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Stories about the Rebbe

After 20 Years!!!

Last week, David and Phoebe Marciano of Kiryat Shmuel celebrated the birth of their first baby … 28 years after their wedding.

If that was not amazing enough, the birth of their baby son was a beautiful miracle story that involved a promise from the Rebbe.

The story began 20 years ago, as David Marciano, who runs a chessed organization in the Krayot, related this week:

“Soon after our wedding, we found that we had a problem and were unable to have children. I asked the Rebbe for a bracha on various occasions, and the Rebbe would give us his blessings, but nothing definite. In 5750/1989, when my wife and I traveled to the Rebbe, I decided that this time I wouldn’t settle for anything less than a clear bracha. I spoke to the Rebbe’s secretary, Rabbi Binyamin Klein, to find out if he would let us in for dollars before everyone else so that we could ask the Rebbe for a bracha.

“Rabbi Klein agreed, and he told me to knock on the window of his room before dollars were given out. He also let us stand at the head of the very long line. At the relevant time, we knocked on the window of his room, and he let us in before everyone else.

“It was Sunday 21st Marcheshvan, 5750/1989, and we waited for an hour and a half before the Rebbe walked out. We were very excited and we felt unable to speak, but we decided not to waste this special opportunity. When the Rebbe came out, I said, ‘Rebbe, we want children!’ The Rebbe gave me an extra dollar and said, ‘This is for the children that you will have!’ The Rebbe then gave another dollar with a similar bracha to my wife.”

But the years went by, and the couple did not have a child. But they never gave up. At one point, David lost his hands in an explosion at the Raphael weapons factory where he worked. But the couple continued to believe that one day they would be blessed with a child.

“I always told everyone that this bracha must be fulfilled. It just had to happen. I didn’t know how or when, but the Rebbe made us a promise and so it had to be kept. Even though we went through some very hard times, we never gave up because the bracha gave us hope.”

David Marciano, who is 56, is still very excited. “It’s taking us time to recover and fall back to Earth,” he says. “We still can hardly believe that we have just become parents after 28 years of marriage!”

Tomorrow, the Marciano’s will hear a final answer from the doctor about when to hold the bris, but chances are that it will be on time, iy”H, on Wednesday

The Power of Shabbat

David Solomon was what you would call a self-made man. He lived in Manhattan and had built himself up from almost nothing with his own 'two hands'. Today was a multi-millionaire with several factories, had substantial holdings on Wall Street and knew exactly how loud money 'talks'.

Of course there was no place in his life for Judaism and no time for anything except business ... and family.

The most precious of all his possessions was his eighteen year old daughter. She was the apple of his eye. Her picture was on his desk and every wall of his office. He dreamed of the day that she would marry and he would see grandchildren. He even had a special fund saved up to buy her a new house and whatever she needed. And that day would soon be here.

He was sitting in his office when the phone rang. 'Mr. Solomon?" asked an official sounding voice on the other end of the line.

"Yes."

'Have you got a daughter by the name of Sarah Solomon?

Again he answered yes.

"This is a police officer speaking from County hospital. You'd better get down here fast, Mr. Solomon. Your daughter has been in a pretty severe automobile accident."

Mr. Solomon asked a few questions to make sure it wasn't a prank, slammed the phone down grabbed his keys and raced out of the office.

It was a nightmare. She was in critical condition. In a coma. Wires and instruments were attached to every part of her body. The doctors said that it was impossible to operate until her condition stabilized.

He stood there weeping. What could he do? His wife arrived and she too burst out in tears.

The next few days were almost without sleep. They waited in the hall for some news from the doctors. Perhaps she opened her eyes? Perhaps there would be some improvement?

But the only message of hope he received was his father's suggestion that he consult with the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

"He's the only one that can help" his father said. "I have friends that he did big miracles for. If anyone can help you he can. Just go, get an appointment and get to see him.

David's emotions began flipping. At first he was excited; there was hope! But then he became disappointed .. in himself. What? I, Dovid Solomon, a normal, successful American businessman going to soothsayers and healers?

But maybe this was something different? After all, this was a respected Jewish Rabbi. He even heard that he was a great leader, a serious person. He was uncertain.

Then suddenly he was afraid. "I don't do any commandments. How can I go to this Rabbi? I'll be so ashamed."

But then his confidence returned. He remembered his money. "I'll give a big donation and the Rabbi will certainly hear what I have to say."

Dovid drove down to the Rebbe's headquarters in Brooklyn to arrange a 'Yechidut'; a private meeting. Usually people had to wait for even months but because of the urgency that evening he was standing before the Rebbe.

"Rebbe!" He began to cry. "My daughter had a terrible accident. She is in critical condition. Rebbe, can you save her? Here, here is a check for fifty thousand dollars! For your institutions."

The Rebbe just looked at him without seeming to notice the check and said. "If you want to save your daughter you must begin to observe Shabbat."

"Rebbe," he replied "I can't promise such a thing. I'm a very busy man and I'm not a religious Jew. Here!" he took out his checkbook put it on the Rebbe's desk and began writing, "Here. One hundred thousand dollars! Please, Rebbe, please take it, just save my daughter."

The Rebbe looked at him even more intently and said. "Mr. Solomon I am here to help you, I'm not thinking of myself. If you want her to be healthy keep the Sabbath."

"Rebbe, here!" Said Solomon as he signed his name to another check and placed it before the Rebbe. "It's an open check. Write what you want. Take what you need, just save her!!" He was really crying now. Looking deeply into the Rebbe's eyes for some hope.

"G-d is responsible for her healing." the Rebbe replied. "You must appeal to Him. I can only help with prayer but you must also do your part" . "At least keep the Sabbath. Then your daughter will be healthy and you will even see grandchildren from her."

Mr. Solomon gathered up his checks. Said he would think about it, shook the Rebbe's hand and left closing the door after him. He waited around for a while outside the door hoping that the Rebbe would call him back. But he didn't and Solomon returned to the hospital empty handed.

That night he couldn't sleep. The meeting with the Rebbe made a deep impression on him. The Rebbe's face danced before his eyes saying "I am here to help you, not to help myself. keep Shabbat". It was the first time in his life he met a man that was not interested in his own personal profit.

Meanwhile Sarah's condition deteriorated.

"Nu" He said to his wife. This Shabbat we won't drive or turn on any lights. I mean we'll be staying in the hospital anyway so we have nowhere to go. And I think I remember how to make Kiddush; we can at least begin to do what Rabbi Schneerson said."

That Sunday there was some improvement and the next Sunday she opened her eyes for the first time in a month.

Mr. Solomon became a 'Shomer Shabbos' Jew and his daughter Sarah not only became completely healed, she eventually got married and had several children. Just as the Rebbe said.

Securing An Interview

Shazar_01.gifGershon Ber Jacobson was a well known journalist, according to some he was the journalist's journalist.  He wrote for several major newspapers around the world, was fluent in many languages including French, English, Yiddish, Russian, Georgian and Hebrew, had a fluent, often stirring style, an eye for often uncomfortable detail and an unquenchable drive for often life-threatening scoops.

But in addition to all this, or perhaps we should say foremost, he was a totally observant Jew and a devoted Chassid (follower) of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, perhaps the greatest, most erudite Jewish leader in history who teaches his followers to do everything possible to improve mankind.

And it saved his life at least once.

The scene was immediately after the Six-Day war. Israel had decimated the combined armies of Egypt, Syria and the other Arab nations surrounding them and the idea popped into the mind of Gershon Ber, who at the time was the chief correspondent in New York for the Israeli newspaper 'Yediot Achronot' the biggest daily in Israel, to get a really hot story.

He decided that the scoop of scoops would be to get into Egypt and get an interview with none other than the Prime Minister himself; Abdul Nasser!

He began to go about getting the necessary papers, when he got a phone call from another important personage from the 'other side' of the coin; 'Isar HarAil' the head of the Israeli Secret Service the 'Mosad'. "Jacobson are you insane?" he screamed, "Listen, we have information that if you go through with this you'll never come back. Why, they'll arrest you as a spy and you'll never get out of jail! And we won't be in a position to help you! Do you understand? Don't go! And if you do we will take no responsibility!"

Jacobson thanked HarAil, hung up the phone and called the headquarters of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.  It wasn't long before he got a reply.

The Rebbe said he definitely should go but he should do the following things 1) Take several pairs of new Tefillin 2) Take a new 'sh'chita' knife for slaughtering birds 3) check into the best room in the most expensive hotel 4) before leaving write short letters to all his friends and important acquaintances telling them he is in Egypt and mail them as soon as you arrive 5) as soon as he enters the hotel call all the foreign ambassadors living in Egypt and 5) at the first opportunity visit the Jewish community there.

Gershon Ber did exactly what the Rebbe told him and a week or two landed in Cairo. He told the driver to take him to the finest hotel and on the way he stopped at the post office and mailed the letters he had written.

Then he checked in to his room and immediately set about calling all the foreign representatives in Egypt as the Rebbe said.

And the response was fantastic! In fact one of the ambassadors was so impressed (he claimed that in the fifteen years he was in Egypt no one had ever called him) he insisted on coming to see him and when he arrived insisted on being Jacobson's personal driver!

"Very well!" he answered. "Then let's go visit the Jewish community here." With the ambassador (I heard it was the representative from Canada) as his driver they pulled up at the home of the head of the Jewish community.  Jacobson brought greetings from the Rebbe and began asking journalist questions; how was life in Egypt, Was there anti-Semitism, was anything affected by the Six Day War? etc. etc.

The community leader answered that although there was not overt anti-Semitism it was nevertheless very difficult for them to get around and impossible for them to contact the outside world. For instance what they really needed were a few pairs of tefillin (phylacteries) because several had become disqualified for use and a sh'chita knife for slaughtering chickens because the one they had somehow broke and was irreparable. But they couldn't get out of Egypt to get these things replaced.

You can imagine his joy and amazement when he produced exactly these items and told him how the Lubavitcher Rebbe somehow sensed their need.

Jacobson got the interview with Nasser and when he arrived safely back in New York he got another call from …. Isar HarAil. "Listen Jacobson. We know for SURE that they were planning to arrest you for spying. But when you got there and made such a storm with those letters and phone calls they didn't want to arouse adverse public opinion. Tell me, where did you get the idea to do those letters and phone calls?"

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