Each time I visited the U.S., I used to call and make an appointment with the Rebbe. On one occasion, in 1970, I called 770. The Rebbe’s secretary, Rabbi Hodakov, told me, “I regret very much, Reb Efraim, but this time I cannot give you an appointment. The Rebbe is overbooked and exhausted, and I know that you love him very much, so you don’t want to impose . . .”

I said, “Of course not. But please ask him to give me a blessing for my trip. You know, I’m going to Japan on business . . .” He said, “Yes, I’ll tell him. Please give me your itinerary.” So I said, “I’m leaving Thursday, and I’ll be with my parents in Chicago for Shabbat. On Sunday I’ll fly to Japan, arriving there on Tuesday, and I’ll spend Shabbat in Kobe.”

“Very good,” he said. “I have your father’s number.”

I went to visit my parents, stayed there for Shabbat, and on Sunday afternoon I left Chicago for San Francisco. When I was at the airport in San Francisco changing planes, a public announcement came, “Mr. Steinmetz has a phone call.” I went to the phone, and it was Rabbi Hodakov. “How did you get me?” I asked.

“You told me you’re going to be in Chicago, so I called your parents there. Your parents told me you had left already, but your father had your schedule, and he said that you should be in San Francisco now, boarding the plane for Tokyo. I’m calling because I need your address in Japan. The Rebbe wants to send you something . . .”

I gave him my address, and then he said, “You have a berachah from the Rebbe. You should have a nice trip and much success . . .”

I arrived in Japan and went about my business. For Shabbat, I went to Kobe. When I arrived in Kobe and checked into my hotel, I was informed that there was a little parcel for me, which had come from New York special delivery.

Now it’s important to remember that I left from San Francisco on Sunday, and this was Friday of the same week, but it’s a day later in Japan than in the United States. Still, by Friday morning, that parcel was waiting there for me.

I opened it, and it was from the Rebbe. There was a small siddur and a Tanya, and also a note that I should give these to someone who may need them. What do you do in Kobe when have two items such as these? You bring them to shul! So, I took these two items to shul with me. When I arrived there, I met a very good friend of mine whom I knew from Venezuela. His name was Ben David; he was a pearl dealer who came to Japan to buy pearls. He was so happy to see me: “Oh, Efraim! How are you?!” And he invited me to his house for Shabbat, although I declined the invitation because I had already made other arrangements.

Then he asked me, “What do you have there?” meaning the package from the Rebbe that I was holding in my hands. And I told him the whole story.

And when I did, he started to cry. He said, “This is the most fabulous thing that ever happened in my life. You know, I arrived here about six weeks ago. And I have a custom since my youth to learn Tanya every morning after prayers. But I left my Tanya at home. I don’t know how it happened, but I left it at home. So I phoned my son, and I told him to send it to me. He promised to send it, but I haven’t received it. I’ve been so upset, and I didn’t know what to do.”

And then he said, “You know, the Rebbe saw my pain. He saw my pain, and he sent you what I needed.” He just couldn’t stop crying.

I was so impressed, because it was an amazing sequence of events. I had called the Rebbe and said I was going to Japan, and the Rebbe sent these books, making sure they arrived before Shabbos. And it was exactly just what this man needed.