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Thursday, February 29, 2024 - 20 Adar I 5784
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Back on the Line

Chana Daniel's connection with Chabad began in 1972, when her family moved to Israel from the Soviet Union. Among those who came to greet them at the Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv were family friends from Russian, the Ladaevs. They were Chabad chassidim, and right there in the airport they managed to convince Chana's parents to send her and her brother to study in Kfar Chabad, where they would receive a solid Jewish education.

Chana and her brother spend the next eight months in Kfar Chabad, she in Beth Rivkah school for girls and he in a boys' yeshivah, Ohr Simchah. When the Yom Kippur War broke out, their parents panicked and told their children that they could not bear to have them studying so far from home. They transferred the children to a different school close to their home in Ashdod.

However, the positive experiences they had had in the Chabad school stayed with Chana and her brother. Although they did not feel themselves fully part of the Chabad chassidic community, they always had a warm feeling towards it.

Years passed. Chana grew up, married and started her own family. She and her husband  had two children, but after that Chana was unable to conceive any more, although they both strongly desired to have more children. Chana experienced four miscarriages, each of which was a traumatic experience for her. They consulted doctors, but none of them could give a definitive diagnosis or could offer any medical remedy.

In 1986, Chana and her husband flew to New York to visit family. They used the opportunity to visit the Lubavitcher Rebbe and seek his blessing. Chana had heard much about the Rebbe's greatness during her childhood stint in Kfar Chabad, and now looked forward to the opportunity to receive his blessing in person.

It was Sunday, the day the Rebbe usually received visitors and distributed dollars for charity. Jews of all stripes and walks of life waited their turn in a long line that snaked outside on the sidewalk of Eastern Parkway. When Chana's turn came, after many long hours of waiting, she found herself face to face with the Rebbe, unable to utter a word. She felt an upwelling of strong  emotions such as she had never before experienced. She wanted to ask the Rebbe for a blessing for more children, but could not form the words. Instead she asked the Rebbe for a blessing for the children she already had. The Rebbe gave her an additional dollar and blessed her, “Blessings and success.”

The impression of those few seconds with the Rebbe was powerful. On the spur of the moment Chana decided that she had to experience them again. She rejoined the line, intending this time to ask for a blessing for her parents. She knew that the wait would be too daunting for them to stand online themselves.

When she stood in front of the Rebbe for a second time, she began to ask for a blessing for her parents. The Rebbe looked at her intently for a moment and said, “You were just here!” Chana was astonished that the Rebbe remembered her out of the thousands of people he had just seen. At the same time , though, she worried that the Rebbe was angry at her for rejoining the line and taking an extra dollar.

After she returned home to Israel, Chana wrote a letter to the Rebbe to apologize for what she had done. The Rebbe, despite her audacity, had given her two additional dollars, and Chana wanted to return them. In that letter she also expressed all the pain and frustration that she and her husband had, trying to expand their family. She concluded her letter by mentioning the warm feelings she had for Kfar Chabad because of her wonderful childhood experiences, and asked the Rebbe if it would be a good idea for her to move to that village.

Several weeks later, Chana received a letter from the Rebbe in response. The Rebbe gave her a blessing for an easy pregnancy and also encouraged her to move to Kfar Chabad.

The family moved there as the Rebbe advised, and within a year they had a third child, whom they named Gavriel.



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