Beis Moshiach/By Nechama Bar
R’ Avrohom Meir Alkabetz (a descendant of Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz, the author of “Lecha Dodi”) is a baal t’shuva and a devoted Chassid of the Rebbe. Mr. Alkabetz lives in Belgium and works in the diamond trade. He asks for the Rebbe’s advice and bracha for every business decision.
He experienced many open miracles in his business thanks to the Rebbe’s advice. This story is one of them:
One day, he got a very enticing business offer, a deal which would potentially earn him millions! Mr. Alkabetz got a partner to join and together they planned on investing in the deal.
The deal was suggested by the Minister of Trade and Industry of the country Sierra Leone in Africa. This minister had a private gold mine in that country. In order to take part in the deal it was necessary to invest a fortune, but according to conservative calculations, the deal would be worthwhile and would make them into rich men.
The partners wanted to borrow the money they needed from the banks. When they said the deal had to do with the Minister of Trade and Industry, doors were opened before them and they were given the money they needed.
The Minister made a special trip from Africa and sat with them for hours in order to explain all the details. Mr. Alkabetz and his partner were sure that very soon they would be two of the richest people in the world.
The three men agreed to meet in another week in Sierra Leone to sign a contract.
Mr. Alkabetz was very excited but he did not forget about asking the Rebbe for a bracha. One night, he wrote to the Rebbe in detail about the deal that Hashem had sent his way. He asked for a bracha for success and waited impatiently to receive it.
Before traveling to Sierra Leone, he received a surprising answer from the Rebbe which said: “Check the bank account of the Minister of Trade and Industry of Sierra Leone.”
Mr. Alkabetz was flabbergasted. “It looks as though the Rebbe is casting doubt on the deal. If the Rebbe says to check his bank account, it seems the situation there is not good. But how can I, a private citizen, find out what’s doing in the Minister’s bank account?” he wondered.
He did not know what to do. He already had a plane ticket and he found it hard to tell his partner what the Rebbe said. So he made the trip and felt heavy-hearted. He decided to let things flow and prayed that the Rebbe would arrange things in the best possible way.
The two partners landed at the airport and the Minister himself came to greet them. A helicopter took them directly to the Minister’s office. The partner’s mood was joyous while Mr. Alkabetz was feeling awful.
The Minister’s advisors welcomed them with great honor and after exchanging some polite words, they got down to business.
Mr. Alkabetz’s heart pounded. In another moment he would be handed a pen with which to sign on the deal. What should he do? He prayed in his heart that something unexpected would happen, that something would go wrong and they wouldn’t get to the stage of signing. But everything was moving along.
Then the phone range. “The Prime Minister needs you,” said the secretary to the Minister and handed him the phone.
The Minister apologized. “The Prime Minister is asking me that I go to him right away. I’ll be back in a few hours.”
He asked the secretary to host the two men in his office until he returned.
Mr. Alkabetz sighed in relief. He felt that matters were being arranged for him. Suddenly, he noticed a letter sitting on the secretary’s desk. It was from the Minister’s bank! At first he thought of asking the secretary for the letter but on second thought he realized that this wasn’t appropriate. He waited to see what the secretary’s reaction would be to the letter.
The secretary sighed. “What will be? Checks keep bouncing from the Minister’s account. When will he finally get rid of his deficit?” He suddenly looked up and met Mr. Alkabetz’s gaze. He immediately became silent but he could not take back the words he uttered.
Mr. Alkabetz was happy. The Rebbe had made sure he got this important information, though it was still hard to forgo the deal that looked so promising. In the end, he strengthened his bitachon and decided not to sign on the deal no matter what.
In the meantime, the Minister returned and they sat down together once again to sign the contract. This time, it was Mr. Alkabetz’s turn to disrupt the plans.
“I apologize but I do not feel well. I would like to finish this tomorrow and hope I will feel better,” he said to the Minister.
The Minister was agreeable and shook his hand and arranged to meet the following day.
Upon arriving at the hotel, Mr. Alkabetz briefly told his friend what the Rebbe said. “We must run from this deal like from fire. The Rebbe is warning us and if we do not listen, we will pay dearly for it!”
The friend was shocked. He already pictured the millions they were going to rake in and for a moment, he thought Mr. Alkabetz was crazy. “What does your Rebbe know about business? We checked this deal out thoroughly and it is definitely worthwhile!”
Mr. Alkabetz insisted, “I am staying out of it. I have always done as the Rebbe said and never regretted it. I am telling you once again, don’t get involved in this deal. If the Rebbe says it is not worthwhile, that is certainly the case.”
The friend did not accept this and decided to close on the deal by himself. The two of them made an agreement that Mr. Alkabetz would no longer be a partner and the loans from the bank would only be in the friend’s name.
A few weeks passed. Mr. Alkabetz met his friend who said, “You missed out! I already got part of the money and in another short while I will receive a lot more money and will be rich!”
Mr. Alkabetz remained silent. He had no regrets.
Not long afterward, he heard bad news about his friend. It turned out this was a trap and his friend had fallen in. The friend lost all his money and was sunk in debt with no way out.
Mr. Alkabetz thanked Hashem for his being a Chassid of the Rebbe.