A recent story of a shliach’s devotion under dire circumstances, with little concern for his own safety, just to assist Yidden in distress and get them back home.
By Rabbi Mendy Garelik, Ashkelon, for Anash.org
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, Hungarian police stopped a bus that was attempting to cross the border from Austria into Hungary. On the bus were two Chabad girls who were attempting to return home to Eretz Yisroel. A story of ahavas yisroel, mesiras nefesh and Hungarian lack of reason.
The coronavirus raging throughout the world caused two Lubavitcher girls from Eretz Yisroel, S.G and M.W., to cut short their shlichus in Europe and return home to the holy land. Austrian Head shliach Rabbi Yakov Biderman of Vienna and shliach Rabbi Yisroel Wolosow, together with other shluchim, made a tremendous effort to procure flights for the girls, paying sky-high prices for tickets, but the flights were canceled at the last moment.
Not giving up, the shluchim looked for other means by which to send them home. Hungary was still allowing outbound flights, and very expensive tickets from Hungary to Israel were purchased for the two. All they needed to do was take the bus across the Austrian border and get the flight in Hungary.
Or so they thought.
The bus took the usual route, which crosses the border, but border security was tight and passport control was taking a lot longer than usual. The police were uptight and yelling at passengers not to talk between themselves. At one point they told all to get back on the bus.
Two days before, the Hungarian Prime Minister had told border officials not to allow Israeli tourists to enter the country. The girls believed that since they had tickets to a flight in a few hours that they ‘d be exempt from the new presidential order and be allowed to enter the country and catch their flight.
Passengers were made to wait for four hours(!) not knowing what awaited them. Finally, a high-ranking official got on the bus and announced that Hungarian citizens would get on another bus and will travel on to their final destination. The rest would turn back and return to Austria. All pleas from those being sent back about missing flights and all the money that would be lost fell on deaf ears, they were going back.
The two girls had a friend in Hungary who was awaiting their arrival there. The friend grew impatient and worried and called her friends, asking what was going on and why they hadn’t arrived yet. Upon hearing about their dilemma she called her father, shliach Rabbi Mendel Nogradi, and together the two raced to the border, hoping to still be able to save the situation. Upon arriving there, they pleaded with the driver, who had already started back to Austria, and convinced him to let the girls get off the bus, hoping that he’d be able to convince the border officials to let them cross.
At this point, the shliach made use of any and all contacts he had in the airport to make sure that the flight would wait for the two girls. He tried crossing the border, but the girls were recognized by the border patrol and refused entry. They were then told, for the first time, that the reason they were denied entry was that a South Korean citizen was on the bus, and South Korea was one of the hardest-hit countries by the virus. His please were also of no use and the car with Rabbi Nogradi and the girls was forced to turn back to Austria.
Moreover, the shliach Rabbi Nogradi received a two-week quarantine order from the Hungarian government. Despite the order, he took the girls back to Austria and helped them get in touch with local shluchim. Once again the Vienna shluchim spent large sums of money to once again purchase the plane tickets to Eretz Yisroel, which Boruch Hashem did take off this time, flying through Moscow and landing in Tel Aviv.
Upon arriving in Eretz Yisroel the girls did as health officials instructed and entered quarantine.
Such is the devotion of the Rebbe’s shluchim for another yid.