Stories For 50 Years
short stories, yechiduyos, answers and quotes in honor of the start of
the Rebbe’s fiftieth year of leadership * collected from the personal
diary of a Chassid
At a farbrengen
(Shabbos Parshas Mikeitz 5713) the Rebbe saw that one of the elder
Chassidim was heartbroken over the histalkus (passing) of the
Rebbe Rayatz. The Rebbe told him: It’s the same Rebbe, who conducts
himself in the same way. It’s only that he is wearing different
clothing, clothing that shines more. What difference does it make when
it’s the same Rebbe!
is the bitachon?
One of the Tmimim who
was sick in the hospital was very depressed. He wrote to the Rebbe about
this. The Rebbe sent him a letter wishing him a complete recovery, and
concluded the letter by saying: One learns Chassidus again and again,
and then when it comes to practical application, where is the bitachon
(trust in G-d)?
The Rebbe once told one
of Anash in yechidus: When the Sages say (Bava Kama 82A)
that a person should not allow three days to pass without learning
Torah, they don’t mean that he did not learn at all. Rather, even if
during those three days he did not learn b’iyun (in depth), it
is considered as though he remained without Torah.
is a farbrengen?
A Chassid once told the
Rebbe in yechidus about a certain farbrengen where they
only said “l’chaim” and sang Chassidic niggunim, but
did not say anything. The Rebbe replied: You must say a Dvar Malchus, a sicha,
or a story at a farbrengen or it isn’t a farbrengen!
will greet Moshiach with the children!
The Rebbe spoke with
someone at a yechidus about the chinuch (education) of the
children of Kfar Chabad. Suddenly the Rebbe grew serious and said: You
must invest in their chinuch, because these children will go to
greet Moshiach Tzidkeinu speedily in our days!
Someone told the Rebbe
in yechidus that Lubavitchers don’t want to write to the Rebbe
about unpleasant things. Said the Rebbe: Foolishness, foolishness, they
must write everything!
write B”H on the top of letters
Some Tmimim who had been
on Merkos shlichus in Panama during the summer, received a letter
from one of the people they had worked with there. They gave it to the
Rebbe, who answered it and added: Take this opportunity to get them to
write B”H (Boruch Hashem) on the top of their correspondence, for
there are many benefits in this.
tzitzis while sleeping
On Rosh HaShana, 5711,
somebody asked the Rebbe about the custom to wear tzitzis while
sleeping. It seemed to fall into the category of “bal tosif”
(do not add), because “nighttime is not the time for tzitzis.”
Rebbe answered: The prohibition of “bal tosif” is when you do
something that adds to the fulfillment of the mitzva. Since
wearing the tzitzis as an item of clothing is not a mitzva,
and the fulfillment of the mitzva comes about as a matter of
course, therefore it is not “bal tosif.”
One of the Rebbe’s
secretaries related that the Rebbe wanted to send a certain individual
on shlichus, but the person wrote to the Rebbe that since he was
sick and weak and he wouldn’t have the strength and ability to fulfill
the shlichus, he was asking the Rebbe to release him from the
Rebbe answered: I thought you would write just the opposite. I thought
you would say that going on shlichus is a given, however since I
am weak I am asking for a bracha so that I will have the strength
to fulfill it.
is always being aroused
One of the Tmimim had a yechidus
with the Rebbe and he told the Rebbe that he had no chayus (enthusiasm)
in his learning. He asked the Rebbe to arouse mercy on him so that he
would have chayus in his learning. The Rebbe responded: Oif
talmidei Tomchei Tmimim iz men shtendik m’oreir rachamim, men darf mer
nit vi machen keilim oif mekabel zein zei!” (Mercy is always being
aroused for the students of Tomchei Tmimim. One must simply make the
vessels to receive it).
this we see how precious the Tmimim are to the Rebbe.
pushes away Moshiach!
Rebbe once spoke sharply to someone who mentioned Yom HaAtzma’ut
(Israeli Independence Day): On this day they pushed the coming of
Moshiach away fifty years! Whoever so much as taps his little finger in
support of this pushes away the coming of Moshiach!
the Rebbe Torah is not heavy!
At a farbrengen
(Shabbos Parshas Shmini 5712) the Rebbe mentioned a saying of the Sages
quoted in the Gemara, and he asked someone to bring him a Gemara because
he wanted to see the quote. After the Rebbe finished examining the
Gemara, he continued to talk about other things while still holding the
this, someone asked the Rebbe if he could take the Gemara, for perhaps
it was difficult for the Rebbe to hold it. The Rebbe said: A Rebbin
iz Torah nit shver (for the Rebbe, Torah is not heavy [difficult]).
On Chol HaMoed Pesach,
5720, when Rabbi Efraim Yolles of Philadelphia came out from a yechidus
with the Rebbe (as he did every year), he related: The Rebbe indicated
that his father-in-law’s work was in the nature of a defensive war,
but he gave the Rebbe the job of fighting an offensive war.
a preparation for Moshiach
Once at a farbrengen
(5711) the Rebbe poured mashke for some Tmimim and blessed them
that they should find proper shidduchim (marriage partners). Then
the Rebbe said: We speak all the time about making preparations for
Moshiach. A proper shidduch and establishing a Jewish home is
connected to one’s preparations for the coming of Moshiach, as the
Sages say, “Ben Dovid will not come until all the souls in Guf [the
supernal storehouse of souls] are finished.”
The Rebbe’s custom in
wearing his gartel is to wrap it straight around, one layer on
top of the other (as the Rambam describes in Hilchos Klei HaMikdash),
and not to do as the Polish Chassidim do, which is to fold the gartel
each time they wrap it around their body, because it holds better.
once asked the Rebbe why he didn’t fold his gartel. The Rebbe
answered: Farvos darf men fardreyen, as men ken machen gleich?
(why twist things around, when you can do it straight?)
he needs to be a prophet…
At one of the first farbrengens
(5711) the Rebbe explained the Chassidic custom to ask the Rebbe about
material concerns: The Alter Rebbe in Igeres HaKodesh (siman 22) negates
the custom of asking for advice in material concerns, since this applies
only to actual prophets. But in actual fact, we see that Chassidim
ignored this and continued asking the Rebbeim about their material
concerns. This was true for even the greatest Chassidim, and the Rebbe
did indeed answer them. From this we see that since the Rebbe answers
material concerns, he is an actual prophet!
the Rebbe concluded: Chassidim are not fearful of this. If the Rebbe
needs to be a prophet, so he’s also a prophet!
A Tamim had a yechidus
with the Rebbe and complained that everything he did, whether in
learning or outreach, had a lot of ego in it, and he just couldn’t get
rid of it. He asked for advice and a bracha.
Rebbe answered: Think about Chassidus each day before davening,
ten to forty-five minutes.
Tamim couldn’t understand what the Rebbe meant when he said ten to
forty-five minutes, and seeing that he didn’t understand, the Rebbe
said: I simply meant that sometimes it will take ten minutes and
sometimes it will take forty-five minutes.
the Rebbe gave him some topics in Chassidus to think about every day
(part of “Kuntrus U’Maayan” and the maamar which begins
“HaUmnum Yeisheiv Elokim,” 5643). The Tamim did this for some
months, and then wrote to the Rebbe that he saw no difference. The Rebbe
told him not to despair and to continue. After a long time of thinking
Chassidus before davening, they saw how he changed in essence,
such that he was completely unrecognizable.
said that it was just as the Rebbe said. Sometimes it took him ten
minutes to think Chassidus and sometimes forty-five minutes.
held back her decree
In 5711, there was a Jew
who had a daughter who was terribly sick and who was hospitalized. The
doctors had given up hope and said she had only a few days left to live.
The father did not know what a “rebbe” is, but his wife, who came
from a traditional family, told him to go to rabbanim and rebbes to ask
them to save their daughter.
father went to some Polish rebbeim and promised them large sums of money
if they would promise him his daughter would recover. But they all
refused to make such a promise.
the meantime her condition worsened and the father was at his wit’s
end. He then met a Lubavitcher who told him to go to the Rebbe. He went
to 770 and entered the secretaries’ room. It was in the evening when
he asked Rabbi Chadakov to allow him to see the Rebbe. Rabbi Chadakov
said he would have to ask the Rebbe, and the Rebbe answered that he
should come the next morning at ten o’clock.
the night he was convinced his daughter had died, to the point that he
was afraid to call the hospital to see how she was doing.
went to the Rebbe at ten the next day, and the Rebbe said: Your daughter
is still alive. In Heaven they delayed her judgment until now. Now it
all depends upon you.
father said he would give the Rebbe any sum of money so that his
daughter would be saved. The Rebbe told him: That is not what I meant. I
meant that you should put on tefillin every day, and then your
daughter will recover.
father agreed of course, and also decided to become Shabbos observant,
and his daughter suddenly and miraculously recovered.
Rebbe made you an officer
Once at a farbrengen
(B’Shalach 5714) the Rebbe spoke about “Tzeirei Agudas Chabad.”
The Chassid R’ Pinye Altheus (who was in N.Y. at the time for his
son’s wedding) told the Rebbe that he also wanted to be part of the
Tzeirei Agudas Chabad.
Rebbe replied: What can I do for you. The Rebbe (Rayatz) made you an
officer (thus he could not be a soldier).
R’ Pinye: If so, the Rebbe should make me a general.
the Rebbe: Both a general and an ordinary soldier must have bittul,
for “the end is wedged in the beginning.” An officer does not have bittul.
A Lubavitcher had a yechidus
and the Rebbe spoke to him about going on shlichus to a certain
place. The person said that it would certainly be better for him
spiritually over there, but materially, it would be better to remain
The Rebbe replied: In something like this (shlichus),
which depends on the soul’s fulfilling its purpose in the body, you
cannot look at gashmiyus (the material aspect).
should I think about?
A simple Jew complained
to the Rebbe about things that bothered him. Said the Rebbe: Why are you
only thinking about yourself?
asked the Rebbe: What should I think about, if not myself?
Rebbe answered: Think about our Rebbeim: the Baal Shem Tov, the Maggid,
the Alter Rebbe, the Mitteler Rebbe, up until my father-in-law, the
will you know all the sfarim?
On the afternoon of the
13th of Nissan, 5712, a boy was walking around near the Rebbe’s room
(since school was on Pesach vacation). When the Rebbe saw him he asked:
Why aren’t you learning?
boy answered: Because there’s no learning in yeshiva now.
Rebbe asked again: But why aren’t you learning?
the boy, who didn’t understand what the Rebbe meant, answered again:
Because there’s no learning in yeshiva now.
that the boy did not understand, the Rebbe took a seifer from the
table in his room and opened it to the last page and said: Do you see
how many pages this seifer has? And you know there are other sfarim.
When will you know all the sfarim if you don’t learn?