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The Wellspring Part 6
(Click here for Part 1.)
Behind the Scenes at the Vaad L’hafotzas Sichos
By Rabbi Zalman Chanin, As Related To Rabbi Shalom Yaakov Chazan

People Should Give, No Need To Ask

One time a major supporter of the Vaad L’Hafotzas Sichos came up with an idea to organize a fundraising event on behalf of the Likkutei Sichos, and proposed that a permanent board of directors be created to oversee the Vaad’s ever-increasing expenses. The plan was for me to accompany him to Brazil, where I would explain to potential contributors the great merit they would have in publishing the Rebbe’s sichos.

I brought the suggestion to the Rebbe’s attention, and asked if he approved the idea. The event was scheduled to take place on a Monday; I asked the Rebbe the previous Thursday. The Rebbe agreed.

That Motzaei Shabbos my telephone rang; it was Rabbi Hodakov, who told me that the Rebbe had withdrawn his permission. He also told me that the Rebbe had requested that I accept the new directive “with joy and gladness of heart.” Needless to say, the fundraising event never took place and I eventually forgot about it.

A few months later I was standing on the front steps of 770 with another major supporter of the Vaad when the door suddenly opened and the Rebbe stepped outside. As he walked down the stairs he paused to give us a broad smile.

My friend took the opportunity to ask the Rebbe why he hadn’t allowed me to travel to Brazil. The Rebbe replied, “For printing sichos people should give money; one shouldn’t have to ask. And this pertains to everyone.”

When my friend countered that such individuals have to first be generated, the Rebbe said, “Who needs to generate them? I don’t need their money…”

The Sichos “Sail”
All Over The World

Reb Zev Horowitz of Brazil is one of the major financial backers of the Likkutei Sichos. One time during Sunday “dollars,” when Reb Zev presented the Rebbe with the newest volume that had just been published, the Rebbe asked him if he knew the reason why the Brazilian coin is known as the “cruzeiro.” Reb Zev did not know, so the Rebbe explained:

“Cruzeiro” is similar to the English word “cruise,” which means to sail by boat. In the same way a ship sails from place to place over the sea, money passes from hand to hand and makes its way around the country.

“These books,” the Rebbe said, indicating the Likkutei Sichos, “also ‘sail’ from place to place, and are likewise found all over the world…”

Another Five Dollars

One time when Reb Zev Horowitz presented the Rebbe with a new volume of Likkutei Sichos, the Rebbe handed him five dollars and said, “In the Torah everything occurs in fives: five Chumashim, five books of Tehillim, etc. When you’ll finish printing the next five volumes, I’ll give you another five dollars.”

Not An Expert
In Investments, But…

The Rebbe’s high regard for contributors to the Vaad L’Hafotzas Sichos is illustrated by the following story:

A few years ago the economy of Brazil was in serious decline, to the point that the entire financial standing of the country was in danger. One Sunday by “dollars,” a businessman asked the Rebbe if it was worthwhile to invest money in Brazil, given the economic situation there. The Rebbe replied that he was not an expert in investments, and told the man to consult with financial advisors.

A half-hour later I passed by the Rebbe with Reb Zev Horowitz and he asked the same question. After giving him a dollar for tzedaka and a bracha for success, the Rebbe said, “It is advisable that you invest a great deal of money in Brazil, as I’ve heard that its whole economy is going to turn around for the good.”

A Reminder

Another time by Sunday “dollars” the Rebbe remarked to Reb Zev Horowitz, “I have many s’farim in my possession that you have printed. Thus, I am reminded of you all the time…”

“It Will Give Me Something to Learn From”

The Rebbe’s special appreciation for the Likkutei Sichos was not limited to first printings, but extended to subsequent editions as well.

One time Reb Yisroel Zayantz, a generous contributor to the Vaad L’Hafotzas Sichos, presented the Rebbe with a volume that was in its second or third printing. The Rebbe said, “Thank you very much for this book – it will give me something to learn from. Even though it is not a first edition, ‘every day it should be to you as new.’ And not just ‘as new,’ but actually new!’ You should know that I will learn from this book, and in the same way you’ve given me this merit, you have a responsibility to learn from it, as well.”

Sealed with the King’s Imprimatur

From the moment the Rebbe Rayatz appointed the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach in charge of the Kehos Publication Society, the Rebbe always paid particular attention to the books’ Foreword (pesach davar).

In the early days the Rebbe would compose them himself. Later, when the Rebbe’s time was at a premium, he would personally edit the Foreword of every single volume and affix the date on the bottom as a sign of approval. This was also done with the Likkutei Sichos, each of which was personally edited by the Rebbe. Even sixth and seventh editions received the same consideration, with the Rebbe always signing the date at the bottom margin.

It is for this reason that the Vaad always reprints the Forewords of every previous edition when publishing a new one, even though the text has remained the same.

Triple blessing:
Ba’kol, Mi’kol Kol

A certain Chassid was once going through a very difficult time in his life. First his business started failing, then some of his children gave him cause for concern. He also had a daughter who had been married for two years but had not yet been blessed with children. He asked the Rebbe for a bracha, and the Rebbe gave him one for success in all these matters.

Some time passed, and there was still no improvement. I happened to be with him the day he passed before the Rebbe and said “Nu?” as if complaining that the bracha had not yet materialized. The Rebbe looked at him very seriously and said, “Az ich hob gezugt, vet azoy zayn! Nor vos zol ich ton az ich bin nit kayn kohen? Felt inad m’heira yarutz devaro.’” (When I say something, it will happen! Can I do anything about not being a kohen? ‘His word runs very swiftly’ is lacking.)

A short time later we were again standing together by “dollars” when the Rebbe handed him a dollar and said, “It should be ‘ba’kol, mi’kol kol.’” Over the next few months the Rebbe’s brachos began to materialize one after the other. And nine months later his daughter gave birth to triplets – ba’kol, mi’kol kol!

For a Speedy Recovery

There was once a member of Anash who wasn’t well, and resolved to make a sizeable donation to the Vaad L’Hafotzos Sichos. When he wrote about his decision to the Rebbe, the Rebbe answered: “The merit of publishing these books will speed your recovery.”

An Auspicious Time
For Shidduchim

A few years ago, during Kislev, Reb Chaim Lapidus presented the Rebbe with a copy of the seifer Shidduchim V’Nisuyim. The Rebbe told him, “The month of Kislev is auspicious for making shidduchim, and my wedding also took place in Kislev.”

If You Learn, Your Father
Will Be Rich

Once when Reb Chaim Lapidus took his son to the Rebbe for “dollars,” the Rebbe told the boy that he had to help his father print the Likkutei Sichos. If you learn a lot, the Rebbe told him, your father will have a lot of money, and he’ll be able to publish many books.

Better To Give Money To Tzedaka Than To Pay
Doctor’s Bills

There was once a person who committed himself to donating a large sum to the Vaad L’Hafotzas Sichos. Months passed, but he neglected to send in the money.

Some time later his wife was involved in a terrible car accident in which both her legs were broken. The woman had to undergo several operations before she could walk again, but it was a miracle that she survived at all.

When the man wrote to the Rebbe about what had happened he received a very sharp reply: You did not fulfill your promise to give tzedaka; perhaps it is your wife who prevents you from doing so? A person’s money is what sets him on his feet; that is why her legs were broken. The way to fix this is to immediately give the money to tzedaka. Subtract the amount of all the doctors’ bills and give the rest at once…

The Opposite is More Logical

Every year on Erev Rosh HaShana the Vaad would submit a detailed report to the Rebbe with the amounts of money each contributor had committed himself to donating over the coming year. The Rebbe would study the information and sometimes add various comments in the margins.

One year a contributor was with me when I handed the envelope to the Rebbe. The Rebbe looked at him and asked, “Is the contract inside?” When the man said yes, the Rebbe added, “According to my calculations?” The man replied that if his business prospered during the coming year, he would contribute even more than he had already committed himself.

A few days later I received the Rebbe’s answer, in which he made reference to this conversation: On the contrary, the opposite is more logical. However, b’dieved, this is also for the good – revealed and overt good. I have mentioned this at the tziyun.

(Click here to continue.)

The Rebbe gave a very sharp reply:
You did not fulfill your promise to give tzedaka; perhaps it is your wife who prevents you from doing so? ...







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