Rabbi Dr. Abraham J. Twerski, shlita, is the founder and medical director emeritus of Gateway Rehabilitation Center, a drug and alcohol treatment system in western Pennsylvania, cited nationally as one of the 12 best drug and alcohol treatment centers by Forbes magazine. He has authored 60 books on various topics ranging from chasidic thought, Jewish practice, chemical dependency, addiction, and other topics such as stress, self-esteem, and spirituality. In addition, he has traveled the world as a spokesperson for recovery on behalf of the millions who have achieved it and with goals that inspire, encourage, and challenge those still finding their way.
On Shabbos, he usually has many guests at his home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and he typically mesmerizes them with remarkable stories of chasidic life and Rebbe, which he heard from his father and grandfather while growing up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. During one Shabbos meal, after he finished a story, one of his guests said, “Wow! That was an amazing story. Why doesn’t the rabbi compile all of these stories into a book and share them with the public?” With the young man’s assistance, Rabbi Twerski took his advice, and in 1986 he published his first book of those stories, entitled From Generation to Generation.
The book was well received in many circles, reaching as far as Venice, California, where a woman named Marilyn, a respected lecturer on sports nutrition, received a copy of Rabbi Twerski’s new book as a thank-you gift for helping a friend. Marilyn read the book and took many of the themes to heart. She was divorced in her 30s and trying to raise her young son by herself. She had her share of difficulties in life but always tried to remain upbeat. Rabbi Twerski’s book was a great boost for her.
In June 1986, she was returning home from a speaking engagement in New Jersey. Her Thursday afternoon flight to California had a scheduled stopover in Pittsburgh and she was pressed for time. Her son David was leaving for sleepaway camp the following Sunday. It would be the first time they would be separated for an extended period, and she was anxious to get home and spend time with him.
Thursday, June 12, 1986, was also Erev Shavuos, the two-day holiday that went into Shabbos, celebrating the Jewish nation’s acceptance of the Torah on Mount Sinai. Marilyn was not the most observant individual, but she knew about the holiday and she wished to be home before it started. Unfortunately, her flight to Pittsburgh was delayed and she missed her connecting flight to Los Angeles. Now she would be stuck in Pittsburgh for the holiday. She didn’t know anyone in Pittsburgh, and she was worried about her son. She called relatives in L.A. who assured her that they would take care of him. They advised her to find a rabbi in Pittsburgh and ask for help.
She had no way of locating a rabbi in the airport, but then she remembered reading Rabbi Twerski’s book jacket, which said that he had a rehab center in Pittsburgh. She assumed he lived in the city as well. She quickly took a cab to Gateway Rehabilitation Center only to find that it was closing, and the rabbi had already left. She explained her situation to someone there, and they called Rabbi Twerski’s son. He found her accommodations near his father’s home and invited her to join him at the rabbi’s house for the meals.
She was so distressed that she was stuck in a foreign place without her son, but she knew she had to bear, grin, and make the best of it. There were many guests at Rabbi Twerski’s house that night. Marilyn relaxed and actually enjoyed herself. She spoke to many of the other guests and they all shared many of their life experiences. After hearing her life story and how she was single but eager to get married, someone there suggested a possible match. The man, whose name was Steven, happened to be eating by Rabbi Twerski that night as well.
Marilyn was introduced to Steven and they had a few conversations over the holiday. They enjoyed each other’s company and felt comfortable with each other. That Sunday she flew back to L.A., and a short time later Steven flew out to continue the dating process, and with wondrous hashgachah pratis, in just five weeks the two were engaged.
After they were married they settled in Pittsburgh and had four beautiful children. Marilyn couldn’t be happier. She found a husband when she least expected it, and her life changed for the better.
It wasn’t until a while after they were married that she learned ... the rest of the story. The young man who had been sitting at Rabbi Twerski’s table and originally suggested that he publish a book of stories and was vitally helpful in its publication was none other than Steven himself! His words and actions turned out to be the vehicle used on high to bring his own wife to him! Hashem works in mysterious ways. He has an abundance of salvation, and He could help everyone when least expected in the blink of an eye.