It happened in December, 1991. Michael and Miriam Kirschenbaum had already taken great strides towards a life of Torah and mitzvot. With the assistance of Chabad chassidim from their hometown of Lod, Israel, the Kirschenbaums decided to transfer their children to a Chabad day school.
As time went on, the connection of the Kirschenbaums to Chabad grew stronger. Michael would frequently attend the gatherings at the Chabad synagogue, and Miriam, the programs for women. At a certain point, the Kirschenbaums decided to move to the Chabad neighborhood where the school was located.
The Kirschenbaums already knew not to undertake such an important step without consulting with the Rebbe. Michael and Miriam composed a letter telling the Rebbe that they had bought a house in the Chabad neighborhood, and they planned to move there, as long as the Rebbe agreed. Michael decided to refrain from selling the family home in the old neighborhood until he received the Rebbe's answer.
Several weeks went by. One afternoon, Michael went to the Chabad neighborhood to pray the afternoon services, and passed by his new home. From the mailbox fluttered an airmail letter. Michael took it out and found a letter from the Rebbe, which had been sent to the new address. The Rebbe wrote:
B"H, 26 Tevet, 5752
To the G-d-fearing and esteemed chassid, Michael Mordechai, may he live
Greetings and blessings!
In response to your notice that you have moved to a new home.
May it be G-d's will that it will be “change of place, change of fortune,” for good and for blessing, physically and spiritually.
The Pidyon Nefesh [request for a blessing] in the letter will be read in an auspicious time at the gravesite of my father-in-law, the Rebbe, of blessed memory.
The letter was the standard format that the Rebbe would send to anyone who requested a blessing for a move to a new home. However, the Kirschenbaums were especially touched to receive a letter with the Rebbe's signature, particularly after they found out that at that stage the Rebbe rarely responded to letters.
Friends of the Kirschenbaums suggested that they frame the letter and hang it in the entrance of their home. However, something happened to spoil those plans. Before they had a chance to frame the letter, the toddler son of the Kirschenbaums got hold of it and ripped it in two!
At the time, Michael was not home. When Miriam saw the torn letter, she was beside herself. They had been so excited to receive the letter with a blessing and the Rebbe's own signature... and now, it was ruined. After she calmed down somewhat, Miriam tried to tape the two sides together, but it was not the same. Miriam blamed herself for not taking better care of the Rebbe's letter. Who knew when she would have the opportunity to receive such a treasure again?
One fine morning, several weeks later, Miriam was leaving her house when she noticed an airmail letter in her mailbox. Opening the letter, she saw that it was from the Rebbe's secretariat. She wondered what the Rebbe could be writing to her about. She had not sent the Rebbe any letters recently.
The letter was addressed to her, and dated the 13th of Adar. The text was the same as the original letter her husband had received, but with this additional note appended:
“It would be proper for you to inspect the mezuzot and tefillin of all those who are requesting a blessing--if they haven't been inspected in the last 12 months--to ensure that they are Kosher according to Jewish law.”
The Rebbe also included a check for forty dollars, as his participation in their purchase of a new home!
Miriam ran inside to her husband. “Michael, look!” she said in a choked voice. “This is unbelievable. The Rebbe saw my great pain, even though I never wrote to him about what happened to the first letter. He sent us another letter, and this one, he addressed to me.”