Set Your Eyes Upon The Heavens
In preparation for Yud-Alef Nissan, the birthday of the Rebbe MH"M, we present fifty stories of the Rebbe, including directives, quotes, Torah thoughts, and miracles. The common denominator is the lesson in avodas Hashem. * The stories were collected and written by Rabbi Sholom Dov Ber Reichman, who heard them firsthand. * Part 2 of 2 (Click here for Part 1)


Rí Serebranski: When I learned in 770, I often slept at the home of my uncle, Rí Hendel Lieberman. My uncle was an artist. He also was greatly involved in being mekarev yeshiva students, and would often invite them to his home and tell them stories about Russia and Lubavitch. He loved doing this, as opposed to using his special artistic talent, which he did with kabbalas ol.

One night I went to his home and saw him painting. He sat there for hours until it was nearly morning.

I knew about the Rebbeís strong desire that he paint. The Rebbe had asked him to do so many times, so I decided to tell the Rebbe about this to give him nachas.

I stood in the hallway in 770. When the Rebbe came in, I told him about my uncle. A few months later the Rebbe asked me, "Whatís with his continuing to paint?"

Evidently, the Rebbe isnít satisfied with one-time efforts.

(Heard firsthand.)


At a Yom Tov meal in the home of the Rebbe Rayatz, the Rashag spoke with the Rebbe about the innovation in Toras HaChassidus regarding the essential quality of mitzvos. The Rashag suggested a number of definitions, but the Rebbe did not accept them. Finally the Rebbe defined the essence: "Az a Yid tuht a mitzva, rait oif im Or Ein Sof" (When a Jew does a mitzva, the Infinite Light of Hashem rests upon him).

(I heard this from Rabbi Aharon Serebryanski.)


Rabbi Yitzchok Mendel Liss related: In 5717 (1957) there was a minyan of guests from Eretz Yisroel, a rarity in those days. The Rebbe had great nachas from this, and at a farbrengen he said, "Haintike yor is a sheina yor" (This year is a splendid year).

At another farbrengen the Rebbe said, "The secretary of Kfar Chabad (referring to Rí Yitzchok Mendel) is hiding in a corner like [it says regarding] the Torah [that it] is placed in a corner. He should say líchaim!" And the Rebbe told one of the Chassidim to pour him a large cup.


Rí Yitzchok Mendel continued: One year on Erev Sukkos, I went to the Rebbe along with all the representatives of various countries to receive the four minim from him. I was checking the hadasim for a while because I wanted to choose nice ones. The Rebbe noticed this and said, "Klaibt nit, síiz gut oif a gantz yor (Donít select; theyíre good for the entire year). Since that Sukkos Iíve kept those hadasim.


Rabbi Pesach Efraim Rieber relates: On Yud Shvat 5732 I went to the Rebbe. I was in the midst of the year of mourning for my father, aíh, and at the yechidus I asked whether it was true that the Rebbe said that it was proper to have the aliyas Maftir throughout the entire year of mourning.

The Rebbe said Maftir wasnít necessary, any aliya would be fine, and if someone didnít receive an aliya in the morning, he could get an aliya at Mincha. Even if he didnít get an aliya at all, the neshama would still have an aliya.

I also asked whether it was worth convening a special minyan in order to get an aliya for Maftir, and the Rebbe said that if the shul did not have two minyanim for krias haíTorah, he should not make one since that would be a public display of oneís mourning.


Rabbi Rieber: There were a few times I received an extra piece of lekach from the Rebbe for my mechutan, Rí Aryeh Leib Friedman. The Rebbe said, "for Rí Leib Tzaddik."

The Rebbe greatly esteemed my mechutan for defending the writing of the letterTzaddik according to the custom of the Arizal. He even corresponded at length with the well-known rav who questioned it, and wrote a work entitled Tzidkas Tzaddik.


Rabbi Yaakov K. relates: One year close to Rosh HaShana, I suffered greatly from a certain medical problem, and had it treated by Professor Braunstein of Tel Aviv. I wrote a letter to the Rebbe and among other matters, mentioned the treatment. I mentioned that the doctor had been friendly and dedicated and that his treatment was good.

A few days later, during the Ten Days of Repentance, I received a letter from the Rebbe for the professor, in which the Rebbe blessed him with a good year.

I went to give him the Rebbeís letter, which he received with great excitement. He said that he had never received a more honorable token of appreciation from a patient than this - that the Rebbe took time to write his wishes for a good year.


Rí Yaakov K: A friend of mine who joined Lubavitch decades ago and saw many miracles in his personal life regularly consulted me when he wrote to or received a letter from the Rebbe. At a certain point he received the directive "check mezuzos" a number of times. He checked the mezuzos but found no problem with them.

He finally turned to me in frustration and said, "The Rebbe certainly wants me to fix something, what should I do?" I told him that the next time he should have me remove the mezuzos. When we opened them, we discovered that the mezuza was upside-down.


Rabbi Y.Y. Belinov relates: As a child, I had yechidus with the Rebbe along with my father. The Rebbe spoke about an important communal matter and asked my father to tell me afterwards not to repeat what I had heard.

When we left the yechidus, my father asked me what I had heard. I tried to remember, but couldnít remember a thing.

(Heard firsthand.)


Rabbi Yaakov Yehoshua Laufer relates: I heard from Rabbi Aharon Yaakov Diskin (who had been in exile with the Rebbeís father) that when he went to the Rebbe in 5713, the Rebbe gave him great honor. One expression of this was when the Rebbe instructed him at a farbrengen to talk about his father. Once during a yechidus, for no apparent reason, the Rebbe revealed to him certain private thoughts. Among other things the Rebbe said, "I have a commentary on Tanya, but I donít know if the elder Chassidim will accept it in a positive way if I print it."

(Heard firsthand.)


The daughter of Rabbi Menachem Mendel, the Maharashís son, lived in Bnei Brak and was married (a second marriage) to Rí Avrohom Moshe Greenberg. One year the Rebbe sent them a pair of tickets and invited them to visit him.

During the visit they had yechidus, after which Rí Avrohom said that the Rebbe encouraged him to ask whatever he wanted, because "everything had to be laid out on the table and not kept inside."


Rabbi Shlomo Zarchi relates: The Rebbe once told me that "during the sedarim in yeshiva you must simply learn what the administration has established as the curriculum. During nigleh - learn nigleh; during Chassidus - learn Chassidus. In between sedarim - learn Chassidus, because the main reason the Rebbe Rashab founded Tomchei Tmimim was for the study of Chassidus. There were plenty of other yeshivos around for nigleh."

(Heard firsthand.)


Rabbi Shneur Zalman Gafni relates: Forty years ago I was a young newlywed. I worked a great deal with my friend, Rabbi Ezra Shochet, teaching Chassidus to men in Bnei Brak. After a few years, Rabbi Shochet (who had moved to the United States in the meantime) complained to the Rebbe in yechidus that despite learning Chassidus with many men, he barely saw it having any effect on their conduct.

The Rebbe, however, rejected his observation and said it wasnít our job to see to it that they followed the path of Chabad Chassidus. Our role is to disseminate the teachings for which the Alter Rebbe had been moser nefesh. We have to make the effort so that as many Jews as possible study Chassidus. If you see a result, that is nice, but you have to realize whatís most important.


Rabbi Gafni: I spent one of the Yomim Tovim with the Rebbe, and had the opportunity to approach the Rebbe during kos shel bracha. I held up an additional cup for other Jews. Suddenly the Rebbe asked me, "Who are you asking for?" I said it was for Rabbi Aharon Yaakov Diskin, who was in the hospital at the time.

The Rebbe said, "He left the hospital. He should have a gantza refua (a complete recovery)."

When I returned to Eretz Yisroel, I told the family about my encounter. To our surprise, the Rebbeís statement had been open ruach haíkodesh because they hadnít yet told the Rebbe that he was released.


Rabbi Aharon Yaakov Diskin attended one of the Rebbeís farbrengens. Between sichos the Rebbe turned to him and told him to say líchaim. Apparently it was difficult for him since he hadnít been raised among Chassidim, but by Lithuanians in Russia who werenít used to that. He replied that he had already said líchaim. The Rebbe responded, "Machen líchaim macht der Ďmíchalkel chaim bíchesedí" (Making a líchaim brings the "sustaining life with kindness").


Rabbi Nachum Gorelnik of Tomchei Tmimim in Lubavitch relates: When I first left Russia after the Six-Day War, I taught nigleh in Tomchei Tmimim in Kfar Chabad primarily to Russian-speaking bachurim. One day an American boy who was just beginning to be observant asked me to learn Yoreh Deiía with him. I was taken aback and impressed, because he was only a beginner. To my surprise he said that the Rebbe had told him in yechidus to study Yoreh Deiía in Kfar Chabad. Hearing that, I arranged a time to learn with him.

The boy wasnít bright, but he was determined and his memory wasnít bad. Thanks to the Rebbeís bracha and the boyís diligence, he successfully passed the tests for ordination.

Thatís how youíre supposed to carry out the Rebbeís directives, despite all odds.


Rabbi Mordechai Menasheh Laufer relates: When I was on kvutza in 5740, one of the rabbanim told us that he had had a yechidus during which the Rebbe asked him to repeat one of his recent chiddushei halacha.

This rav had been involved in a serious dispute and his antagonists had thrown him out of the community. The rav didnít want to cause the Rebbe aggravation by mentioning that he had been fired, so he told the Rebbe that he was on vacation. Hearing this, the Rebbe said in great surprise and disbelief: "A rav on vacation?!"


At the bar mitzva of Rabbi S.B.Z.ís son, the father turned to his guests and said, "Since itís a mitzva to relate G-dís miracles, as it says, ĎSo that you relate it in the ears of your son,í and based on the Rebbeís recent directive, the following is the story about the birth of the bar mitzva boy, a miraculous birth which came about in the merit of a Chassidís faith in the Rebbeís bracha.

"In the fifth month of pregnancy my wife felt terrible pains. It turned out she had appendicitis, which is ordinarily treated by a relatively straightforward operation, but since she was pregnant it was more complicated and we were told she would lose the baby, ríl. We tried to find an alternative but the doctors were unanimous in their opinion that the fetusí life would have to be given up for the sake of the mother.

"We tried calling the Rebbeís office, but were unsuccessful. Meanwhile the doctors were pressuring us to have the operation, saying we were endangering my wifeís life. We refused to make a move without hearing from the Rebbe.

"I was walking around the hospital when I met a religious doctor. I thought that with his fear of Heaven, perhaps he could help us make a decision. Hearing our story, he too said that halacha mandated that in such a case, the fetus was considered a rodeif (pursuer) and we should, therefore, save the life of the mother despite the consequences. We stubbornly waited it out, however, and finally received the Rebbeís answer, which was: ĎDo as a doctor friend advises.í

"As soon as I heard this answer, I rushed to the home of a Lubavitcher doctor who was a friend of ours, and told him the situation. He was almost asleep when I came, but he listened to the story even though this wasnít his area of expertise. He thought it over for a while, and then said that I should have the doctors determine whether or not thereís a particular type of swelling.

"I called the hospital and asked that it be checked out. They said that the swelling had actually subsided considerably. The doctor decided to wait until morning to see what would develop. By morning, the swelling had almost completely disappeared, so they didnít have to go through with the operation after all. Thank G-d, a healthy child was born not long after.

"Some time later the Lubavitcher doctor told me, ĎYou know, Iím not smarter than other doctors. Itís just that since the Rebbe sent you to a doctor friend, I understood that the Rebbe wanted something from me that the other doctors didnít say. Thatís when I had my idea. But you should know that after I took the responsibility, I couldnít sleep all night.í

(Heard firsthand.)


I heard from my father, Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Reichman: One morning when I finished davening Shacharis in the Beis Hillel Shul in Bnei Brak, a Polish Chassid came over to me. He saw me wearing a Chabad tallis, so he came to tell me an amazing story he had experienced that Pesach 5750.

His father had fallen ill a month before and was hospitalized, and he had asked the Rebbe for a bracha. The answer was to check his tífillin, and the Rebbe gave a bracha for a refua shleima.

The parshiyos of his tífillin were especially mehudaros and were written by a well-known scribe in Poland before World War II, sixty-two years earlier. It was to my fatherís great shock that a sofer discovered a písul in the parshiyos that was there from the very beginning. Over the years the tífillin had been checked nine times, but for some reason nobody had seen the problem.

On the one hand, my father was very upset, since he hadnít fulfilled the mitzva of tífillin all those years. On the other hand, he was thrilled that the Rebbe had enabled him, at least in his old age, to fix his tífillin and merit to fulfill the mitzva for the first time in his life.

Shortly after the tífillin were fixed, my fatherís health greatly improved. He ate the matza and drank the four cups of wine, which we hadnít expected him to be able to do that year.


I also heard this from my father: In 5723, Rabbi Tzvi Shlanger (today a maggid shiur in Baltimore) had a private audience with the Rebbe in which he said that he learned in Yeshivas Slobodka in Bnei Brak along with a Lubavitcher named Reichman.

The Rebbe asked which Reichman brother he meant, and wanted to know if he was the one who got married a few months ago? (A reference to myself.)

When Rabbi Shlanger returned to Eretz Yisroel he told me about this conversation. He was amazed that the Rebbe remembered everybody who wrote that he was getting married, even though in this case, the chasan did not have his aliya laíTorah in the Rebbeís shul and was not otherwise involved in 770 for any aspect of the wedding. And this was despite the fact that the Rebbe received thousands of letters regularly!


Rabbi Dovberish Shapiro, the son of the Admur Rabbi Chaim Meir Yechiel of Naral, enjoyed special attention from the Rebbe. He once reported to the Rebbe on Hoshana Rabba about his daughter becoming engaged. He realized that at that busy time of year, the Rebbe wouldnít find the time to read his note, but he wanted to rush the good news to the Rebbe anyway.

When he passed by the Rebbe on Motzaei Yom Tov at kos shel bracha, the Rebbe said, "Mazal tov to you for the shidduch." Rabbi Shapiro was amazed to see that despite the Rebbeís workload at that time, he remembered his entire family.

(Heard firsthand.)


Rav Dovberish was the principal of the Belzer Talmud Torah in New York for many years. The school was in Williamsburg, but he lived in Crown Heights. In those days (over thirty years ago), many Crown Heights Jews sent their children to this Belzer school. One morning the bus didnít come, so the principal told the parents to wait for him at certain specified locations, and he would take the children by city bus.

Thus a parade of Chassidishe children, with their principal leading them, marched down the street Ė and encountered the Rebbe. The Rebbe smiled broadly at Rí Dovberish and said, "Ir tut dem Baal Shem Tovís arbet" (You are doing the Baal Shem Tovís work). Before the Baal Shem Tov was revealed as a tzaddik, he used to work as a teacherís assistant and accompanied children to school each morning.

(I heard this from his son.)


A Chassid brought his four- or five-year-old daughter to a winter farbrengen in 5749, and put her high up facing the Rebbe. During the niggun at the end of the first sicha, the Rebbe clapped and motioned to the girl to join in. The girl just stared at the Rebbe, but the Rebbe didnít give up and motioned to her, clapping at least four times, to join in. Finally she too began clapping, and as soon as she did the Rebbe looked satisfied, as though he had finished his job. Then he turned to others to encourage the singing and clapping.


Rí Yosef Nemutin related a story that happened to one of the Chassidishe rabbanim. This rav learned in a Lithuanian yeshiva in his youth and then transferred to Chassidishe yeshivos. While he was young, there were times he mistakenly ate something without a bracha. The chinuch he received didnít regard this so severely, but while in yechidus he asked for a tikkun. He thought that the Rebbe would give him some tikkun or another and that would be that, but he was shocked to see the Rebbeís whole body tremble.

The Rebbe looked at him in amazement and proclaimed, "How could you put something in your mouth without a bracha? Chazal say, "Whoever has benefit from this world without a bracha is like one who steals from Hashem," so how could you steal (as it were) from Hashem?!"


Hereís a story showing the Rebbeís great love for everyone and how nobody is overlooked. Y.Z.V. was an Israeli baal tíshuva who came to the Rebbe for the first time. He was a simple, warmhearted Jew, and at the farbrengen he stood on the great pyramid at the rear of 770.

At a certain point, he thought the Rebbe was saying líchaim to him, but due to the great distance he wasnít sure that the Rebbe meant him. He motioned with his hand towards the Rebbe and pointed at himself as though asking: Did you mean me?

The Rebbe saw this and nodded his head twice, indicating that yes, he meant him.


Rabbi Yisroel Gordon related: It was Shabbos Parshas Shmini 5704 (1944) or 5705 and I found out that the Rebbe Rayatz was going into the dining room to eat. I ran to Rí Berel Baumgartenís house and told the two guests there, Rí Menachem Zev Greenglass and Rí Mendel Tenenbaum. We all went to the Rebbeís house and saw that with the Rebbe Rayatz were also the Ramash [i.e., the Rebbe MH"M] and Rí Shmuel Levitin.

After a few minutes they were about to being their Shabbos seuda, and the Ramash came over to us and said with a smile, "When it comes time to eat, we say Ďtzeischem líshalomí [i.e., we bid farewell] even to the malachim."

(Heard firsthand.)


Also from Rí Yisroel Gordon: I was a young boy when the Rebbe davened from the amud during the year of mourning for his father, Rí Levi Yitzchok, in 5704. Thatís when I noticed that the Rebbe counted the ingredients for the ketores on his fingers out loud. I saw this practice for the first time as a child while watching the Rebbe, and I was surprised.

Seven years passed and in 5711, I had the opportunity to take the Rebbe to the Ohel. There were times the Rebbe returned to 770 close to sunset and would say the korbanos while traveling. I noticed the Rebbe counting the ingredients on his fingers, and the Rebbe caught my eye and smiled, as if reminding me of my surprise a few years back.


I heard from Rav Yosef Yitzchok Belinov that after the old Chassid, Rav Aharon Yosef Blinitzky, left his first yechidus with the Rebbe, the Rebbe told Rabbi Groner that it had been a long time since he had such a yechidus.


A Boro Park couple was married for many years, but to their great sorrow, had no children. One of their friends suggested that they go for "dollars" on Sunday and ask the Rebbe for a bracha. The man agreed, but his employer did not allow him to leave work, so his wife went alone and asked the Rebbe for a bracha for children.

"Líbracha víhatzlacha," said the Rebbe, and gave her a dollar. Then he gave her another dollar for her husband. The woman was amazed that the Rebbe knew that her husband hadnít come, for she hadnít said anything.

A few months later her husband was finally able to go to the Rebbe, this time for kos shel bracha. When his turn came he asked for a bracha for children. The Rebbe looked at him and smiled broadly, saying, "You finally came," and blessed him. A year later they had a child, and now they have two children.


Rabbi Chaim Tzvi Groner related the following at a farbrengen: A certain Misnagdishe rosh yeshiva ran into difficulties with his Torah study and couldnít find a solution. A Lubavitcher friend of his convinced him to request an appointment for a yechidus with the Rebbe, assuring him he would find a solution to his problems.

On the day of the yechidus, the rosh yeshiva sat down with a friend to compose the letter he would submit to the Rebbe. It took them hours, but finally the letter was ready. However, the rosh yeshiva changed his mind and decided to rewrite the letter. Again he and his friend worked over the wording of the letter until finally the letter was ready that evening.

Late that night, the rosh yeshiva had a few-minute yechidus with the Rebbe. He emerged looking pale and shaken and went over to Rabbi Groner to ask permission to use the phone. Rabbi Groner noticed him looking even more agitated as he spoke, and he offered him a chair and a glass of water. A few minutes later the rosh yeshiva explained what had happened.

"After I presented the Rebbe with my note, the Rebbe responded with answer after answer, but to my amazement they were answers to the questions in the first version of my letter. The Rebbe kept enumerating question after question in the original letter.

I thought I may have mixed up the letters, so I called my friend, and he told me he had the old letter and was absolutely sure I gave the Rebbe the later version. Now I know the Rebbe has ruach haíkodesh!


Rabbi Groner related this story at a farbrengen in Beitar: A shliach of the Rebbe in the United States arrived at 770 on a Sunday accompanied by one of the wealthy members of his congregation who had donated money to his work. The wealthy manís wife and children were there, too.

The shliach went first and introduced the man to the Rebbe. The Rebbe gave the man a dollar for tzedaka and a bracha, saying the dollar was "for the help for the Chabad House." Then the manís wife and three children went by.

The Rebbe gave the first son an extra dollar, saying that the dollar was "for helping his parents." The second son also received an extra dollar, "for helping your father," and the third son received an extra dollar, "for the good work." Typical brachos, one would thinkÖ

As soon as they left, the shliach noticed how excited the man was. "This has got to be a G-dly man," he exclaimed in amazement. "You probably didnít realize the significance of what the Rebbe said, but Iíll explain it to you."

"The son who got the extra dollar for "helping your father" is my oldest son, and the third son to whom the Rebbe said, "for the good work," is an adopted son.

"This is the first time the Rebbe met me, and he knows everything!"


Rabbi Moshe Wolfson, menahel ruchni of Yeshivas Torah VaDaas relates: Some years ago I had a certain problem which caused me much grief. I decided to unburden myself to the Rebbe, and when I went for "dollars" I told the Rebbe what was on my mind. The Rebbe looked at me and answered, "May you have fulfilled your obligation by saying the verse "Lev nishbar vínidkeh, Elokim lo sivzeh" (G-d will not despise a broken heart).

I was amazed, because only I knew that in recent nights I had spent a lot of time on this verse in Krias Shma al HaMita.


Rabbi Nachum Rabinowitz related: An askan had a yechidus and noticed the Rebbe looking very serious. He summoned the nerve to ask the Rebbe what was troubling him. The Rebbe told him that a recently married couple had come to him to ask permission to go on shlichus and he had told them they could go if their parents gave their consent. A few days later the couple returned with their parentsí permission and the Rebbe gave them his blessing.

The Rebbeís face suddenly took on an even more serious cast, and he said, "The woman is an only daughter among five brothers, all of whom serve on shlichus around the world," and here the Rebbe enumerated where all the brothers were. "Now the parents are alone with all their children far away."

"Right now," said the Rebbe, "they are at the airport and are crying. Although they are tears of joy, they are still tears, and right now I am with them."


Before artist Hendel Lieberman went to participate in an international art exhibit, he had a yechidus and asked the Rebbe for a bracha. The Rebbe asked him questions about various details concerning the exhibit, and then suddenly changed the topic and asked him where he would be staying.

When Rí Hendel mentioned the name of a certain hotel, the Rebbe asked him to switch his accommodations to a more centrally located hotel, and named a particular hotel. Rí Hendel didnít understand the Rebbeís surprising request, but followed what he had been told.

Two days after he arrived at the hotel, a Jew knocked on his door and asked to borrow his tallis and tífillin. The Jew was clearly not observant. Rí Hendelís curiosity was aroused, so he decided to follow the man after he gave him his tífillin.

He saw the man go into a room where he put on tífillin and davened in tears. This scene repeated itself for the next few days.

Before leaving the hotel, Rí Hendel resolved to ask him to explain his behavior. The man told him that when he saw the Chassidic appearance of Rí Hendel with his beard and peiyos, it reminded him of his roots and aroused him to tíshuva.


The Rebbe distributed lekach on Erev Yom Kippur, and then again on Hoshana Rabba. Someone who had already received lekach on Erev Yom Kippur passed by the Rebbe again on Hoshana Rabba. He apologized for asking for lekach a second time, and said his little girl had eaten the entire piece he had received. The Rebbe said, "She ate only the gashmiyus, but the ruchniyus remains." Nevertheless, the Rebbe gave him another piece.



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