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A Package of Cookies
by Rabbi Naftali Estulin

During one of my visits to New York, I suddenly received a call from the Chabad House I run, informing me that I was urgently needed back home in California. The next available flight to L.A. was leaving in an hour and a half. The flight was with the same airline as my original return flight, but my ticket was dated Wednesday from Newark, and this flight left Tuesday from Kennedy.

 I had no choice but to go to Kennedy Airport and try to wrangle my way on to the flight. While waiting for a taxi, I recalled a story that I had once heard about the Rebbe Rashab, the fifth Rebbe of Chabad.

On a trip to Petersburg, one of the Rebbe Rashab’s suitcases was lost. He was greatly troubled by this, for the suitcase contained important holy books. The Chassidim tried to find the missing suitcase, but it was to no avail.

A few days went by and a young Chassid by the name of R’ Avrohom Eliyahu Gurary came to see the Rebbe for advice. He had recently married and had received a dowry of ten thousand rubles, but lost most of it in a failed business transaction. All he had left was one thousand rubles.

When he entered the Rebbe’s room, the Rebbe cried out happily, “Ah! Avrohom Eliyahu will bring me my suitcase from the train station!” The Rebbe handed him the claim ticket for the suitcase and told him to go quickly to the train station.

It was late at night when Avraham Eliyahu arrived at the station, and no trains were coming or going. After some effort, Avrohom Eliyahu found the suitcases where they had been stashed in a back room. He went back to the Rebbe with the suitcase. The Rebbe rejoiced and said, “I owe you, Avrohom Eliyahu.”

Later, Avrohom Eliyahu told the Rebbe about his failed business deal and that he had only 1,000 rubles left. The Rebbe advised him to travel to the city of Kretz, on the shores of the Black Sea, and blessed him that he would find his livelihood there. The Rebbe further told him to take food along on the journey. In accordance with the Rebbe’s instruction, Avrohom Eliyahu's wife prepared some delicious baked goods for him to take.

Arriving in Kretz, Avraham Eliyahu took out the pastries that his wife had prepared and started to eat. Avrohom Eliyahu noticed a man nearby eyeing his food, and offered him some cookies. The man asked the Chassid where he was from and what brought him to Kretz. Avrohom Eliyahu told him how he had lost his money and how the Rebbe had sent him here with his remaining 1,000 rubles and had blessed him with success.

The man said that he thought he could help. “Come here tomorrow at the same time, and I will come with someone else and try to arrange a good deal. But,” he added with a wink, “don’t forget to bring some more of those delicious cookies!”

The three met the next day. The third man was a businessman who dealt in paper products. When he heard Avrohom Eliyahu’s story, he felt compassion for him and told him he would sell him a wagonload of cigarette paper for 1,000 rubles. Avrohom Eliyahu ended up reselling the entire wagonload for 10,000 rubles, and made up the money that he had lost. 

I remembered this story, and impulsively, I went into a store and bought a package of fancy cookies, thinking that if the Rebbe Rashab could help his Chassid through cookies, they might just be the secret to my salvation as well.

Arriving at the airport, I waited in line for the ticket agent, worrying about whether she would be helpful in rescheduling my flight. Suddenly, I heard shouting, and saw an official yelling at the clerk in great anger. The clerk looked pitiful as she tried to explain that she was not at fault, but he continued shouting.

It turned out that the man had left on her desk a package of fancy cookies that was to be his friend’s birthday present. The woman didn’t know who had put the cookies on her desk and had eaten them, and offered some to the other workers. Now the man had come to retrieve his cookies only to discover that, in his absence, they had been eaten.

I went over to the angry man with the package of cookies I had bought a half-hour earlier, and told him that he could take it instead of his original present. He was thrilled, and after apologizing to the woman, he left. The clerk looked relieved, and as she examined my ticket, she thanked me for rescuing her.

She looked at the date and stamped on my ticket. She looked again, and then smiled and said, “Okay, I’ll get you on the flight, but not in coach - in business class!"



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