It was a long summer Friday.* My neighbor, who lives a block away from me in crown heights, decided to go to the Ohel of the Rebbe and help put on Tefillin with people. Many people were coming and going. as he stood close to the information desk, he noticed a group of young man coming over to speak to the person behind the desk.
Though my neighbor was kept quite busy with Tefillin, he overheard a question which one of the young men asked the individual at the information desk, whom we will call Reuven. From their question, it was obvious that this group of young men were not Chassidic. The young man told Reuven, “We were directed to come to the Ohel and request a blessing from the Rebbe, and were told that the Rebbe will find a way to answer us. This seems so far fetched to us. If the Rebbe is interred in the Ohel, how can that happen?!?
Hearing their query, Reuven became very excited as he responded:
“I will tell you,” he began. “When people come to the Ohel, seldom do they come to tell me why they are here. They come in, prepare their written note and continue to the Ohel of the Rebbe to pray to Hashem for their needs. When they come out, they generally continue on their way. Seldom am I privy to their personal request. Only sometimes, once in a while, will someone come over to tell me they are here for such and such a reason.”
Then Reuven pointed to the cookies and coffee at the other side of the room, where a woman and man were in conversation and continued:
“Do you see the woman by the coffee machine? She came here half an hour ago and came straight to me. She told me the following:
“’I want to send my son to Yeshiva but I am a single mom and can’t afford the tuition. I went to some local organizations to request help. They gave me some money, but it was not enough. When I inquired where I could get the rest of the tuition money, someone told me to go to the Ohel of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. So, I came here. But I don’t know what I am supposed to do now?!’”
“I told her to write a ‘Pan’ (a letter stating her request for a blessing) and take it into the Ohel. I handed her a Tehillim (Book of Psalms) and suggested she read some prayers before reading her ‘Pan’ at the Ohel. She listened carefully and then she did so.
“Five minutes ago, she came out and went to get some coffee. A minute or two later this man came out of the Ohel and came over to me and began sharing what he requested of the Rebbe.
“Now as I said earlier, this is quite unusual as generally people do not share their personal stories.
“I listened closely as he began:
“’I was just by the Rebbe and decided I want to help someone. You see, I have been by the Rebbe on numerous occasions, and received many blessings. Now I would like to give some money to someone else who needs. Do you have any suggestions for me?’”
“Hearing his question, I pointed to the woman by the coffee stand.”
All eyes turned to see what was transpiring. They watched how this man took out a check book and was writing out a check to give to the woman.
Reuven turned to the young men standing in front of him and said:
“See the Rebbe found a way to answer the woman and answer the man and now he answered you too, all at the same time!”
*From Rabbi Avrohom Sandhaus: “This story happened erev Tisha b’Av last year 5780 (2020) which was a Tisha b’Av nidche, therefore, the fast wason Sunday instead of Shabbat.”
The Rebbe’s birthday is an auspicious time for blessings and connection to the Leader of our generation. After the passing of the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe in 1950, the Rebbe used this expression to the Chassidim, reminding them about the importance of their ongoing connection to the Rebbe. He was prone to say: “Der Rebbe vet gefinen a veg” – the Rebbe will find a way, to answer you. It is customary to send a ‘pan’ with your Jewish name and mother’s name and the names of your loved ones on such an auspicious day to the Ohel. It can be done in person or by email. Please visit: TheRebbe.org or Chabad.org/Rebbe.