The plane landed and I found myself across the world in Kishinev, the capitol of Moldova. A pleasant, accented voice asked me if I was alright. It was the voice of my mother-in-law, Rebbetzin Leah Abelsky, the wife of Rabbi Zalman Abelsky, the Chief Rabbi of Kishinev and of Moldova.

In truth, ever since the plane had thumped down on the runway, my heart had been pounding away with excitement. Every day since Purim we had marked off the calendar, counting down to the day of our departure. We were very excited to go to Kishinev, and the smiling faces and outstretched arms that welcomed us made me appreciate just how excited my in-laws were for us to come. I was more than alright. I was thrilled to be in Kishinev with my husband and three children, to spend the Passover holiday with my in-laws.

Smiling faces and outstretched arms welcomed us Shortly after landing in Kishinev, we were informed that our luggage was delayed. The precious meat and fish that we had brought from Crown Heights was also delayed, and the airline personnel were not certain when any of these things would be recovered. It didn't bother me that the only clothes I had were the ones I was wearing. I could borrow clothes and clean what I had. However, I felt bad that the meat and fish did not arrive. Even if the meat and fish would arrive it would likely be spoiled. There is no kosher butcher in Kishinev or in the rest of Moldova . I knew that my mother-in-law was counting on that meat and fish to prepare food for the hundreds of people who would join us for the Passover meals throughout the holiday. And yet, sitting across from me, I saw a very calm person. "Don't worry, G‑d will provide," said Rebbetzin Leah. As the week progressed, it became clear that Rabbi Zalman and Rebbetzin Leah Abelsky live by the motto "G‑d will provide".

Moldova is the second poorest country in Europe (Bosnia is the poorest). For the poor, the ill, the elderly, and the children- life is often a nightmare. The Abelskys run a soup kitchen from the Synagogue. They provide medical supplies, visit the sick, run a preschool, school and college, and offer free loans. In school, the children are provided with two nutritious meals daily. In Moldova today, the importance of this food program can't be underestimated. It is, in fact, desperately important, for hunger has become a constant in the lives of too many people. Also, thanks only to the Abelskys, every Jewish holiday is marked with a large public celebration. Every Shabbat finds around twenty-five people crammed around the Abelskys' Shabbat table.

Rabbi Zalman and Rebbetzin Leah Abelsky live by the motto "G‑d will provide" A lot happens in the kitchen of a balabusta (homemaker), especially in the kitchen of a balabusta who is an emissary of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. As I sat in the kitchen watching Rebbetzin Leah, I became increasingly impressed by her gentle and caring demeanor. On more than one occasion, I saw her warmly greet unexpected guests when she already had an overflowing table. She always had the time and the patience to greet each individual and ask them about themselves. Never did I see her even flinch when she found that food had spoiled and she had a large crowd of people waiting in the next room to be served. Rebbetzin Leah simply put together another dish. I could almost hear her unuttered thoughts—"G‑d will provide".

As I watched Rebbetzin Leah and became inspired by her strong faith I mused about the past experiences that formed this woman standing before me… Rebbetzin Leah Abelsky (nee Horowitz) was born in Chernovitz, which is about a five-hour car ride from Kishinev. At the tender age of seven, Rebbetzin Leah lost her parents to the Nazis, may their names be obliterated. She was then placed in a non-Jewish orphanage. On Passover, she refused to eat anything, explaining that she had a bad stomachache, and then went to bed. She refused to eat the following three days for fear of eating chometz. On the third day an English teacher came to Leah and said, "You think I don't get what is going on here? I am Jewish too!" The teacher took matzah from her pocket and gave it to Leah.

Upon her marriage to Rabbi Zalman, the couple moved to Israel. In 1960, they established a multifaceted network of resources for Jewish learning and observance in Kiryat Gat. Rabbi Zalman also established a school for 700 children in Kiryat Gat and became its principal. In 1989, after raising seven children and after transferring many of their duties in Kiryat Gat to others, the couple was the first to receive permission from the Rebbe to go, as his emissaries, to one of the Soviet Bloc countries.

The Abelskys are more than the Rabbi and the Rebbetzin, they are the parents of the community. They take a personal interest in the lives of every individual there. In fact, Rebbetzin Abelsky has a little book with the name of every resident in Kishinev. In turn, the community cares about Rabbi and Rebbetzin Abelsky. The community's love for Rabbi Zalman is most poignantly conveyed on Friday night when the entire congregation escorts Rabbi Zalman back to his house after the evening services. As one Kishinev resident said about Rebbetzin Leah, "although she does not spoil her grandchildren as much as she would like to, she certainly spoils the entire Kishinev community, and for that we are all very grateful."

As I sat in the kitchen and reflected upon the past and the present, I forgot about the challenges that I had encountered since arriving in Kishinev. In the Abelskys' home, I met the local people and learned about the various difficulties they encounter and overcome. It is easier to learn in a country like Moldova that it is never certain what challenges anyone, including Rabbi and Rebbetzin Abelsky, will face. Yet, Rabbi Zalman and Rebbetzin Leah maintain a constant calm. Their faith in Hashem leads them to the realization that despite any apparent difficulties things will always work out. Throughout my stay, I never saw a frown or heard a negative comment from Rabbi and Rebbetzin Abelsky. Their faith transformed seemingly difficult situations into acceptable circumstances. With faith all that we see is from G‑d and is Hashgocha Protis, Divine Providence.

By the end of my first week, about two hours before Shabbat, the long lost meat and fish from Crown Heights arrived at the Abelskys home- miraculously it was still semi-frozen! And with a smile on her face, Rebbetzin Leah quickly began to cook what she could for Pesach with the precious hours she had left before sundown. My trip to Kishinev taught me that in real life, G‑d truly does provide.