Story of Divine Providence

Friday, 1 September, 2023 - 5:16 am

Derek Halpern.jpeg 





By the Grace of G-d

Dear Friend,

One of my colleagues in northern California had a pair of Yeshiva bachurim sent to him by Chabad’s head office to help him out during the summer. As part of their ‘Roving Rabbi’s’ mission he had them visit the homes of Jewish people in his area that he had not yet had the opportunity to meet.

The young rabbis came back from one of their visits and reported that the family they had visited that day was a nice family from Israel. It was a brief visit as the husband was away on a business trip. ‘We just had a short introductory conversation with the wife at the front door’. ‘

Little did they know how impactful that short visit at the front door was.

For a short while later my colleague got a picture of the two young rabbis (from the front door camera) with a note from the husband:

Hi, my name is M and I live in …

I have a visit from these two lovely boys (this is from our door cam) and I wanted to know if you know them?

I have a good story to tell them.

 My colleague confirmed that he had sent them and then M followed up with the below note:

Hi Rabbi,

Anyway, last week I had a very important meeting in NY - the kind of meeting you are not sleeping for a few weeks before.

The meeting was on Friday, and I Landed in NY on Thursday AM. I have a few hours in the morning, so I decided to Visit the Rebbe.  It’s the first time that I went to the Ohel.

(Referring to the Ohel at the Rebbe’s resting place. YK)

A few hours later I was talking to my wife back home, and she told me that we had a very random visit from 2 Chabad Boys ......

Very nice timing Rabbi. I would love to know what made you send them exactly on the date I visited the Ohel :)

Needless to say that my meeting in NY went very well.

I love it when these things happen. It is not that I need to know to believe more, but it is always good to get an extra certainty.

Why did I hear about this story?

Because M used to live in Thailand and my colleague wanted to give regards. I was delighted to get this awesome regards and the timing is also precise to fit with our Parsha.

The portion of Ki Tavo starts off with the mitzvah of ‘Bikkurim’ bringing the first fruits to the Temple and giving thanks to Hashem for His blessings. ‘You shall go to the place that Hashem has chosen to rest His name there’. This is a reference to Jerusalem, the place that Hashem has chosen.

The Ba’al Shem Tov gave an allegorical interpretation to this verse:

"You shall go to the place the Eternal your G‑d will choose - a Jew must know that when he goes from one place to another, he is not going on his own, but is being directed from Above. And the intention and purpose in this is...

" cause His Name to dwell there - that is, to make G‑d known in his (that Jew's) locale.

It is always so powerful to get a vivid reminder of the preciseness and the Divine Providence of our geographical movements and the timing of our actions.

Talking about timing.

Yesterday we had a funeral in our local Jewish cemetery of a Jew by the name of Yonatan ben Moshe (John Richard) White.

After Pesach 2022 John sent me this note:

For the first time since I was a child I ate only matzah during Pesach, this was due to your provision of Matzah.

Also due to the fact that I felt unconnected. Therefore, I made a decision to only eat matzah as a way to feel connected.

A while before Pesach 2023 John came to visit Bangkok. He had recovered somewhat from a stroke but was not in the best of health. Before he left to go back to Hua Hin I asked him what I could provide him with to make him more comfortable.

He asked for a Siddur, tallit and tefillin. He shared with me that in his youth he had put on tefillin daily and he now wanted to reinstate his connection to this mitzvah.

We ordered them for him and then before Pesach we sent him our own ‘roving rabbi’s’ to deliver him matzah the pair of tefillin that he had requested. (pictures below)

May his memory be a blessing and more importantly an inspiration. I was personally inspired to see how although decades had passed since he had donned Tefillin regularly, at age eighty he was inspired to renew this commitment.

Another quick snippet of Divine Providence. Yesterday, Dov Halpern - a local young Jew - who is on a visit to NY for his nephews Brit, sent me a beautiful picture of a visit he paid with his father to pray at the Rebbe’s Ohel. By Divine Providence he bumped into our son in law Mendel Lerman from Atlanta who had come to NY for one day to bring a group of Atlanta Jews to visit the Ohel to pray for a Shana Tova. Naturally, his father Yona Moshe wanted to put on Tefillin, and I got the pleasure of receiving the picture which I share below.

If you are here in Thailand, please join us at one of our local Synagogues.

You are invited to join me at Beth Elisheva/Jewish Association of Thailand’s Rosh Hashana services and meals which will be held at the Rembrandt hotel. Yom Kippur will be held there as well. More details here.

I hope that wherever you are reading this, you are making plans to observe the upcoming High Holidays with a local Jewish community. If you need assistance in locating a service click here.

Dear friend, if there is something that I can do to help guide you in your observance of these uplifting spiritual days please feel free to reach out and connect.

Shabbat Shalom

Shana Tova

Rabbi Yosef Kantor

PS If you are living in Thailand and are somewhat more remote and would appreciate a visit during this High Holiday period, please reach out to me to schedule a ‘roving rabbi’ visit by one of our Yeshiva bachur volunteers.


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