By Avi and Andi Belson
Thursday, March 23rd, a group of 8th-grade boys from Cheder Lubavitch Hebrew Day School of Chicago arrived at Laguardia airport, heading back home from spending the week in Crown Heights participating in the international Tzivos Hashem-sponsored Chidon 5783 event.
After easily navigating through security, they arrived on time at gate 12 without issues. Their chaperone, Ozzy Belson, approached the counter, showing his ticket to the attendant to ensure they were all in the right place.
The attendant told him they were on a different Chicago flight, leaving out of gate 16. The boys quickly headed to gate 16 with barely any time to spare.
When they arrived at the gate, they were told the new flight was delayed an hour. To use their time wisely, boys were sent the boys out to do mivtzoyim around the airport. These boys went, and just a few stayed back. Within minutes, they were approached by a man that was waiting at the gate next to them.
The man introduced himself as Lev Schwartz and mentioned that his father was Michel Schwartz, who was a famous artist that had a special relationship with the Rebbe and even had a connection to the previous Rebbe as early as 1941. Michel Schwartz designed the Tzivos Hashem logo with the personal direction of the Rebbe, among many other chassidishe illustrations, including Talks and Tales. He told the boys he hadn’t put on tefillin in years and asked them if they would help put tefillin on him, which of course, they did. Shimon Wolf and Mendy Walters jumped at the chance!
Soon it was time for all of the boys to board, and as they approached the counter, the attendant said quizzically, “I’m sorry, but your flight departed out of gate 12 an hour ago, and this flight may be full.”
After checking in the system, she determined that miraculously, there were actually just enough seats for all the boys and Ozzy on this flight. What amazing hashgocha pratis that the gate 12 attendant’s error was not an error at all but provided the boys the chance to put tefillin on the son of the creator of the Tzivos Hashem logo, which they were all carrying with them that day from Chidon.