By Yeuda Stell
I generally wake up early in the morning to daven before I go to work and then take my child to daycare. If I do not daven before, I ALWAYS daven before sof zman kerias Shema.
On Thursday, November 12, 2020, I was unable to daven at either time.
I am a real estate investor and primarily a property manager all throughout Broward and Dade Counties in South Florida. After the rough storm that hit us, my schedule, obviously, became completely congested. I had literally no time to eat something small.
At 4:45 PM, after things calmed down just a little, I pulled over to daven. I opened the door to the back seat to grab my tefillin. It wasn’t there. Seems like I forgot it at home (please don’t judge…)
I panicked. I never go a day with davening late and I would never miss a day of putting on tefillin! I was freaking out because my house was an hour away (without traffic) and I wouldn’t make it on time.
Despite being in a part of Dade County that almost no Jewish people lived in, I Googled “Chabad near me.”
I tapped on Chabad Miami Lakes and called the Shliach – Rabbi Mendy Weiss right away.
Hi, I said. How are you? I am a Lubavitcher who needs to put tefillin on before shkiyah. Can I come by now?
YES! he replied. I am sending you my address right now.
4:51 PM. Upon my arrival at the Shliach’s house, he calls me. “I will not be home when you get here but here’s how to get in,” he said. “Walk in and my tefillin should be on my dining room table. If you are hungry my refrigerator is open to you.”
I was so shocked and humbled. This guy was something else. I get to his house and quickly start to daven. After I finished davening; when I was folding up the talis (then davening mincha), the Shliach arrives home with his children.
We first say our “Sholom Alayechem’s” and straight away he asks his child to get me something to drink (impressed again).
I later asked for his CashApp to donate to his Chabad, he refused to take money from me. I noticed that his talis was old so I ordered him a new one to the address he gave me, to show him my appreciation.
What was so interesting about this encounter – beyond sharing a story about a Shliach’s dedication – was this:
1. The Kinus HaShluchim is a time of the year that Shluchim “recharge their batteries” for the year to come. This year, the Kinus was a virtual one due to Covid-19 and Shluchim remained at their posts.
Had it not been for the pandemic and the Kinus would be held in New York, I wouldn’t be able to daven that day.
2. This Shliach didn’t know me. I could’ve been anyone, but he opened his house to me to complete a mitzvah and on the side offered me shelter whether I had a home or not, whether I was a Lubavitcher or not, whether I was rich or poor.
When I saw him for the first time, I pictured the Rebbe right away. It was so refreshing to see a Shliach who had the same determination in Shlichus as if the Rebbe sent him there just yesterday.
So thank you Rebbe and all those who are doing his Shlichus.