My uncle Boruch had a certain pleasant aura about him. Whenever he would tell someone off, he would do so with a gentle smile. He once explained to me, “Don’t be angry that I am rebuking you. When one beats cream, you can produce butter; but if one beats yogurt, nothing comes out of it . . .”

As I grew older, on occasion, he would reprove the bochurim, and warn them:The time will come when you will wrap yourself in a tallis - when you will get married, he meant - and you won’t have anything to meditate upon during prayer. Then you will be filled with remorse and think, ‘Oy...why didn’t I learn more Chassidus in my youth?'

In the period after World War II, the spirit of the Jews was crushed and shattered. My uncle would try to find the good in each situation and would staunchly declare: "Every event that occurs in this world is for the good of the Jews." During the catastrophic phase of the Doctors’ Plot, in which Jewish doctors were accused of murdering the members of the Politburo - top officials of the Soviet government, people asked him, Nu, what do you have to say now?” This was during the dreadful period of time in which Lubavitcher Chassidim in Samarkand were being arrested. My uncle’s trust and faith in the Master of the universe did not waver for even a moment. He said, “You will see; good will come out of this for the Jews.”

My uncle was good and kind to all people, a true lover of all. Thanks to this, someone with classified information alerted him when he heard that the KGB was inquiring about him. His life suddenly fraught with danger, he fled to the house of a relative in another area, far from the Jewish neighborhood, and remained there for close to two years.

Following the death of Stalin, the situation radically transformed for the better and my uncle felt safe enough to return home. Gradually, his self-proclaimed “prophecy” was brought to fruition: the doctors were released, the woman who had falsely accused them was sentenced to death and hanged publicly, and all of the political prisoners were released from imprisonment. My uncle continued to foretell that the day would come when they would throw Stalin’s body out of the mausoleum in Moscow. His predictions became true. On the 21st of Cheshvan, 5722, or 1961, Nikita Khrushchev ordered that Stalin’s body be burned and buried near the Kremlin wall .

This too is for the Best

In 1956, my uncle received an invitation from his brother Yisrael Noach in Eretz Yisrael. This enabled him to submit a request for a visa with the stated reason of family unification. However, this invitation also posed a dilemma for my aunt and uncle. On the one hand, there was the slight chance that by using this invitation they would be permitted to emigrate. On the other hand, whoever filled out an official form in those days, even for a simple job, had to respond to a question asking whether they had a relative living abroad. Naturally, everybody denied that they did, to avoid endangering themselves. Now, the negative response they had given until could catch them out: if they had a relative abroad, why hadn't they mentioned so until now? It was all that more risky being that the invitation had arrived from the "capitalist" country of Israel.

Although it was several years after Stalin’s death, there was still a prevailing mood of fear. My aunt was very apprehensive and claimed that it was in their best interests to ignore the invitation, although they would be relinquishing their only prospect of imminent departure. My uncle felt that receiving the invitation was an overt display of divine providence, for he had not corresponded with his brother, nor heard from him, in over twenty years. Suddenly, as if falling from the heavens itself, this invitation had appeared. “It’s a sign from G‑d,” he said.

Ultimately, my aunt agreed to submit the papers, for if they were granted permission to emigrate, it would help our family as well. From their new abode, they would be able to send us an invitation to reunite with them. We had no other hope of leaving Russia, as we had no relatives of our own living in Israel.

It took no less than half a year to prepare the appropriate documents, and the week they completed preparing all of the forms, my aunt and uncle made their way to OVIR, the KGB office that accepted emigration requests. They went on a Tuesday, which, since twice being described by G‑d as "good" during the creation of the world, is known to be an auspicious day.

When they returned home, something occurred that even those in the know could not have anticipated. My aunt and uncle heard on the radio that a three-pronged attack had been initiated by the French, British and Israelis against Egypt in an attempt to free up passage in the Suez Canal. The Soviet Union was an ally of Egypt, and requesting to leave for the enemy’s country was an unthinkable and dangerous act.

I cannot describe how frightened we were when we heard this piece of news over the radio, yet my uncle was ever strong in his unfaltering trust in the Almighty and continued to say, “It’s all from Hashem, and everything will be for the best.” My uncle’s powerful trust in G‑d did indeed win out over everyone else's bleak projections, and half a year later they received permission to depart from Russia.

Then there was the passport application process, which took another half a year, and then finally, after a year and a half, they received their passports and exit visas. That was how long the bureaucratic process took. At that point they finally began to prepare for their journey to the Holy Land.

At a 2008 gathering held in Kfar Chabad, Israel, the rabbi of Kfar Chabad, Rabbi Mordechai Shmuel Ashkenazi, spoke of his memories of my aunt and uncle's arrival in Israel. He said that when they arrived at the airport, the students of the Tomchei Tmimim in nearby Lod - himself included - went to welcome and greet him. When R. Boruch came down the ramp of the plane and saw the students, he was touched, and moved to see the students of Tomchei Tmimim in Israel as well. He kept murmuring, “The same Tmimim . . . the same Tmimim . . .” “Those words of R. Boruch,” said R. Ashkenazi, “resound in my ears until this day.”