In accordance with Jewish tradition, out of respect, I do not write G-d's name, even an English substitute, in a place where it may be discarded or erased.
Chessed Halberstam worked in the employ of Chaya Mushka Schneerson, wife of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson. One of her duties was to be a driver for the Rebbe's wife.
Usually they would drive out to a park in Long Island following the same route each day. One day the regular route was closed due to road work so they proceeded on a parallel street. Suddenly they heard a woman screaming. The Rebbe's wife said to her driver, "I heard a woman screaming; can you go back and see what that was about?"
Driving back, they saw a woman standing on the curb and weeping, while workers were carrying furniture and household items from a house and loading them on to a truck belonging to the county marshal. The marshal explained that the woman had not paid her rent and was now being evicted. The woman owed approximately $6,700. According to Chessed Halberstam, "The Rebbe's wife wrote out a check for the full amount. The marshal made a phone call to the bank, and then instructed his workers to take everything back into the house. The Rebbe's wife immediately urged me to quickly drive away, before the woman realized what had transpired.
I was completely amazed at what I had seen and later, when we were in the park, I could not contain myself and asked her what had prompted her to give such a large sum to a total stranger?
She said, "Once, when I was a young girl, my father took me for a walk in the park. He sat me down on a bench and started to tell me about the idea of hashgachah peratit ('specific divine providence'). Every time, said Father, when something causes us to deviate from our normal routine, there is a divinely ordained reason for this; every time we see something unusual, there is a purpose in why we've been shown this sight.
Today when I saw the 'Detour' sign instructing us to deviate from our regular route, I remembered my father's words and immediately thought to myself: every day we drive by this street; suddenly, the street is closed off and we're sent to a different street. What is the purpose of this? How is this connected to me? Then I heard the sound of a woman crying and screaming. I realized that we have been sent along this route for a purpose."
Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760), founder of Chabad, taught that, "Everything that occurs, and every detail thereof, is by divine providence; if a leaf is turned over by a breeze, it is only because this has been specifically ordained by G-d to serve a specific function within the purpose of creation." Thus, "Every single thing that a person sees or hears is an instruction to him in his conduct in the service of G-d."
Rabbi Konikov is director of Chabad of the Space and Treasure Coasts and can be reached at email@example.com.