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Jewish Traveler Saved From Lost Malaysia Flight by Orthodox Agent Insisting on Shabbat Observance

March 11, 2014 12:18 pm 55 comments

Malaysia Airlines. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

A Jewish traveler named Andrew was saved from tragedy by a last-minute decision to follow his travel agent’s suggestion not to fly on Shabbat, which is how he narrowly missed boarding the lost Malaysian Air Flight 370, the Boeing 777 that has disappeared from flight maps.

“More than the Jews have kept the Shabbos (Shabbat), the Shabbos has kept the Jews,” wrote blogger DansDeals, who was told the story by the travel agent and on Monday posted a redacted copy of the traveler’s fateful email exchange.

On a jam packed trip, leaving from Boston, Andrew was planning to go to Sydney, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Beijing, Vietnam and Melbourne. The trip was built around a conference in Fangshan, China, on Saturday.

DansDeals, narrating the exchange, wrote, “The travel agent, an Orthodox Jew, proposed the following business class itinerary, slightly altering the Kuala Lumpur-Beijing flight from Saturday to Friday.”

Andrew insisted on staying an extra day in Kuala Lumpur, but that would have meant a flight on Saturday.

“The travel agent responded that he would not be able to book travel for him over the Sabbath, but that he was free to book that flight by himself,” DansDeals wrote.

Andrew agreed with that and planned to book the flight by himself. But, then he re-considered.

In an email, Andrew wrote to the travel agent: “Greetings from LAX airport. Will board my Delta flight in 55 minutes. I reconsidered, you are right I should be more observant, I’ll manage without that day in Kuala. Since I’ll have an extra night in PEK, any recommendations for a good Friday night dinner in Beijing?”

The travel agent recommended the Chabad of Beijing for a nice kosher meal and booked him on the original itinerary, flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on Friday early instead of Saturday.

Two days later, Andrew wrote to the agent: “Holy God, You sure heard what happened to MH370. I cannot stop thinking about this. This is a true miracle for the books. You are a true life saver… I cannot think anymore! We’ll talk later this week. Don’t know how to thank you enough. Now please change my return. I am not stepping on a Malaysia flight in my life.”

The travel agent responded, “I am so happy for you! Not I am the life saver. God and Shabbat were your life savers. You owe them something.”

DansDeals wrote that Andrew’s story reminded him of that of Rose Goldstein, a Jewish girl who emigrated on her own from Poland, and had a job at a shirt factory on New York’s Lower East Side, a hundred years ago. She told her bosses an excuse for not working for several Saturdays in a row, but then felt the pressure to go to work on Saturday, or lose the job. She made the decision not to work, spending the Shabbat alone in Tomkins Square Park, happy but at the same time fretting that her absence would surely mean that she would lose her job.

Only when she got home that night, Rose found out that the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory had burned down, and 146 of her immigrant co-workers, out of 190 at the factory, had died because the fire escapes were locked to keep them busy working.

As her story was related on the Chabad.org website that DansDeals linked to, Rose always remembered the words she was left with when she boarded the boat for America: “As her father had said, more than the Jews keep the Sabbath, the Sabbath keeps the Jews.”

55 Comments

  • Marjorie Entermann

    God honours those who honour Him and obey His commandment to keep the Sabbath Day holy. Sadly the majority of Christian people in the world observe Sunday as a traditional holy day. But only a Holy God can make a Holy Day, and nowhere in the Bible is there a command to keep Sunday as a Holy Day. It is a working day in God’s eyes. If more people honoured God by keeping Sabbath Holy there would be more stories like this. If you want the favour and protection of God,do as He says. Trust Him and let Him lead in your life. The Sabbath was made for MAN not only Jews, it was instituted in Eden long before Abraham or Moses. There are blessings in Sabbath observance, I know, as I have been enjoying them for well over 70 years.

  • Here is a nice little video-clip about the story.

    PLEASE, watch it and pass it on to all your contacts!

    http://player.vimeo.com/video/91158901

    Enjoy!

  • HUGO CAVENDISH

    This story may or may not be apocryphal. But ‘Am Yisroel Chai!’

  • Re: 6 million…prophecies had to be fulfilled and so things happen we can not explain now, but in eternity all will be cleared, even Satan accusing G-d of not being righteous, etc. Ez. 37,15 is happening now:)

  • If the Jewish man was truly keeping the sabbath then he would not have been working at all on saturday. To change his flight to not travel on saturday despite still working on saturday would make no difference as it says thou shall do no work on the seventh day which is the sabbath which is what is to be kept. also for the travel agent to not schedule someone on a saturday flight because of his own beliefs is ridiculous. its not him taking the flight. unless he owns his own business the travel agent should be fired for not doing his job and costing the company clients that want to fly on saturday.

    • Micah,

      Are you kidding me? Your reply to this amazing story was either a pathetic joke or just pathetic. The fact that you can’t see the blaze of light and humanity in this amazing story is astounding. Who are you to tell Andrew how to observe the Sabbath? He can observe/worship any way he wants. Would it be better that he didn’t observe at all? And, who are you to tell the travel agent what to say and do? You want him to be fired for not selling Andrew a plane ticket for Saturday travel? Oh my G_d. You really need to put on some rose-colored glasses and look at the good things in people. I feel sorry for you man. Good luck.

    • He doesn’t work on Saturday.read it carefully again!

    • Even Jesus ate on the Sabbath and someone had to prepare the meal.

      • Read the Torah (that’s the first five books of the Bible). What Jesus ate on Shabbat was prepared on Friday. “Bake what you will bake and seethe what you will seethe” on the sixth day, to prepare for the Sabbath, was the command.

  • Hey People it was not his time to go its the roll of the dice.where was G”d for the six million?????????????????

  • I read this with interest. I am a Chrsitian who keeps Sababth and I know many Christians with similar experiences who would say God blessed them and kept them safe.

    I believe they were safe because they kept their Sabbath, yes, and that those who perished were very unlucky, but not being punished in any way, just a those who kept Sabbath were not singularly being rewarded in any way.

    • Nell, Greetings from another Christian Sabbath keeper. The fourth commandment also says ‘six days shalt thou labour’. Do you think this is just as important as resting on the seventh day? Seventh Day Baptists and Seventh-day Adventists once believed this.

      Around 1888 hundreds in the USA and Australia went to Court, Jail, Stocks, and even the Chain Gang for disobeying Sunday rest laws,because of this belief!
      Uncledon.

      • Scripture teaches us to get all our work done within the six days, not that we have to work on all 6 of them.

        Refraining from work on Sunday is not receiving the mark of the beast…. In places where the opposition is so strong as to arouse persecution, if work is done on Sunday, let our brethren make that day an occasion to do genuine missionary work.

        If they should come here and say “You must close up your work and your presses on Sunday,” I would not say to you, … “Keep your presses going,” because the conflict does not come between you and your God.

        We should not feel it enjoined upon us to irritate our neighbors who idolize Sunday by making determined efforts to bring labor on that day before them purposely to exhibit an independence. Our sisters need not select Sunday as the day to exhibit their washing.

  • This is another eye opening and life changing miracle indeed, I wonder how many times we have killed ourselves spiritually, emotionally and physically by not observing the Sabbath. We might not die instantly, in the act of breaking the Holy Sabbath, but we surely are welcoming the 1st and 2nd deaths…

  • It is always good to hear that one is saved, but what about those(the many) who are lost?

  • Praise God,

    When we are obedient to God, He is faithful and just. He has promised to give His angles charge over us to keep us in all our ways! Sabbath worship is not just for the jews but for mankind, try it and see the blessings on your life as well!

  • rechel maningding

    Another Testimony of God’s Goodness

  • There are no miracles- Hashem oversees everything and works in wondrous way. One cannot understand until a person BEGINS to learn & take steps towards following the Mitzvot and sees the results, and has an “attitude of gratitude” for The One who brings ALL blessings.

  • BDË – unfortunately another Jew from Russia was not so lucky; he was close to the Chabad shaliach there and leaces a wife a children.
    Hamkom Yenakeim Et’chem Betoch Sha’ar Avlei Tziyon Virushalayim

  • Such a dramatization.

  • Mireille Mechoullam

    If it’s not a miracle, what do you call it?

    • It is called “hash’gakha pratit” – which translates out into the somewhat odd “private supervision” but refers to G-d’s “supervision” or guarding of each of us individually.

  • Where can I find more information on this incident? After a google search, only this website has this publication. Can the Jewish Exponent print this article?

  • This is sick. 229 people are dead, and the only thing you are doing is knelling that a Jew didn’t get on the plane? Have a heart, people.

    • edwrard i am a south indian and i completely agree with you.what they are knelling is utter non sense.god could have saved the plane right?

  • Markus E Brajtman

    I would like to add.

    Remember that israel was attacked on YOM KIPPUR, on Shabbos.
    HASHEM was with Israel
    How is it that Israel won the first war, with no army, navy, airforce, but with WW2 veterans and holocaust survivor, against the might of 5 Arab armies. Tnen, every other war which the Arabs tried to destroy the Jewish state

    This can only be with the help and guidance of HASHEM.

    Israel will survive Obama and kerry, Abbas ,TUTU, and the Jew hating world.

    The bible predicted that the world will gang up on Israel, and that Israel will survive.

    The Jews are survivors and G-D’s golden eye.

    • Your reply is well noted and I completely agree. I disagree with a you saying Israel will survive Obama, Kerry…. I would say that Israel will survive the AMERICAN preoccupation with peace with the Arabs. The preoccupation with peace has been with all administrations in USA not just the Obama administration. You should also say Israel will survive any and all Israeli leaders negotiating to give up ‘land for peace’, i.e. Prime Minister B. Netanyahu…..! HASHEM, warned so in the holy scriptures.

      • Markus E Brajtman

        Thanks for your reply.

        PM netanyahu made the worst political decition to agree to release murderers of Jews, to get Abbas to sit and talk peace.
        He should have known that Abbas and the Arabs have no intention of making peace with Israel. Will never agree to call Israel the Jewish state.

        Obama will have the release of terrorists on his head.

        There should have been no pre conditions.

        Abbas used these “peace talks” only to get more murderers on the road, to kill more Jews.And Abbas calls them heroes for killing families in bed and decapitating a baby.

        Bibi should have said “OK, we will release all the prisoners once you sign a genuine peace, and refer to Israel as THE JEWISH STATE and that all the Arab states recognise Israel and create diplomatic ties.

        He should have known that this will never happen, so no peace talks

        I know that it is easy for me sitting in comfort in Cape Town, but I think that everyone will agree with me.

      • I agree completely with you.

      • But can America survive the Jewish obsession in with open borders?

        E.g., David Gelbaum and the ADL and BB rush to Arizona to attack a state legislative effort to control the influx of illegals.

      • marg robinson

        Who is hishem

    • Jeffrey Cheah

      The Lord God of heaven and the whole earth is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and He has sworn to the patriarch that He will bless them. They who bless Israel will be blessed and they who cursed Israel will be cursed. The Lord has preserved the children of Israel since they left Egypt under the leadership of Moses until today. No way, Israel could be destroyed by all the nations of the world combined. Surely the Lord God Almighty will find for them and when the victory is finally won! Israel will proclaim the Lord God as their God and Israel will shout “Blessed is He who came in the name of the Lord! Salvation will come to Israel. He is Who He is as He declares His name to Moses!

      • Yes,very true.Israel is God’s beloved people,but so sad they didnt recognized His great love to them and even despised Jesus Christ as the Messiah.But the Holy Scriptures emphasized to us how this country is blessed until now,even in the last days.

    • Hashem is taking the name of YHWH in vain. His name is YHWH. Seek His face and repent brother. Bless His almighty name.

  • “Andrew” is a fictitious character, who doesn’t exist. What sort of journalism is this? This supposed/alleged “Andrew” of yours just allowed you to use his real first name, but not his last, but allowed his personal email excerpts to be published?–Rubbish, and I call “Bullshit!”

    In the mean time, if you consider that every time some sort of event occurs with a bunch of people involved, and it so happens to be a ‘Sabbath’, or some sort of ‘high holiday’, WHAMMO!!!, a sensationalistic article like this surfaces. Fooey!

    If 9/11 would be on a Friday evening, instead of a Tuesday morning, there would be someone saying, “My Rebbe told me to do Amidah a little longer that evening, and I was late to the train, and next thing you know…(fill in the rest)”

    I think its cheap. Something horrific happens like this Malaysian flight, and instead of taking it for what it is, a baffling tragedy, we liken it to a Job and the Whale story…

    I’d like to know the name of “Andrew”, …his full name, and I would like to know of this “Travel Agent” (I think 99.999% (give or take a few illiterate people, but since “Andrew” is a fascinating businessman who travels the world, well you know…he probably is the 99.999%) book their travel online. Travel agents are a dying breed.

    Think of journalism…he would have to have the permission of the travel agent AND this “Andrew” fella, and get it in writing, and … and … and….all by Tuesday morning? Someone ask the editor for proof of these characters.

    Case and point: at the very least, please entertain me, and give me a good Ashkenazi last name…so that it feels more sensational!

    • Whether or not you can verify this narrative as having actually happened, other fantastic things have happened. The important thing is to consider that Hashem whispers in our ears all the time. This message does not discount the lives lost but suggests that Sabbath preserves the Jewish people and, through them, the creation. It intones, “Keep My Shabbat and it will keep you.”

      It beckons to the world to draw closer.

    • What a tasteless article. Shame on anyone who reads this garbage and comes away feeling good about a God that would allow such a horrible event to occur for the sake of proving something. I’m so sick of narrow-minded religious idiots giving the real devout, spiritual, loving and caring humans a bad image. This article in no way whatsover could convince me that God is good and He ‘loves’ us. Please STOP. Enough already.

  • As a Jew, he never should have gone to Nazi Malaysia in the first place.

    • give me a break..Thats not the point of this story..revel in the factb that Shabbos observance saved the mans life..

      • Hadara Zemel

        I agree, Gerald. You can always bend the issue in a different (or negative) way, but I think only a fool would refuse to see the hashgachas pratis of the situation.

    • Eric, your remarks are completely out of order, and an insult to the God you worship. The Malay people are a very warm and friendly people, and have no links to murderous atrocities associated with Nazism. Shame on you!

    • Eric R.

      You’re a sound like a moron.

      I’m Malaysian and I like Jews, Muslims, all people..except the EVIL kind with hidden agenda like “your” Illuminati, Freemason cults…who hails mostly from Hegemonic West. Malaysia is NOT Nazi..at most…PUPPETS..created by Freemason Brit Gov.

      Btw, NOT all Malaysians are Malays/ Muslims. I worship Yhwh and a Y’shua! Many non-Muslims and non-Malays in M’sia and fyi, M’sia gov is the problem (just as all world gov) but Malays are not all bad…they are good as well.

  • I was a soldier in the U.S. Army and served in Vietnam with the 1st Special Forces Group and with the Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV) as an advisor to the Vietnamese Army. I survived those tours of duty without being wounded. I am a Christian and adore God. I was under Agent Orange drops and suffered with cancer, but am now doing very well. Our God took care of me also.

  • Andrew should make a donation to charity and go to the synagogue and give thanks and praise to G-d for saving his life!!

  • Russell Grayson

    I have been more lax about Shabbos observance than I knew was proper. This story has changed that. I will miss my Orthodox minyan on Shabbos–it’s 12 miles away, so walking is not a real possibility. I will stay at home, keep the Shabbos, and when Marriott opens their new hotel, one block from my Chabad–soon–I will be spending my Erev Shabbos/Shabbosim there, and rejoin my congregation when I can. My commitment to myself, and to keeping Shabbos must become central to my life. This story changed my life-“Jjews don’t only keep the Shabbos–Shabbos keeps the Jews! ” indeed!

  • Judy Silver-Shapiro

    I too am weeping…

    SHABBOS and GD keep us safe!

    AM YISROEL CHAI!

  • I can’t stop crying. Thank you G-d.

    • If you believe God saved this man, what do you think of God allowing terrible death to all of the other innocent passengers on that flight? Do you believe God only protects you if you’re Jewish? If that is so, then why did God not protect the 6 million innocent Jews from the Holocaust?

  • I spent many a yom tov in Chabad in Beijing, and the rabbi and his excellent wife and brood were wonderfully hospitable to me, tho i am non-Observant. they made the yom tovim smile for me, as the city i lived in had few Jews, no shul, and little gemutliche warmth. This story brought me near to weeping; how good it is this man could tell this tale and not be counted among the missing.

  • Victoria D Matlock

    Lucky Man God watched for him and His faith keep Hi safe wow

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