After finishing my tour in the Israeli army, which included service during the Yom Kippur War of 1973, I came to Los Angeles where I opened a clothing store in a prime garment-district location – on the corner of South Los Angeles Street and Pico Boulevard.
At a certain point, a Chinese clothing manufacturer came to see me to propose a partnership, and since it was a good deal, I agreed. After we signed the contract, he invited me out to a Chinese restaurant to celebrate, and although I was not Torah observant, I told him “please don’t serve me pork.” During this dinner, I made l’chaim with him on a liquor which tasted strange to me; I also ate some strange-tasting food, and afterwards, I got very sick. I remember vomiting and pleading with G-d, “Please … please … I’m sorry I ate that.” This incident bothered me very much but, after a while, I forgot about it.
Several months later, I was traveling to Israel and decided to make a stop in New York to get a blessing for marriage from the Rebbe. But when I arrived at 770, I discovered that it was not so easy to get an appointment. Nonetheless, Rabbi Binyomin Klein, the Rebbe’s secretary, agreed to convey a letter I had written.
Now, in my letter to the Rebbe, I had not mentioned the incident with the Chinese restaurant, so I was shocked to get a return call from Rabbi Klein saying that the Rebbe asked me to watch what I ate! He also invited me to come to 770 to pick up three dollars which I was to donate to charity on arrival in Israel. (more…)