In 2006, Uri, an Israeli young man living in Florida, attended a Chassidic gathering in the Moshiach Center of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It was his birthday, and he wanted to have a spiritual experience. The speaker was Rabbi Zalman Landau. Uri was moved by his words and decided to keep in touch.
A year later, Rabbi Landau was in Fort Lauderdale again, and Uri went once again to attend the gathering. On the occasion of his birthday, Uri made a resolution to study the Rebbe’s teachings for a few minutes each day. Before Rabbi Landau returned to New York, Uri approached him and confided his difficulty. For several years, he had been trying to get a Green Card for permanent residency in the U.S. The process had been going smoothly, but suddenly the immigration office had stopped responding to his letters. For six months, he had heard nothing. He asked his lawyer to investigate through various channels and find out what was holding up his application, but heard nothing. During this time Uri was unable to leave the country and at work, too, they were pressuring him about his immigration status.
Rabbi Landau listened to Uri’s troubles and advised him to write a letter to the Lubavitcher Rebbe King Messia, and insert the letter into a volume of the Rebbe’s published letters. Rabbi Landau opened the book at random, placed the letter in and read the letter printed on that page. He looked at Uri and said: “The Rebbe wants you to keep Shabbat!” Uri, however, was reluctant to commit to something as demanding as keeping Shabbat. After speaking with a few friends, he decided to go for it and begin keeping Shabbat.
The very next day, Uri was surprised to find a letter in his mailbox from the immigration department. After two years of silence, this envelope was very welcome!
With trembling hands and a quickly beating heart, Uri opened the envelope. To his delight, he read: In order to continue the process of obtaining a Green Card, you are asked to come to the immigration office for fingerprinting.
Uri went to the immigration department on Friday. After Shabbat, Uri found another letter from the immigration department, requesting him to come in for an interview. His lawyer could not believe it. He had been working on the case for two years and had already concluded that either Uri was being investigated by Homeland Security, or else they suspected his documents were fraudulent, and it was being investigated by immigration authorities. That was the only explanation he had for Uri not hearing from them for two years. Now suddenly, it had all changed overnight.
On Monday Uri and his lawyer arrived at the immigration department. At 12:00, Uri was finally called in for the interview. The lawyer sat on the side, not trying to mix in too much. Uri sat, relaxed, feeling the power of the Rebbe’s blessing. The interviewer looked through the papers in front of him and suddenly looked at them and said: We have proof that all this is fraudulent!
The lawyer was utterly shocked. After a long moment he asked: What brings you to that conclusion?
The interviewer said that in the previous two years they had investigated Uri and had concluded that he did not work for the company that he claimed to be working for, and since this was the case, he could not be approved to remain in the US.
The lawyer quickly presented papers that proved that Uri worked for that company but the interviewer was not looking at him. He looked at Uri and said: “What I’ll do in any case is give you a test with 130 questions. If all your answers match up, I will believe you.”
He began the series of questions and after seven or eight of them he looked at his watch and said: “Oh, it will be my lunch break in another ten minutes. I won’t be going through all the questions. Let’s go to the last one.” After Uri answered the last question, the interviewer said, “Can I have your passport?”
Uri gave it to him while praying that he act in his favor. Uri heard the interviewer say to himself, “I was going to give him a temporary permit for two years, but since I see that you are working for that company for two years already, I’ll give you a permit for ten years.” He took out the stamp and stamped Uri’s passport. A few minutes later, Uri and his lawyer were outside the office.
The lawyer was dumbfounded and he said, “In the decades I’ve been in this profession, I have never had anything like it. One minute they have evidence against you and the next minute they skip 100 questions and approve you for ten years...”
* * *
After keeping his fourth Shabbat, Uri received an official letter acknowledging that he had concluded the immigration process successfully. In incredible timing, one week later, once again the night after Shabbat, Uri found an envelope with the long-awaited Green Card.