|A story of the Rebbe #40 - A Secret Shlichus|
Whenever the former chief Rabbi of Rome, Rabbi Eliyahu Toaff, was asked about his strong connection with the Rebbe and the great awe and respect that he displayed at the mention of the Rebbe's name, he would just smile. Over the years, Rabbi Toaff told the story of his first encounter with the Rebbe on many occasions.
It began when the president of Rome's Jewish community decided that the time had come for a "revolution" in the religious observance of local Jewry by introducing Reform practices. His first move was to copy his Christian neighbors by playing an organ in Rome's main Shul on Friday nights.
Rabbi Toaff, who had worked very hard against the influence of the Reform movement, felt that this was the last straw. After much soul-searching, he decided to take a very serious step, and he went into his office to write his letter of resignation.
"While I was still writing," Rabbi Toaff later recalled, "my telephone rang. It was the secretary, who told me that two young men desperately wanted to see me. When they came in, they got straight to the point. ?We were sent by the Lubavitcher Rebbe,? they said. ?He asked us to go to you urgently and tell you that your late father is worrying about you in the World of Truth. There are many problems, but during the next two weeks everything will work out, and you should remain in your position in Rome.?
"I was absolutely speechless," Rabbi Toaff continued. "Yet even before I had a chance to regain my composure, the two messengers disappeared as if they had never been there. Of course, I immediately tore up and threw out my letter of resignation. And, sure enough, after exactly two weeks, something happened that caused the president of the community to abruptly resign.
"Since then, all the problems were sorted out and I carried on guiding the community, just as before."
Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine