"Publicizing the miracles which G-d has done in our times is relevant to bringing the true and complete Redemption in actuality"1 - The Rebbe.
Asking for Help
In the same manner as Moses communicated with G-d on behalf of the Jewish nation the Rebbe can help us communicate with G-d. Jews and non-Jews alike are accessing the Rebbe in various ways and are experiencing miracles.
There are now 25 volumes of the Rebbe's published letters in Hebrew and Yiddish, and many volumes of English letters. These volumes, called Igros Kodesh (Holy Letters) are the favored spiritual 'mailbox' for our times.
The Rebbe's letters deal with every imaginable topic. In his later years, after decades of refusing to publish his correspondence, the Rebbe became very insistent that these volumes get published quickly. His secretary, Rabbi Shalom Mendel Simpson has described how particular the Rebbe was about which letters were to be included and in which sequence.
What people generally do is to write a letter about their personal concern and randomly choose a volume of Igros Kodesh. The volume is opened to a random spot and the letter is inserted - delivery complete. Now one reopens the volume to that page and reads what is accepted to be the Rebbe's answer. It is amazing that when writing a letter about health, for example, the letter, which they open to, relates to health. Or when asking a blessing for matters pertaining to marriage, one often receives a blessing or advice on this exact subject.
If you wish to use this method of seeking blessing from the Rebbe and have any questions, contact a Lubavitcher Chassid in your area for assistance. Any serious request for assistance should normally be accommodated.
The Rebbe finds many ways to help and guide us. It is important to realize that the Rebbe himself has endorsed the notion of approaching one's Rebbe after his passing to assist in worldly as well as spiritual matters.2 Thus these appeals are not only effective but quite legitimate within the framework of Judaism.
Following are some stories about the Rebbe's assistance after his apparent passing in the summer of 5754-1994.
If You Really Exist, Show Me a Sign
3A few years ago, I was home recovering-from extensive surgery. During my recovery time, I developed complications and a severe infection. This complication forced me to return to the hospital for more surgery.
My surgeon was by then out of town and a new doctor, Dr. S (who I had not known previously) was commissioned to do the surgery.
Dr. S put me under general anesthesia and began surgery. While on the operating table, I awoke. I felt no pain and was aware of my surroundings. As I looked straight up toward the ceiling, I clearly saw a vision of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, M. M. Schneerson. In this "vision," the Rebbe told me that he wanted to give me a message regarding the doctor who was performing my surgery. The Rebbe told me to tell Dr. S that if Dr. S would begin to put on tefillin4 every day, the problem regarding Dr. S's daughter would go away. The Rebbe seemed to stress that something very serious was wrong with the doctor's daughter and by performing this simple mitzvah5, it would be rectified.
I told the Rebbe that I would relay the message to Dr. S. As the surgery was still taking place, the nurse and the anesthesiologist heard my audible response to the Rebbe. The nurse told Dr. S that I had awakened and asked Dr. S what she should do. Dr. S replied that she should give me more anesthesia. I spoke up and asked for Dr. S to come close to me so that I could see his face. Dr. S complied. Dr. S asked if I was in any pain and even asked me a few questions to see if I realized what was going on around me. I answered all his questions correctly.
Then I said, "I know that you will think that I am crazy, but I have a message for you. Do you know who the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson is? Dr. S replied, "I have heard of him. Why?" I replied, "Well, I just saw a vision of him and he told me to tell you that the problem with your daughter would be solved if you would put on tefillin every day."
The doctor's face looked a little shocked. He quietly said that he was almost finished with the surgery and was closing me up and he would have me out of the operating room fairly soon. During that time I talked to the nurse and had peace of mind. The Rebbe's words replayed in my head. In the recovery room, while all the other post - surgical patients were groggy and in a weak state, I Baruch Hashem6 felt terrific.
Dr. S came over to where my stretcher was and closed the curtain. Dr. S took my hand in his with tears welling up in his eyes and said the words, which haunt me till this day... "I believe you. I believe you had a vision. You see, the last time I was in a synagogue was at my bar mitzvah. I haven't prayed or acknowledged G-d since childhood. My daughter happens to be very sick now. Since I am a physician it makes me feel extremely helpless that even I can't help cure her. This morning, for the first time in over 30 years, I prayed. I said to G-d, 'Please heal my daughter.'
I said to G-d, 'If you really exist, please show me a sign.' Then during surgery you awoke and told me that there was a message from Rebbe Schneerson that my daughter will be well if I put on tefillin. I think this is incredible."
Update... since that experience, Dr. S has purchased his own pair of tefillin, resumed synagogue attendance and has told me that if ever I need medical attention I need not worry if I don't have the money; he will see that I get the care I need. Oh, and one more thing ... within weeks, Dr. S's daughter was completely healed. Thank you Rebbe and most of all - Thank You Hashem for the mercy that you show to your people.
Out of Hot Water and Down the Aisle
7In the fall of 1996, on the eve of the Jewish New Year, Laya R. of Toronto, Canada, accidentally spilled boiling water on her forearm. After she was treated for serious burns, the hospital doctor told her that it would take at least three weeks for her arm to heal, if all goes well.
A few days later Laya, went to New York for a couple of days to scout out a job opportunity. Before leaving, her doctor taught her how to change her bandages and told Laya to see her in the hospital as soon as she returns. While in New York, Laya visited the Rebbe's gravesite in Brooklyn, and while there read a letter to the Rebbe that her mother had written. Her mother's letter included a request for Laya's speedy recovery and one other thing that caught her by surprise. Her mother wrote the Rebbe to help Laya find a suitable husband.
"Marriage!? Am I ready to get married?" the young woman wondered to herself. But what could she do? She promised her mother she would read the letter for her and she did. When she finished, Laya added a request of her own: "Rebbe, I am not opposed to being married, but what I don't want is to have to go through all the dating and everything. Please help me find the right person quickly."
Laya went straight from the cemetery to Manhattan where she dined with friends. During dinner, she noticed that her bandages had slipped down her wrist and were bulging at the bottom of her sleeve. She excused herself and took the opportunity to change the bandages as she had been instructed. She gingerly rolled up her sleeve. To her great surprise, her arm had healed. The skin was quite pink and tender to be sure, but there were no burns, no scabs, and no scars, just healthy skin!
When she returned to Toronto, she visited her doctor at Branson Hospital and told her that even though it was only a few days, her arm had healed. "Well, we will see about that," the doctor said politely, but skeptically. When the bandage came off, the doctor let out a scream of shock. "That's impossible! There's no way a burn like that can heal so quickly. Why I bandaged this arm myself! How did this happen?" By this time, two nurses came in to see what the commotion was about. After reviewing the patient's chart, they all were stymied.
Laya offered her explanation. She told them about the Rebbe, about her mother's letter, and about her instant recovery. At a loss for any other explanation, the doctor and one of the nurses asked if they, too, could write to the Rebbe. After all, they also had certain issues in life that required Divine intervention to rectify.
Within two weeks, Laya met her intended and a few months later, they were married. They now live in Israel, and already have a beautiful baby boy. Her husband was not raised Chassidic, but understandably has lately started to look more carefully at the teachings of Chassidism.
Driving the Point Home
8Avishai Nakash from Emmanuel, Israel, passed his written driving test easily. After several months of lessons, he wrote the Rebbe about his upcoming driving test, asking for a blessing for success. He went to his Lubavitch synagogue, found the only book of the Rebbe's letters on the shelf, and randomly inserted his letter into Volume 7, page 23, of the Rebbe's Letters. After saying "Yechi ... " (i.e., accepting the Rebbe's kingship), he started to read the letter printed there (letter #1891) with great amazement.
"In answer to his letter in which he writes that he has taken the driving test a number of times already without success, as the verse states, "There is a time for all things", and he will certainly succeed with the test in the future, naturally after the proper preparations.
"It is known that physicality and spirituality are intertwined, especially for a Jew, and so he should put more effort into driving his vehicle, Le., the 248 limbs and 365 sinews of the body which are the vehicle for the nefesh, and the nefesh is the vehicle for the G-dly soul. .. and G-d will give him success."
Avishai's joy over the clear guarantee of success in his driving test distracted him from the conclusion of the letter which spoke of the need to be diligent in the daily portions of Torah study.9
To his dismay, he failed driving test after driving test for months on end. He turned to the Rebbe again and yet again opened the volume to the same letter promising success in the driving test and demanding diligence in Torah study. For whatever reason he again overlooked the Torah study aspect and again failed his driving test.
Finally he opened to the volume towards the back in order to get a different response. There on page 225 he started to read letter #2086 stating, "I was happy to receive his letter which informed me that he got his driving permit. May G-d grant him a livelihood in a generous manner, and he should increase in setting times of learning Torah - revealed and Chassidus - with peace of mind, and as a result he willlead10 his body and his animal soul that they should fulfill their Divine purpose..." His amazement was further enhanced by the footnote at the bottom of the page referring him to letter #1891!
Immediately Avishai resolved to study Torah more seriously, and started at it that very night. Having studied diligently, he took his test the next day - and passed.
Leave a Little Space
11At first, David Chakimian and his wife Edna hoped to open a grocery store near their home in the Ramat Ha'Nasi neighborhood of Bat Yam, Israel. But things worked out such that their store was opened in the center of town on Rothschild Street.
In addition to selling his wares, David dedicated himself to promoting Judaism, mitzvah observance and the news of imminent redemption.
The traveling time between their store and their home was becoming more difficult to handle and so they decided to move to a rented apartment near their business. They paid the rent by renting out their apartment in Ramat Ha'Nasi. But the difference between what they had to pay and what they received kept growing. The only solution was selling their apartment and buying another one, but it wasn't that simple.
For over a year, David and Edna tried to sell their apartment without any takers. The highest offer they got was 20% lower than the apartment's actual value. They knew how much their apartment was worth and were not willing to compromise on the price.
Pressure to sell their apartment grew especially after their tenants moved out and it remained empty. At the same time, the owners of the apartment they were renting in the city wanted them out. When they couldn't find a buyer, they decided to fix up their own apartment and move back in, despite the distance to their store.
"It was at this point that I decided to ask the Rebbe for a blessing," tells David. "On Thursday, I went over to the Chabad House (the local Lubavitch synagogue). I wrote a letter asking the Rebbe for a blessing to successfully sell the old apartment and buy a new one." What follows is the incredible answer David got in the Rebbe's Letters, Vol. 15, letter #5485:
"I received the letter with his request. .. he doesn't write anything about his holy work or about his spreading the wellsprings (teaching Chassidism), only about his serious personal matters. And even though these things can confuse and preoccupy a person, still - at least a little bit, there must be the mind ruling the heart to leave at least a little space to inform me about spreading the wellsprings in particular and promoting Judaism in general. ..
"He should see fulfilled the promise of our Sages that whoever fulfills the Torah (and all matters of Judaism) out of poverty (either physical or spiritual poverty) will in the end fulfill it in wealth (whether physical or spiritual). Naturally I don't intend to lecture but to inspire him to the service of G-d with joy and gladness of heart...
"Regarding the apartment - it's a very good idea to change apartments for a better one. And about the difficulties he is encountering in giving over the apartment to someone who is willing to pay the full price. .. the main thing is that they should move to a new home and it should be in a good and auspicious hour. "
"It was so clear that on the spot I decided to be joyous and to increase my promotion of Judaism, Chassidism, and the news of the redemption. I went back to the store and told my wife what had happened and how we would soon be selling our apartment and that in the meantime it paid to wait since we had gotten an explicit blessing from the Rebbe.
"At 5:30 that evening, upon my return from the evening prayer service, there stood a real estate agent waiting for me at the store. We went straight to Ramat Ha'Nasi. The negotiations were brief and to the point. The couple agreed to the full price we had been asking and by 6:30 p.m., we had completed the paperwork and received the down payment. What we hadn't managed to accomplish in a year and a half, correspondence with the Rebbe had accomplished in a few hours."
1. From the talk of Shabbos Parshas Vayeishev, 23 Kislev, 5752
2. The Rebbe has mentioned this on dozens of occasions especially in the year following the passing of the Previous Rebbe, before the Rebbe officially took over the leadership. For example his talk of Sbabbos Parsbas Vayeitze, 9 Kislev 5711, published in Taras Menacbem, Vol. 3, p. 108.
3. by Jeremy Jordan. Reprinted with permission from the column Lessons in Emunah from the Jewish Press March 27, 1997.
4. A prayer accessory, mandated by the Torah, worn by Jewish adult males during morning prayers. See Conclusion
5. Commandment from the Torah
6. Translates loosely as "Thank G-d"
7. Laya and her family have been friends of the author's family for the past 10 years. We watched this story unfold.
8. Condensed from Beis Moshiacb MagaZine, 22 Adar 5758 (March 20, 1998) pp21-22
9. Known as Chitas, Chumash, Tehilim and Tanya, referring to the daily readings of the Biblical portion from the Five Books of Moses, the classical Chassidic text the Tanya, and the portion of Psalms for the day.
10. The verb to lead in Hebrew is of the same root as the verb to drive.
11. Beis Moshiach Magazine, 3 Shevat 5758 (January 30, 1998) pp.35-36