Saved by Shabbos: A Chilling And Awe-Inspiring Malaysia Air Flight 370 Story


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Malaysia.airlines.b747-400.9m-mph.arpHaving Shabbos in mind while booking a flight has saved a passenger’s life.

The story has been reported on the Dan’s Deals website, with an email exchange between a travel agent and a Jewish traveler.

Andy was set to travel from Sydney, Australia, on March 1st, to Hong Kong, and then to Kuala Lumpur. From Kuala Lumpur, he was to fly to Beijing, and he requested to be on a flight on Saturday, the 8th of March.

The travel agent, an Orthodox Jew, proposed a slightly altered itinerary, changing the Kuala Lumpur-Beijing flight from Saturday to Friday.

When the customer requested to change to 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, saying “You know I don’t like flying Jews on Shabbat.”

After deciding to book the flight himself, Andy later emailed the travel agent that he has changed his mind, and asked if he has a recommendation on where to eat in Beijing over Shabbat.

The travel agent recommended a place to get a nice kosher meal and booked him the originally proposed itinerary, flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on Friday early morning instead of Saturday.

After Shabbos, when Malaysia Air Flight 370 took off from Kuala Lumpur at 12:43 am and has yet to be located, the travel agent received an email from Andy.

“This is a true miracle for the books,” he wrote. “You are a true lifesaver.”

“Not I am the lifesaver,” responded the travel agent. “G-d and Shabbat were your lifesavers. You owe them something.”

Read the fascinating e-mail exchange between Andy and his travel agent, which was published in full on



  1. These are terrible stories — for each story like this there is another story where a man kept shabbos / woke up early to learn daf yomi / etc and somehow wound up dead because of the events that ensued, or a man who did something terrible and was saved because of it.

    Of course we are not HKB”H, and we don’t see the links between cause and effect, and between mitzvose and scharan, and onshim and scharan. We should not pretend to understand the “links” we see when there are just as many other connections that we don’t see, or which we see that go the other direction. This is not a good direction to go…..

  2. To #1 (M)

    Its our duty to see the positive in a story like this, what u said is pure speculation. We do not hear stories that because of keeping Shabbos someone was hurt etc. Unless it was a Mesiras nefesh thing, which Hashem tests a person!!!

    See Reb Moshe ztl in his sefer Frash Moshe, Parshas Vayeitzei, on the Posik “Vatan Rochel V’leah. (Very Powerful)

  3. For andy, this is not a terrible story. for the travel agent it is not a terrible story. for everyone who draws chizuk from it, it is not a terrible story. for cynics, maybe it is a terrible story.

  4. #2, I hate to say this but I fail to see any apikorses in comment #1. Are you, unlike the rest of us mere mortals, privy to HKBH’s chesbonos?

  5. Matan s’charan shel mitzvos b’olom haboh. The gemoro talks about a guy who went on a roof to do shiluach hakein at his fathers request (two mizvos for which we are promised arichas yomim) and fell off the roof and died.

    That having been said, #1, I don’t honestly recall hearing such stories…maybe they’re not publicized?

    The other thing we learn here is that it’s not just the yidden who already know to keep shabbos, but also those who hint nicely to other yidden to keep shabbos.

  6. why does a feel good story have to bring out the naysayer in everyone? why cant some people fargin people to enjoy a feel good story? what alternate conclusion would the naysayers like people to conclude?

  7. Rebbe Yid, you know what Magni Umatzli means? You are confusing a couple of stuff when you tie in S’char Mitzvos. Mitzvos protect and certain Mitzvos also bring certain benefits, as many Gemaros and Mamarei Chazal state (Zoche Lebanim, Talis No’eh, Bayis, Garbei Yayin…).

    If you are quoting that Gemara you must surely be aware that the Gemara explains that it was a week ladder and that otherwise it couldn’t have happened.

    The first commentor might not be an Halachic Apikores, but it is sentiments of Apikursus that drive someone to knock stories that are Mechazek Emuna to most people.

  8. Torah and mitzvos protect.
    We do not know HKB”H’S cheshbonos, the answer to questions of someone getting hurt doing Mitzvos is we don’t have the long view.
    FWIW each day of the week has a mazel, the mazel of Shabbos is hashchasah (destruction) one of the many lesser known
    chasadim HKB”H supplies us with for being shomer torah umitzvos.
    This story is tevah

  9. To respond to a number of unthoughtful and insensitive comments that people here made. Yes, I knew of a person that woke up extra early so he could go to the early minyan to say slichose one morning in September in 2001. He did not survive when the twin towers were bombed. It is an awful story. I do not think that we should conclude that he was a rasha, or that his kavanah led to his early death and the yesomim he left behind.

    We are not nevi’im and cannot determine why certain people live and others die. Hashem can tell a story of people who are rewarded and punished for their action. The gemara even tells stories where Eliyahu Hanavi explained why a certain person was punished. But that is not for us to make up.

    This story reminds me of a story that has now been repeated many times about a boy that forgot his tefillin on a plane and insisted on getting off of it, and that saved his life. This story is a complete fabrication, and if anything such stories belie a lack of bitachon and emunah in maaseh hakadosh baruch hu. Only He alone can understand these things.

    As for those who mention being inspired — I don’t know what to say. I don’t think that silly stories not based on yesodose emunah (like the omniscience of HKBH, and not ours) are inspiring.

  10. To “apushatayid”, you are right and I stand corrected. This is a wonderful story in which HKBH saved this person’s life. And we should be entirely grateful for that. And I have no hesitation in saying how wonderfully amazing this event is for Andy and his family. But we can’t divine that we know why He was saved and not another Yid that was on the plane.

    If we feel comfortable saying that Andy was saved because of his kiyum hamitzvose, what stops us from saying that Nikolai Brodskii, the Ukranian Jew on the flight, was punished for something he did. I don’t think any of you would venture to say that, so I don’t think it’s right to pretend to understand these connections.

    Let’s thank HKBH for all of the good that He does for Andy and all of us, but let’s not pretend to understand why these things happen. That is left to HKBH and his nevi’im.

  11. To #12 What you are saying is that someone did a mitzvah and afterwards he died, not while doing a mitzvah. So that extra zechus was not enough to save him, that’s what it seems like you are saying.

  12. So it wasn’t Lashon Hara on Hashem. It was merely Motzi Shem Ra. Your charge of someone getting hurt from a Mitzva is backed up by someone getting killed the day he did a Mitzva.

    Ever heard of Yosef Mokir Shabi? Dama Ben Nesina? Rebbi Akiva’s daughter? Who are we to figure out, or realize, Hashem’s ways? Answer: we are actually Mechuyav to.

    In this story it was literally the Shabbos that saved him. We didn’t just say what Zechusim he had.

  13. “But we can’t divine that we know why He was saved and not another Yid that was on the plane.”

    We dont have to divine anything. We know why andy was not killed in this accident. He wasnt there.

  14. I think all of this discussion is a bit absurd so I will end my own comments by admitting that I don’t know what HKBH is thinking, and cannot analyze, ltovah or lra’ah, what He chooses to do in this world. I cannot understand why some people are saved from almost certain tragedy, and why pure innocent babies are sometimes tragically and brutally killed. The Rambam calls on us to do a serious cheshbon hanefesh when calamities strike, but does not ask us to try to determine why such or such happened. We are not asked to figure out whose sins brought this upon us. No, we are reminded to do tshuva and think about our own behavior.

    These fun stories give us no more license to believe we know the thoughts of HKBH and I will again admit that even when very good things happen, gavhu darkai midarkeichem, and it would be brazen to pretend I understood these connections. I thank HKB”H every day for the good He has given me, but I do not pretend that I know that it is because I kept this mitzvah or that, because I was careful about shabbos or kashrus, kvi’us ittim l’Torah.

    There is something seriously lacking in our emunah if we think we can understand schar v’onesh b’hai alma.

  15. I am sorry, perhaps I too am a cynic and an apikorus but what was the end result of this story? Did Andy become a baal teshuva and will now keep Shabbos and be a shomer torah umitzvos as a result? Or will he continue doing aveiros which we can only assume that Shabbos was one of them. So I guess the words of Chazal that say that Misas Horishayim (and I might add that Rav A. Miller Z’L said that applies to Ovrei Aveira) is Tova Lahem Vetova Leolam are not relevant here? I guess time will tell but it is a great kitrug on him should he continue in his ways of chillul Shabbos.

  16. ‘If we feel comfortable saying that Andy was saved because of his kiyum hamitzvose, what stops us from saying that Nikolai Brodskii, the Ukranian Jew on the flight, was punished for something he did. I don’t think any of you would venture to say that’ Mr.M what is the onesh for chilul shabbos?

  17. To everyone out there that has questions on Hashgoche Protis and there concept of random events, the Ramban in Divorim addresses these issues and clearly states there is nothing random in this world. Our lack of knowledge why something happened, does NOT make it a random event.
    I wonder if Andy thinks in the bottom of his heart that it was random; just plain good luck. When this type of event happens to someone else, many people try to rationalize it and say it was random. Else, they would feel more obligated to keep ALL the mitzvos.
    Some intellectuals claim the Torah was not given by HASHEM but made up by man. These people obviously lack emunah and true intellectual honesty to really search for the ultimate truth. Ein Oid Milvadoh!

  18. Rspect for all. First I would like to point out that the point of discussing events is to learn a better method of living, whether specific or general. This case shows us _____. The case presented by #1 is the absence of presenting cases. The case teaches something, and that is that there IS such a thing as benefit in this world from the performance of mitzvot. Further, when so much is uncertain, it is prudent to add investment in something that has a benefit that may ultimately gain the upper hand, At least dodge the bullet of forbidden laws that CANNOT be said to have NO effect. CHeerS!!

  19. To: 19 icantbelieveimpostingonywn: Yes, chillul shabbos bmeizid is chayav skila. If I saw bies din stone a man for chillul shabbos, then I would know for certain that that man died because of his chillul shabbos. And if Eliyahu Hanavi told me that Andy lived because of his zchus connected to keeping shabbos, then I would know that too. In this case I admit that I don’t know the ways of HKBH.

    To: 20 alex: No one here is doubting hashgacha pratis chas v’shalom, and no one is claiming that good and bad happen by random chas v’shalom. We are only admitting that we cannot understand how HKBH chooses to punish and reward people. We are admitting that we are not privy to the ways of HKBH. It sounds to me that you think you know the ways of HKBH, why certain people are sometimes rewarded and why others are punished. This sounds like kefirah and apikursus to me.

    (I apologize for posting again, when I said before that a previous post would be my last on this.)

  20. M, the mistake you are making is that you are combining unconnected things. The merit here is not that he is a Tzadik. The idea is that the current Mitzva protected him, which it did.

    The S’char for being righteous is not on this world, although Zechusim can protect a person. Bad things happen as punishment, one way or another. Instances of Tzaddik V’ra Lo are few and far between, and are an exception to the rule. Also, there is collective reward and punishment for the Klal, as is spelled out in the Torah and as we witnessed throughout the ages.

    However, Chazal tell us that there are particular benefits that come from specific Mitzvos, as a Segula. There are numerous Maamarei Chazal describing S’char on this world for some Mitzvos.

    Regardless, we don’t retroactively proclaim people to be sinners because of bad things that happened to them, since there are many things that go into the Cheshbon and we don’t know the weight of every deed.

    As I alluded to earlier, the Gemara often cites a story to illustrate how a person was helped in the merit of a Mitzva. I’m sure you heard of Yosef Mokir Shabbos, Abu Yuden, Binyamin Hatzaddik and others. Chazal point to Yakov Avinu singling out Yosef as a cause of the Galus Mitzraim. They point to Mitzvos as the cause of good things. This is the order of the world. Good deeds bring good things.

    When a mathematically challenged person solves a complex problem I would say he got lucky. If I see a mathematician solving a complex problem I proclaim, look at this expert.

  21. Where is the philosophical discussion about good and bad things happening to different people coming from? Where is the comparison. To the other jewish passenger coming from?

    Andy wasn’t “saved” while others died. He had no reason to be saved. He made a decision not to take that flight and wasn’t anywhere near it. That is why he is alive. The reason he was nowhere near the flight is very inspiring. He made a decision to respect shabbos. If this spurs him on to greater levels of shmiras shabbos in particular and shmiras mitzvos in general it will be even more inspiring.

  22. To M says:
    I did not address you but it seems my comment hit a raw nerve. Very interesting!!! You actually called me an apicorus and a koifer. You said “This sounds like kefirah and apikursus.”
    Interesting to note that the R.H. R. Kaminetsky, some of the Rabbonim of Hisachdus, Admorim and local Minhalem of Chasidishe boys schools have the opposite opinion. Many of thier students have attended my classes on these subjects. I wonder why my comment hit a raw nerve!!!!!!

  23. To: 23 HaLeiVi: I am not as great as Chazal. Even though they could understand Hashem’s ways through ruach hakodesh, and understand why certain people are rewarded or punished for very specific actions of theirs, I am not great enough to think that I can. Maybe you are on that madregah.

    To: 25 alex: I apologize since I see now that I misunderstood your earlier post. For some reason I thought you were agreeing with some of the opinions out there that believe that they can understand Hashem’s ways, and that they can know when a person’s good fortunes are the result of such and such good deeds, or when a person’s bad fortunes, r”l, are the result of such and such bad deeds. I was only saying that this sort of belief borders on kefirah and apikurses, because one pretends that they can know what Hashem is thinking. I am very sorry that I misunderstood your earlier post and connected you to these problematic views.

  24. m – I think what you are not getting is that you started your first comment with, “These are terrible stories…”. What’s so terrible about someone’s death being averted because he decided to respect Shabbos?

    There are several stories brought down in Shas that give two separate answers as to why someone was either punished or merited the circumvention of death. Chazal explain that it isn’t a machlokes. One answer is Klapei Maalah and the other Klapei Matah.

    Yes, we do not know why Andy was saved Klapei Maalah. Perhaps in the zechus of Shabbos or perhaps for another reason. However, klapei Matah, there is no question. His resolve to respect Shabbos and not fly that day clearly saved his life. There is no question about that.

    So I ask you, disregarding the fact that “bad” things happen in life (see chazal’s explanation of “bad” things), what is so “terrible” about this story?

    When you hear that someone is engaged to get married do you say, “That’s Terrible!!! 60% of marriages end in divorce!!!”? Of course not!

    Perhaps you were just trying to make a point, but after think about it for a while, I realized that even if you could have articulated yourself better, there’s a time and place for everything and this was not the appropriate time.

  25. Dear 27: Softwords — Thank you for your thoughtful and gentle response. Halvai that all of us writing so respectfully.

    You are right about the story and what I wrote was wrong — the story itself is wonderful, and I am very happy for Andy’s family that he did not board that flight. And we should all be very grateful to HKBH for each person that for whatever reason did not board that flight. Those are all absolutely wonderful things.

    What I was bemoaning was the pretense of understanding why Hashem does very specific things in response to very specific actions. Of course there are connections, and in their ruach hakodesh chazal understood some of them. But I think it is dangerous to conclude that X was saved b/c he did mitzvah Y — even only klapei maatah — because then we open the pandora box of countless other such incidents. It’s one thing to acknowledge that some misfortune of your resulted from some aveirah of yours, but it’s another thing for me to say, oh Chaim’s house was robbed because he doesn’t give tzedakah, or Sholom had a heart attack because his davening hasn’t been so good. That’s where this type of “accounting” that we do in Andy’s story leads.

    And a completely different point — do we believe that schar v’onesh operates with such a narrrow view? Was Andy more likely saved because his respect for shabbos than for perhaps 1000 other mitzvose he did earlier in his life? If I told you that I thought that Andy was saved because six years ago he saved the life of a homeless person by giving him food and shelter? or maybe Andy’s life was saved because as a child he was learning bava metzia and he spent an extra house doing chazarah so he would remember it? I don’t see how there’s any way to know any of this, which is why I think that any such explanation as the above story provides misleads us to believe an overly simplistic view of schar v’onesh. And as _everyone_ here has pointed out, that is a very complicated subject.