By Rabbi Simcha Moishe Kreindler, Director of Chabad TORCH
As Chabad representatives responsible for 37 small towns and rural areas through out northern California, my wife Atara Michal Kreindler and I serve as directors of Chabad TORCH.
Our mission: meet Jews living in small towns and regions through out Northern California and offer Sabbath and Holiday experiences in addition to offering Jewish learning opportunities.
The following story recently took place and served as a real inspiration for everyone involved.
August-September 2014: As a RN (registered nurse) for over 30 years, Mr. Gore developed an allergy to latex and almost died after having a severe reaction.
Saturday, October 4: As a 46 year old man, Mr. Gore “fasted” for the first time in his life in observance of the holy day of Yom Kippur, known as the Jewish Day of Atonement. As a result, Mr. Gore experienced some type of spiritual awakening that caused him to question the way he was living up until this point in his life.
Tuesday, October 21: I met with. Mr. Gore in the “Chabad House” in Redding, CA from 11am-3pm at Mr. Gore’s request. Mr. Gore informed me that he had an awakening just a few weeks earlier on Yom Kippur and that he wanted to begin living in accordance with his Jewish heritage.
Wednesday October 22, 8pm-2am: Mr. Gore and his wife arranged a meeting at the Chabad House with my wife and I and insisted on traveling to Los Angeles to have a bris milah and they wanted the event to include a stay in the Los Angeles Jewish community for Shabbat.
Thursday, October 23, 8:00am: Mr. Gore has a bris milah and then received an Aliyah honor (the honor of holding a Torah scroll and making a special blessing) in front of over 60 young “Rabbis in training”. Part of the ceremony included receiving a Jewish name. Mr. Gore chose the name Rafael (the name of the angel known for healing)
Friday, October 24, 3:00pm: I took Rafael to get his first pair of tefillin. While at the Judaica store, I stepped aside to compose a hand written letter which was to be sent to the Lubavitcher Rebbe. During this time Rafael was alone in the Judaica store and met an elderly man in the Judaica store who had come to buy a Yarmulke. The two men shared a few words and had a warm conversion (they both have the same secular name, Robert).
Friday, October 24,10:00pm: I took Rafael to a Rabbi’s house to eat dessert after eating the traditional Friday night Sabbath meal at a neighboring home in the Los Angeles “La Brea” Jewish community. Before Rafeal and I had a chance to sit down, a man came running in to inform everyone that an elderly man looked to be having a stoke just a few blocks away.
Rafeal announced that he is a registered nurse and that he wanted to see if he could help the man in need. Upon arriving on the scene Rafeal saw numerous firefighters and emergency staff on the scene, many of which had been there for over an hour trying to convince the elderly man to go to the hospital to receive medical attention.
Once Rafeal saw the elderly man he realized it was the elderly man that he had been talking to in the Judaica store earlier on Friday afternoon. Within minutes Rafeal was able to convince the man to go to the hospital where they discovered the man had a stroke and was in risk of having another one. Rafeal saved the man’s life! (just 48 hours earlier he chose the Jewish name Rafeal, in honor of the “healing angel”)
Sunday, October 26, 1:00pm: While standing near the Jewish boys school in Los Angeles with me, Rafeal bumped into a religious man with a beard. After talking briefly, Rafeal found out that the man was the owner of the apartment building that was home for the man that had a stroke just one day earlier. The apartment building owner told Rafeal that people had tried for years to encourage the elderly man that had the stroke to buy his own pair of tefillin, something known to strengthen one’s physical and spiritual health.
Rafeal left the apartment building owner with a simple message that was to be relayed to the elderly man. When the elderly man met Rafeal in the Judaica store, Rafeal was buying his first pair of tefillin. Rafeal told the apartment building owner to share one important message with the elderly man when he was to visit him in the hospital: Make a commitment to buy a pair of tefiilin and G-d Almighty will make a commitment to improve your health.
From all this we see how the events and happenings in a person’s life are not by chance but that everything that happens is packed with Divine intervention. May we all merit to see the Ultimate revelation of G-dliness and goodness that will come with the arrival of Moshiach Tzidkenu.