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Success in Travels

Judaism was the furthest thing on the mind of Lee, a Jewish youth from London. He was raised in a secular, liberal environment, which did not nurture any interest in religion.

After graduating high school, Lee attended the University of Manchester, where he majored in Physics. There he underwent a series of events that awakened in him his Jewish spark.

It was in 1973, and the Arab-Israeli conflict was grabbing headlines worldwide. It became obvious to Lee that all the left-wing students on campus identified with the Arabs. Why?

The other thing that bothered him was that his courses in physics explained well how things worked, but not why. It became clear to him that there was a guiding hand in creation, but he was unsure of what was the final goal.

Lee turned to Judaism to find meaning in life. He found out that his given Hebrew name was Yeshaya Aron, and he became a regular visitor at the local Chabad House. The teachings he heard there captivated him. At a certain point, he decided to defer his study of physics and enroll in a yeshivah for more intensive study.

In 1979, he had an opportunity to fly to New York and meet with the Lubavitcher Rebbe. The Rebbe blessed him and guided him in various matters. When he was ready to leave, the Rebbe added that all his travel over the course of the year should be successful.

Yeshaya Aron left the Rebbe’s room feeling somewhat confused. He had not asked for a blessing for any trips, and in general was not the type to do a lot of traveling. What did the Rebbe mean?

During that period Yeshaya Aron was studying in the Ohr Temimim yeshivah in Kfar Chabad, Israel. The first thing that he did after returning to Israel from New York was to seek guidance from his Rosh Yeshivah, Rabbi Schneur Zalman Gafni. Rabbi Gafni grilled Yeshaya Aron on the exact words he had written to the Rebbe and the Rebbe’s exact response. He pondered the Rebbe’s words but was unsure what the Rebbe had intended. “Time will tell,” he told his student.

After five weeks, a strange incident occurred. It was three in the morning, when all the yeshivah students were awakened and asked to gather in the courtyard. There was unusual tension and activity in the normally quiet streets of Kfar Chabad. A young girl had disappeared from her dorm room in the Beth Rivka school, and the entire population was asked to join in the search for her. Now they decided to involve the yeshivah students as well.

Yeshaya Aron joined a group of people who were searching around the train tracks. It was a freezing night with sheets of rain pouring down, shattering the frozen silence. Fears for the girl’s safety grew from hour to hour.

Several hundred meters from the train station, Yeshaya suddenly spotted a body lying on the ground among the trees. He called his friends and they hurried to the spot, where they found the girl lying unconscious.

Quickly, rescue personnel were on the scene and rushed the girl to the hospital. Yeshaya and his friends returned to yeshivah and the village began to calm down. The thought passed through Yeshaya’s mind, that perhaps this was the “travel” that the Rebbe was referring to in his blessing. After all, the girl was found near the local train station.

However, this incident was followed half a year later by an even more bizarre event. Yeshaya traveled with a friend to Jerusalem by train. The two were enjoying the trip, breathing the fresh air and discussing Torah thoughts.

Suddenly, moments before the train entered the station, there was a strong explosion and the entire train shook. Yeshaya and his friend were thrown from their seats and looked at each other wide-eyed. After the first shock had passed, they stood up to assess the damage. There were no signs that the train had been hit. “Maybe the explosion was on a nearby train,” they thought.

But no. They had experienced a great miracle. A bomb had been placed on the tracks, and it exploded just as the train passed over it. But miraculously, only the detonator had exploded, not its deadly load. If, G-d forbid, the entire bomb had gone off, it is unlikely that anyone on that train would have survived.

G-d had foiled the terrorist plot, and all the media reported the miracle. What they did not know was the blessing that Yeshaya had received from the Rebbe, that all his journeys should be successful.

“It was clear to me that the Rebbe had saved my life, and that of all the train’s passengers,” Yeshaya concludes.


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