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Inspired To T’shuva
By Menachem Ziegelboim

In preparation for the month of Elul, the Month of T’shuva, Beis Moshiach presents the following stories about making the move towards t’shuva

There are those who acquire their World to Come in but an hour

It 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.

Years 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.

The 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.

At 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 his responsibility.

Then 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.

Dr. 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.

That 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 in Israel.”

The 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.

When 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.”

Dr. 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.

Before 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.”

Greatly 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.

Being 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.

Three 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…

One 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 thought.

The Chassidim brought him the letter, in which the Rebbe demanded that he begin to fulfill the mitzvos – “for that is man’s entire purpose.”

“No 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.”

In 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.”

The 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.”

Dr. 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...”

Those 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).


Mr. 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.

The 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.

At 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.

Uri, 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.”

Uri 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.

“I 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!’

“I 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:

“‘You know,’ she said, ‘I am a Holocaust survivor. After everything I went through, I stopped believing and went away from religion completely.

“‘I 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.

“‘When 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.’”

Uri 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.

The 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.”


Rabbi Ben-Zion Friedman of Crown Heights relates:

I 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:

“In 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.

“After that I can no longer criticize Lubavitch.”

(To be continued.)





Dr. Goldensky spent a long time on the Rebbe’s letter despite his ill health. “The letter is extremely vital,” he said. “I must fulfill everything it says...”




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