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50 Stories For 50 Years
Part I

Fifty 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

The same Rebbe
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!

Where 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)?

Learning Torah b’iyun
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.

What 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!

We 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!

Write everything
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!

To 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.

Wearing 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.”

The 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.”


just the opposite
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 job.

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.

Mercy 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).

From this we see how precious the Tmimim are to the Rebbe.

It pushes away Moshiach!
The 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!

For 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 Gemara.

Seeing 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 the Offense
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.


Marriage: 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.”


Do it straight
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.

Somebody 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?)


If 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!

And the Rebbe concluded: Chassidim are not fearful of this. If the Rebbe needs to be a prophet, so he’s also a prophet!


…sometimes forty-five Minutes
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.

The Rebbe answered: Think about Chassidus each day before davening, ten to forty-five minutes.

The 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.

And 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.

He said that it was just as the Rebbe said. Sometimes it took him ten minutes to think Chassidus and sometimes forty-five minutes.


they 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.

The 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.

In 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.

Throughout 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.

He 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.

The 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.

The father agreed of course, and also decided to become Shabbos observant, and his daughter suddenly and miraculously recovered.


The 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.

The Rebbe replied: What can I do for you. The Rebbe (Rayatz) made you an officer (thus he could not be a soldier).

Said R’ Pinye: If so, the Rebbe should make me a general.

Answered 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.


The purpose 
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 here.

 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).


what 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?

He asked the Rebbe: What should I think about, if not myself?

The 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 Rebbe.


When 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?

The boy answered: Because there’s no learning in yeshiva now.

The Rebbe asked again: But why aren’t you learning?

And the boy, who didn’t understand what the Rebbe meant, answered again: Because there’s no learning in yeshiva now.

Seeing 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?

(To be continued.)


Rabbi Efraim Yolles shaking hands with the Rebbe MH"M.


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