My grandmother had passed away in Toronto and I was franticly searching for an immediate flight to make it in time for the levaya. In general, flights from New York to Toronto are considered international and are much pricier than domestic flights. Plus, this being a last-minute flight, did not help things out much. And so, I discovered that the prices for this short flight were astronomical and as I was in Kollel and on a tight budget, I had to quickly think of an alternative. Driving was out of the question as it would take too long. Instead, I decided to fly domestically to Buffalo and rent a car. If all worked out well, I could land in Buffalo and drive two and a half hours straight to the cemetery in time for the levaya.
Thankfully, I found a very inexpensive ticket to Buffalo leaving within a couple of hours and set off straight to the airport. As I boarded the plane, I sat next to a businessman who I assumed to be a gentile. Shortly after takeoff, the gentleman began to make small talk with me. At one point, he asked me what I did for a living. Assuming that he was a gentile, I was not in the mood of explaining the idea of Kollel. I had just begun to work a couple of hours a day with Breslov books and chose to answer that I was in book publishing. He then asked me what kind of books I published, I answered, “religious Jewish books.”
He then said, “That is really interesting. Years ago, at a Barnes & Noble bookstore I picked up a small booklet with hands on the cover. Even though I am completely secular, I was born a Jew and decided for some reason to check out the Jewish book section. I was very intrigued by the book with the hands on the cover and truly enjoyed reading it. However, when I returned home, I realized that it was missing many pages.”
I asked the gentleman if the book happened to be called, “The Gentle Weapon”, which was a book that we actually published. He replied, “Yes! That was the name of the book.” We exchanged email addresses and I promptly sent him a new copy upon my return to Lakewood. We continued to exchange email messages for some time after this. Who knows where this may have led him.
The ways of Hashem are incredible indeed!
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