Dreaming of Moshiach

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Lisbon, Portugal - Finding the Rav

I had a dream that I am in Portugal and it was overflowing with rainwater. In the dream, I ran into a lighthouse to save myself from drowning. I saw other women inside and told them to come further up with me.

I chose to ignore this dream because in my mind, dreams are exactly what they are, dreams. Besides, I don't know anything about Portugal and felt no connection to this country...

About 2 months after this dream, I heard a chidush that the Chatam Sofer, zs'kl, says that the world is made out of 4 elements; water, earth, fire, and air. 3 of the foundations go upwards except for the water; which goes down. It was then I remembered the dream – in the dream, I saw the water going upwards.

Suddenly I felt an urge to investigate this dream further and “surfed” the Internet to learn more about Portugal. I found that overall, there are 18 lighthouses and currenly, they are suffering from an extreme drought; the rainfall figures are at its lowest for 13 years.

What does this dream mean? I tried doing Gematriot but could not come up with anything concrete. I decided to ask the Lubavitch Rebbe, zs'kl; “עדיף חכם מנביא” (it is preferable to ask a scholar rather than a prophet) thru Igrat Kodesh.

I went to the Ohel of the Lubavitch Rebbe (zs”l) and asked thru Igrot Kodesh, "What is the meaning of the dream?"

The letter I received was dated 13 Shvat 5765 and the answer read: “I confirm that I got the letter but it came delayed…. During times when the Jews are dependant on the community leaders, especially the spiritual guides, how much more so in this generation, the generation of the orphans. It is forbidden to leave the people and run away from a campaign, thereby causing precious souls/lives to be abandoned… It should be the will of each one of us of the Jews to take the biggest responsibility, especially in this era, towards the Jews that is in the nearby vicinity and faraway, and do everything to help them to learn Torah, keep the Mitzvot in every place where there are Jews…. Our Chachamim (z”l) teach us that when a student wants to leave, the Rabbi must go with him, and it is a bond and commitment. And it is absolutely forbidden for the Rabbi to leave the student, and this is a matter of responsibility and sacrifice in connection with the Life of Torah and Mitzvot. It is not my point to be the opposite of a defender on someone from the Jewish nation, and definitely not on someone that is a spiritual guide, but how is possible and acceptable in the simplest of minds that someone will have a spiritual uplifting even by moving to Israel, on behalf of a spiritual downfall of his students? (Igrat Kodesh #25 page 155).

In my simple mind, I understood that there is a Rabbi in Portugal who wants to leave the community and I need to find him fast and give him this message. I began searching on the internet to learn about Portugal's communities and its Rabbis. I e-mailed the shuls and asked them to please help me contact its Rabbi. A week passed and I did not receive any responses.

I went back to the Ohel and again asked the Rebbe (zs”l) thru Igrat Kodesh if I understood clearly, "Did I understand that the Rebbe is saying that there is a Rabbi that wants to leave Portugal and move to Israel?"

The answer I received was dated 13 Shvat (the same date as my first letter) and it read as follows: “Our Chachamim (z”l) teach us that Hashem did not create anything in this world without reason. Each one has the abilities and strength/energy to perform and fulfill their goal and duty. The measurement of the energy and possibilities are synchronized to the task…. The Chachamim (z”l) also educate us that whomever increases his mission, the pipes and instruments of heaven expand and will provide him with more power and potential”.

I understood that I was on the right track... Now I was even more determined and energized to find this Rabbi. I knew I must quickly find a Rabbi in Portugal that wants to leave his community.

Two days later, on Thursday, I get an e-mail from Rabbi Pash, the Rabbi of the Lisbon community, with his phone number for me to contact him. You can (or cannot) imagine how nervous I felt to make this phone call. He will probably say, “Nava, you have the wrong Rabbi” and will hang up the phone on me. On the other hand, I was determined to make this phone call. I begged my husband to make this phone call but he refused; he didn't believe that there is a Rabbi in Portugal that wants to leave his community and in general, he does not believe in dreams.

After a few minutes of debating in my mind, I "received" the courage to make the call. The Rav of Portugal, Rabbi Pash, answered on the second ring... Without knowing if he speaks Hebrew, I said to him in Hebrew, "My name is Nava and I am a simple Jewish woman with a message for you from HaShem."

Turns out that he is Israeli and speaks Hebrew fluently. He told me to call back Monday because he is busy right now. 'Oh no', I thought in panick, 'where am I going to get the courage again to call him back on Monday. How can I wait 5 days...'

I asked Rabbi Pash for 5 minutes of his time and promised to be swift. He asked me when I am coming to Portugal and what information I need. He totally threw me off. I wasn’t even planning on thinking of travelling to Portugal.

I told Rabbi Pash that I'm not a potential tourist... I then told him about the dream, the Rebbe, and his answer. At that point he asked permission to interrupt me. I thought to myself, 'oh well, at least he let me say ¾ of the message'. In my mind, that was progress...

He told me, and I quote his exact words "You found me".

I started crying from so much emotion. I was filled with wonder and awe at the greatness and wonder of Hashem.

He told me that he is planning to leave the community and go back to Israel where he orginally came from. He revealed that that he already wrote a 'letter of resignation' and intended to give it to the community shul heads right after Shabbat, in 2 days.

Rabbi Pash filled in another puzzle piece about the rainwater that I saw in the dream. He told me that there is no Mikveh in Lisbon and this is causing much pain and suffering to his family. He came with his wife and 5 sons to Lisbon a year ago and the closest Mikveh is in Gibraltar, 5 hour drive each way. Another problem is that he cannot teach the community the Halachot of Taharat Hamishpacha because there is no Mikveh.

The reason there is no Mikveh in Lisbon, Portugal is because it's not a rich community and 98% of the Jews living in Lisbon are not a religious. In order to build a Mikveh in the shul, funds are needed; about $20,000 euros. Rabbi Pash also said that besides funding for the Mikveh, they also need governmental bureaucracy permits to build the Mikveh in the basement of the shul and because Portugal is a catholic country, the property of the shul belongs to the State's church...

Rabbi Pash explained that the many halachot of building a Mikveh, one of them being that there needs to be an additional ditch for rainwater to enter into the actual Mikveh and the State will not permit to break the foundation of the building...

In other words... not an easy task...

Rabbi Pash said that he will call me the following day to let us know his final decision if he'll stay in Portugal or go back to Israel. He told me that he already purchased for the whole family a one-way flight ticket to Israel and they already packed up their belongings...

The following day, Rabbi Pash called back. He told me that he spoke to his wife and it was a uninamous decision - they are staying in Lisbon, Portugal!

4 weeks after our first conversation, Rabbi Pash told me that miracuously the Government of Portugal notified them that within 2 weeks, b’h, they will receive the necessary permits to build the Mivkeh. He also added that he knew the reason for the drought in Lisbon... it is because there is no Mikveh. And now that the Mikveh will be, b’h, built, there will be so much rain (just like I saw in the dream) גשם של ברכה...

Chasdei Shamayim, we were zoche to raise the necessary funds needed to build the Mikveh...

It is difficult for me to even begin to understand this. I just know it is something beyond human understanding - it is from above, and am deeply moved and humbled to be a witness.

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Blogger Yaakov Nathan said...

There is a real miracle here, Nava.

Not your dream, and not the letter in Igros. The miracle is that based on a dream and a "random" letter in Igros you pursued this through to the end and brought a mikvah into existence!


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והיה השם למלך על כל הארץ, ביום ההוא יהיה השם אחד - ושמו אחד ישתבח שמו לעד לנצח נצחים בכל העולמות Blessed is His name for eternity in all worlds אין עוד מלבדו