Stories of the Rebbe
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A story of the Rebbe # 19 - "I Will Mention it at the Gravesite" Print Email

During Tishrei 5734/1973, a visitor to Crown Heights suddenly received an urgent telephone call from his home. His father had suffered a severe heart attack and was in critical condition. The distraught visitor immediately sent a note to the Rebbe describing the situation. A short time later, he received the reply: "I will mention it at the gravesite, and there will be good news."

Knowing that the Rebbe would only be going to the Ohel, the resting-place of his father-in-law, the Rebbe Rayatz, in another few days, the worried visitor sent in another urgent note. He felt that as the situation was critical, he could not wait those few days until his father??'s name could be mentioned at the gravesite.

A few minutes later, the following reply was received:
"Since then, [the father] has already been mentioned several times at the gravesite. But if [the writer of the note] wants, he can go to the gravesite himself, and there should be good news."

Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine

A story of the Rebbe # 21 - A Message from Above Print Email

One Shabbos, before the passing of the Rebbe Rayatz, the Rebbe ascended the bima during the reading of the Torah and declared:

"The Rebbe [Rayatz] told me that his father is with him, and they asked why people are speaking during krias haTorah."

Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine

A story of the Rebbe #22 - Beyond Comparison ? Print Email

During yechidus, a shliach once complained to the Rebbe that he did not want to work for his father-in-law. The Rebbe replied, "But I also worked for my father-in-law. So you could also work for your father-in-law."

The shliach immediately remarked, "How can the Rebbe possibly compare his father-in-law to mine?"

With a smile, the Rebbe answered, "And could we compare the sons-in-law?"

Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine

A story of the Rebbe #23 - "My Only Concern" Print Email

Late one night, a member of Anash put a note in the crack of the door to the Rebbe's room. The note was not seen by the Mazkir and the note fell down on the floor. The next day, when the Chassid learned that the Rebbe had to bend down and pick up his note he wrote another note to the Rebbe, apologizing for making the Rebbe lift up the note.

The Rebbe replied,"But all I am interested in is lifting things up, especially when it comes to what others wouldn?t notice."

Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine

A story of the Rebbe #25 - I Will Write to You in the Way that You Want Print Email

A certain Jew used to write letters to the Rebbe, and in response he would receive letters of a general nature. These letters usually described a concept in Chassidus, and often included footnotes and references.

After a while, he complained about receiving such letters rather than answers of a more personal nature. The Rebbe replied, "I thought that you wanted to know what I am busy with at the moment. But, as it would appear that this does not interest you, I will write to you in the way that you want."

Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine

A story of the Rebbe #25 - Banishing the "Mora Shechora" Print Email

A young man once came to the Rebbe for yechidus, and the Rebbe asked him, "Why are you such a ?mora shechora?nik? [meaning ?depressed?]?" The young man remained silent, and the Rebbe continued, "I can?t stand having any ?mora shechora? in my daled amos. Go to the window and throw out all of your ?mora shechora.?"

Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine

A story of the Rebbe #26 - "Fifty Percent" Print Email

After a yechidus, the mashpia, the late Reb Nissan, a"h, related at a farbrengen, "When I was with the Rebbe, the Rebbe told me that he wanted me to ask the bochurim to do a particular thing. Looking at the Rebbe, I asked, ?How? In what way could this be done?? The Rebbe replied, "Whenever I go out to a farbrengen and I ask the Chassidim to do something, before I actually make my request I always work out how much the Chassidim would be able to fulfill my directive. If I reckon that they could fulfill fifty percent of my request, then I ask it of them."

Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine

A story of the Rebbe #27 - A Present for the Rebbe Print Email

During a yechidus, Reb Yissachar Dov Weiss requested a brocha for the flotation of his company on the Stock Exchange. The Rebbe asked, "And what will you give me?" Reb Yissachar Dov replied immediately, "I am ready and prepared to give whatever I have to the Rebbe." The Rebbe asked him if, the next time he came, he would bring "a thousand blatt Gemara" with him.

Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine

A story of the Rebbe #30 - I Will Do Whatever I Need to Do Print Email

The following story was heard from the late Dr. Larry Resnick, a"h:

During the period following the Rebbe's heart attack in 5738/1977, I told the rebbe that it was not good for his health to continue to deliver sichos, as he would do over the telephone. In fact, it could be clearly seen that whenever the Rebbe'spoke, his holy heart was not in a healthy state.

The Rebbe answered, "You are a good, fine doctor, and you know your work. But I will do whatever I need to do. ?"

Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine

A story of the Rebbe #31 - A Guide for the Perplexed Print Email

A talmid chacham who decided to follow a life of Torah and mitzvos due to the Rebbe's influence, relates that his path of Yiddishkeit began when he was at a local lending library. There, he saw a volume of the Rambam's Moreh Nevuchim, "A Guide for the Perplexed," in English. He began to read it, and for the first time in his life he started to learn about Jewish concepts.

This young man was not familiar even with the most basic mitzvos, and he could not see any connection between this sefer, whose author had died centuries ago, and his everyday life. Yet he still began to show an interest, and his local shliach suggested that he should visit the Rebbe. The young man traveled to New York, arriving in 770 while the Rebbe was in the middle of a farbrengen.

The first words that he heard the Rebbe'say were: "The Rambam'was not only the moreh nevuchim in his generation, but also for generations to come." The shocked young man realized that "something was going on," and he stayed on to hear the rest of the farbrengen.

Today, he is a well known avreich.

Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine

A story of the Rebbe #32 - To Save a Single Soul ? Print Email

The Rebbe once unexpectedly asked the late shliach to Argentina, Rabbi Dovber Baumgarten, z"l, to travel to Belem in Brazil. Belem, (whose name originates from Beis Lechem) is about 1500 km from S. Paulo. A Jewish community has existed in Belem ever since the expulsion from Spain, and Rabbi Baumgarten was asked to inspire the city's remaining Jews, many of whom were very assimilated, to take an interest in their heritage.

Rabbi Baumgarten arrived in the city several days later, and he announced that he would be speaking in the local shul. The community gathered in the shul, where Rabbi Baumgarten ascended the podium and began a rousing speech on the prohibition against intermarriage.

While he was speaking, Rabbi Baumgarten noticed a young man sitting in one corner who appeared to be listening very intently. Afterwards, this young man approached Rabbi Baumgarten and asked him for some advice. It emerged that the young man was due to marry a non-Jewish girl that week in church. His grandmother told him that as far as she remembered, a bridegroom was supposed to go to shul before he got married, which was why he had come to the shul. He did not even know that Rabbi Baumgarten was scheduled to speak that day.

When he heard Rabbi Baumgarten say that marrying a non-Jew would sever his connection with the Jewish nation, the young man felt very upset. Rabbi Baumgarten now realized why the Rebbe had sent him to Belem. He invited the young man to go to a nearby kosher coffee shop, where he spent a very long time with him until he convinced him to break off his engagement.

Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine

A story of the Rebbe #34 - "And I Will Make Your Name Great" Print Email

Rabbi Wolfson, Rosh Yeshiva of Torah Vodaath, once related that when he started to develop his connection with Chabad Chassidus, he attended a particular farbrengen. Suddenly, the following thought sprang to his mind:

"I can understand everything being said, but why on earth do the Chassidim constantly publicize the actions of the Rebbe around the world in any way they can? Why is it so important to them? Isn?t it all rather exaggerated?"

At that moment, the Rebbe'suddenly changed the subject of the sicha he was giving, and said, "Regarding Avraham Avinu, it is written, ?And I will make your name great.? This at first appears puzzling. Why would Avraham need a promise that his name would become great in this world? The point is that publicizing Avraham's name around the world would bring about greater awareness of Hashem's Name, because everywhere Avraham went, the Name of Hashem was heard and was sanctified."

Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine

A story of the Rebbe #35 - The Right Number Print Email

When Rabbi M. M. Tennenbaum, z"l, needed to go to the hospital, he asked the Rebbe for a blessing. When the Rebbe blessed him, he handed Rabbi Tennenbaum a handful of coins. Without even counting them first, Rabbi Tennenbaum took the coins to the hospital with him. After he was discharged from the hospital seventeen days later, he was surprised to find that the Rebbe had given him exactly seventeen coins.

Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine

A story of the Rebbe #36 - The Kings of Poland ? Print Email

Mrs. Graberchick, who runs the department for the children of Chernobyl in the Beis Rivka Girls? School, relates:

"One particular girl, who was one of the oldest and more serious of the group, once asked me for some help and advice. She wanted to continue studying in Beis Rivka, but her parents, who had recently arrived in Israel, were against this idea. Although the girl did not want to upset her parents, she also did not want to leave Beis Rivka. She asked me what I thought she should do. I suggested that she ask the Rebbe, but she requested that I present the question to the Rebbe in my name rather than in hers.

"The Rebbe replied,

"?Tell her (explain to her) that she should be religious in her daily life. She is following in the ways of the previous generations of her family and the entire Jewish people, whose grandfathers and grandmothers all, quite simply, lived this way. They risked their lives for this, in defiance of the decrees of Russian czars and the kings of Poland, etc. They were literally moser nefesh ??

"When I read this letter to the girl, she exclaimed in surprise: ?Hey! That's amazing! Only the Rebbe could give me an answer like this. How would the Rebbe know that my father was born in Russia, but that my mother was born in Poland?! For this reason, the Rebbe'specifically mentioned the ?decrees of the Russian czars and the kings of Poland!?"

Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine

A story of the Rebbe #37 - The Rebbe Threw Matza Print Email

At a Seudas Moshiach farbrengen in 5733/1973, during one of the niggunim, the Rebbe'suddenly took a piece of matza, wrapped it in a napkin, and threw it into the crowd. When someone caught it, the Rebbe exclaimed, "Michla d?assusa!" ["The food of health."] The Rebbe then threw another piece into the crowd, and called out to the person who caught it, "Michla demehimanusa!" ["The food of faith."]

This went on about five or six times, and each time the Rebbe either called out "Michla d?assusa!" or "Michla demehimanusa!" Afterwards, it became apparent that each person who caught a piece of matza about which the Rebbe'said "Michla d?assusa!" was either sick or had a family member who suffered from health problems. And each person who received the other type of matza had needed encouragement in their emuna. What was even more amazing was that this was the first time that three of the people who caught the matzos were attending a farbrengen with the Rebbe.

Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine

A story of the Rebbe #39 - "To Perform Great Wonders" Print Email

On the first night of Pesach, 5729/1969, something very unusual occurred at the Rebbe's Seder. When the Rebbe reached "Hallel" during the recital of the Haggada, he reached the verse, "To perform great wonders alone, for His Kindness is everlasting." The Rebbe read out this verse three times with great devotion (in the same melody that he recited all of the other verses in this section of the Haggada). At the same time, the Rebbe'struck the chair next to his own with his right hand in regular movements.

Those present later said that they saw that the Rebbe wore an expression of great devotion and enthusiasm. Some people also recalled that that same night, after saying "Next year in Jerusalem," the Rebbe asked everyone to sing the niggun, "Prazos teishev Yerushalayim."

A Tomim who was at the Seder related afterwards:

"When we reached the verse, ?to perform great wonders,? the Rebbe'suddenly raised his voice and recited verse very loudly and with great feeling. He did not say it only once, as is usually customary, but repeated it three times, each time in a louder voice and with even more emotion. After Yom Tov, we found out that at the exact time when the Rebbe was reciting the verse, a shell stuck the dining room of a military outpost in the Sinai desert. Although it could have caused many deaths, the shell miraculously did not explode at all."

Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine

A story of the Rebbe #40 - "A Yoledes" Print Email

When the artist Rabbi Boruch Nachshon first visited the Rebbe, he was privileged to receive special attention. For example, when he had his first yechidus, he spoke to the Rebbe about his general situation, and the Rebbe gave him a specific instruction to learn a particular artistic technique. Rabbi Nachshon still uses this technique in his paintings today. On a number of occasions, Rabbi Nachshon also spoke to the Rebbe outside on the street, when the Rebbe was on his way home from 770. The Rebbe guided Rabbi Nachshon's every single move.

One Shabbos, Rabbi Nachshon's wife needed to give birth, and she went to a Jewish hospital on S. Mark Street. After the farbrengen that Shabbos, Rabbi Nachshon wanted to recite a "Mi Shebeirach" for his wife during Mincha in the Rebbe's minyan. However, Rabbi Nachshon did not speak Yiddish very well, and the gabbai, Rabbi Yochanan Gordon, who did not know much Ivrit, did not understand what he wanted. At 3:55pm, while Rabbi Nachshon was still trying to explain exactly which kind of "Mi Shebeirach" he wanted to say, the Rebbe'suddenly called out, "A yoledes" (a newly delivered mother).

Immediately after davening, Rabbi Nachshon walked to the hospital, where he found out that at the precise moment that the Rebbe uttered the words, "A yoledes," Mrs. Nachshon had given birth.

Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine

A story of the Rebbe #40 - A Secret Shlichus Print Email

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

A story of the Rebbe #41 - Using Ruach Hakodesh Print Email

One Motzei Shabbos, which was also erev Rosh Chodesh, Rabbi Pinye Althaus was standing by the elevator in 770. As the Rebbe walked past him, he immediately noticed that Reb Pinye was not in a good mood.

"Pinye, you must have forgotten to say "Yaaleh veyavo" during Maariv," the Rebbe remarked. Reb Pinye recalled that this was the case, and he replied, "That's true." With a smile, the Rebbe added, "You see what I need to use my ruach hakodesh for, Pinye ?"

Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine

A story of the Rebbe #42 - Don't Travel Tomorrow Print Email

Mr. A. once went into yechidus with the Rebbe, during which he said that he intended to travel to Israel. He asked the Rebbe to arrange for a certain individual to provide the appropriate documents for the trip. The Rebbe replied that Mr. A. would not be traveling the next day. Mr. A. was very surprised, as he already had a ticket. After the yechidus, Mr. A. was astonished to find that his passport had expired, and he therefore would not be able to travel after all.

Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine


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