Once the classes had expanded to well outside of Samarkand, we decided it was important to make rounds of the towns from time to time to ensure that all was going well. The supervisor was R. Refael Chudaitov, because he had organized the classes, knew when they were held, and who the teachers were. Each time, a different member of Chamah joined him.

This was no simple matter. The classes were all kept under total secrecy, and when the teacher and students would see an unfamiliar person walk in with R. Refael, they would grow suspicious. However, after R. Refael would reassure them that this man was one of “his,” they would greet him warmly.

Once, I went with him to Tcharkhin, a town bordering Samarkand. We arrived at around four o’clock in the afternoon and I was pleased to see twenty-five children learning Torah energetically. They had no desks or chairs. Instead, they sat on a carpet spread on the floor and leaned against the wall, similar to the manner of the Uzbeks.

On a Wednesday one summer, in the Hebrew month of Av,R. Moshe asked R. Berke Schiff to accompany R. Refael on a visit to a number of towns a few hours’ drive from Samarkand. R. Berke was reluctant at first, because his brother-in-law was getting married the following week and the traditional pre-wedding call-up to the Torah and kiddush were to be held in his home on Shabbos. But R. Moshe persuaded him to go. “You should be back by tomorrow night,” he said. “There is no reason to worry.”

R. Berke went with R. Refael to a number of cities, among them Margilan, Andijan, and others, and they were happy to see that the classes were taking place as expected. On Thursday, R. Berke wanted to return to Samarkand. But R. Refael insisted that they visit the city of Fergana as well, and from there they would fly back to Samarkand.

After visiting the classes in Fergana, R. Berke and R. Refael hurried to the airport. R. Berke approached a clerk to purchase tickets to Samarkand. To his dismay, all the flights to Samarkand had already departed. The next flight would only leave on Friday morning.

R. Berke returned to R. Refael, disappointed. Noticing his frustration, R. Refael suggested that he purchase tickets on a flight to Tashkent. “From Tashkent it will be easy to find a flight to Samarkand that will leave late tonight or early tomorrow morning,” he said.

R. Berke consented and immediately purchased two tickets to Tashkent. They boarded the plane, and before long they were on their way.

Sometime into the flight, the pilot announced that due to bad weather, the plane could not land in Tashkent. Instead of turning around, they would take a detour all the way to—Samarkand! From there, after a short stopover, the plane would continue on to Tashkent. The two men were amazed. This was some miracle!

When the plane landed in Samarkand, they grabbed their hand luggage and began heading for the door of the plane. Noticing them, the flight attendant called out: “Hey, where are you going? We are soon continuing to Tashkent. Go back to your places!”

They explained that their real destination was Samarkand and they had only taken this flight out of necessity. Some of the passengers, overhearing their conversation, commented: “Now we know why we couldn’t land in Tashkent!”

The ramp was lowered especially for them, and the two disembarked and made their way home.