By Dovid Zaklikowski for COLlive and Hasidic Archives
Refoel Nachman Kahan and his family arrived in Israel in the mid-1930s and settled in Ramat Gan. Like most of their neighbors in the city’s small Chabad community, the Kahans were extremely poor, relying on Reb Refoel’s milk delivery business as their sole means of support.
“We didn’t even have chairs to sit on,” his son, Rabbi Yoel Kahan, who became the head Choizer reviewer of the Rebbe’s talks, recalled. “We would sit on a bench around the table.”
Yet the group of eight Chabad families, mostly refugees from Communist oppression, made up in neighborly love what they lacked in material comfort. Together, they advocated for the government to build a Mikvah in their area and ran a small school for their children at their own expense.
One day, Reb Refoel met a fellow Lubavitcher, Reb Meir Blizinsky, in Bnei Brak. Reb Meir had studied in the Lubavitch Yeshivah in Warsaw and was working as a house painter in the city.
“Why are you here?” Reb Refoel asked. “Join us in Ramat Gan.”
Reb Meir asked what he would do for a living.
“Don’t worry, we will arrange a livelihood for you.”
The next day, as usual, Reb Refoel rode from house to house on his donkey delivering milk. At each home, he asked he asked if they would agree to purchase bread from a new delivery man who would be coming around, “as a personal favor.”
Many agreed, and so it was that Reb Meir moved his family to Ramat Gan and began to deliver bread to support his family.