Charity Saves from Death: A Nachlaot Miracle
Since my dear friend Hagit bat Leah passed away two years ago today, I’ve heard her speaking to me on two occasions
No, I’m not a person who regularly talks with dead people. And I really have no idea whether I really heard Hagit’s voice or whether I just have an overactive imagination.
But, in any case, this is what I heard her voice telling me…
On the day she died, broken and sobbing, I prayed at the grave of the Gerrer Rebbe on the other side of the shuk, and I heard Hagit telling me, “Jenny, don’t cry! Don’t cry! Hashem knows what He is doing! Everything’s going to be OK with Eitan and the kids. You’ll see!”
And last year, on Hagit’s first yahrzeit, I was resting on my living room sofa when I heard Hagit’s voice again. She mentioned 2 of the Nachlaot pedophiles who hurt many neighborhood children, and she was yelling hysterically over and over again, “I will take revenge on them! I will take revenge on them!”
Again, I might have been imagining things. But even if this was just my imagination, it still managed to shake me up big time.
So last night, I was bracing myself for this year’s message (real or imagined) from Hagit.
And then, this morning, it came. But not in the way I was used to.
This morning at 8 AM, I was listening to the morning news when I heard the following: “At 1 AM this morning, a fire broke out in a 3-floor residential building in Jerusalem’s Nachlaot neighborhood. All residents including a family with 5 children were safely evacuated from building. The Fire Department is still investigating the cause of the fire.”
The news report mentioned the name of the street, and I tried to figure out which family with 5 children lives on that street…
Oh no! It’s was the Berdugo* (not their real name) family! Mrs. Berdugo gave birth to a baby boy only two weeks ago and has 4 additional children under school age. How terrible…
I called a neighborhood rebbetzin who is close with the Berdugos, and told her that she should give them a call to make sure they are OK.
A few minutes later the rebbetzin called me back. Mrs. Berdugo told her that at 1 AM their upstairs neighbor woke them up to tell them that fire was spreading and smoke was filling up the building. He told them to flee the building immediately.
“After we ran out,” Mrs. Berdugo explained, “a great deal of smoke entered our apartment. B”H, it was a great miracle that we were saved from the fire…Our lives were, God forbid, in great danger.”
After I hung up the phone I remembered a conversation I had this past summer with Mrs. Berdugo.
After Hagit passed away, the Berdugos committed to making a generous monthly donation to help support her orphans.
And this past summer, she asked whether the monthly donations were continuing to be taken out of her bank account.
I was afraid that she was asking since she wanted to cancel her monthly donations like almost all of the original donors did when Hagit’s 1st yahrzeit arrived.
But Mrs. Berdugo suprised me. She said, “Good, I definitely want to continue with our monthly donations to help this needy family. I just wanted to make sure they are continuing to receive money from us.”
And while Hagit hasn’t spoken with me this yahrzeit, I guess she has found her own way to say “Thank you.”
To say “Mrs. Berdugo, you are taking care of my 5 children, and in return, I will ask Hashem to take care of yours.”