More Divine Providence: When Yosef meets Yosef

Friday, 8 September, 2023 - 2:42 am

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Visiting Jewish exhibitors at the Thailand Gems & Jewelry Trade Fair

Yosef Ashkenazi bringing Tefilin to Yosef Askenazy


By the Grace of G-d

Dear Friend,

I love stories of Hashgacha Pratit – Divine Providence.

It’s great when the outcome is an obviously blessed one.

So let me start with a story about that.

Before Pesach I was in New York and was introduced to an American Jewish gems dealer who visits Thailand every so often. He gave me a generous donation for providing Pesach Seder’s in Thailand. We made up that he would come to visit me in Bangkok when he comes to Bangkok in September.

Two days ago, I reached out to him to see if he was coming to town. He told me that he was coming just for a few days. When we were trying to coordinate a meeting, he told me that his time was very limited as he had to go to the trade show in Impact Exhibition center which is 45 minutes (without traffic, with traffic can be several hours) from town.

I told him that the Gem show had changed locations from Impact to Queen Sirikit Convention Center which is exactly two blocks from the Synagogue on Soi 22 and the JCafe on Soi 20.

To which he replied thankfully:

I've always gone to the impact Center for the show and now it looks like you just saved me a big headache of going to the wrong place and staying at the hotel in the wrong location.

It’s a great story. His tzedakah which provided help to others, brought about a chain of events that brought blessing back to him.

Divine Providence at work. With a ‘happily ever after’ result.

But not every story has such an obviously blessed continuum.

Last night in the middle of the night we started receiving a flurry of calls.

An El Al flight spent a few hours on the tarmac before asking all the passengers to disembark and they rescheduled the flight for after Shabbat.

You can only imagine what kind of a logistical challenge it is when a few hundred people need to be put up in hotels.

The El Al staff worked valiantly to get it all sorted out as best as possible.

At our end we were asked by the El Al staff to prepare kosher food and provide arrangements for Shabbat services and meals. What we thought would be a small Shabbat will turn out to be a joyous and well attended Shabbat with many unexpected but most welcome guests. If you are in Bangkok, do hop over to join in the Shabbat festivities.

It is incredibly inspiring that we the Jewish people combine the greatest innovations of our times, airplanes that can transport people from one end of the world to the other, with the 5783-year-old tradition of Shabbat.

It’s a symbiosis of Heaven and Earth.

El Al as the national carrier of the Jewish state keeps Shabbat and the Divine blessings of Shabbat keeps El Al safe and sound.

At the JCafe earlier today, I bumped into a family that was on that flight. They had their plans changed abruptly from being at home in Israel for Shabbat, to being in Bangkok. I asked the 9-11 year old children what they felt about this delay.

They said that they weren’t very excited about this hiccup. When I quizzed them a bit further, they said that they vacillated between acceptance and anger about their unexpected travel disruption.

I can relate very much to what they are saying.

It can be very difficult to adjust to carefully made plans being waylaid like that.

Unquestionably it too is Divine Providence. Although we don’t know why.

But it takes an effort to take a deep breath and remind oneself that even when things don’t work out the way you thought they ought too, this too is for the best. Except that for now only G-d knows how its for the best.

My blessing to the delayed family was, ‘may Hashem give you the gift of being able to see how this unexpected Bangkok Shabbat will be something very positive about which you will be grateful to Hashem for providing you with’.

Dear friend, as we near the end of this current year of 5783 and are about to enter the year of 5784 from creation, I want to share a similar blessing with you.

May the Almighty bless you that the difficulties, anxieties, traumas and dysfunctions be cleansed from your life.

Let them just be wiped out and disappear. Or even better, let them transform into a blessing.

And may the good times that are waiting for you with the advent of the new year, begin.

May Hashem bless you with light-filled blessings that occupy every fiber of your being.

Shana Tova, a good sweet, healthy and liberational year.

May this be the year that Mashiach comes and ushers the world into an eternal epoch of Shalom, peace and tranquility basking in the light of G-d’s Divine Presence, AMEN.

Rabbi Yosef Kantor

PS I guess Hashem didn’t want me to finish off with a story that is not yet with a happy ending... and therefore he sent me the following fresh story to end with.

As I was writing these lines at 2:20 Friday afternoon I got an urgent WhatsApp from Yoel D an exhibitor at the show.

[2:13 PM, 9/8/2023]: Rabbi, is anyone at the show who has a pair of Teffilin?

[2:14 PM, 9/8/2023]: For someone here who forgot.

I walked out of my office to see who was around so that I could send him over with Tefilin.

I saw R’ Yossi Ashkenazi who was visiting her from Israel to help us with our Kosher certification work. I asked him if he could jump over to the exhibition center with Tefilin. He agreed with pleasure.

I told Yoel I was sending someone over. He said it’s for my friend Josef Askenazy.

Wow, I told Yoel, I am sending over Yosef Ashkenazi to bring Tefilin to Yosef Askenazy.

Actually they both share the same two first names. Yosef Yitschak.

What an incredible show of Hashem’s Divine Providence.


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