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A Dream Comes True
By Avrohom Jacobson

The Rebbe Rayatz had just told him, “Yankel, make sure to chazer the maamer ‘VaHarikosi Lachem Bracha,’” when he felt someone shaking his shoulder and he woke up… * For years Rabbi Yankel Lipsker searched for such a maamer, but no one knew what he was talking about. It was only years later in Paris, that the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach solved the mystery.

Kutaisi, the Georgian Republic. Shabbos Kodesh, 18 Adar 5702 (March 7, 1942). The skies over the Central Asian city of Kutaisi were overcast as Shabbos descended. It was a cold and rainy winter night. One by one, the lights in the windows of the buildings flickered and went out. The city of Kutaisi slept.

In a small house at the edge of the city, R’ Yankel Lipsker was making his final preparations before going to sleep. After saying Kriyas Shma, slowly and with kavana, as befits a Lubavitcher Chassid, R’ Yankel conducted a careful cheshbon ha’nefesh and then made his way to bed.

But sleep would be long in coming. R’ Yankel’s heart was heavy with the knowledge that thousands of miles away, a cruel, terrible war was being waged against his brethren. Rumors had reached Kutaisi of millions of Jewish dead, may G-d protect us. How could he sleep when he was so consumed with worry and anguish?

R’ Yankel was one of the lucky ones, having managed to take refuge in Kutaisi. But even there it was dangerous, filled with agents of the K.G.B. who were determined to obliterate the Jewish faith.

Life was very difficult in Kutaisi. R’ Yankel, like the other Lubavitchers who had fled to Central Asia, knew that they must never capitulate to the Communists. Before leaving Russia, the Rebbe Rayatz had encouraged his Chassidim to remain strong and never give in to the winds of heresy that were blowing across the Soviet Union.

R’ Yankel himself had never seen the Rebbe. When the Rebbe left Russia in Tishrei of 5688 (1927), R’ Yankel was only a young boy. More than 14 years had passed since then…

R’ Yankel’s mind was racing, all his thoughts and worries jumbled together. But eventually sheer exhaustion took over, and his eyelids closed of their own accord. R’ Yankel fell into a deep sleep.

He began to dream, vivid dreams that transported him far away, to a place where a Jew could walk the streets without fear that every passing car was filled with secret police.

R’ Yankel suddenly found himself standing on a broad, busy avenue, looking up at a red brick building crowned by three triangular peaks. The tops of the pointed roofs were white, and beckoned like points of light.

For some reason R’ Yankel felt himself drawn to the building and he walked over. Standing on the threshold, he could hear people singing Chassidic niggunim on the second floor. When he opened the door and walked inside, it felt as if he were being pulled by an unseen force. Making his way through an entrance hall, he quickly climbed a flight of stairs to the second story and walked down a short hallway. At the doorway to a large room he stopped, too shocked by what he was seeing to continue.

Dozens of Chassidim were sitting and singing Chassidic niggunim, melodies that stirred his heart and penetrated his soul. R’ Yankel had never experienced such overwhelming emotion.

R’ Yankel entered the room and sat down, when suddenly the room went silent. All eyes were on the doorway as a tall bachur wheeled the Rebbe Rayatz into the room in a wheelchair.

R’ Yankel had never set eyes on the Rebbe, but he had no doubt that it was he. He studied the Rebbe’s holy face, trying to imprint every nuance and subtlety on his memory.

The Rebbe’s chair was wheeled over to the table and the farbrengen began. R’ Yankel could not make out the Rebbe’s words very clearly. He did, however, hear the Rebbe distinctly tell him, “Yankel, make sure to chazer the maamer ‘Va’harikosi Lachem Bracha,’” when suddenly he felt someone shaking his shoulder. He awoke with a start, drenched in sweat.

R’ Yankel’s wife was tugging at his arm, trying to waken him. He looked at her with half-closed eyes, desperately trying to retain the last images of his wonderful dream. “Yankel, get up!” she whispered. “The baby is coming…”

In a split second R’ Yankel returned to reality. As it turned out, there wasn’t time to reach the hospital, and R’ Yankel’s wife delivered a healthy baby boy at home. At his bris eight days later, the baby was named Shalom Dov Ber, after the Rebbe Rashab. R’ Yankel had planned on naming him after his grandfather, but in the wake of his powerful dream he changed his mind and decided to name him after the Rebbe Rayatz’s father.

For a long time afterward the Rebbe’s words still echoed in his ears: “Yankel, make sure to chazer the maamer ‘Va’harikosi Lachem Bracha.’” He repeated the dream to numerous friends and relatives, but no one had ever heard of a maamer by that name.

Among the Chassidim in Kutaisi was a bachur who had once studied in the Lubavitcher Yeshiva Tomchei Tmimim in Leningrad, and had actually merited to meet the Rebbe Rayatz. He asked R’ Yankel to describe the dream to him, sparing no details. “Well,” he said when he had heard the entire dream, “there’s one thing that doesn’t make sense. You said that the Rebbe was being wheeled in a wheelchair, and I don’t remember him being that ill. Of course, the intervening years could have taken their toll. But the face you describe is that of an old man, and the Rebbe isn’t that old! I don’t believe that the person you saw in your dream is really the Rebbe.

“But the strangest thing about your dream is the name of the maamer,” he concluded. “Most maamarim of our Rebbeim begin with a pasuk or saying of Chazal, and are based on previous maamarim. For that reason alone your dream is peculiar, because there just aren’t any maamarim starting with those words.”

R’ Yankel was discouraged, but he refused to give up hope. His dream had been so lifelike and vivid that it had to be true.


Paris, Winter of 5707 (1947). After several years of suffering, the Lipsker family finally left the Soviet Union. In the winter of 1947 they arrived in Paris, where they joined the large community of other Russian Lubavitchers who had already emigrated.

There were many distinguished Chassidim living in Paris. One time R’ Yankel, who had never forgotten his dream, asked the famous Rabbi Schneur Zalman Schneerson if he was familiar with a maamer beginning with the words “Va’harikosi Lachem Bracha.”

R’ Schneur Zalman smiled. “Perhaps you mean the niggunVa’harikosi Lachem Bracha,’ he said, and proceeded to hum a few bars. “No, I’m serious,” R’ Yankel said. “I’m talking about a maamer.”

But R’ Schneur Zalman, like the others, was unfamiliar with it. The news was very distressing. If a Chassid of the stature of R’ Schneur Zalman had never heard of it, then perhaps it didn’t really exist.


Paris, Summer of 5707 (1947). At the end of Adar 5707 the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach arrived in Paris to meet his mother, Rebbetzin Chana, o.b.m., from whom he had been separated for decades. The Rebbe would remain in Paris for three months. As soon as he arrived he asked R’ Yankel to be his shamash, the latter being overjoyed to accept the position.

One of R’ Yankel’s primary duties was to provide the Rebbe with kosher food. R’ Yankel’s wife prepared the meals, and every day at 11:00 a.m. R’ Yankel brought them over to the Rebbe’s hotel.

Toward the end of his stay in Paris, the Rebbe offered R’ Yankel 5,000 francs as payment for his services, but R’ Yankel was aghast. He refused to take the money. “If I had known that you wouldn’t accept payment,” the Rebbe said, “I never would have troubled you so much.” “If I had know that you intended to pay me,” R’ Yankel replied, “I never would have agreed to be your shamash.” In the end a compromise was reached: R’ Yankel would accept the money, but give it to tzedaka. The Rebbe then asked him to bring it home to his wife, so the two of them could perform the mitzva of tzedaka together. The Rebbe also presented R’ Yankel’s wife with a bound edition of Likkutei Dibburim.

In the course of serving as the Rebbe’s shamash, R’ Yankel decided that he would ask the Rebbe about his dream. Indeed, it was a golden opportunity, for who better than the Rebbe’s son-in-law, the Ramash, as he was then known, would be in a position to tell him? It took several days for R’ Yankel to muster up his courage, but one day, after delivering the food, he remained in the doorway and asked the Rebbe if he could ask him a question. The Rebbe turned to him expectantly.

“Perhaps you know of a maamer beginning with the words ‘Va’harikosi Lachem Bracha?’” R’ Yankel inquired.

The Rebbe was very surprised by the question. “Tzulib vos darft ir vissen?” (Why do you need to know?)

R’ Yankel was evasive, not really wishing to repeat his strange dream to the Rebbe. But the Rebbe was persistent, and asked him several times why he wanted to know. R’ Yankel felt as if he were turning back the clock as the wonderful dream came pouring out of him. Again he was flooded by the extraordinary sensation of being in the Rebbe Rayatz’s holy presence, with the Rebbe’s parting comment to him echoing in his ears, “Yankel, make sure to chazer the maamerVa’harikosi Lachem Bracha.

The Rebbe was staring at R’ Yankel so intently it felt as if he too were participating in the dream. When he finished his recitation, the Rebbe asked him to repeat it again.

R’ Yankel, encouraged by the Rebbe’s interest, then told him about a different dream he had once had concerning the revelation of Moshiach.

Without saying anything, the Rebbe walked over to a corner of the room and opened a small suitcase. He took out a yellowing publication and handed it to R’ Yankel. It was a copy of HaKriya VehaKedusha dated Teives 5703 in which the Rebbe Rayatz’s maamerVa’harikosi Lachem Bracha” was printed.

R’ Yankel, stunned by the realization of his dream, then heard the Rebbe say, “S’iz bai mir a peleh! Der maamer is ersht geven, un ir hot shoyn fun im gevust.” (This is truly remarkable! The maamer had just been [printed] and you were already aware of it.)


New York, 5708 (1948). The happy ending to this story took place the following year when R’ Yankel and his family arrived in New York. R’ Yankel was about to enter 770 for the first time in his life.

But it wasn’t really the first time, of that he was sure. The red brick building was exactly as he had seen it in his dream.

In fact, every detail was the same, even the room where the farbrengen with the Rebbe Rayatz was about to begin. And when the door opened and a tall bachur wheeled the Rebbe Rayatz inside in a wheelchair, he recognized him immediately. It was the same bachur. The farbrengen commenced.

As R’ Yankel looked at the Rebbe Rayatz’s holy countenance, his long-ago vision was superimposed on reality. Yes, this was not the first time he was seeing him. The Rebbe looked exactly as he had in the dream, his holy face expressing deep pain and pure faith as one.

“When Hashem returns the captivity of Tziyon, we will have been as dreamers…”

(With thanks to Rabbi Chaim Shalom Dov Ber Lipsker of Crown Heights. The maamer “Va’harikosi Lachem Bracha” is printed in the Yiddish Seifer Maamarim.)


HaRav HaChassid R’ Yankel Lipsker, o.b.m., with one of his grandchildren


“Most maamarim begin with a pasuk or saying of Chazal... there just aren’t any maamarim starting with those words...”  





“If I had known that you wouldn’t accept payment,” the Rebbe said, “I never would have troubled you so much.”

If I had know that you intended to pay me,” R’ Yankel replied, “I never would have agreed to be your shamash.”







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