The following story of hashgachah pratis was related by Harav Menashe Yisrael Reisman, a noted marbitz Torah in Yerushalayim whose daily shiurim are listened to by countless Jews throughout the world. The following is an adaptation of his remarks from the shiur he delivered Sunday morning.
The Sfas Emes says in Parashas Lech Lecha that Avraham Avinu’s approach of demonstrating how all of the world’s events are under the direction of Divine Providence was a response to Nimrod’s worldview. Nimrod attempted to explain even supernatural events such as the Mabul according to the rules of nature and, thereby deny Hashem’s hand in the world. In response to this, Avraham sought to show people that, not only are supernatural events guided by hashgachah, but that the everyday events that seem to be part of the course of nature are also under Hashem’s expressed direction.
Last week, there was a terrible event here in Yerushalayim, when a terrorist killed Rabbi Yeshayuhu Krishevsky, Hy”d.
There is a phenomenal story that has been traveling throughout the Jewish world and that the facts of which have now been confirmed. The security cameras across the street from our beis medrash showed the terrorist who murdered Reb Yeshayahu staking out this spot. He saw that when our shiur ends at 10:10 a large crowd would typically come out and it seemed that he had found an opportune location to carry out his horrific plans.
However, as we know, no such attack occurred here. What happened? A few months ago, I received a call from Antwerp asking me to deliver divrei chizuk there in the beginning of Elul. However, I told them that I did not see why I should leave my shiurim here in order to say one there and declined the offer. However, they were persistent and asked if I would agree to speak Erev Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan. I said no again, but eventually conceded to go to Antwerp and deliver a shiur, the next day on Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan, the day of the attack. I cannot explain, even to myself, why I suddenly agreed. I have gotten many such offers in America and London and always said “no.” There was no mitigating circumstance that should have made my decision any different, but for some reason, I said “yes” and the arrangements were made. I called them back shortly after and said that I had changed my mind and wanted to cancel, but the organizers there said that they had already advertised the event and that it was too late to change the plans.
Accepting that the trip was now going to happen, I tried to arrange for a substitute to deliver the shiur, but nothing could be worked out. The shiur was canceled for the day.
The security cameras show that the terrorist arrived here on the day of the attack, as he had on the days before, shortly before the shiur would have let out. However, as 10:10 came and went, no one emerged from the building. Frustrated, he got into his car and searched for a bus stop with more people. He did not find one and then drove to Malchei Yisrael where he killed Rav Yeshaya Krishevsky, Hy”d.
The second person who the terrorist attacked, Rabbi Pesach Krishevsky, was brutally chopped at with an ax, and he not only survived, but is recovering and is supposed to get out of the hospital soon. That is also not in the normal order of things that somebody should recover and go home a week after such an attack.
That is an amazing demonstration of hashgachah pratis. A shiur is canceled for no understandable reason and everybody who attends it was saved.