|A story of the Rebbe #32 - To Save a Single Soul ?|
The Rebbe once unexpectedly asked the late shliach to Argentina, Rabbi Dovber Baumgarten, z"l, to travel to Belem in Brazil. Belem, (whose name originates from Beis Lechem) is about 1500 km from S. Paulo. A Jewish community has existed in Belem ever since the expulsion from Spain, and Rabbi Baumgarten was asked to inspire the city's remaining Jews, many of whom were very assimilated, to take an interest in their heritage.
Rabbi Baumgarten arrived in the city several days later, and he announced that he would be speaking in the local shul. The community gathered in the shul, where Rabbi Baumgarten ascended the podium and began a rousing speech on the prohibition against intermarriage.
While he was speaking, Rabbi Baumgarten noticed a young man sitting in one corner who appeared to be listening very intently. Afterwards, this young man approached Rabbi Baumgarten and asked him for some advice. It emerged that the young man was due to marry a non-Jewish girl that week in church. His grandmother told him that as far as she remembered, a bridegroom was supposed to go to shul before he got married, which was why he had come to the shul. He did not even know that Rabbi Baumgarten was scheduled to speak that day.
When he heard Rabbi Baumgarten say that marrying a non-Jew would sever his connection with the Jewish nation, the young man felt very upset. Rabbi Baumgarten now realized why the Rebbe had sent him to Belem. He invited the young man to go to a nearby kosher coffee shop, where he spent a very long time with him until he convinced him to break off his engagement.
Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine