R’ Alexander, a righteous and ardent chassid of the Alter Rebbe, was preparing for a business trip when the Rebbe made an unusual request: “When you are finished with your business, please stop at this nearby town.”

He had no idea why or what he was supposed to do there, but R’ Alexander trusted the Rebbe and agreed to the task.

As soon as he arrived in the town, he noticed that something was different. The Jews there were dressed in the modern style of clothing, influenced by the winds of enlightenment blowing from the West.

He felt uneasy about spending Shabbat with them, but found lodging at the only kosher establishment, owned by a woman named Hindel. She promised to take care of his needs for Shabbat.

During Shabbat prayers and meals, R’ Alexander shared words of Torah and chassidic melodies that deeply touched those in attendance. He still didn't understand why the Rebbe had sent him there until he saw a young boy at the end of the table, his eyes wide open, taking it all in. Then he heard Hindel sobbing in the corner.

He approached her and asked why she was crying. She explained that when her father, who had been the town rabbi, was alive, they used to have a beautiful Shabbat experience just like this every week. After his passing, the town had lost its Jewish heart. Now, her husband was often away for Shabbat. Her son rarely experienced such beauty and meaning and she was worried about his Jewish education. She started to cry again.

R' Alexander had an idea. He offered to take her son back with him to the Alter Rebbe in Liozno to be educated in the inspiring ways of Chassidism. After hearing his descriptions of the warm Jewish life of the Chassidic community and the greatness of the Alter Rebbe, she agreed to send him.

Now R' Alexander understood his mission. The Rebbe had sent him to this town because there was a special soul there that was thirsting for Yiddishkeit.

The young boy grew up to be one of the Alter Rebbe’s most illustrious students, Reb Peretz Chein, the progenitor of a large family of rabbis and communal leaders, many of whom continue to bear his name.

(Sippurei Mofet: Baal Hatanya, page 225)

Sometimes we may not understand why we are sent on a particular mission, but we must find the hidden purpose. Who knows, maybe a small act of kindness can lead to something great…