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Shabbat shalom from Bangkok!

Friday, 13 November, 2020 - 2:59 pm

By the Grace of G-d

Dear Friend,

I was standing at the Don Muang Bangkok airport on a Thursday morning seventeen and a half years ago. The counselors for our summer day camp were arriving from the USA and I was waiting to greet them.

There was an important matter on my mind which required legal assistance. Being that I am friends with several lawyers in town I was engrossed in thought about which lawyer would be best for this particular matter.

As I was standing there at the airport waiting for my guests to arrive, this dilemma was swirling in my mind. I was unable to come to a firm decision about which one to use.

Unexpectedly, one of the lawyers I had been thinking about, came walking out of the arrival doors.

I could not believe my eyes. Just like that, out of the clear blue sky. Of the thousands of people arriving in Thailand during those few minutes that I was standing there, this lawyer was one of them.

He walked over to me and asked me if he could use my phone to call the person who had come to pick him up.

I gladly gave him my phone.

And then, seeing this as a sign from Heaven, I asked him if he would please undertake the legal work that I needed.

The rest is history. Looking back from the perspective of almost two decades it was a pivotal decision. He did a great job on the legal work and it turned out to be more important than I realized at the time.

The most significant and inspiring part of the story for me, is the incredible blessing from G-d that I received on that day. Hashem had literally showed me in a revealed way that He was guiding and blessing my steps.

I thought of this story for two reasons.

First of all because in the Parsha of the week, Eliezer finds a wife for Yitzchak via a miracle similar to the one I experienced in my above story.

Eliezer was sent by Avraham to find a suitable wife for his son Yitzchak. Eliezer, not knowing how he would find the right one, makes the following prayer.

 “O Lord, the God of my master Abraham, please cause to happen to me today, and perform loving kindness with my master, Abraham. Behold, I am standing by the water fountain, and the daughters of the people of the city are coming out to draw water. And it will be, [that] the maiden to whom I will say, 'Lower your pitcher and I will drink,' and she will say, 'Drink, and I will also water your camels,' her have You designated for Your servant, for Isaac, and through her may I know that You have performed loving kindness with my master.”

Hardly had Eliezer concluded his prayer, when he saw Rebecca, the daughter of Abraham’s nephew Bethuel, approaching. She was beautiful, and Eliezer was impressed by her gracious behavior. She carried a pitcher on her shoulder, stepped down to the well, and filled it. When she came up again, Eliezer asked to be permitted to drink from her pitcher. Rebecca answered, “Drink my master.” When he had quenched his thirst, she said: “For your camels I will also draw water until they have had enough.” With these words she emptied her pitcher into the trough, and filled it time and again until all the camels were satisfied. Eliezer felt sure that this was the girl he was looking for. Without even asking her name, he gave her a golden ring and two bracelets, and only then asked her who she was. When Rebecca answered that she was the granddaughter of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, Eliezer bowed before G‑d and thanked Him for having helped him find the woman Abraham was looking for to be Isaac’s wife.

I can’t help but think that I was blessed with a similarly Divine message.

The second reason that this story came to my mind, is because this weekend is the annual conference of Chabad emissaries in New York. Well, its usually held in person and in New York. This year it is being held virtually and the attendees are at their rabbinic posts all around the world.

The story I have shared with the G-dly blessing of a lawyer emerging from the arrivals gate, is a miraculous one. But it is not unique.

Every year, when I go to the conference, I discover that these kinds of miracles are the ‘bread and butter’ of my colleagues the world over.

This is the best way I can explain it.

Eliezer, the trusted servant of Avraham was blessed by his saintly master to be successful in his holy mission of continuing the Jewish people by finding the future Matriarch of our nation, and this elicited supernatural assistance.

Quite clearly, the Rebbe who dispatched us around the world, each to their respective post, blessed us in a similar way.

We are instructed to forge ahead in the building and developing of Torah and Mitzvahs and Jewish communities.

The mission comes with the blessings needed. To get the job done. Even if G-dly intervention of ‘higher-than-nature’ is required.

Difficulties?

Challenges?

Invariably there are some. This is the way Hashem made His world.

Man is born to toil’.

For the most part though, the challenges are surmountable. One has to put forth effort and try. Sometimes one has to try harder. Sometimes even harder.

Miracles often appear even if we don’t always recognize them right away. The Torah teaches us that G-d blesses the efforts of those who try.

I have been blessed to see it time and time again.

So have my colleagues.

I am sharing this teaching to share the blessing and opportunity with you.

You too can take up the challenge and mission of spreading more Torah and Mitzvahs in your environment. And you too will please G-d be blessed with Divine assistance.

You may even have the merit to witness a few MIRACLES small or large, that enable you to carry out your mission with joy and success.

However, it is critical to put forth our best effort. Hashem blesses our efforts.

It’s like teamwork. Hashems blessing is critical. Our efforts are indispensable.

The synergy created by the marriage of both human effort and G-dly blessing, yields a more uplifted and spiritually refined world.

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Yosef Kantor

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