Chassidic Story #210

(s5762-06 / posted 7 Cheshvan 5762)
He could not secure arms or ammunition, but perhaps he could arrange a blessing from the Lubavitcher Rebbe.


Several years before the fall of Communism, the Lubavitcher Rebbe began predicting its demise. He even told one Chabad Chassid, Professor Yirmiahu Branover, to prepare a housing development in Jerusalem for the new flow of immigrants that the Rebbe assured him would soon arrive. He said the coming year would be one of visible miracles and, lo and behold, against all odds and all the experts, it happened just as the Rebbe foretold. In 1991 the Iron Curtain quietly opened and hundreds of thousands of Jews poured out without a shot being fired or even one single protest march.

Among the nations demanding freedom was a small country wedged between Italy, Austria and Croatia called Slovenia. But when it did so, communist Yugoslavia immediately responded by declaring war. The situation was bleak for the new fledgling state. The massive Yugoslavian army was planning an air and ground attack replete with chemical warfare tanks and missiles to crush their frail adversary. But the salvation for Slovenia was to come from a totally unexpected source.

It so happened that in Toronto Canada lived a Slovenian Jew called Marian Furlan. He was married to a girl from Israel and one night the desperate Slovenian government contacted him through their Canadian ambassador, hoping that perhaps his wife could secure arms or ammunition through some Israeli connection. He replied that although he could not help them in that area, perhaps he could arrange a blessing from the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

Marian and his wife were not observant Jews but had begun to attend Torah classes in the in the Toronto Chabad House and it was there that they heard about the Rebbe. Having heard that the Rebbe does miracles, and knowing that nothing short of a miracle would save Slovenia, they volunteered to ask the Rebbe for help.

They decided to travel to the Rebbe in Brooklyn and deliver two impassioned letters for help; one from the Slovenian ambassador and the other from the pastor of the Slovenian Church in Toronto. The pastor included in his plea a request to the Rebbe that he save Slovenia from Communism just as Moses saved the Jews from the evil nation of Amalek when they left the imprisonment of Egypt.

When they finally arrived at 770 Eastern Parkway, the Rebbe's headquarters, it was June 7, 1991, at 4 PM Slovenian time. The Rebbe heard the story and accepted the letters. He then gave his blessing to Slovenia that the fighting should cease and that there would be peace and prosperity. (According to one report he asked for the first name of the Prime Minister and his father's name in order to bless him as well.)

At the very moment the Rebbe was blessing, Yugoslavian Jets were already in the air only minutes away from the Capitol of Slovenia. Suddenly they received an order to return to home base. Unexplainably the Yugoslav government requested a cease-fire and granted independence to Slovenia. The date was Sunday June 7 shortly after 4 p.m.; the Rebbe's blessing saved an entire nation of non-Jews!

Shortly thereafter Slovenia printed a booklet in honor of their newly gained statehood. On the last page is written:

"A Slovenian Jew personally delivered to New York a number of letters from the Slovene community to the World Jewish Leader Rabbi Menachem Mendel Shneerson, and on the very day he blessed the Slovenian nation, hostilities ended."



[Adapted by Yrachmiel Tilles from the rendition of Rabbi Tuvia Bolton in his weekly email for Yeshiva Ohr Tmimim: ;]

Biographical note
The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson (11 Nissan 1902 - 3 Tammuz 1994), became the seventh Rebbe of the Chabad dynasty on 10 Shvat 1950. He is widely acknowledged as the greatest Jewish leader of the second half of the 20th century. Although a dominant scholar in both the revealed and hidden aspects of Torah and fluent in many languages and scientific subjects, the Rebbe is best known for his extraordinary love and concern for every Jew on the planet. His emissaries around the globe dedicated to strengthening Judaism number in the thousands. Hundreds of volumes of his teachings have been printed, as well as dozens of English renditions.

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