2 Kislev 5778 / Monday, November 20, 2017 | Torah Reading: Vayeitzei
 
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Vicki in Vizhnitz-land    

Vicki in Vizhnitz-land



Vicki had never been to Israel. Yet, she knew how to describe in detailed accuracy her taxi trip from Ben Gurion Airport to Bnai Brak, to the Vizhnitzer synagogue and to the Rebbe…

 



The following is a true story that I can attest to first-hand. The only detail changed – for obvious reasons – is Vicki's true identity.

 

Vicki spent her last dollars to purchase a one-way ticket from her home in west Texas to meet Rabbi Shalom Arush and me in Los Angeles, during one of our USA trips together. Vicki had lived a nightmare of a life; she could surely qualify as a survivor of her own private holocaust. Her father, a respected banker and town leader, was the ringleader of a group of pedophiles who abused their own children in the most unspeakable and unimaginable ways. He hid behind his façade of prestige, power and influence – a monster in a Botany 500 suit with gold-rimmed glasses.

 

It wasn't until well after university age that Vicki mustered the inner strength to buck and leave the purgatory she grew up in. Penniless and totally disenfranchised, she fled to Costa Rica where a kind elderly woman took her under her wing. Here, her broken soul began to heal. Together with her foster-mother's love and attention, Vicki discovered her talent for painting and illustration and opened up a successful online greeting card business selling greeting cards for all occasions with her original drawings, the expressions of a pure soul that was subdued for years.

 

About ten years ago, Vicki discovered Lazer Beams and Breslev Israel. She devoured The Garden of Emuna and The Trail to Tranquility, the only two books she ever read that made any sense out of her nightmarish past. Emuna became her new crown jewel and the light of her soul. She threw her biological parents' religion out the window and decided to become a Jew, no matter what.

 

 

When Rav Shalom first saw her, even before she opened her mouth, he had tears in her eyes. Vicki told him that she wanted to convert. Rav Shalom turned to me in Hebrew and said, "Give her my blessing for her successful conversion. She already has a Jewish neshama." When I told Rav Shalom that she didn't have enough money to fly home, he tearfully reached into his wallet and gave her the needed funds. "She has the soul of a Ruth," he said.

 

After we returned home to Israel, I received the following email from Vicki:

 

Dear Rabbi Lazer,

 

I had the strangest, scariest and most wonderful dream. Demons were chasing me – they were dressed up like Mister Egypt (the way Vicki refers to her biological father – LB) and his friends. They were armed and they wanted to seize me again. An angel rescued me and in a blink of an eye, I was in Kennedy Airport in New York on an El Al plane to Tel Aviv. The security agents were very nice to me and they protected me along the way.

 

When I got to Ben Gurion Airport, I was rushed through customs with ease. I left the airport and got in a cab. Without me saying a word, the driver drove me to Bnai Brak. He looked in the mirror and said, "Excuse me, young lady – we're being chased." I turned around and gazed out of the rear window and there he was – Mister Egypt and his demons in a big black Mercedes in hot pursuit.

 

We reached Bnai Brak, and my driver – who I think was a good angel too like the security guards – made a fast left at the Coca Cola factory and turned right on to Kahanman Street. When he reached Ezra Street, he made a left and drove straight up the hill to the Vizhnitz neighborhood. I jumped out of the cab and raced into the big adjacent synagogue. There, I saw a sight that I'll never forget…

 

The Rebbe, wearing his gold-silk cloak and fur hat, looked like an archangel. I really stuck out like a sore thumb in this crowd full of his followers. Nobody noticed me because my body was like that of a little kid; I crawled under the tables, still afraid that I was being chased. I finally made it to the head table and sat down next to the Rebbe's feet. He looked under the table for a moment and smiled at me. My soul filled with warmth. The Rebbe motioned for me to take refuge under his tallit (prayer shawl), and for the first time in my life, I felt safe.

 

Vicki had never been to Israel. Yet, she knew how to describe in great detailed accuracy her taxi trip from Ben Gurion Airport to Bnai Brak. She described the Vizhnitzer synagogue and the Rebbe perfectly. When I told her that her dream was true and I sent her a photo of Grand Rabbi Yisroel Hagar of Vizhnitz, may Hashem keep him healthy, amen, she shrieked back in her next email to me, "Yes, that was him!"

 

My two favorite smiles in the world are those of Rabbi Shalom Arush and Rebbe Yisroel of Vizhnitz, may Hashem bless them both limitlessly, amen. Both, by the way, are the greatest lovers of humanity that you'll ever meet.

 

Vicki has since not only finished her conversion but she has moved to Israel as well. She can attest to the long-reaching influence of true tzaddikim, which defies logic and geographical limitations. Thank You, Hashem, for the gift of Your tzaddikim that You give us in each generation.

 

 

* * *

We invite you to visit Rabbi Lazer Brody’s award-winning daily web journal Lazer Beams.





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