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The Rebbe’s Guests
A Chassidic Jew named Rabbi Alefsky was in his local airport late one night, when he was surprised to notice an obviously Jewish family camped out in a corner on the airport floor. When he inquired as to what they were doing there, he was informed that they were en-route from Paris to New York, and they had somehow missed their connecting flight or perhaps it had been cancelled. They were awaiting the next flight, which would not be leaving until the following morning.

“Why don’t you find a place to stay overnight?” asked Rabbi Alefsky, surprised that a family with young children would choose to bed down in the midst of such a public place. The family explained that they were penniless and could not afford to rent a hotel room for the night.

Rabbi Alefsky made a quick decision. “Listen,” he said. “I don’t live in a big house myself, but I won’t leave you here on the floor. I have a two-bedroom apartment. I’ll move my family into one bedroom and make the other one available for all of you.”

The family gratefully accepted his offer and happily joined him on his trip home. On the way they struck up a conversation, and Rabbi Alefsky learned that the family was from France and were on their way to New York to spend the upcoming holidays with the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

Rabbi Alefsky, a chassid himself, appreciated the importance of spending the Tishrei holidays with one’s Rebbe. However, he was dumbfounded that this family, obviously without means, would spend the exorbitant sums necessary to fly the whole family overseas. He found that rather extreme.

Rabbi Alefsky graciously brought the family into his modest apartment and provided them with their every need. The next morning, Rabbi Alefsky drove his guests to the airport. After they thanked him for his hospitality, he expressed his astonishment. “I know that going to the Rebbe is important, but does it really warrant the great sacrifice that you are making?”

In response, the father called over his youngest daughter and pointed her out to Rabbi Alefsky. “Do you see this girl?” he asked. “Let me tell you her story.”

“When she was about three years old she became ill and lost the function of her feet. We ran from doctor to doctor but to no avail. She was unable to take even a single step.

“Heartbroken, we traveled to the Rebbe for a private audience, a yechidus. We begged the Rebbe to bless our daughter that her health be restored. The Rebbe looked at her and commanded, ‘Go and kiss the mezuzah!’

“We were flabbergasted. We began to explain to the Rebbe again that this was impossible for her, due to the condition of her feet. However, the Rebbe disregarded our words and repeated to her, ‘Go and kiss the mezuzah!’

“She got up and took one hesitant step. While it was only one step, it was the first of many for her – literally as well as figuratively – until gradually her ability to walk was fully restored.

“Now do you understand?” concluded the guest from France.
“Having been the personal recipients of such a wondrous miracle performed by the Rebbe, how can we even consider spending the holidays anywhere but with him, in his synagogue – regardless of the hardships that might entail!”
 

 


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