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Door to Door Service

Efrat Shuchatman had an illustrious lineage: On her mother's side, she was a descendent of the Ben Ish Chai, the famous Chacham of Baghdad. However, this lineage wasn't evident in the upbringing that Efrat received, which was completely secular.

After graduating elementary school with excellence, Efrat planned to attend high school on a kibbutz. She had already passed her entrance exams, when suddenly, her plans changed completely.

One fine day during school vacation, two chassidic young men knocked on the door of her parents' home. "We are here from Safed," they said. "We have recently opened an excellent school with a full dormitory. Would you like to register your daughter?"

"Efrat?" her mother turned to her. "Would you be interested in getting acquainted with Judaism from up close?"

“Sure," answered Efrat spontaneously, if only out of curiosity.

Before the school year began, Efrat attended a getting-acquainted camp in Safed and enjoyed it immensely, even more that the kibbutz environment. She readily agreed to enroll in Beit Chana in Safed as a full-time high school student.

Efrat slowly acclimated to life in the school. She changed her style of dress to match the level of modesty in the school, and became accustomed to keeping the laws of Shabbat and kashrut. Within a few months she felt completely part of that environment.

At home, though, only her mother supported her change of lifestyle. Her father was far more cynical. On her weekends off, she would make kiddush on Shabbat for herself with a cup of grape juice, cut a piece of challah and eat it with tuna. She tried to avoid eating the food at home, because their kitchen was not kosher.

One morning, Efrat woke up with her body covered with a rash. She also had high fever and a terrible headache. The doctors could not identify the cause of the rash and had no effective treatment to offer.

In a moment of truth, Efrat said to herself, "I will write to the Lubavitcher Rebbe and ask for his blessing. No doubt I'll be cured, and this will also move my father's heart," she spun a dream for herself.

Efrat sent the Rebbe a letter by fax, and within a few hours had received an answer: "Check the mezuzot. I will mention it at the gravesite." (The Rebbe used to frequently visit the gravesite of his father-in-law, the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Joseph I. Schneersohn.)

There were mezuzot on the doorposts of Efrat's home, which Efrat suspected was her mother's doing. She took down all the mezuzot and opened the cases to have the parchments inspected. To her shock she discovered that there were no parchments inside, only ordinary paper. In other words, there were no kosher mezuzot at all in her home!

What to do now? Efrat knew there was no chance her father would agree to purchase new mezuzot, and she herself could not afford that expense.

The next morning, the miracle began to unfold. Efrat awoke and found that the pounding headache had suddenly eased. The rash, too, was beginning to fade. As suddenly as it appeared, it went away.

Efrat hoped that in face of the obvious miracle, her father would cooperated and buy new mezuzot. But her father laughed off the whole idea. "It's enough that I don't stop you from leading your own life. Don't try to change my life!"

Weeks, then months went by, and Efrat was distraught that even her own room at home did not have a kosher mezuzah. One day as Efrat was cleaning the kitchen, she heard a knock on the door. Efrat's mother opened it, and at the door was a Haredi gentleman. "I am here to fix the mezuzot," he announced. He held a hammer in one hand and mezuzot in the other. Within a few minutes he had gone from door to door affixing mezuzot, while Efrat and her mother stood there in shock.

"Did you call him?" Efrat's mother asked her.

"N..no," stammered Efrat.

"Who sent you here?" Efrat's mother asked.

The young man looked at her quizzically. "What do you mean? You called me to come here!"

It turned out that the mezuzah-technician had been called by the neighbors. He saw a door with no mezuzah and assumed that it was the right address. The man was very embarrassed and couldn't apologize enough.

"There's no need to apologize. You've come just to the right address," said Efrat’s mother, explaining her daughter’s quest of the last six months.

 

 


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