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Tuesday, February 27, 2024 - 18 Adar I 5784
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The Bullet that Missed
by Avraham Gold

My encounter with the Rebbe took place many years ago, but it completely changed my way of life and led me to return  to Jewish observance.

Every so often, I would hear about the Rebbe's greatness as a Jewish leader. I resolved to meet the Rebbe and check things out for myself. I went to the Rebbe's synagogue at 770 Eastern Parkway, where the Rebbe was holding a Chassidic gathering.

I was taken aback by the size of the crowd that packed the room, and I made my way through the throngs until I found a spot where I could watch the Rebbe.

I did not understand a word that the Rebbe said, because he spoke in Yiddish. However, I was astounded by his appearance and his manner of speaking. At the end of the gathering, the Rebbe asked the crowd to say L'chaim. I was given a cup of vodka and raised it, as did everyone else. As I did so, I was thinking that I had better hurry up and leave, since I had to catch a flight in a few hours.

The Rebbe looked at me and motioned to me to approach him. I was very excited, and with the help of a few Chassidim, I made my way to the Rebbe's table.

The Rebbe was supremely happy and his face shone. He gave me a piece of cake from the table and asked that I take it with my right hand. At that time, I was not religious and didn't know the significance of the right hand (which I later learned is a symbol of kindness.) Neither did I appreciate the importance of the Rebbe's every word and gesture. But I did as the Rebbe asked, and a few minutes
later I left the synagogue, got in my car and left for the airport.

As I drove along the road, I suddenly heard the sound of gunfire. I was frightened at first, but I didn't see anything unusual so I continued driving. In those years, shooting incidents were common in that section of New York.

Time was moving on and the hour of my flight rapidly approached. When I got to the departure terminal, I wasted no time but rushed towards the counter. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed someone looking at me in shock. As I continued walking towards the terminal, more and more people were staring at me. I didn't know what this was all about, and I stopped and looked around me.

Someone pointed at my shirt and asked, "Don't you see the blood seeping through your shirt?" I looked down and was shocked at what I saw - the entire front of my shirt was drenched with blood. I was in no pain and had been oblivious to the blood trickling out of me.

I was immediately taken by ambulance to the nearest hospital. I was rushed to the operating room, and when I regained consciousness, the doctor told me of the miracle that had happened. It turned out that when I had heard gunfire, a bullet had actually entered through the window of the car and penetrated the side of my neck. However, it had been shot from such a distance that it did not do much damage.

I explained to the doctor what had happened in 770, how I had received the Rebbe's blessing. The doctor explained to me the magnitude of the miracle I had experienced. If the bullet had entered only another few millimeters closer, he would not have been able to remove it. He put the bullet that he had removed from my neck into his pocket, and told me that he wanted to visit the Rebbe himself and present him with the bullet.

At the first opportunity he had, the doctor went for a private audience with the Rebbe. While he stood there, he was so moved by the encounter that he forgot about the bullet in his pocket. As he was leaving the room, the Rebbe's secretary called him back in and the Rebbe asked if he had brought something to give to the Rebbe. The doctor was in absolute shock, and he took the bullet out of his pocket and presented it to the Rebbe.

When the doctor told me this, we were both astounded. That was a turning point in my life, in which I decided to become an observant Jew.



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