This visit was different. First, while addressing the Groner daughters, the Rebbe stopped and questioned Ben-Tzion’s sister Leah about whether she lit Shabbat candles – a standard practice from age three for Lubavitch hassidim, particularly the offspring of rabbinic families. Rabbi Yossi’s father was none other than the Rebbe’s own personal assistant, Rabbi Leib Groner, and the family’s adherence to hassidism came from the Groner sons. When Ben-Tzion popped out from behind his father, the Rebbe burst into an ebullient smile. He pointed at Ben-Tzion and declared, “When he gets married, his wife will give tzedaka.”
Ben-Tzion was only eight years old. The in-house video system in Crown Heights routinely recorded the visit and the Groners took the video home. They didn’t frame the dollar.
Ben-Tzion loved to see the video, hundreds of times watching the Rebbe speak of his charitable future wife. And through his horrendous medical ordeal, he assured his parents: “Everything is going to be okay. I have the Rebbe’s blessing.”
Such reminiscences ran through her mind on this wedding day, and Mariashi Groner couldn’t quite get a grip on her emotions. “AML is a terrible diagnosis, but if you beat it, it’s gone,” she said. “Still, on an occasion like this, you can’t help but think back on how different life could have been.”
Mariashi was also grateful that the lovely and charitable young woman hadn’t been worried by her groom’s medical history.