Just after the terror attack in Mumbai, the story of David Bialka ‘s escape from the Chabad House was widely publicized in the media.
As the only witness who escaped the terrorist attack, Bialka escaped from the fourth floor, stepping over the air conditioners that were installed not long ago by Rabbi Holtzberg HY”D. When he reached the ground the Indian police mistakenly took him for a terrorist, and they grabbed him and beat him. After he was sent to the hospital he was finally able to prove his real identity, and was allowed to go.
The story was published in the Hamodia newspaper as well, and when Rabbi Nochum Goldshmid, who lives in Netanya, read that Bialka is a fellow Netanya resident, searched for his name in the local phone directory. He could not find him, because his name had been incorrectly written in the papers. After further investigation, Goldshmid discovered that Bialka lives across the street from him.
Goldshmid quickly called the home of the Hamodia reporter that wrote the story, whose wife answered and said that her husband was on his way back from India, with the victims’ families and the ZAKA volunteers. He asked her to call her husband and find out the phone number of Bialka. He finally got the number.
Rabbi Goldshmid attempted to reach Bialka before the Holtzberg’s funeral, but he could not reach him.
Rabbi Goldshmid attended the funeral amidst the crowds of thousands, and immediately following the burial headed out of the cemetery. As he made his way to the exit, he spotted a man in a knitted yarmulka, surrounded by his family, weeping. Rabbi Goldshmid suspected that this was David, although they had never met, and upon inquiring was told that this was the case.
When Bialka looked up and saw Rabbi Goldshmid, he approached him, crying “Rabbi Nachum!” as he embraced the surprised Rabbi.
David explained: “Every week I used to attend the Shaarei Tzedek shul in Netanya. Every so often, you (Rabbi Goldshmid) would come and give a speech. In the days prior to the attack I stayed in the Chabad House, and spent long hours talking with Rabbi Holtzberg. During one of those times, I told him about your speeches and how much we always enjoyed them. Rabbi Holtzberg told me that you were friends who learned together in 770 in New York, and said, “If you enjoyed his speeches so much, you must visit his Chabad House when you return to Israel.”
“You are the will of Gabi.” Bialka says.
“I survived so I could meet you, and fulfill his wishes.”