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A Story Of Hashgacha Pratis: Why Was the Wedding in Cincinnati?

Boruch Bordoff lives in Los Angeles. His daughter Sarah got engaged a few months ago to Shlomie Cohen from England. So why did they make the wedding in Cincinnati OH?

Boruch is very close friends with Rabbi Mendy Kalmanson from Cincinnati and the two met while attending Yeshiva Ohr Elchonon Chabad in Los Angeles. Boruch and Mendy have remained close friends ever since; over 30 years. Boruch, his wife Malka OBM, and their daughter Sarah would visit the Kalmansons in Cincinnati at least once a year, usually for Sukkos. Unfortunately, Malkah passed away after a long struggle with illness when Sarah was 9 years old. As the years went on, Boruch and

Sarah continued visiting the Kalmanson family annually.

Recently, Boruch has been staying with the Kalmansons while his home in Los Angeles was under renovation. While in Cincinnati, discussions arose regarding the marriage of Shlomie and Sarah with a focus on where the wedding could be held. It was during the height of the COVID virus which had Los Angeles and New York under strict guidelines for weddings. The wedding and timing presented a bit of a quandary with great uncertainty about where to hold the services. The idea of making the wedding in Cincinnati was mentioned. Ohio had more relaxed guidelines for large gatherings and was allowing up to 300 guests at weddings. When Shlomie and Sarah came to Cincinnati to spend Shavuos with Boruch and the Kalmansons, the discussion became serious. The question was asked by all; “What about making the wedding in the Kalmanson’s back yard?”

Phone calls were made, caterers and venues were explored. It was finally decided that the wedding of a girl from LA and a boy from England would take place in Cincinnati.

On August 12th, the wedding day arrived and people came from far and wide to attend. Friends and family from both sides came to Cincinnati from Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York, Montreal, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Florida, and more. The wedding ceremony was beautiful. The music by Levyticus was remarkable. The food was delicious, and the Chosson and Kallah were stunning.

The question was soon asked, “How many people from Cincinnati are at the wedding?” A quick count showed there were about 10 locals. After all, both sides of the wedding were from out of town.

So, is that it? The wedding was in Cincinnati just due to COVID? It seemed so until the Friday evening after the wedding. Then, it became clear why all the hard work, all the planning, and all the traveling took place so the wedding should take place in Cincinnati.

Though most of the wedding guest had left Cincinnati on Thursday, the Chosson’s family planned to stay until after Shabbos. They had arranged for a beautiful Friday night and Shabbos day Sheva Brochos in a hotel. The Kallah’s father joined them at the hotel, and everything was set.

About an hour before Shabbos, during all the hustle and bustle of last-minute preparations, a scream pierced the air. The Chosson heard the screams of a woman from across the hotel. He could not understand what she was yelling about, but went to make sure his nephews and nieces were not bothering anyone. It was then that he heard someone yell that a boy had drowned in the hotel pool. The Chosson dialed 911 as two of his brothers ran to the pool area. There was a young African American child, about 5 or 6 years of age, at the bottom of the pool. One of the brothers jumped the gate of the pool, and the child was pulled from the water. There was no pulse, and the brother of the Chosson immediately began performing CPR. After what seemed like an eternity, the child began to cough and started breathing. The police and paramedics arrived and transported the child to the hospital. One of the paramedics told the brother that he had saved this child’s life. Had he not acted as fast as he did, the child would not have survived.

At this point, it was finally very clear why this Chosson from England, along with the Kallah from Los Angeles, had their wedding in Cincinnati.

It was a true Kiddush Hashem as this visibly Chasidic man jumped into action to save a young child he had never met. He could have made a number of excuses to ignore the screams, to not “get involved”, yet he did whatever it took to save the life of this young man.

We know that everything G-D does is for a good and just reason. Nothing is by chance or coincident. We are not always lucky to have that reason revealed to us but nonetheless, we know it is part of a greater plan. When we are lucky enough to see the reason, we should use that to strengthen our belief so when the reason is not revealed, we can know with 100% certainty that all is for the good.

We can ask questions on the above story like why did the wedding have to happen here for this boy’s life to be saved? Why couldn’t G-D use a local person to save his life? Perhaps G-D wanted a Chasidic Jew to be the hero of this story. Maybe these two souls have a connection that needed to come together at some point of their lives. As explained above, we may never know the real reason, but we do know that this too is part of G-Ds plan and there is a perfectly good reason that G-D knows.

May we strengthen our belief in G-D, and may we merit to see the end of Golus with the coming of Moshiach speedily now!

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