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A Demand in a Dream

Every Sunday, Rabbi Eliezer ben Shmuel and his wife Limor took a taxi from their home in Tzefat (Safed) to Kiryat Shemoneh, where they both gave lectures in the local cultural center. Rabbi Eliezer taught the weekly Torah portion and Limor would teach the laws relevant to building a home. They always used the same driver, Shimon, a Jew of oriental origin.

Shimon had a joyous personality and loved to listen to traditional eastern music during their long drive. However, one Sunday the Shmuels noticed a change in his demeanor. The weather on that day was uncharacteristically cold, and Shimon's expression matched the weather perfectly. There was not a trace of his usual smile or hearty laughter. It was obvious that something weighed heavily on his mind.

The music that he usually played in the car was silent, and the roads were dark with a thick fog. The car moved slowly along, and at one point Shimon turned to his passengers and urged them to turn back. “Nobody is going to come out for a lecture in this weather.”

However, the Shmuels were not deterred. “We are not canceling the lecture,” they said firmly.

Shimon shrugged his shoulders and continued to drive. Rabbi Shmuel tried to extract from Shimon what was bothering him, but Shimon declined to share his troubles

When they reached the cultural center in Kiryat Shmoneh, they were greeted by a large group of women. “We knew you would come out here regardless of the weather!” they exclaimed. “We must hand it to you.”

After Eliezer finished delivering his lecture, he returned to Shimon's taxi. He wanted to catch a private moment with Shimon, while his wife Limor was still delivering her lecture to the women. “You don't need to tell me what's bothering you,” he told Shimon. “But I have some advice. Write a letter to the Lubavitcher Rebbe and ask for his blessing. I am sure that it will help you.”

Rabbi Eliezer explained to Shimon how to send a letter to the Rebbe through Igrot Kodesh, the Rebbe's published letters. After composing the letter, it is placed at random into one of the thirty-some volumes of the Rebbe's published letters. The book is then opened, and the letter printed on that page often has a remarkable relationship to the issue written about in the letter.

Shimon, however, was not overly enthused by this advice. “I am a Mizrahi Jew, and I follow the rabbis of my own tradition. I feel it would be an insult to them to consult with an Ashkenazic Rebbe.”

Rabbi Shmuel explained that this should be no impediment, as the Rebbe cared for all Jews, and in fact the Sephardic rabbis often consulted with him.

Shimon hit on a “compromise,” and told Rabbi Shmuel to ask for the Rebbe's blessing on his behalf. However, Rabbi Shmuel urged him to write his own letter. In the meantime, Limor finished her lecture and joined her husband in the taxi.

During their drive back to Tzefat, Shimon broke down and shared his sad story. For the past half year he and his wife had been living in the home of his in-laws while their apartment was undergoing some repairs. They took out a large bank loan to pay for the renovations, and hired an Arab contractor with very good references. Everything was going smoothly until one dark day. The contractor, who occasionally would ask Shimon to advance him some cash to purchase supplies or pay his workers, suddenly asked for a very large sum: 40,000 shekel. He convinced Shimon that he needed this money in order to continue the work, and Shimon reluctantly withdrew the large sum and gave it to him.

The next day, the contractor did not show up for work. He had disappeared together with the money. Shimon had no funds left to hire a new contractor, and the situation rapidly deteriorated... He and his wife started to argue and blame each other for the situation, and their relationship was falling apart. “As a result of all this stress,” confided Shimon with a deep sigh, “my wife fell into a deep depression. She is now hospitalized...”

When they reached Tzefat, Rabbi Shmuel encouraged Shimon to come inside his apartment and write a letter to the Rebbe. “With G-d's help, you will find peace of mind,” he assured him.

Shimon composed a letter and placed it at random into a volume of Igrot Kodesh. The letter he opened to happened to be dated for that same day. In the letter, the Rebbe wrote to someone who was requesting a blessing, that he should make sure to reply and update the Rebbe with good news.

The Shmuels offered Shimon their heartfelt blessings for a speedy resolution of his troubles. “Don't forget to be in touch with me when your miracle happens,” said Eliezer, patting Shimon on the back.

The next morning, at 6 a.m., the telephone rang in the Shmuels' apartment. “Rabbi Shmuel! A miracle! A miracle!” Shimon yelled into the receiver.

“A half-hour ago I was woken up by banging on my door. I got out of bed and saw the contractor standing on my doorstep. 'Here is your money,' he said with downcast eyes, handing me the full sum. 'Please forgive me."

“You won't believe it, Rabbi Shmuel. The contractor told me that decided suddenly to return the stolen money after 'your great Rebbe,' as he put it, appeared to him in a dream and demanded that he bring back the money to its rightful owner.”
“You won't believe it, Rabbi Shmuel. The contractor told me that decided suddenly to return the stolen money after 'your great Rebbe,' as he put it, appeared to him in a dream and demanded that he bring back the money to its rightful owner.”



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