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I must have mentioned before that my Rebby, zt"l h.k.m., taught us that Chanukah is a time to contemplate not only on the miracles which occurred for the Chashmonaim. It is an appropriate occasion to think about the many miracles we experience in our own lives. He taught us to sit in front of the menorah for half an hour and recall incidents through which we ourselves, or others we know, were privileged to notice Hashgachah Peratis (Divine Providence).
The following amazing story is the kind which could definitely appear in any one of Rabbi Zilberstein's books. We might wonder, though, whether all of the details are actually accurate and if someone did not add a bit here and there, over time, to enhance the story somewhat. However, this incident occurred only two weeks ago and was told to me by our daughter, Beilah Sarah, who is a stickler for details.
Beilah Sarah Weiss is the principal of a girls seminary in Jerusalem (and we are very proud of her). Her students are basically non-religious and from non-observant homes, and one of the goals of the school is to help the girls return to their Jewish roots and live a Torah-true life. One of the ways the dedicated staff tries to accomplish this is by organizing seminars where excellent speakers are invited to address the students. Two weeks ago, our daughter took seventy girls to Ashdod for Shabbos.
In order to be sure that she had enough challahs for each girl for all three Shabbos meals, Beilah Sarah ordered 280 small size challahs. However, when the three cartons arrived, she was shocked to find that only one of them contained challahs of the proper size. The other two had only tiny, one-bite size rolls in them. Nevertheless, rather than divide the small amount for all 3 meals, she decided to let the girls eat all of the challahs Friday night, with the hope that they would be able to organize the missing amount on Shabbos from the townspeople who probably had some extra in their homes.
While scheduling the event, Beilah Sarah was advised that there is a young Rabbi in Ashdod, by the name of Rabbi Amar, who is an excellent speaker. However, Beilah Sarah was hesitant. She had never heard of this Rabbi and, since he was young and inexperienced, he might not know how to relate to this particular type of girl and get her excited about Torah observance. Upon further investigation, she discovered that there is an older Rabbi in Ashdod, whose name also happens to be Amar, who is the Rabbi of a shul and is an excellent speaker with many years of experience. She decided to invite him instead. To her surprise, in turned out that Rabbi Amar junior was the son-in-law of Rabbi Amar senior and he came along with him on Friday night.
Beilah Sarah noticed that Rabbi Amar junior was coaching his father-in-law and suggesting that he tell the girls this and that story which they would certainly enjoy. It became obvious that he knew very well how to address them himself.
Consequently, Beilah Sarah invited him to return the next day and speak to the students himself at the afternoon meal. Had he not come, we might never have known the end of this fantastic story.
Before Rabbi Amar senior left at night, Beilah Sarah told him about her challah dilemma and asked him to announce in shul the next day that lots of challahs were needed for 70 girls and that anyone who had any extra should please donate them for this very worthy cause.
Shabbos morning, at about 9 am, Beilah Sarah began to panic. It was only one and a half hours to mealtime, and she still had no challah for her students. However, she strengthened her trust in Hashem and believed that He would surely provide all of their needs. A little while later, some young boys knocked on her door and delivered two garbage bags full of fresh challahs; enough for all of the girls for both remaining Shabbos meals. Beilah Sarah assumed that Rabbi Amar had made an appeal for help in his shul and that the kind community had responded.
However, when Rabbi Amar junior came to speak at the afternoon meal, he told her what had really happened. Yes, it was correct that his father-in-law had announced in shul that challahs were needed for the group from Jerusalem. However, what happened in response was totally unbelievable. The gabbai (sexton) of the shul suddenly piped up and told the Rabbi that he had forgotten to tell him something that had happened right before Shabbos. The owner of the local bakery had come to shul with a large supply of fresh challahs. He had told the Gabbai that for the first time in 7 years, he was left with a surplus of challahs before Shabbos. He had decided, therefore, to bring the baked goods to shul and request that they be distributed to poor families. The Gabbai explained that since it was right before Shabbos, he was very busy and had just put the challahs into a room for a while with the intention of discussing it with the Rabbi and dealing with it later. However, he had totally forgotten.
Now that the Rabbi had asked for challahs for the group of girls at the seminar, he remembered that he had been instructed to deliver the baked goods to the needy and he realized that he had obviously been appointed a messenger of Hashem to help the girls from Yerushalaim!
Beilah Sarah's husband, Mendy, is a big Torah scholar and is extremely studious and diligent; never wasting a moment of his studies. Consequently, he was not sure that the seminar was worth his time and effort, since he would not be able to learn as well as he would had they stayed home. He had even asked Beilah Sarah whether she really thought that the girls were getting enough out of the seminar that it was worthwhile for him to have come. However, after Rabbi Amar junior told them about the unbelievable Hashgachah Peratis which had occurred, Mendy said that if Hashem had gone so much out of the way to provide challahs for the girls, then obviously He considered the seminar to be very important and, if so, it was surely proper that he had come along.
Shema Yisrael Torah Network