In the winter of 1975, we moved from the US to Europe. My wife had booked a flight from New York via Montreal because this ticket offered a substantial savings. I was to join her along the same route three weeks later when my job would end, and our lift would be shipped.
Before departing we went for Yechidut (a private audience with the Rebbe in his holy room). My note to the Rebbe listed many questions about our future including my wife’s travel plans. After responding, the Rebbe added that the stopover in Montreal meant an added take off and landing, so he suggested that we ask a doctor whether my pregnant wife should take a direct flight to Europe instead.
Our friend, Dr Yitzchak Diamond, a Crown Heights gynecologist said, “I don’t see any real problem flying via Montreal. However, since the Rebbe advised you to ask a doctor’s opinion, I would strongly suggest that your wife fly directly to Europe.”
I was impressed by the doctor’s implicit trust in the Rebbe, even though he was not a Lubavitcher Chassid. With no further thought, my wife changed her ticket.
Three weeks later, I boarded a plane to Montreal, where I was to meet a connecting flight to Europe. Montreal was blanketed by a sever snowstorm and all flights to Europe were canceled.
After waiting several hours in the airport, stranded passengers were taken by bus to a hotel in the city where we were delayed for more than a day until the storm subsided. There was no kosher food in the hotel, and it was impossible to go out and purchase any. I had to ration my small bag of snacks.
When we finally checked in for the connecting flight, I asked the agent at the desk, “Are ordeals like this frequent in Montreal?”
The agent apologized for the discomfort and explained that delays of this nature were rare, but not totally uncommon. Then he added, “Bad as it was, this storm is mild compared to the one we had three weeks ago! The blizzard blocked all the roads to the airport. We couldn’t even get the stranded passengers to a hotel. Passengers were stretched out on the floor for two nights until the storm subsided!”
Three weeks ago, I thought to myself with curiosity. “Do you remember the exact date?” I asked the agent.
It was exactly the day my wife was to have landed in Montreal to make her connecting flight to Europe!”
From To Know and To Care Volume 1 Pg 170-171 by Eliyahu and Malka Touger – published by Sichos in English