Over the course of our long and bitter galus, we Jews have been dispersed to many far-flung places. We’ve been beaten and persecuted. We’ve had our possessions stolen. We’ve been expelled and murdered both individually and in mass executions. But the most bitter galus of all is the phenomenon of those who have been lost to klal Yisrael forever, whether by choice or by force.
In the following story, a young Jewish girl was figuratively falling into the abyss. She would have passed the point of no return if not for the incredible hashgachah pratis that saved her and her future generations.
For many Chabad shluchim and shluchos, every new day brings incredible stories of the human experience. Many lost souls have found their way back home after visiting a Chabad House. But sometimes a story is so disturbing that even a Chabad shluchah who has seen it all is stunned, and the story reverberates long after it occurs.
Such a story happened to Chany Rosen,* who is a Chabad shluchah in China.
It all began with a phone call.
“Something happened in my hotel today that made me very uneasy,” a male voice said to Mrs. Rosen when she picked up. The man was Oren Mizrachi, a secular Israeli Jew the Rosens knew who had been living in China for many years, running a hotel in a certain city.
“As you know,” he began, “my hotel is a very popular venue for weddings. This afternoon a couple came in to schedule a wedding. The man was Chinese, around 50 years old, and his future wife was Caucasian and around 20. It was odd, but certainly not unheard of. I was very curious, so I told the man that according to protocol, whenever we arrange weddings for foreigners, we need to have a copy of their passports, with an identifying picture and information. When he handed it over, I couldn’t believe it. His fiancée’s name was Chaya Mushka!
“I’m not that religious, but to see a Jewish girl with a name like Chaya Mushka in such a situation made me want to step in. Another thing was that they didn’t look like your typical engaged couple. I schedule weddings all the time, so I know how engaged couples are supposed to look and act. This girl wasn’t talking and she wasn’t smiling. She refused to communicate and wouldn’t even make eye contact with me. It was obvious that she was afraid of the man, who kept pushing the paperwork over for her to sign, and you could tell that she had no idea what she was signing.
“Fortunately, she did respond to me in Hebrew, and I got out of her that she was from Israel. Her parents weren’t Lubavitchers, but they were Chabad-friendly, which is why they had given her the name Chaya Mushka. She looked very frightened, but when I tried to ask her why a Jewish girl was marrying an older Chinese man in the middle of nowhere, she clammed up.