Below is a true story that I heard from Rabbi Bryski himself. Have you ever experienced a similar story (as the benefactor or the recipient)? Where there was a life-changing impact that the benefactor didn't know about for years?
Here is also a reminder that Shabbat dinner today is EARLY - 5:00 PM, at our home. Make sure to light your Chanukah candles BEFORE 4:40 PM, and the come over afterwards. You can also light candles with us at 4:30 PM
Don't forget - Chanukah Party tomorrow evening!! Havdalah, Menorah, board games, latkes, doughnuts and more! 7:00 PM - at our home.
Shabbat Shalom and Happy Chanukah!!
Rabbi Mendy & Sara Alevsky
As told by Rabbi Moshe Bryski of Chabad of Augora Hills, California.
We were enjoying their Shabbos meal with a group of Rabbinical students who had come to help us with youth activities.
During the meal, one of the students noticed a moving truck that had pulled up next door. Guiding the truck into the driveway was a man accompanied by a young girl.
In no time, the student and his friends were out the door.
“Hello, welcome to the neighborhood,” they called out cheerily. “Looking at us, you can tell we are Jewish. Are you?”
“Yes, I am,” replied the man. “And this is my daughter.”
“Come on in and join us,” the boys invited them.
As he stood there a bit overwhelmed, one of the boys approached the movers and made a similar inquiry. Soon, the man, his daughter and the movers, who turned out to be Israelis, were sitting around our Shabbos table, eating cholent, saying l’chayim, and singing Shabbos songs.
The new neighbor began attending some of the Chabad programs. One evening, when I was giving a class entitled “Faith and Suffering,” he was there listening attentively, continuously wiping tears from his eyes.
After the class he came up to me and embraced me, unable to hold back his sobbing. Gently, I led him to his office and he began to tell his story.
“A year before I moved to Agoura, I lost two of my three children in a car accident. My marriage could not stand up to the stress of the grief and a divorce soon followed. My emotions were so out of hand that I decided to end my life.
“I wanted to leave my one daughter on a positive note so I planned to take her out before leaving this world. We made our way to the Mountaingate Plaza Cinema in the Simi Valley Mall. As we entered the mall we heard some Jewish sounding music and were surprised to see some Jewish group singing and dancing right in front of the theatre. There was a menorah burning brightly in the background and suddenly I remembered it was Chanukah. Before I knew it, one of the fellows drew us into the circle and there I was: The night I had planned to end my life I found myself dancing and celebrating!
“The bizarre twist of events led me to resolve to give life another try. I would move and find a new home, a new community and a new life. I found a house in Agoura Hills and prayed that it would work out. And there you were the day I moved in…”
I listened attentively to his story. Afterwards, I grasped his hand and held it tightly for a moment. Then I said: “Please wait here a few moments. I’ll be right back.”
I ran to my office and pulled out some albums. Together, we pored over the photos flipping the pages back and forth looking for the Chanukah section. Then we found it. Chanukah at the Simi Valley mall... It was actually me there that night at the mall, leading the celebration."