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  Monday, September 16, 2019 - 16 Elul 5779
 
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The Rebbe’s Gift
In winter of 2003, Rabbi Avrohom Hershkop of Kiryat Malachi and a group of Chabad Chassidim, as well as a distinguished delegation from the Kiryat Malachi, decided to visit the gravesites of the Chabad Rebbes in Ukraine and Russia. They excitedly made their preparations for the trip, both material and spiritual.

A few days before the trip, a chassid from Kiryat Gat, whom we will call David, asked Rabbi Hershkop to mention his name and his mother’s name at the holy gravesites. Rabbi Hershkop was happy to oblige and asked, “Do you want me to ask for anything in particular for you?”

David’s face seemed to go dim and he thought for a few seconds and then candidly said, “Actually, yes. I am in a very difficult financial situation. I’m about to go bankrupt. I need a great deal of mercy and help.”

Said Rabbi Hershkop, “That is serious. Sit down and write four letters for the four Rebbeim’s gravesites that we will be going to and ask for a blessing. I promise you that I will place the notes on each of the graves.”

Due to the brief amount of time remaining before the flight, the man did not have a chance to prepare the notes and he asked that his name be mentioned in any case. “Many people asked me to mention them,” said Rabbi Hershkop, “and I will do my best to say yours.”

The group flew off. As this was the winter, heavy snow blanketed the Ukraine. The plan was to go to the graves of the Alter Rebbe in Haditch, the Mitteler Rebbe his son in Niezhin, and the graves of the Baal Shem Tov in Mezhibuzh, the Maggid of Mezritch in Anipoli, and Rabbi Levi Yitzchok in Berditchev.

Although he had many names with him to mention, when he got to the gravesite of the Baal Shem Tov, the first name that came to his mind was the name of David from Kiryat Gat. Sharing the man’s pain, he mentioned him and his financial woes.

This repeated itself at each of the other holy graves, in Haditch, Niezhin, and Anipoli. Rabbi Hershkop himself was surprised by how David’s name always came to mind first when he had names of people closer to him to mention, whose plights he knew of personally.

**

It was well past midnight when the group of chassidim arrived in Haditch to visit the grave of the Alter Rebbe. How awesome is this place, thought each person as he went to the resting place of the author of Tanya and Shulchan Aruch.

After a lengthy prayer session with singing the songs of the Alter Rebbe, the members of the group were ready to leave. They climbed the hill to the bus that waited for them. Suddenly, two policemen boarded the bus and told the driver to wait up, because the roads had turned into a sheet of ice and it was too dangerous to travel. Having no choice, the group tarried there for some more hours even though the time for their flight was approaching.

During the wait, an unfamiliar person boarded the bus. He looked like a chassid but was not part of their group.

“Do you know a David…” he asked, saying a name.

“The person you are asking about, where is he from?” asked Rabbi Hershkop.

“From Kiryat Gat.”

Rabbi Hershkop was dumbstruck. Just that week he had spoken to him and promised to mention his name at the gravesites. It was the same man!

“I know him,” said Rabbi Hershkop after he had recovered somewhat.

“Then please do me a favor,” said the man. “I have something to give him. Would you be sure to give it to him?”

Rabbi Hershkop was happy to say yes and the man took out four envelopes which he gave him. “In each envelope are $1000,” said the man. “Please take good care of it.”

Rabbi Hershkop, who thought this man knew David from Kiryat Gat, took the opportunity to tell him about his friend’s plight and told him he was about to go bankrupt.

“If you can help him, please give him more than this,” Rabbi Hershkop dared to ask on the man’s behalf.

The man thought it over briefly and without saying anything further, he took out more money and ended up giving him a total of $10,000.

“Please tell him that when he is able, he should return the money to me.”

“Would you tell me your name? Perhaps he doesn’t know it …” said Rabbi Hershkop.

“It doesn’t make a difference,” said the man. And he got off the bus and disappeared.

***

The plane landed in Israel and the group dispersed to their homes in Kiryat Malachi. Rabbi Hershkop couldn’t restrain himself and while still on the road he called David in Kiryat Gat and asked him whether he had a friend or acquaintance in Haditch.

“No,” he said. “I don’t know anyone there.”

“Did anyone from there have to give you something?”

“I don’t know of anyone who has to give me an envelope or package of any kind. What are you talking about?” asked David.

Rabbi Hershkop didn’t give up. “Does anyone owe you money?”

David burst into tears. “I wish!”

Rabbi Hershkop was quite puzzled at this point and he told David what happened. The mystery only grew greater.

A few hours later, David from Kiryat Gat arrived and he and Rabbi Hershkop sat down to discuss it. Rabbi Hershkop described the man in Haditch but David knew nobody that fit the description.

“It seems the Rebbeim are the ones who sent you the money,” said Rabbi Hershkop. “And the money they sent you was divided into five envelopes, one from the Baal Shem Tov, the second from the Maggid, the third from the Alter Rebbe, the fourth from the Mitteler Rebbe, and even Rabbi Levi Yitzchok sent you an envelope.”

Rabbi Hershkop noted, “We were supposed to leave Haditch at ten in the morning for the airport in Kiev. Thanks to the policemen delaying us, that man found us and brought the envelopes with money.”
   
 

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