"Shabbat Shalom from Bangkok"

Approaching the Finish Line!

By the Grace of G-d

Dear Friend,

Two years ago we broke ground. Thank G-d, we are now approaching the ‘finish line’ in the Phuket Chabad House building.

In the race to the finish line we have been blessed with overwhelming support from dear friends and supporters from around the world.

We are ninety percent there.

That’s great news.

Oh, there is the minor detail that we still need the remaining ten percent in order to successfully complete the project.

Even so. The excitement is uplifting. The adrenalin is pumping as we edge closer to our goal.

And no doubt. The pressure is mounting…

Yet, in the midst of all this, from a direction I would have never imagined, I received the gift of inspiration from G-d. A flash of light emanated from the tedious minutiae of managing cash flow.

In looking for a way to cover some urgent construction bills this week I was in need of a ‘bridge loan’. ‘Out of the blue’ an old friend from the United States called me to ask me for some personal advice on an important decision he is facing. I shared my advice and then randomly asked him if he knew of anyone who me be able to give a ‘bridge loan’ so that the construction doesn’t stop during these critical final weeks.

Lo and behold. My friend began to ask me how much I need. When do I anticipate being able to return it? I was a bit surprised as I had not imagined that this individual would have access to those kinds of funds. I had just asked him out of my ‘duty’ to ‘try’ and do my best to keep things streaming. Turns out that my friend is building his own house and has some funds that are available for a short term loan till payments need to be made to his contractor.

My friend expressed how meaningful it would be to help bridge the Phuket Chabad House construction till the anticipated funds become available. Great. We both agree that it’s a perfect match. His money would otherwise be lying idle for the next thirty days. I am expecting money within the next thirty days.

That was already pretty Divinely orchestrated and I was thankful to Hashem that He had sent me this help in an unexpected way.

My colleague went to the bank to fill out the wire slip to send me the loan. He then called me with the following story:

‘The bank teller asked me what the nature of my transaction was. She saw that I was transferring a substantial amount of money to Chabad of Thailand and she wanted some more information. I explained that my friend runs a Jewish organization and this is a short term loan that I am helping him with.

The teller said ‘my mother was born Jewish. She was adopted at age eight by a Christian family. At that time, she was converted to the religion of her adoptive parents’.

Needless to say, I explained to her that ‘a Jew is a Jew is a Jew’. Nothing can change the reality of being born a Jew and receiving a Neshama – Jewish Soul. It remains for eternity. Not only is your mother still Jewish, YOU too are Jewish and so are your children.

The bank teller enthusiastically agreed to start the journey of discovering her Judaism and she will share it with her children. This Friday before sunset she will be lighting Shabbat candles.

As my colleague summed it up: ‘I got another mitzvah on the way’.

Indeed, this mitzvah is incredibly meaningful. A Jewish family almost lost due to the travails of time. Eroded and oblivious to their illustrious heritage. In a Divinely directed twist of events these almost extinguished embers are fanned. They will glow brightly once more. A little innocent Jewish ‘lamb’ will rejoin the ‘flock’ once more.

I was deeply inspired to hear this story.

It all now seemed worthwhile.

I had thought that the delay in funds was a ‘hiccup’ that I would have gladly done without. Hashem showed how it was a ‘cover up’ leading to a life changing moment for a fellow Jew working in a bank in suburban USA.

It is inspiring to feel G-d’s enveloping embrace so poignantly. It imbues the mundane task of cash flow management with deeper meaning. It is so humbling to be taken ‘behind the scenes’ and be shown how cumbersome chores contain a deeper purpose. How the seemingly unimportant details of life form a Divinely orchestrated mosaic.

It makes me realize that every detail of our lives is for a reason. Even if we never get to see the story behind it. Usually we don’t see the real story. However, just to make sure we don’t forget the Hand of G-d, Hashem allows us glimpses behind the curtain every now and then.

May we all be blessed with Hashem’s bountiful blessings of revealed and unobscured GOOD in all matters of life. Physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Yosef Kantor

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