Divine Intervention

Visualizing Divine Intervention

Visualizing Divine Intervention

During the winter of 1984, I had an appointment to meet with the Admor of Sanz, zt”l, in Union City, New Jersey. The meeting was scheduled for 9:00 p.m. after Ma’ariv. We decided to leave at 7:30, to give ourselves enough time for any delays.

That very afternoon, I was notified that the popular Jewish singer, Bob Dylan, wanted to visit me. This was a man who attracted hundreds of thousands to his performances. He heard through a mutual acquaintance that I was in town and wanted to see me before he set off for the hordes in Germany.

I asked when he wished to come, and was dismayed to hear him say 8:00 p.m. that night. What to do now? At this hour, I was meant to be well on my way to the home of the Admor of Sanz. On the other hand, if I would refuse him, he could very likely become insulted and perhaps angry with me. This would certainly cause a chillul Hashem, chas v’shalom, for he had clout with the public.

  1. The Admor of Sanz, zt”l

In spite of my pre-arranged meeting with the Admor, I acceded to the request of the singer. He arrived at 8:00 p.m. and remained for a full two hours. We spoke about matters of Judaism. We still maintain our friendship, and he even once visited our yeshiva in Paris on a trip to France.

At 10:00 p.m., the singer finally left. In spite of the late hour, I decided to travel to the Admor. Maybe we could still see him. I turned to my companions and said, “Let’s make the effort to travel to Union City, where the Admor is staying. If we manage to see him, it will be to our advantage. And if not, Hashem will certainly consider the difficulties of the trip as a mitzvah. At least his attendants will inform him that we came late, due to unforeseen circumstances.”

We went on our way toward Union City, but were met with a strange incident. We got onto the highway, intending to take Exit 5 to our destination. We passed the first four exits, and the next exit read Exit 6. How did we miss our exit? In our eagerness to arrive, we must not been have paying careful attention.

Without much choice, we made a U-turn and retraced our steps. I asked the driver to drive slower this time, so that we wouldn’t miss our exit again. We were already three hours late, as it was. We drove along patiently, but this time, too, we noted each exit except for the elusive fifth. It was as though Hashem was hiding it from us.

We stopped some people standing at the side of the road, and asked where Exit 5 was. They looked at us with ridicule, asking, “Are you blind or something? Don’t you have eyes? Exit 5 is exactly between Exit 4 and Exit 6, right where it belongs. It has a bright, lit-up sign; how could you miss it?” Shaking their heads in disbelief, they watched as we continued our search.

  1. The Jewish singer from America, Bob Dylan, receiving the Rav’s blessing

We finally understood that this was all part of the Master Plan. I turned once more to the driver and told him, “We will try, one last time, to find our exit. If Hashem will allow us to find it, in the merit of the tzaddik, fine. And if not, it will be an indication that He does not want us to visit the tzaddik at this time.”

We made one last U-turn, retracing our tracks yet again. After passing Exit 4, I told all the passengers, “Let us all say aloud, ‘In the merit of Rabbi Chaim Halberstam of Sanz, zy”a, the grandfather of the present-day Rebbe, may Hashem open our eyes to see the exit sign!’”

There, before us, stood a huge sign, reading Exit 5. Enthusiastically, we began singing joyfully. We felt as though we were granted the gift of sight.

Taking this exit to Union City brought us to the Admor’s Beit Hamidrash. His secretary stood in the doorway, waiting for us. He said that the Admor was still in his office, awaiting our arrival. We were very happy that our trip had not been for naught. We were relieved that the Admor was not irritated by our delay.

We hurried to the second floor, where hundreds of Chassidim were astonished over the fact that the Admor remained in his office at such a late hour. We felt tremendous excitement surge over us as we merited standing in his presence. His countenance shone like that of the angels.

I kissed his holy hand. At that moment, I had a vision of my holy fathers, led by Rabbi Chaim Pinto. I clearly felt his presence with me as I gazed at the holy Admor. He asked me some questions regarding my fathers. As I related stories about them, I had the feeling that I was not imparting anything new. Later on, I discovered that one of the Chassidim hails from Mogador, Morocco, and on Shabbat, tells over wonders of the illustrious Pinto dynasty.

I planted another kiss on the Admor’s hand, and then we took our leave, hearts full of joy as though we had just stood at Har Sinai and merited seeing the Shechinah.

I have yet to understand why Hashem did not let us reach Union City earlier. But the unseen exit opened my eyes to Hashem’s individual intervention in the life of every creature. It drove home to me the fact of Hashem’s omnipotence; He is capable of blinding five passengers, when He sees fit.


Visualizing Divine Intervention

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Actualités du Rav

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Actualités du Rav

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Ask for a blessing from the rabbi