There was a special connection
between the Rebbe and the Alter Rebbe, between the 7th Rebbe and the 1st. * A
farbrengen with Rabbi Leibel Groner about the essential connection and love
between Rebbe and chassidim. * Part 3 of 3
(Free translation )
Rí Chaim Tzvi Groner related the following at a farbrengen:
A misnagdishe rosh yeshiva was in a difficult
situation and all attempts at a solution failed. A Lubavitch acquaintance of his
convinced him to arrange an appointment with the Rebbe. "The Rebbe will
certainly help you," the chassid declared with confidence. The rosh
yeshiva reluctantly agreed.
On the morning of his appointment, the rosh yeshiva,
together with his friend, composed a letter to submit to the Rebbe. It took some
time until they worded it the way they wanted it, but the rosh yeshiva
had second thoughts and decided to rewrite it. They worked over the wording of
the new letter and finally, towards evening, the new note was ready.
Late that night, the rosh yeshiva had a yechidus
with the Rebbe. He emerged pale as a ghost. In a state of turmoil, he asked
Rabbi Leibel Groner whether he could use the phone.
As he spoke on the phone, Rí Groner could see the man growing
paler. He immediately offered him a chair and a cup of water. Within a few
minutes, the rosh yeshiva explained what had happened.
"After I gave the Rebbe the note, the Rebbe answered question
after question, but to my surprise, these were answers to the questions in the
original letter that my friend had. The Rebbe continued, ĎYou asked such and
such,í and he enumerated all the questions in that first letter, one by one.
"I thought I mixed up the two letters and had given the Rebbe
the first one by mistake, which is why I ran to call my friend. But he told me
that he had the first letter, and I definitely gave the Rebbe the
second letter. Now I know that the Lubavitcher Rebbe has ruach haíkodesh!"
"In what field should I complete my doctorate?" asked young
Jonathan Sacks. "Philosophy or law?"
"You should be a rabbi," said the Rebbe, "and then you will
be rav of a city and even a country."
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks is the present chief rabbi of England.
QUESTION AND ANSWER
This story happened when Rabbi Aharon Chazan came on his
first visit to the Rebbe for Yud Shvat 5733, which came out on Shabbos that
year. When special days were on Shabbos, the Rebbe would make two
farbrengens, one on Shabbos and one on Motzaei Shabbos.
At the end of the first farbrengen, when it was nearly
sunset, Rabbi Chazan went to eat the Shabbos meal, which extended into the
night. Then the chassidim davened Maariv, made Havdala,
and ran to grab places for the next farbrengen.
When Rí Chazan returned to 770 that Motzaei Shabbos,
he asked the rav sitting next to him a halachic question. "What
about Melaveh Malka? Since our meal extended into the night, did we
fulfill the obligation of Melaveh Malka, even though it was before
Havdala? I remember that when the Machnovka Rebbe, ztíl, would
have a tish at the third Shabbos meal, when night fell, he would cut into
a whole challa in order to fulfill the obligation of Melaveh Malka."
His question wasnít answered because the Rebbe walked in and
the farbrengen began. The Rebbe spoke for hours. Then, Rabbi Chazan heard
the Rebbe explain the topic he had brought up earlier:
"Therefore all inyanim of Motzaei Shabbos are
davka after Havdala is made, because the meal eaten before
Havdala (extending the third meal into night) is not the same concept as the
Melaveh Malka on Motzaei Shabbos; it is not the Seudasa díDovid
Malka Meshicha." (Sichos Kodesh 5733, Vol. 1, p. 301).
When Rí Chazan returned to Eretz Yisroel, he told everybody
he met, "They canít tell me any stories. The Rebbe has open ruach haíkodesh.
I saw it with my own eyes."
A WONDROUS HORAA
Rabbi Shlomo Galperin relates: It was in the days of
persecution of Jews throughout Communist Russia. The Iron Curtain was shut
tight. No one could leave the country without permission from the K.G.B. and the
Interior Ministry of Russia, and both of them raised tremendous obstacles.
Any request to emigrate involved a complicated bureaucratic
process. The person had to show an official invitation from a relative living in
the country to which he wished to emigrate. Then he had to wait an unspecified
period of time to receive an answer, which was usually "no." The document from
his relatives was valid for only a year, so if he repeated his request to leave
over a year later, he had to get new documents.
The Lubavitcher Galperin family asked to emigrate. Their
aunt, who lived in Kfar Chabad, sent them an official invitation each time they
presented their request. She also sent a letter to the Rebbe asking for the
Rebbeís bracha. The response was always "Hashem will help."
The Galperin family presented their request five times, and
each time their request was denied. They didnít give up, though. They asked a
sixth time. They also asked their aunt to send them another invitation.
The aunt was surprised, because a year hadnít gone by since
her previous invitation. She hurriedly consulted with the Rebbe and this time
the Rebbe said, "Hashem will help you see each other very soon," and he gave a
directive to send another official letter to the family regardless of the fact
that a year hadnít gone by.
Within a few months, the father of the Galperin family was
called to the minister of the interior. The anti-Semitic woman in charge
informed him that his request had been approved, but she mockingly added that
the time limit for the invitation from Israel had passed and, therefore, he
wouldnít be allowed to leave.
But Rabbi Galperin wasnít fazed. To the great disappointment
of the clerk, he removed the new documents sent by his aunt.
CAUGHT AT THE LAST MOMENT
Shortly after the histalkus of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka,
aíh, the Israeli ambassador to Peru, Mr. Turgeman, sent a
condolence letter to the Rebbe. The letter was sent along with other letters
from the Jewish community in Peru.
Months passed, and every member of the community received a
letter and thanks, leaving only the ambassador without a return letter. Four
months later, on Rosh Chodesh Tammuz, the Rebbeís answer arrived at the
In the letter, the Rebbe defined the ambassadorís job as one
of great responsibility, and wished him freedom from all worries. The ambassador
couldnít refrain from asking the Rebbeís shliach to Peru, Rabbi S.Z.
Blumenfeld, "Why was I the only one to receive my letter so late, and what
worries is the Rebbe wishing me to be free of?"
Rabbi Blumenfeld shrugged his shoulders in surprise and said,
"Who can understand the Rebbeís ways?"
Three days passed and then the telephone rang at the Chabad
House. The ambassador was on the line and he excitedly said, "Rabbi Blumenfeld,
now I understand! Itís an open miracle!" The ambassador said that the day
before, Peruvian security forces caught three terrorists who came to attack
Jewish institutions Ė their first goal being to kidnap the ambassador. "The
Rebbe knew exactly when to send his letter!"
Graduates of the vocational program of Beis Rivka seminary in
Kfar Chabad were getting ready for a party for the end of school. Preparations
were underway when the teacher, Mrs. Penina Slonim, remembered that they hadnít
written the Rebbe for a bracha.
Although it was late, Mrs. Slonim decided to write a general
letter and to sign it with the names of all the girls in the class. If they
would get a response during vacation, she would send a copy to the girlsí homes.
The party was planned for Tuesday. On the previous Thursday,
the girls signed their names líbracha víhatzlacha in their
Faxes were not in use at that time. A letter to New York took
days to get there and a return letter would take another two or three weeks. So
Mrs. Slonim decided to send the letter with a chassid who was traveling
to the U.S. on Sunday night, two days before the party.
On Sunday night, after a few hours, the phone in Mrs.
Slonimís home rang. The office of Tzeirei Chabad in Eretz Yisroel informed her
that the director of Tzeirei Chabad, Rabbi Yisroel Leibov, had just arrived in
Eretz Yisroel from New York with a letter for her from the Rebbe.
When Mrs. Slonim opened the letter she couldnít believe her
eyes. The letter was dated Friday, and it addressed the graduating girls of Beis
Rivka in Kfar Chabad! The Rebbe said he received her letter and gave his
Mrs. Slonimís letter was still on the plane, but the Rebbe
wrote that he already read it!
NOTHING IS HIDDEN
Rabbi Akiva Schmerling, shliach in Switzerland,
"After every yechidus with the Rebbe I would go to
Rabbi Chadakovís office to consult with him about what the Rebbe had said and to
find out if there were any particular directives about activities in
"At one yechidus the Rebbe told me to ask Rabbi
Chadakov to give me the pages of the Marienbad. After the yechidus,
I asked Rí Chadakov for the pages. While preparing them, Rí Chadakov asked if I
knew a rav in Zurich. I said I knew him, but that we didnít have a
"I returned to Switzerland. Some time later I received an
invitation to a gathering of rabbanim organized by Agudas Yisroel. At the
convention I saw the leaders of Agudas Yisroel, including the rav who Rí
Chadakov had named.
"The main speaker was the chairman of Agudas Yisroel. During
the course of the convention, the question was raised as to why Agudas Yisroel
didnít have a branch in Europe. It was said that Chabad had taken the role that
Agudas Yisroel should have had. Those present said it was time to formulate a
plan to act independently and retake the role from Chabad.
"Hearing this, I couldnít remain silent. I loudly said that
Chabad didnít take anything from anyone. I walked out of the meeting angrily,
and I saw that the other rabbanim looked shocked at my outburst.
"On my way home, I thought about the meeting. I remembered
that the rav Rí Chadakov mentioned had been present, and I wondered if
there was a connection.
"A short time later I was in the U.S. again, and when I had a
yechidus, I told the Rebbe what happened. The Rebbe thought for a moment
and then said that in another two weeks I would be invited to attend another
gathering. At that gathering, I should present the pages of Marienbad
that Rí Chadakov had given me previously.
"Two weeks later I received an invitation to a meeting, in
the course of which they decided to open a European branch of Agudas Yisroel in
Zurich. They appointed the rav that Rí Chadakov had mentioned to be the
director of the branch.
"After the decision had been ratified, I took out the pages
that reported about a previous meeting in Marienbad (a resort city) in which
leaders of Agudas Yisroel decided that their public work had to concentrate
primarily on the maskilim in Germany.
"After giving out the papers I loudly asked, ĎNu, what do you
say? The main problem is in Germany, is it not? So open a branch in Germany.í
"They had nothing to say, but they were determined to open a
branch in Zurich.
"At the end of the meeting, I went to the rav who was
appointed director of the branch, and said, "You should know that the only point
of this office is to oppose the Lubavitcher Rebbeís work. I suggest that you do
not accept the position. Iím sure the branch wonít last long, and in the end you
will be out of a job." The rav nodded politely, but refused to listen to
"After a few months passed, the new branch closed. For a long
time afterwards that rav looked for a decent job. At some point he came
to me and with great emotion he asked me to convey his apologies to the Rebbe,
and added a request for a bracha for parnasa.
"I realized that he thought what I had told him was what the
Rebbe told me to say. I made sure to tell him that I said it on my own with the
hergesh of a chassid who was sure that if the Rebbe wasnít
satisfied with something, it wouldnít last.
"We sat down together and wrote to the Rebbe the chain of
events and the request for forgiveness. At the end of the letter, I added my own
apologies for having said things that seemed to be quoting the Rebbe, which had
led to something undesirable.
The Rebbe responded with a prophetic answer: In a short time
the rav would get a job through me (which is what happened), and at the
end of the letter the Rebbe added, "Do you think that the entire matter happened
without my knowledge and consent?"
THE TORAH SPEAKS OF THREE SONS
Rabbi Leibel Groner told the following story at a
farbrengen in Beitar:
A shliach in the U.S. arrived in 770 for "dollars" one
Sunday accompanied by a wealthy member of his community who contributed nicely
to his work. The manís wife and children were also present.
The shliach passed by and introduced the wealthy man
to the Rebbe. The Rebbe gave the man a dollar for tzídaka and said
that this dollar is "for helping the Chabad House." Then the manís wife and
three children passed by.
The Rebbe gave the first son to pass by an extra dollar and
said it was "for helping your parents." The second son received an extra dollar
"for helping your father," and the third son got an extra dollar "for the good
work." They seemed like routine brachos.
As soon as they walked out, the shliach saw how
excited his wealthy friend was. "Heís a G-dly man," murmured the man in
amazement. "You donít understand what was special about what the Rebbe said, but
Iíll explain it to you.
"The first son, whom I introduced to the Rebbe and who
received a dollar "for helping your parents," is my oldest son, and the third
son, to whom the Rebbe gave a dollar "for the good work," is an adopted son.
"This was the first time the Rebbe saw me. He has never met
me before, and he knows everything about me."
In 5710, a few months before accepting the nesius, one
of the bachurim who learned in 770 received a letter from his father
asking him to learn the halachos for smicha. The father added that
he should consult with the Ramash (the Rebbe).
The son did what his father said, and went to the Rebbeís
room. Before he could open his mouth, the Rebbe said, "Meiríke, I think itís a
good thing to begin learning for smicha."
Another incident took place at the same time. Shortly after
the histalkus of the Rebbe Rayatz, the members of the board of Tomchei
Tímimim of Montreal visited the Rebbe and told him what was going on at the
yeshiva. The Rebbe asked them to write a detailed report about the
One of those present decided to write the report, but didnít
know what title to give the Rebbe, for he still hadnít officially become Rebbe.
While he was still pondering this, he heard the Rebbe say, "Itís fine if you
start the letter with ĎShalom uíbracha.í"
DOUBLE MAZAL TOV
When Rabbi Moshe Ashkenazi, rav of a Lubavitcher
community in Tel Aviv, went to the U.S. for a family simcha, he and his
wife had a private audience with the Rebbe. As soon as they walked in, the Rebbe
smiled and said, "Mazal tov far da (for here)." A few seconds later the
Rebbe said, "Mazal tov far dorten (for there)."
A few hours after the yechidus, they found out that
just as the Rebbe bentched them, a grandson was born in Eretz Yisroel.
(To be continued.)