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A Change Of Heart
by Sholom Kramer

At a Chabad dinner in Lyons, France, the Rabbis organizing it decided to show video clips of various participants of the dinner appearing before the Rebbe for "dollars." When a video of Mr. Alan Sabain, one of their chief donors, appeared on the screen, Mr. Sabain became very moved and asked permission to tell of his experiences with the Rebbe.

This is Alain Sabain's story:

We were a happy family, myself and my wife and daughter, when my wife suddenly fell ill. I traveled to the Rebbe, and during "dollars," I asked for a blessing for my wife. The Rebbe gave me a dollar and then another dollar, saying, "For the school you will establish."

How had the Rebbe known about that? The Friday before, my friend Rabbi Sholom Gurevitz told the Rebbe’s secretary, Rabbi Leibel Groner, that I was building a giant hotel in Lyons, which would also serve as a school for hotel management. The Rebbe gave me a blessing for the new hotel and I was about to leave, when the Rebbe said, "When you open the hotel, make sure to place mezuzos on every doorway."

When the building was finally completed, I invited all the distinguished personalities of the city to an opening ceremony. At the ceremony, I announced with a flourish that I had invited the Rebbe's representatives in France to come and place the mezuzos on the main entranceways.

  

Years went by. The hotel fell into deep debt and had to declare bankruptcy. The losses were in the millions, much of which was borrowed funds.

Government authorities suspected fraud. They appointed a special auditor to examine the books and determine the cause for the business failure. This assessment was most unpleasant. I knew I hadn’t stolen or even taken an extra penny, but I was extremely nervous, for who knew whether the auditor or the court would be convinced of my integrity.

Things got even worse. My house was confiscated and sold. My parents quickly bought it back so that I wouldn’t enter a bottomless depression.

The day of the auditor’s final decision had arrived. When he entered my office, I saw him stand and gaze upon the mezuza in the doorway. My office contained many pictures of myself and various senior officials in the French government. There were also certificates of appreciation and professional certificates. In the center, among all the pictures and certificates, was a huge picture of me receiving a dollar from the Rebbe.

The auditor looked at this picture for some time, and then sat down and began detailing his summation. I sat and trembled, knowing that his report surely contained bad news for me.

But the auditor, instead of criticizing my handling of the business, began speaking in my defense. He said that a number of odd circumstances and mistakes had caused problems. Furthermore, he concluded that there was still a chance to save the business. He would request the government to lend me a huge sum of money to start over.

I was flabbergasted. I could only thank G-d for the unexpected miracle. I had one question, though: "Tell me please, since everybody expected a bad report from you regarding my role in the business, what made you change your mind?"

The auditor replied: "This morning, before giving you my decision, I walked to the different floors of the hotel and noticed a mezuza on every door. I am Jewish. Before the war, my wife and I lived in Austria. We narrowly we managed to survive the war and then arrived in France.

"When I saw the mezuzos, I recognized them immediately. Here I was seeing a mezuza on every single door on hundreds of rooms in this hotel, knowing that this wasn’t your personal home! I figured that a person so particular about mezuzos couldn’t possibly be a fraud and a thief.

"When I into your personal office, I saw a picture of a rabbi, and could see that he is a holy man. I knew only one thing – I had to return to my Jewish roots."

"From that point on, the auditor's path to complete teshuva was short," concluded Mr. Saban emotionally. "I merited two miracles. First, the Rebbe foresaw the future, and advised me to put a mezuza on every door of my hotel. Second, the Rebbe saved a Jewish couple from assimilation and brought them back to Judaism.

"Another miracle happened. Since then, I have established a chain of hotels all over Europe - all because of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, of course!"

 

 


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