After meeting a Yid on Mivtzoim and bringing him to the Rebbe to get a bracha for a child, Rabbi Sholom Ber Avtzon was helped as a result.
By Rabbi Sholom DovBer Avtzon
Around Chanukah 5738 (1978), I was asked to take over a Mivtzoyim route on Steinway Street which is in Astoria, Queens. I agreed and slowly expanded it by going into additional stores.
One Friday, I walked into a store called “Mr. Discount” which sold cosmetics. When the storekeeper replied that he was Jewish, I asked him if he would like to put on Tefillin. Having never heard of Tefillin (or Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur), he asked, “To fill in what”? That day was the first time in his life that he put on Tefillin.
Every Friday, I would come to his store, he would put on Tefillin and after some time he began asking questions about Judaism. After a few years, he asked me to make his kitchen kosher and that was taken care of as well.
By then I knew that he and his wife had no children, so I advised them to come to the Rebbe on Hoshanah Rabba when the Rebbe gives out Lekach and blesses each person with L’shana Tova Umesuka and ask for a Brocha.
By the time they arrived, the Rebbe was giving Lekach to the women, and his wife received it first, along with a Brocha. Then the men proceeded again, and he asked for a Brocha for a child. The Rebbe replied, “I already blessed your wife.”
The man was astounded. How did the Rebbe know that the lady who asked for a Brocha was his wife; it could have been some other family! After all this is the first time either one of them met the Rebbe, and they weren’t standing together! But when he met his wife, she confirmed that the Rebbe indeed had blessed her.
A year later to her doctor’s astonishment, she gave birth to a baby boy, and they named him David. (The doctor had informed them that after a series of miscarriages she had suffered, she would never again become pregnant, and now not only did she become pregnant, but she carried the child full term).
Obviously, the father was ecstatic and developed a love for the Rebbe and began learning his teachings.
Our friendship became stronger and stronger, and we speak and learn quite often, discussing many Torah thoughts.
A few weeks ago, he participated in the Bar Mitzvah of my grandson and noticed that I wasn’t looking good. After a short discussion with me, he called his son who is a director in NorthWell Health, and his son convinced me to come to his hospital and they would take care of me.
Initially, I was skeptical as I was just released from a different hospital, and I was following the doctor’s guidelines to address the issue. However, after a few days, I felt weaker and admitted myself to his hospital.
It took them under a half hour to pinpoint the source of the problem, which the other hospital missed, and after a short procedure, I am Boruch Hashem on the way to recovery.
So while I thought that for over forty years I was the giver and my friend was the beneficiary, I now see that Hashem set up our initial meeting then, in order that I be healed now and I am the true beneficiary.
When one goes on Mivtzoim, he’s not doing the Rebbe a favor, but he is doing himself the ultimate favor.
Rabbi Avtzon is a veteran mechanech and the author of numerous books on the Rebbeim and their chasidim. He can be contacted at [email protected]