preparation for the month of Elul, the Month of T’shuva, Beis Moshiach
presents the following stories about making the move towards t’shuva
are those who acquire their World to Come in but an hour
was the summer of 5732 (1972). Dr. Avrohom Goldensky made his final
preparations for his trip back to Eretz Yisroel from the U.S. after a year
of work on behalf of the Israeli Ministry of Transportation. One day
before his return flight, one of his friends suggested he have a private
audience with the Lubavitcher Rebbe. “Since you’re here already,
it’s a shame to miss out on the opportunity,” said his friend.
Although Dr. Goldensky was a “Mapainik” and an avowed
socialist, he followed up on the idea and called the number he had been
given to arrange an appointment to see the Rebbe.
before, Dr. Goldensky had been in a serious traffic accident and the
doctors had been forced to amputate a portion of both his legs. Thanks to
his determination, Dr. Goldensky had overcome his handicap and returned to
his job at the Transportation Ministry, where he had worked for years.
Rebbe’s secretary gave him an appointment at 1:00 a.m., two days before
his flight. When he entered the Rebbe’s room, the Rebbe rose and helped
him sit down. The Rebbe and the doctor began to talk, the Rebbe taking an
interest in his work and asking him about the research he had done on
Breslov Chassidus and various other topics.
the end of their meeting, the Rebbe suddenly changed the tone of the
conversation and began to speak about his health. “It pays to stay on a
bit in the United States,” said the Rebbe. “You should see Dr. _____
for an examination.” The Rebbe added that the cost of the visit would be
the Rebbe asked about his family and his only daughter, and even asked Dr.
Goldensky not to forget to send him an invitation to his daughter’s
wedding. Dr. Goldensky was taken aback and pointed out that his daughter
was still young and not ready for marriage, but the Rebbe insisted.
Goldensky left the yechidus in great wonderment. This was his first
encounter with the Rebbe and he was already interested in marrying off his
daughter and he even decided he had to see a doctor! He didn’t know how
much the Rebbe knew about medicine, but something inside him compelled him
to listen to the Rebbe, so he postponed his flight.
same night the Rebbe personally made sure that Dr. Goldensky had an
appointment with a top doctor. The doctor examined and x-rayed his
patient, and when he finished, he left Dr. Goldensky shocked by the
results. “It was a miracle you were examined now,” he said, “for
your spinal column is about to deteriorate due to your build. However, you
don’t have to be treated here. You can have it done in Hadassah Hospital
next day Dr. Goldensky went back to 770 in order to thank the Rebbe. By
now he was no longer wondering about the Rebbe’s medical knowledge.
the Rebbe entered 770, he stopped to speak with the doctor, who reported
to the Rebbe about his examination. Then the Rebbe said, “Since there
will be a farbrengen on Shabbos, you are invited to stay for the farbrengen.
I will remind you once again, don’t forget to send me an invitation to
your daughter’s wedding.”
Goldensky spent Shabbos in Crown Heights and even attended the Rebbe’s farbrengen,
during which he enjoyed many kiruvim from the Rebbe. The Rebbe told
him to say l’chaim and treated him in a most special way.
leaving for Eretz Yisroel, the Rebbe blessed him with a good trip and
asked him to keep in touch with Anash in Yerushalayim. Once again
the doctor heard the familiar line, “I am reminding you for the third
time, don’t forget to invite me to your daughter’s wedding.”
taken aback, Dr. Goldensky left 770 for the airport. In Yerushalayim he
became friendly with Chabad Chassidim, who came to change the mezuzos of
his home and to help him put on t’fillin.
an intellectual, he began taking in interest in Chassidus and later
established a weekly Chassidus class. Many of his acquaintances, hearing
him talk about the Rebbe’s greatness and his prophetic vision, joined
his Chassidus classes.
years passed since his yechidus. His only daughter was about to
marry. He hadn’t forgotten the Rebbe’s thrice-made request, and happy
to fulfill the Rebbe’s wishes, he duly sent the Rebbe an invitation…
day, Dr. Goldensky suffered a sudden heart attack and was hospitalized in
Yerushalayim. His Chassidic acquaintances came to visit. A few days later,
with perfect timing, he received a letter from the Rebbe, covering three
and a half pages. The Rebbe blessed him in honor of his daughter’s
wedding and explained the significance of marriage according to Chassidic
Chassidim brought him the letter, in which the Rebbe demanded that he
begin to fulfill the mitzvos – “for that is man’s entire
doubt you will suspect me, rightfully so, that my intent in writing the
above is not for the sake of homiletics, and is certainly not for the sake
of giving mussar, ch’v, but only as it pertains to actual
deed. The main thing is the deed, i.e., actual mitzvos; not only
understanding their value, but to actually perform them. That is the most
important thing. It does not matter a great deal whether understanding is
delayed and only comes after the actual fulfillment.”
the rest of the letter, the Rebbe elaborated extensively on the topic:
“Knowing him and seeing his determination – despite the state of his
health – in his relationships with the people around him – and quite
the contrary: this has inspired him to overcome all the difficulties and
to demonstrate that not only is he not inferior, ch’v, to the
people around him, but able to compete with and even surpass them. In this
he was successful, and with – and this is most important – a smiling
countenance and with optimism. Therefore, I have no doubt that if he would
truly decide to at least make an effort to establish his daughter’s
life, starting with her marriage, he will do all in his power to ensure
that not only will it not be a contradiction on his part, but on the
contrary, he will provide a role model by changing his own life.”
Rebbe concluded, “It would seem proper to ask forgiveness for my mixing
in to the private lives of him and her in the way I expressed it. However,
since the matter is so vital and so important and so serious, I do not
have permission not to express my thoughts and hopes.”
Goldensky spent a long time on the Rebbe’s letter despite his ill
health, poring over the letter from beginning to end. When he finished
reading it he said to those around him, “The letter is extremely vital.
I must fulfill everything it says...”
were his last words. Shortly thereafter Dr. Goldensky passed on. It was
only afterwards that they all understood the Rebbe’s strange request
about inviting him to the wedding. The Rebbe had seen what would happen in
the days prior to the wedding, and knew that it would be the right time to
influence him more than ever before toward a complete teshuva.
Indeed, the doctor merited to return his soul to his Creator after
resolving to fulfill Torah and mitzvos. Yesh koneh olamo
b’shaa achas (There are those who acquire their World [to Come] in
but an hour).
SINCE I LAST CRIED
Uri Amit is a successful businessman from Eretz Yisroel, who, in the
course of expanding his business abroad, naturally encountered
English-speaking businessmen. In order to be able to communicate properly
with them he hired a private English tutor.
tutor was an older professor who had moved from the United States to
Chaifa. In addition to his command of the English language, the professor
had acquired a great deal of knowledge on many topics such as Holocaust
research and the like. In his free time, he also taught English.
one session, the conversation turned to the topic of religion and Judaism,
and the professor began ridiculing and condemning religious Jews. In his
anger he went all out against anything that smacked of Judaism.
who doesn’t consider himself religious, was very surprised and firmly
said, “Not all religious people are like that; I happen to know
religious people who are different.”
took advantage of a break in the professor’s diatribe to interject, “A
few years ago I visited the Lubavitcher Rebbe while he was giving out
dollars. As I approached the Rebbe, the men’s line stopped and the women
began passing before the Rebbe.
was standing and watching the Rebbe when I suddenly saw a woman I knew,
the mother-in-law of an old friend of mine. I was extremely surprised
because I always knew her to be someone who didn’t like anything about
religion. My amazement increased when I watched the Rebbe tell her, ‘You
must start lighting Shabbos candles!’
watched to see her reaction and was bewildered when I saw her burst into
tears. When she left, she fainted. Later, I decided to ask her to explain
what had happened and she told me the following:
know,’ she said, ‘I am a Holocaust survivor. After everything I went
through, I stopped believing and went away from religion completely.
came to New York to visit my daughter, and when she told me she was going
to the Rebbe, I refused to join her. It was only after she begged me
repeatedly to accompany her that I agreed to go.
I stood facing the Rebbe and he asked me why I didn’t light Shabbos
candles, I suddenly remembered my mother, of blessed memory. That had been
her last request of me before the Nazis separated us. “My daughter,
always be careful about lighting Shabbos candles!” So my emotions
overcame me and I fainted.’”
finished his story with difficulty, when suddenly his tutor burst into
uncontrollable tears. He cried unrestrainedly for a long time. Uri got up
and left the house, leaving the man alone with his pain.
next day, when Uri came for his lesson as usual, the tutor apologized for
his outburst of emotion the day before and added, “You should know that
it’s over forty years since the cursed Nazis separated me from my
family. Since then I haven’t cried even once.”
EFFECTS OF A DREAM
Ben-Zion Friedman of Crown Heights relates:
have a relative who is a Misnaged to Chabad, to the Rebbe and his
ways. Whenever we met he would attack the Rebbe and the Chassidim. Then
one time I met him and he was extremely friendly and pleasant. I
couldn’t hold back from asking him about his change in attitude, so he
told me as follows:
the office where I work, there is a woman from Eretz Yisroel who moved
here, to the U.S. One morning the woman came to work and said she had seen
the Rebbe in a dream telling her to keep Torah and mitzvos. She was
moved by her dream and started to become more religious. She even married
a G-d-fearing Jew.
that I can no longer criticize Lubavitch.”