Reb Yitzchak Nemes was a stamp merchant from New York. He would travel several times a year to different countries to meet with the postal service managers there and to purchase rare and exotic stamps from them at low prices. He would then sell these stamps, at a significantly high mark-up, to stamp collectors. In this way, he made a living.
Reb Yitzchak was a loyal Lubavitcher chassid, and he never traveled anywhere before receiving the Rebbe s blessing. Once, he was scheduled to go to Nicaragua for business, and, as always, he sent a note in to the Rebbe, requesting a brachah for success.
This time, though, the Rebbe’s reply did not come right away. Days passed, and then weeks. Reb Yitzchak's trip was drawing closer, but still the Rebbe had not responded to his note. Reb Yitzchak was becoming anxious. He asked the Rebbe's secretary if he could see what was doing with his request, but the secretary replied, "We can’t hurry the Rebbe.”
When there were only two days left until Reb Yitzchak’s scheduled trip, the Rebbe’s secretary finally agreed to go in to the Rebbe and inquire about the brachah for Reb Yitzchak.
The Rebbe began to ask for details about Reb Yitzchak’s upcoming trip. When he was told that Reb Yitzchak would be staying over in Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, the Rebbe said firmly, "He should travel—just not now.”
Reb Yitzchak's family wondered if and how Reb Yitzchak would suddenly abandon all of his plans because of the Rebbe’s response. After all, this was an important business trip. But they needn’t have wondered at all—as a loyal chassid of the Rebbe, Reb Yitzchak would not think of going anywhere without the Rebbe’s consent and blessing. Upon hearing the Rebbe’s words, he immediately canceled his trip.
The next evening, Reb Yitzchak heard the horrifying news: Managua, Nicaragua, had just suffered a major earthquake. Entire sections of the city had been completely wiped out, just like that.
Reb Yitzchak began to cry as the realization hit him: the Rebbe had saved him from certain death!
Some time passed, and Reb Yitzchak decided to now try to fulfill the second part of the Rebbe's instructions: "He should travel." Although Nicaragua was still in shambles from the earthquake, Reb Yitzchak managed to find a flight to there, and he arrived in Managua.
Piles of debris greeted him in the city. Most of the streets had been destroyed, and refugee camps were set up all over the place, in an effort to help the newly homeless citizens. With great difficulty, Reb Yitzchak picked his way around the debris, until he found the city's post office.
When he arrived, he was shocked to discover that the post office was still completely intact; it hadn’t been damaged at all in the earthquake! Reb Yitzchak entered the building and met the postal service manager, a long-time friend of his.
The postal service manager was excited to see him. "You know," he said to Reb Yitzchak, "because of what's going on here, no one has time to be busy with stamps anymore. Come to the storage room and take whatever stamps you want. I’ll only charge you a small nominal fee, and they’re yours.”
Indeed the Rebbe’s blessing had come true in its entirety: He should travel—just not now.