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6:31 PM in South Brunswick, NJ
Shabbat Ends 7:32 PM
Friday, 19 August 2022
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Good Day

The display screen of Tammy Givon's cell phone flashed repeatedly. Tammy, a second-degree student in Key College in Beersheba, was in middle of a lecture. She did not recognize the number and decided to ignore the flashes. However, the anonymous caller did not give up and Tammy decided to take the call.

"Hello?" she heard an unfamiliar voice. "Are you the mother of Romi?"

"Yes," replied Tammy, a slight fear creeping into her voice. Her daughter Romi, in her early 20’s, was then hiking in Chile. Did something happen to her? Tammy's motherly instincts were mobilized.

The caller explained that he was an agent of the foreign ministry. A group of Israeli hikers, including Romi, accidentally climbed onto a thin sheet of ice which was over a pit. The ice broke and the hikers fell through and were now trapped in the pit. The news reached the foreign ministry after one of the hikers managed to reach her mother on her cell phone, using the slight charge left on her battery.

 After her first shock had passed, Tammy understood that if she wanted to be of any help at all to her daughter, she had to act fast. For such expeditions, the hikers tended to pack only the minimum amount of food needed for the duration of the hike, to limit the weight they would have to carry. Within a short time their food supply would surely run out, and then... Tammy refused to allow herself to finish that thought.

One of her children quickly spread the news of Romi's disappearance through the internet. "Anyone who is in the area and can join the rescue searchers, or can help in any other way, please contact us," he pleaded.

The Givon family was quickly flooded with e-mails and telephone calls from people far and wide, all offering assistance.

In the "situation room" that they set up in the living room, one of their relatives sat on the phone and called every youth hostel in Chile in the area where Romi was hiking. The last address they had was for a hostel that was not far from a large nature reserve. The owners reported that a group of Israeli tourists had been there and left their belongings in a room they rented, saying they were going on a three-day hike.

During this time Tammy remained at home. She was not capable of going to work. One of her friends at work wanted to help and offered her support from a completely different direction. This friend belonged to the Chabad Chassidic movement, and she asked the students at the Chabad yeshivah in Beersheba to pray for Romi. She also wrote to the Lubavitcher Rebbe to request his blessing that Romi be found immediately. She placed the letter inside a volume of Igrot Kodesh, the Rebbe's published letters.

When her friend opened the book to the page where she had placed the letter, she found a letter which referred to Tuesday, the 19th of Kislev--which was that day! The letter read:

I received the letter... at the end of seven days from the 19th Kislev. It should be noted that the day of the week on which this providential day of the 19th of Kislev falls [a date special to Chassidim, as it marks the day the founder of Chassidism, Rabbi Schneur Zalmen of Liadi, was released from Czarist prison] is also special, since G-d said 'It is good' twice [when He created the world]....

There are several matters included in the doubling of good--beginning with the saying of our sages, "Good for Heaven and good for the creations."

Tammy was both amazed and soothed by this answer. With her whole being she awaited the fulfillment of the promised good in the letter.

A few hours later, Tammy heard the news she was waiting for. A search helicopter finally located the group and found them all, safe and sound.

Romi immediately contacted her mother to share her harrowing story. It turned out that she had never been in the pit. A few members of the group had decided to go off on their own to try a different, more challenging trail. Romi stayed with the rest of the group on a different trail, and they all agreed on a meeting point. However, the harsh weather, particularly the snow, prevented them from reaching the meeting place at the appointed time. Romi and her group were lost.

For three days they wandered, not knowing where their feet were taking them. When they saw a helicopter overhead, they joked that maybe it was sent to rescue them. To their surprise, the helicopter landed and the pilot asked if Romi Givon was in that group. Only then did she burst out into tears of relief...

The search party quickly located the other members of the party that had fallen into the pit, and all the members of the group were rescued. A double good... just as the Rebbe had promised.


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