Written by Chaya M. Klein as told to her by her husband Moshe Klein, owner of Little People’s Clothing Store on Kingston Avenue
It was early summer 5775 (2015) when a young woman, in t-shirt and leggings walked into my store. Not sure who she was, I looked at her face expectantly.
She spoke in Hebrew and explained that she was visiting New York from Eretz Yisroel on the occasion of her son’s Bar Mitzvah. She had come with her husband, son and young daughter to visit the Rebbe at this auspicious time.
She concluded her business in my store with a sigh and a solemn expression, and then, in a voice filled with desperate emotion, she asked if I knew where she could buy a “Rebbe Dollar.”
“I really need to have a Rebbe Dollar,” she said anxiously, “I have been here for the past two weeks and can find no one willing to sell me one, my husband has been asking in 770 and cannot find one either!”
I looked at her face, felt her emotion, and somehow, she touched something deep inside of me. I told her, “Just a moment”, and ran down to take out a pile of personal “Rebbe Dollars” that I had received over the years.
The one on the top of the pile looked a bit stained, from the metal clip holding them together, so I reached into the pile and slipped out a dollar from the middle.
Looking at it, I noticed that I had written Chanukah 5735 in small letters across the top edge of the dollar, indicating when I had received it.
Running back upstairs, I presented the dollar to her, telling her it was a gift. She reverently took the dollar, gazing at it in awe. Tears fell onto her cheeks as she softly said, “This is the year of my birth! 5735! Thank you! Thank you! You cannot know what this means to me!!” She explained that her daughter has some health issues, and she felt that having a Rebbe dollar for her would bring her blessings. She wanted to pay for the precious dollar. I reassured her that it was a gift. I could not take money for this dollar for I deeply felt that I had been holding this dollar, which the Rebbe had put directly into my hand, for forty years, expressly so I could give it to this young woman, at this time! I had merely been keeping it safe for her!
She left my store, thanking me over and over again. A few minutes later, she ran back in to tell me that she wanted to make a new resolution. She would begin lighting the Shabbos candles, and she would cover her hair while doing so! I gently suggested that prior to making the bracho, she could put a few coins into the pushka for Tzedaka. She smiled, gratefully, “Certainly”!
The next day, a man, who had been in my store before to purchase some things because the airlines had lost his families’ luggage, walks into my store, gives me a warm hug and introduces himself as her husband! He shakes my hand warmly and says: “You cannot imagine what you have done for my wife!! For our family!! Please let me tell you a bit about myself.”
He told me that he works as a driver for Egged Bus Service in Eretz Yisroel. He has his specific route and one day, fourteen years ago, while driving his route, a suicide bomber drove into his bus and exploded! Body parts, mingled with car parts, were flying all around. Miraculously, not one person on his bus was killed! Some injuries were sustained, but nothing more, Boruch Hashem.
Shaken up, he decided to evaluate his life and his connection to Torah and Yiddishkeit. He began to touch base with a shliach, and began to learn a bit about who he was, as a Yid.
His resolve to come even closer to Yiddishkeit was strengthened, when one year later, to the day of the bombing, his son, his first child was born, in the seventh month – premature, but healthy and strong, Boruch Hashem.
He decided to write into the Igros Kodesh to find guidance on his path and the letter he opened to said: “Mikvah and Taharas Hamishpacha”!
He spoke to his wife, who said, no book was going to tell her how to conduct her personal life!
He wrote into the Igros again and received the exact same message, “Mikvah and Taharas Hamishpacha.”
Still unable to convince his wife, he suggested that she, too, write into the Igros, in her own words, selecting her own volume of letters. So she did. She too received “Mikvah and Taharas Hamishpacha” as a reply! She still did not want to accept what she was seeing. So her husband told her write again, to a different volume of the Igros Kodesh. The second letter she submitted yielded the same response: “Mikvah and Taharas Hamishpacha”!
He decided to take this all a step further and build a mikvah in his own home! He wrote into the Igros Kodesh and received the following answer (loose translation):
“…it is a good idea…and the proof is that when it will be completed, you will have rain water…”
He went on to build the mikvah and completed it in the month of Tammuz, in Eretz Yisroel. It is common knowledge that it rarely rains during the summer in Eretz Yisroel, yet rain it did! Filling the bor geshomim with precious rain water, preparing it for use!
He continued his story, telling me that his wife remained resistant to further observance, but when she received the Rebbe Dollar, her whole attitude made an abrupt turnaround! She now wanted to light Shabbos candles, and more!
As he continued speaking, he mentioned that he was going home and would be visiting his grandparents’ kevorim as there was a yartzheit coming up. Asking him where they are resting, I was astounded to discover they are buried a block away from my own parents, a”h, in the same Bais HaChaim, in a nearby section!
Hashgacha protis again reveals itself! I asked if I might ask him a small favor? Would he be able, when he visits his own relatives, to stop a moment by my parents and say a kapitel Tehillim?
He solemnly took my hand in his and said: “As long as I am alive, when I visit my family, I will visit your parents as well. I will say Tehillim and light a candle too!”
Deeply touched, I thanked him, and after a bit, we said good-bye.
Not long after all of this, we received a What’s App video of them visiting my parents!
Late one Motzoei Shabbos in Tishrei, we received a call from them informing us that they had visited my parents kevorim again, where they lit a candle and said Tehillim. As an aside, they told us that they have decided to take on more observance of Shabbos. Not just lighting the Shabbos candles, but actually keeping Shabbos!
We continue to keep in touch…May the mitzvos keep on coming and growing for each of us…and it all started with a dollar!