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While the Rebbe was at Yeshivat Rambam in Brooklyn, there was a bookkeeper who was very anxious to meet the Rebbe. When she approached the gabbaim, their response was typical: the Rebbe is here to see the students. If there is time afterward the adults can get a bracha too, or they can make an appointment and go see the Rebbe in Williamsburg. But, this woman was very determined and she started begging. The gabbai agreed and she went in. A week later the gabbai received a phone call from this woman. She explained that the Rebbe had demanded her husband to keep Shabbos. As they were a struggling family that had only recently moved from Israel, she tried explaining to the Rebbe that they needed the money to survive.
“Shabbos is the source of all blessing in this world. Your husband must not work on Shabbos,” the Rebbe told her.
“But we don't even have our green card yet and no one else will even hire us.”
“If you keep Shabbos, you will receive your green cards too,” the Rebbe said.
Josef Weisman is an accomplished philosopher who has received the highest degrees from UCLA. As a younger man, he wasn't religious, but very spiritual. And, during his quest for spirituality, he spent many years in India learning with monks, gurus and even joining cult-like groups. Now, Josef is a teacher of history and theology at YULA. Last year, while the Rebbe was visiting the school, Josef was extremely interested in meeting with the Tzadik, righteous man, if for nothing more than the experience itself.
When he walked into the room to meet with the Rebbe, the first thing the Rebbe asked him was, “Where do your children go to school?” Stunned, Josef went on to explain that currently his children go to public schools. But, for the last several months he had wanted to move his children into YULA. After all, he explained, there was a clear difference between the kinds of students in public schools and the students in Yeshiva, and the education at YULA was superb. However, his wife was vehemently opposed to the idea of her children attending a religious school. So, for months they argued about it. “You have no choice,” responded the Rebbe, “Your children must receive a proper Jewish education. It's essential. Go home and tell your wife these exact words: G-d gave her very special children with very unique character traits and personal qualities. They are refined. They will continue to develop into unbelievable people as long as they receive a Jewish education. If they don't, they will lose all their talents and uniqueness. They will lose their future.”
“Let me explain,” answered his wife. “Last night I had a dream. There was a man in my dream with a long beard. He looked so holy. And, this man in my dream said the very same thing that you just did.”
Suzan Salahani was waiting in line with the rest of her 12th grade class at Shelhevet High School in Los Angeles. Rumors had already begun spreading throughout the school that the Rebbe had “powers” and knows things about you that no body else possibly could know but you. “It’s like he reads your mind,” one girl said. Excitement and anxiety filled Suzan's heart as she waited her turn to meet this revered Tzadik.
“No,” she answered timidly.
“Would your parents be against you keeping Shabbos?” Suzan again answered “no” in a puzzled voice. The Rebbe began to ask her if she would be ready and willing to make such a commitment, but before the Rebbe could finish what he was saying, Suzan answered that she promised to keep Shabbos from now on. Then before she left, the Rebbe concluded their meeting with a rather peculiar statement: All the blessings in this world stem from Shabbos. In the merit of your commitment to keep the Shabbos you will be saved from many tragedies. Confused by the Rebbe's last words, Suzan left the room committed to observing Shabbos.
She became hysterical, telling her friends about what the Rebbe had told her and she said that this was obviously the sort of thing the Rebbe had in mind. On the spot, Suzan and one of her friends vowed never again to break Shabbos. They were all convinced that the Rebbe's blessing and help would have prevented them from being any part of such a traumatic experience. Suzan and all her friends that day made a pact to always keep Shabbos. But, as the following week dragged on, temptation got the better of one of the girls and she set out for another Saturday of hanging out. The weather was horrible and the downpours had been going on for hours. The clouds were ferocious looking. As the car carrying this young girl and her brother was traveling along one of the roads, the car spun out of control and slammed into the guardrail and rolled down the cliff. The young girl was taken from this world and her brother escaped with serious injuries. The tragedy rocked the very core of the Jewish community. Pain and grief consumed everyone's heart. All the seniors at her high school gathered at a school memorial for the lost soul. While there, the friends spoke of what the Rebbe had said and made a public outcry that in memory of their lost friend everyone in the class should keep Shabbos.
To this day the entire class is Shomer Shabbos. Even though they have each gone their own way to different colleges, seminaries and yeshivas, nevertheless, they each have remembered their friend and the promise they made: to keep the Shabbos. Suzan and her entire family are now fully observant, keeping the laws of Kashrut, and all the mitzvahs, including, of course, Shabbos.