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A Special Note

For close to fifty years, Rabbi Shabse Alpern has served as an emissary of the Lubavitcher Rebbe to Brazil. Over the years, he has had countless experiences that demonstrated the Rebbe’s exceptional vision. Many blessings that the Rebbe gave to individuals in the community that Rabbi Alpern founded and nurtured were fulfilled. One of those extraordinary stories took place in 1972.

During that period, Rabbi Alpern would deliver a lecture every Tuesday in his Chabad House, on various topics in Judaism. Each lecture attracted a sizable audience. One week, a non-Jewish couple attended. The next week they returned, and the next week as well. The lecture was delivered in a style and language that was appealing to a wide audience, including those with no background in Judaism. Rabbi Alpern assumed that the couple were intellectuals seeking to broaden their horizons. However, when they became regular participants in his lecture, he realized that something more than intellectual curiosity was drawing them back.

One week, Rabbi Alpern approached the couple at the end of the lecture and asked them directly what was drawing them to his lectures on Judaism. He had already begun to suspect that they were interested in conversion.

He recognized on their faces that they had been waiting for the moment that he would approach them. However, their purpose was quite different than what he had supposed. “We have a daughter,” the woman began in a soft voice. “Her name is Angela, and she is eleven.” Here her voice broke. “Unfortunately, she is very ill. The doctors found a large, malignant tumor in her back.”

She paused a moment to collect herself. “We came here because we heard that you are connected to a great rabbi in Brooklyn, who is known as a miracle worker.” The woman lifted her eyes and looked into Rabbi Alpern’s face, and then immediately dropped her eyes. It was difficult for her to continue. Her husband resumed: “Rabbi, we have decided to participate in your lectures, and we hope you will approach the rabbi for us and ask for a blessing for our daughter.”

The simple plea of the parents touched Rabbi Alpern deeply. His heart went out to the couple. He suggested that rather than traveling to New York, they compose a letter and request a blessing for their daughter. “I will note that you are regular attendees of my lectures.”

The parents’ eyes lit up. “Thank you, thank you very much,” they said in a tone full of hope.

Rabbi Alpern sent the letter. Weeks passed, and no answer arrived from the Rebbe. In the meantime the couple continued to attend the weekly lecture, never missing a week. Once, Rabbi Alpern noticed that they seemed different. The cloud of concern that always accompanied them seemed to have passed.

After the lecture ended, the couple remained in their places. They waited until everyone left and then approached Rabbi Alpern. “The tumor disappeared!” they called out excitedly. “We took Angela for a routine examination, and the X-ray was clear. The doctors have no explanation!”

“We are certain,” the husband continued, “that the blessing of the Rebbe caused this.”

However, the story has not yet ended. Several months later Rabbi Alpern traveled to the Rebbe. He spent several days in New York, drawing spiritual energy to take back with him for his mission in Brazil. The day before his return, the Rebbe’s personal secretary, Rabbi Leibel Groner, asked him to come to his office. Rabbi Groner handed him a note from the Rebbe: “How is the girl doing? What was the end of the story?”

The Rebbe’s question caused Rabbi Alpern’s heart to skip a beat. He was upset that he had not immediately informed the Rebbe of Angela’s miraculous recovery. He sat down and wrote a letter, telling the Rebbe of the resolution of the story.

When Rabbi Alpern returned to Brazil, he told Angela’s mother that the Rebbe had personally inquired about her. “Which day did the Rebbe mention Angela?” she asked.

“On Sunday,” replied Rabbi Alpern.

“Amazing!” cried the mother. “Sunday was Angela’s birthday!”

 

 


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