The spa town of Druskininkai, Lithuania, is a popular summer destination for Israeli Jews. Only a short flight away, it features a picturesque landscape of lakes, hills, and forests, numerous health resorts, and most importantly, an escape from the oppressive Israeli heat. Under the auspices of Rabbi Sholom Ber Krinsky, director of Chabad of Lithuania, we are spending most of our time here, offering these Israelis a taste of home—be it an opportunity to wrap tefillin, participate in a Shabbat meal, or simply offering a friendly “Shalom.” Thank G‑d, one hundred people graced our Shabbat table last Friday night in Druskininkai!

On Sunday, we drove to the town of Birštonas, which like Druskininkai, is situated on the Nemunas River. Although much smaller, it is very scenic and home to several spas, and we were told Israelis may be vacationing there. We walked through the streets for three hours, but did not encounter a single Jew. “Let’s move on,” we decided, and made our way to the car.

As we were setting up the GPS, we spotted a middle-aged couple strolling across the street. Perhaps they were our token Jews of Birstonas? As we jumped out of the car, they noticed us, and began talking to us in Yiddish!

Samuel and Rosa live in nearby Kovno and spend weekends in Birštonas in their summer home. They were very friendly (Doesn’t vacation do that to all of us?), and we chatted in Yiddish for several minutes.

Afterwards, we pulled out our tefillin, gave a brief explanation, and Samuel readily agreed to perform this mitzvah, apparently for the first time in his life.

“Our house is very close. Why don’t you come over for a bit?” Rosa asked. We agreed, and they urged us to make ourselves comfortable, and brought out some refreshments. “It’s interesting,” Rosa shared. “Two days ago, we were walking, and we met some friends. Yesterday, we met different friends. And today on our walk, Samuel tells me, ‘We have to meet someone special today.’ Right then, you got out of your car! It’s amazing!”

“That is amazing,” we agreed. “But we also know that nothing happens by chance. The holy Ba’al Shem Tov taught that everything happens by Divine Providence. G‑d directs the steps of man, and sends him to where he has to be. Of course, we usually don’t see it with our physical eyes, but sometimes we do, like our experience today!”

Samuel and Rosa really appreciated that thought. We spoke for a while longer, and then, with their blessings, affixed a mezuzah to their front doorpost. We bade them farewell—but not for long. We’ve made plans to stop by their home in Kovno and place a mezuzah there as well.