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A Fruitful Trip

Each year, the thousands of Chabad emissaries throughout the world leave their posts for one weekend and travel to Brooklyn for the world-renowned “Shluchim Conference.” There they recharge, share experiences and pick up enough tips, ideas, resources and energy to last them for another year to come.

Rabbi Doron Oren, the director of the Moshiach Center in the Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall in Jerusalem, was also a regular participant in the conference. One year, he was planning his annual trip but waited too long to book his ticket to the United States. By the time he went to make his reservation, there were no flights available. The only one he could find was a flight with a 3-day stopover in London.

Not having any other option, Rabbi Oren bought the ticket. He decided to use his stay in London for a good purpose. His wife had a friend who had been an agunah for many years. An agunah is a woman who is separated from her husband without a religious divorce (get). Years before, her husband had left her and their children and had gone to England. In all that time he had had no contact with his wife and refused to give her a divorce. Rabbi Oren decided to use this opportunity to seek out this man and convince him to free his wife, to grant her a divorce so she could start her life over.

Before his trip, Rabbi Oren wrote a letter to the Rebbe requesting his blessing for success in this mission. He inserted it at random in a page of Igrot Kodesh, the Rebbe's published letters.  He opened the book and on the page he found a letter that the Rebbe had written to Chabad chassidim in Jerusalem regarding some documents that were in London. The Rebbe instructed them to contact a well-connected person in London who could help them in their search.

Through a friend, Rabbi Oren was put in contact with an accountant who had clients in London. This accountant helped him in an unanticipated way. The wife of this accountant was a member of an organization that helped and supported agunot. Rabbi Oren discussed the case with her, and she put him in touch with a woman in London, who was herself an agunah for a long time until the organization helped her obtain a get. This woman promised Rabbi Oren that as soon as he arrived in London, she would do everything in her power to find the missing husband.

One of the members of the Bet Din, the Rabbinical court of Jerusalem, who dealt with the case of Rabbi Oren's wife's friend, called Rabbi Oren and gave him the name and address of a person in London who would host him and assist him in finding the woman's husband. The rabbi also gave Rabbi Oren a power of attorney to receive the get from the husband and deliver it to the woman.

When Rabbi Oren arrived in London, he went to his host's home and called the woman, the former agunah, who had offered her support. The woman, who had remarried in the interim, asked for her husband's help in locating the husband who had run away. Within a few hours Rabbi Oren had the address in hand. It was only a few short blocks away...

Rabbi Oren's host offered to accompany him on his encounter with the missing husband. With great trepidation Rabbi Oren knocked on the door. He was sure that he faced a difficult interview. This was a man who had abandoned his family and had had no contact with them for years. Rabbi Oren prayed to G-d that the Rebbe's blessing should sustain him, and he should find the right words to convince this man to free his wife.

After a few minutes of knocking, there was no answer. Rabbi Oren and his host surmised that someone had tipped off the man that a visitor from Israel was on his tail regarding giving his wife a divorce, and he had gone into hiding.

Rabbi Oren wrote another letter to the Rebbe and inserted it into a volume of Igrot Kodesh. The Rebbe's answer was in regard to an institution that had received a blessing from the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe. The Rebbe wrote that the blessing still rests on the place. From this letter Rabbi Oren drew encouragement; his trip had already been blessed, and it would continue in that vein.

The next day, Rabbi Oren and his host paid a visit to the man's workplace. The manager seated them in a back office while he went to call the worker. The back room was so cramped and out-of-the-way that Rabbi Oren and his host were afraid to enter, fearing that they may be planning some mischief.

True to their expectations, the man entered and immediately began to rage about how they were stalking him. “You have no right to follow me here,” he insisted. “Anyway, I always was ready to give my wife a get. I just have certain conditions.”

When Rabbi Oren listened to the man's “conditions,” his heart sank. They were completely irrational and unrealistic.

With disappointment, Rabbi Oren and his host returned home, where they sat and discussed ways they could convince this recalcitrant man to let his wife go. Finally they concluded that they saw no way to get this man to change his mind.

The next morning they were in for a surprise. The phone rang, and the husband was on the line. With no further discussion or explanation, he said, “I've changed my mind and I am ready to give my wife a get, with no preconditions.” A happy Rabbi Oren went to get the necessary documents signed, his mission accomplished. The Rebbe's blessing had once again born fruit.


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