was a faithful messenger, and the Rebbe had seen my anguish and sent him from faraway Kathmandu to my home in Beit She’an.

 

 


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