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by Rabbi Michoel Gourarie

In January 1987 a few days after our wedding, my wife and I together with my parents and younger sister had the great merit to visit Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneersohn (wife of the Lubavitcher Rebbe o.b.m.). She was quite elderly and frail at the time and passed away just over a year later. Her Yartzeit (day of passing) is this coming Monday (22 Shevat - 1 Feb).

After chatting for a few minutes she turned to my younger sister (who was ten years old at the time) and asked how she likes America. My mother, answering for her explained that she is really enjoying America because of the abundance of kosher chocolate and nosh, which at the time was difficult to get in South Africa. The Rebbetzin immediately called one of the house workers and asked him to bring out a big box of delicious chocolates which she gave to my sister as a gift.

Almost a year later in October, for the first time a group of ten rabbinical students arrived in Johannesburg to study. One of them belonged to a family that had a close connection with the Rebbetzin. He informed my parents that when he went say goodbye, the Rebbetzin asked him if he could take a package for the Gouraries. Excited and intrigued they went to the airport to pick up this mysterious parcel. When they opened they were amazed to see a beautiful box of chocolates. In her frail state, just three months before she passed away the Rebbetzin remembered a little ten year old girl in South Africa that liked chocolates that were hard to get.

My sister and all of us have never forgotten this small but powerful incident.
The lesson is clear: to make an impact on the lives of others doesn't always require great feats. Little gestures driven by a caring and nurturing mindset makes the world of difference.

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