Stories of the Rebbe
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A story of the Rebbe #94 - The Pharmacist and the Aspirin Print Email

In 5719/1959, Sholom Levin, the then-secretary of the Israeli Teachers? Union, had a yechidus with the Rebbe. The Rebbe'spoke to him in detail about the need to encourage teachers in Israel to educate children in Jewish values and traditions. Mr. Levin tried to explain that teachers in Israel do not possess the same faith as the Rebbe in the importance of mitzvos and they would not be able to help him with this request.

The Rebbe rejected this answer, however, saying, "Teachers need to see themselves as pharmacists. The doctor prescribes a certain medicine, such as aspirin, for example, and the pharmacist is the one to dispense it. The pharmacist doesn?t need to understand how the aspirin actually works ?"

Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine

A story of the Rebbe #95 - Sparks Print Email

The Rebbe once explained to a Jewish car dealer that the message a car gives to us is that even if it is made of the required material and it receives the energy sources necessary to make it drive, it still needs the spark created when the engine is started in order to move. If everything is the way it should be, the car will drive. However, at the same time it is understood that it is not necessarily the best situation that the spark is needed to start the engine.

The Rebbe continued that this can be compared with a person, and a Jew in particular. A Jew was created in order to travel in the right direction, to serve G-d. This needs to be accomplished through the abilities that G-d created within his divine soul. In the same way, he should utilize the faculties of animal soul to serve the Holy One. At first, however, or from time to time, a person needs a certain "spark" to motivate his abilities to fulfill his role in life. However, it is not always healthy to feel the need to ignite this spark too often.

Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine

A story of the Rebbe #96 - A Suggestion to Go to Israel Print Email

A bar mitzvah boy from Afula once wrote to the Rebbe, asking why the Rebbe didn?t move to Israel, "because it is better to live here." On the envelope of the invitation to the bar mitzvah that the Rebbe had been sent, the Rebbe added, "N.B. Regarding his letter about the place where a person should live, it is not a case of whether the place is more pleasant or better, but rather where he could do more good deeds, or where his help is needed. In the case of a doctor, he needs to find a place to live where he feels needed, rather than where he feels comfortable. In truth, every person needs to ?cure? his surroundings, bringing about more light and holiness."

Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine

A story of the Rebbe #97 - The Hardest Test Print Email

Rabbi Scheinfeld, relates,

"I once headed a delegation of Rabbis who went into yechidus with the Rebbe. We had a very interesting conversation with the Rebbe. I remember that among other things, the Rebbe'said, "How could Eliyahu Hanavi say, on Mount Carmel, ?Do we follow Hashem, or do we follow the baal?? How is it possible to put such a choice to a Jew? How could a Jew be offered the alternative of serving the baal? What would Eliyahu have done if the Jews had decided to worship the baal? How could Eliyahu take on such a responsibility? In the end, he gave them the choice to serve either one or the other."

The Rebbe continued: "I remember that the Hebrew tells us that Eliyahu knew that when a Jew has his back to the wall, he will say that Hashem is G-d. Eliyahu was therefore not taking any chances here, because he knew that when a Jew is given such a choice, he will say that Hashem is G-d."

The Rebbe then told us that he heard from his father-in-law, the Rebbe Rayatz, in the name of the Maggid of Mezeritch, that there will be a similar situation. In the days preceding the coming of Moshiach, the fire will once again go down on the other side, giving us the hardest test of all.

Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine

A story of the Rebbe #98 - Celebrating Miracles ? Print Email

A group of non-observant Jewish students once had a yechidus with the Rebbe. They asked the Rebbe how much influence he had over nature and how he could perform miracles. Were his prayers more effective than those of other people?

The Rebbe explained that physicality stems from spirituality, and that when a change occurs in the spiritual aspect of something, it has a material effect as well. This essentially means that every Jew can perform a miracle when he connects the spark of G-dliness buried within him with the Heavens above, by enjoining with Hashem, the Torah and mitzvos.

The Rebbe concluded that these students should perform their own miracle by bringing about a change in their own lifestyles, and living according to the Torah and mitzvos.

Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine

A story of the Rebbe #99 - A Light Punishment Print Email

A group of non-observant Jews once asked the Rebbe about the reason for the penalty of lashes (malkus), which is given for the performance of negative aveiros. They felt that this punishment was too severe.

The Rebbe replied, "Imagine that a satellite was sent into space for research purposes. Billions of dollars and scientific know-how were invested in the construction of the satellite. The whole world was anticipating interesting results from the research. What if one of the astronauts came along and deliberately sabotaged the program? What type of punishment do you think he deserves?"

The members of the group replied that no punishment was severe enough for him. "If that's the case," the Rebbe answered, "if you knew the terrible effect in the upper worlds, as well as in this world, that is produced every time a negative precept is violated, you would understand why the punishment of "malkus" is too light ?"

Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine

A story of the Rebbe #99 - Leave it to Moshiach Print Email

After the farbrengen on Yud Shevat, 5747/1987, the following conversation took place between the Rebbe and Dr. Yona Daras:

The Rebbe: I am very pleased to be able to see you as a friend, rather than as a patient.

Dr. Daras: I am delighted to see you.

The Rebbe: Why are doctors only involved with sick people, and they Don't pay enough attention to the healthy?

Dr. Daras: How can we possibly add to the health that Hashem gives us?

At this point, the Rebbe raised his hands and said, "If a simple human being and a doctor aren't able to add anything to this world, then what are we doing here? ?" Dr. Daras replied, "Do we need to make everything perfect?" The Rebbe answered, "Let's leave that to Moshiach ?"

Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine

A story of the Rebbe #101 - To Forgive a Thief Print Email

A young man once wrote to the Rebbe that his tefillin had been stolen. A few days later, he received a reply from the Rebbe'stating that he should forgive the thief because if the thief puts them on, he should at least be doing so in a permissible way rather than in a manner that is forbidden.

Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine

A story of the Rebbe #102 - An Oath to Whom? Print Email

A bochur from an American yeshiva once had a yechidus with the Rebbe in which he said that he had visited a certain university campus several times and even was planning to study there.

The Rebbe tried to persuade the bochur not to go, but the bochur replied that he had promised his father that he would attend the university. To this, the Rebbe replied, "And didn?t you swear to your Father at Mount Sinai?"

Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine

A story of the Rebbe #103 - The Power of the Chassidim Print Email

The late Rabbi Avraham Sofer, Av Beis Din of Zaggiaritz in Italy, son of the author of the "Hisorrerus Teshuva," developed a close relationship with many leading pre-war Torah figures. He was also very close with the Rebbe, whom he often visited, and from whom he heard many chiddushim of the Chasam Sofer.

When the Rebbe once quoted a teaching of the Chasam Sofer on maseches Avoda Zora, Rabbi Sofer asked, "Why is it that the Rebbe recalls what the Chasam Sofer said, when I, as the Chasam Sofer's grandson, Don't remember it at all?"

The Rebbe, in his humility, replied, "This is the power of the Chassidim."

Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine

A story of the Rebbe #104 - "A Leader in This City" Print Email

The leading Torah giant Rabbi Shmuel Halevi Wosner, author of "Shevet Levi," once visited the Rebbe. During his visit, he and the Rebbe discussed various subjects. At the end of the yechidus, Rabbi Wosner asked the Rebbe, "What is the role of the Rav and leader in Israel?" The Rebbe replied, "To inculcate within the people that there is a leader in this city."

Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine

A story of the Rebbe #105 - A Blessing for All Print Email

During a visit to New York, Rabbi Yosef Padwa of London decided to go to "dollars" to receive a blessing from the Rebbe. However, he wasn?t sure what to do because he wanted to request a blessing for one of the members of his family, but the gabbaim had warned him that he should not take up too much of the Rebbe's time.

When Rabbi Padwa's turn came, the Rebbe held out several dollar bills to him, with a blessing for "nachas from himself, and from those around him."

Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine

A story of the Rebbe #106 - The Rebbe Never Forgets Print Email

The late Gerrer Rebbe, the Pnei Menachem, zt"l, once visited the Rebbe with his nephew, the son of his brother, the Rebbe Binyamin, zt"l. When the Pnei Menachem introduced his nephew to the Rebbe, the Rebbe asked, "Are you the person who wrote to me 22 years ago, signing the letter as ?Alter,? spelled with a tes?"

Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine

A story of the Rebbe #107 - "Seventeen Years Ago" Print Email

Rabbi M.L., a leading Bobover chassid, and the former director of the administration of Beis Yaakov of Boro Park, once related:

"Many years ago, the administration of the school went into yechidus. They asked the Rebbe for advice on several important educational matters, and the Rebbe answered their questions in great detail. Years later, I walked past the Rebbe for dollars, and the Rebbe remarked, ?You were here 17 years ago!? I was so surprised. After all, hundreds of thousands of people must have passed in front of the Rebbe during that time, yet the Rebbe must have remembered every single one! Moreover, my physical appearance had changed completely after so many years. After thinking very carefully I realized that the last time I had been in yechidus actually was 17 years earlier."

Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine

A story of the Rebbe #108 - Enough Time for Sixty Thousand Print Email

Rabbi Rosen, former Chief Rabbi of Romania, once related: "On one of my visits to the Rebbe, I saw a crowd of leading Rabbis and Gedolei Torah in the waiting room. When I came in, the Rebbe's first question was, ?How many Jews are there in Romania?? I replied, 'sixty thousand.? The Rebbe then asked me to sit down. I realized that many people were waiting outside, and the Rebbe's time was limited, so I asked the Rebbe how much time I had. The Rebbe answered, ?I have already answered you.? I found this a little surprising, and I said, ?But I never asked before!? The Rebbe insisted, ?I already answered you.? Noticing that I did not understand, the Rebbe remarked, ?I have as much time as is necessary for sixty thousand Jews. ?"

Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine

A story of the Rebbe #109 - Nine Moshe Rabbeinus Print Email

A student once asked the Rebbe during a yechidus, "What is the role of the individual within Yiddishkeit?" Afterwards, the student kept pondering the Rebbe's answer to this question: "Nine Moshe Rabbeinus couldn?t form a minyan to recite Kaddish unless a tenth man came to complete it. And this tenth man could be even the simplest Jew ..."

Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine

A story of the Rebbe #110 -The First Answer Print Email

Rabbi Y. Y. of Kiryat Gat relates: "I once went into yechidus with my wife. Throughout the day, my wife and I had been arguing about whether we should ask the Rebbe about a certain family issue. As we could not reach an agreement, we wrote in about everything else but we did not mention that particular matter. But when we gave in the note to the Rebbe, the first answer we got was to the issue that we had not actually asked about!"

Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine

A story of the Rebbe #110 - To Increase Life Print Email

The late Rabbi Shneur Zalman Garelik of Kfar Chabad first visited the Rebbe at the beginning of 5721/1960. During his yechidus, he asked the Rebbe if he could give over the running of a gemach that he owned to other people because it took up a lot of his time and he found it very difficult to run, being elderly and weak.

The Rebbe replied that it did not take up his time and that, if anything, it increased his time. Rabbi Garelik, who was then aged 80, went on to live another fifteen years, passing away at the age of 96.

Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine

A story of the Rebbe #111 - "And They Shall Forget" Print Email

A certain famous Rav used to merit to have long personal audiences with the Rebbe. On one particular occasion he expressed his concern to the Rebbe that he was careful enough when it came to revealing matters that should not be made public. The Rebbe replied, "Regarding an issue that should not be publicized, I will tell you clearly what should not be made known, or I will make sure that you will forget about it ?"

Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine

A story of the Rebbe #112 - Speaking in the Upper Worlds, and Hinting to the World Below Print Email

During the Seudas Moshiach farbrengen in 5733/1973, a leading Rabbi from Boro Park came to see the Rebbe. (This Rabbi had already made Havdala, and was therefore able to travel.) At one point, the Rav mentioned a certain important political issue, and the Rebbe answered, "The light of Moshiach is shining right now, and you want to drag me into such matters?!"

The Rabbi replied, "But didn?t the Rebbe'speak about the issue very sharply just now?" The Rebbe'said, "What's the comparison? When we speak here at a farbrengen, from this chair, it is a matter of 'speaking above and hinting below.?"

Translated from the Kfar Chabad Magazine


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