Sunday, April 18, 2010

In the merit of Levi Yitzchak ben Sarah Sasha of Berditchev

There is a well known segula practiced by many that when in an es tzara - a time of danger, distress or simply when confronted by obstacles and challenges that they invoke the merit of the advocate extraordinaire of the Jewish people, the defender of Klal Yisroel: Levi Yitzchak Ben Sarah Sasha of Berdichev in whose merit we ask Hashem to help us and saves us!
There are many somber Holocaust tales I have heard from Rabbonim how relatives ran screaming to the G-d of Levi Yitzchak Ben Sarah Sasha of Berdichev to save them as bullets whizzed by their heads and they were miraculously spared!
Then there are more comical tales of being stopped by cops murmuring to the G-d of Levi Yitzchak Ben Sarah Sasha of Berdichev to save them from a ticket, when the officer comes back and says "I have to leave I just an emergency call!" and releases them with no ticket!
Here are two personal stories:
This one is my own true personal story from two years ago:
I had made a big mistake that morning by deciding to take my own car. I used to own a used car. In past tense because after such a lemon drained my wallet I don't own a car anymore!
Anyway it was 21 Adar the Yorzeit of the holy author of the Noam Elimelech, Rebbe Elimelech of Lizensk and I was going to Lizhensk for the event! My sponsor had kindly paid for my ticket so that I could serve as a shliach and daven on their behalf and on behalf of the many others who had sent me their names and petitions as kvitelach. I was packed and ready to go. My flight was at 8am and I left prompt and early at 5am. The trip to the airport near Tel Aviv should take about an hour. I had my passport ready and I jumped in the car. About 15 minutes into the drive is when it happened.
I happened to glance at my dashboard and I noticed that the needle on the thermometer was slowly rising to the boiling point! Panic set in as I pulled over to the side, opened the hood and the steaming cap of the water tank and added two bottles of water! I drove to the nearest gas station being unable to stay there at the side of the rode on the shoulder of the highway.
By this time my flight was just an hour and a half away. The gas station attendant saw me showering down my engine and filling the tank. It was bubbling and boiling hot. "Where are you headed?" He asked me, "The airport," I told him nervously, "my flight leaves in an hour and a half!" "Don't worry," he says, "let it cool off for 15 minutes and then you will make it to the airport its not far." True it was about 20 minutes away and what did I know about cars? If he said I would make it I believed him.
Fifteen minutes later I was on my way down Highway 1 to Ben Gurion Int'l airport. And after passing two exits I saw the sign, "Airport" yes I thought! I looked down at the dashboard and then it happened the needle began to rise, ever so slowly. No! I thought, no, no, no! This can't be happening! The flights are all charter flights to Lizensk! The ticket was paid for by someone else for me! And how was I going to make it!?
I began to call out "In the merit of Levi Yitzchak Ben Sara Sasha of Berdichev!" again and again, Hashem please help me make this flight! Please! P-L-E-A-S-E!
Then it happened. The car stalled and shut down and I forced it onto the shoulder. I was devastated.How could this happen? How would I get to Lizensk, how would I pay for this cancelled ticket?! What happened to the segulah!?
I called the towing company, we will be there between 1 and 3 hours. "But I have a flight to catch!" Sorry was the response. I decided to forget about the car, I called them explained that the keys were under the mat on the driver's side (the car didn't start and it wasn't going anywhere anyway!) and I got out of the car.
Now its 7am and my flight is in 1 hour. And I am stranded in early morning traffic on Highway 1 in the direction of Ben Gurion airport! I decided to try and hitch a ride (thinking who in their right mind is going to stop for me on the highway?!)
Literally 2-3 minutes after I began to try and hitch a ride a taxi stopped. "I need to get to the airport," I said in surprise. "Sure hop in," was his response. I threw in my luggage and sat down in shock. Then I noticed that he had another frum yid as his passenger. "I saw you stuck here in the road so I asked my driver to stop for you," he explained. "I am on my way to the Int'l departures terminal for my flight to London," he added.
And that's how Hashem saved me, I arrived just in time to make my flight and I made it to Lizensk. When I got home the car had been towed safely home (I later sold that hunk of junk and got ride of it). Hashem had orchestrated the ride I needed to make my flight and take me straight to the airport and straight to the terminal I was leaving from! In the merit of Levi Yitzchak Ben Sarah Sasha of Berditchev!"
My friend just told me an amazing hashgacha pratis story that happened to him this past Friday erev Shabbos:
He had just landed in Ben Gurion Int'l Airport in Israel from his flight. It was late 3pm in the afternoon on Friday Erev Shabbos and there had been a one hour delay.
Now my friend happens to be a Chabad Chassid and he was bringing in meat with a Chabad Shechita hechsher (which he says he cannot get the same quality meat here with the Chabad schita) and spirits (mashke for you heimishers) for some lechaims at upcoming farbrengens.
Now customs is notorious for stopping suspicious looking people and profiling anyone they think might be carrying stuff.
He travels often and usually makes it through with no problem.
However this time he had a part for his car, a catalytic converter! in a large oversized duffle!
The airport was basically deserted it being an erev Shabbos, only his flight was there. What were the chances he would be able to just zoom by the officials?
As he stood waiting at the conveyor belt wondering and imagining scenarios of how and what he would say to the customs officials he kept saying the segula over and over to himself "In the zechus of Levi Yitzchak ben Sarah Sasha!" again and again. The first bag with meat and mashke arrived and was fine. He placed it on his cart. Then the second bag arrived and joined the first one. He was waiting for the duffle with the converter and after a few minutes a loud buzzer sounded. Five minutes passed, ten minutes. . .nothing was moving. . .
In ripples the word went out to the waiting crowd, "the conveyor belt had broken down and no luggage was coming through!"
He ran to the help desk and explained to the nice ELAL official that being Shomer Shabbos he simply could not wait for his bag. "No problem!, off course we understand," she replied, "we will deliver it and bring your bag to you on Motzaei Shabbat!" she took his papers stamped them and handed them to the official in charge of the customs to wave him through quickly since he was in a hurry."
And that's how he got through the meches, with no problem at all! When I asked him for permission to tell the story he responded that the story gets better:
EL AL brought me the huge duffle bag after shabbos, with a seal from Meches and a note advising me that they confiscated the car part that looks lile a huge exhaust pipe.
I spent all day sunday (over 7 hrs) going from office to office in 3 buildings around the airport. It was a total waste of time. Every red tape was in full force. I kept thinking, there must be a reason for this. I must be here for a reason. Durring my detention awaiting paper pushers who do very little but stamp papers take multiple lunch breaks, I met 2 young tel avivians in their tank tops and shorts.
We shared our frustration. I thought that maybe meeting them was the reason for this waste of a day. At the same time I was worried that meches could have created all sorts of reasons to prevent me from getting the car part. I just kept calm and started to hum the bal shem tovs niggun while thinking of my trip to the ukraine for chai elul where we stopped by Bardichev to daven by his kever.
Suddenly I am told the part is ready for pick up from the wareshouse, no charge, no tax, no penalty. I drove to the warehouse just before they closed and waiting in the room was the 2 tel avivians.
I said to myself if only I had a pair of tefillin. I look out the door and notice a chabadnik with his tefillin case open looking for a customer. I grabbed him and dragged him into the warehouse where the 2 put on tefillin with kavono and pride. I realized that hashem needed me to chase the part all over the world to end up in meches so these guys could do the mitzvah. !
btw Dedications are still available on the new MeOros Kedushas Levi - illuminating insights of Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev "Defender of Klal Yisroel" on the Torah. 
Kol Tuv,
R' Tal Moshe Zwecker
Director Machon Be'er Mayim Chaim
Chassidic Classics in the English Language
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