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
is a Chassidishe bachur?
A bachur once told
the Rebbe in yechidus that he wanted to be a “Chassidishe
bachur.” The Rebbe said: There are five differences between a bachur
who learns in Tomchei Tmimim and a bachur of another yeshiva:
(1) a beard, (2) pei’os, (3)
mikva, (4) two pairs
of tefillin (Rashi and Rabbeinu Tam),
and (5) a belt [probably referring to the belt worn over the
tzitzis]. If he does these five things, then he is a “Chassidishe bachur.”
have to prepare for davening
In the years between
5715 and 5724, towards morning after the Hakafos, the Rebbe would
teach a new niggun on Simchas Torah. He would also give mashke
to those who resolved to increase their study of Chassidus in the coming
the year 5724, the Rebbe warned that only those who would actually
increase their learning should take mashke, unlike the earlier
years when people took mashke and did not actually add in their
learning. Hearing this,
many Anash and Tmimim did not approach the Rebbe for mashke.
Chassid R’ Abba Pliskin stood near the Rebbe and did not know whether
to approach him and take mashke. Suddenly the Rebbe turned to him
and said: Ir vilt gor nit mashke nit nemen? (You don’t want to
take any mashke?) Ich hub nit kein tzeit, Ich darf zich
greiten tzum davenen! (I don’t have any time, I must prepare
myself for davening!)
was at six in the morning, and having stayed up all night, the Rebbe was
already preparing for davening!
about foreign thoughts during davening
A Conservative rabbi
left a yechidus with the Rebbe very impressed about what the
Rebbe had told him. The Rebbe had said the following:
received a letter from a Lubavitcher in Russia, and when I read the
letter I was shaken up. What concerned the Chassid? That he had foreign
thoughts while davening! We are talking about someone who has
nothing to eat, and whose life is in danger, and what is he worried
about? — foreign thoughts during davening!
The Rebbe once said on
the words “One may do more and one may do less, as long as he directs
his heart towards Heaven”: A person should not become despondent when
he sees his friend doing more than he does, for one is only expected to
achieve according to his own ability. But whatever he is capable of
doing, he must do with the proper intention.
Chassidus is good for gashmiyus
Somebody told the Rebbe
in yechidus that he had publicly reviewed Chassidus, and had
benefited materially as a result. The Rebbe responded: If only everybody
knew and was aware that reviewing Chassidus is good for gashmiyus
(material well being).
Mann, The Well, And The Clouds
In the first year after
the Rebbe Rayatz’s histalkus (passing) the Rebbe said (at the
Simchas Beis HaSho’eiva, 5711) incredible things about it. Among other
things, he said that those Chassidim who maintain that the Rebbe
continues to live continue to receive hashpaos (Divine effluence)
from the Rebbe.
Moshe Rabbeinu’s lifetime, they saw how all spiritual and material
matters came from him, such as the mann, the water from
Miriam’s well, and the clouds of glory that washed their clothes, etc.
But after Moshe’s passing — even though the Sages say “Moshe did
not die,” since he was not to be seen below ten handbreadths — the hashpaos
those who maintain that Moshe Rabbeinu continues to live, “below ten
handbreadths,” continue to receive hashpaos from Moshe — the mann,
the well, and the clouds.
see the good
The Chassid R’ Shmuel
Levitin related that he once had a yechidus with the Rebbe during
the Aseres Yemei Teshuva, and he told the Rebbe that in Chassidus it is
explained that through the avoda of Aseres Yemei Teshuva, a
person can actually see how he is not in line with the Divine intent.
the Rebbe said: Vos epes nit k’fi ha’kavana, men iz ye k’fi
ha’kavana (why do you say one is not in line with the
Divine intent, one is in line with the Divine intent.)
Two brothers who went to
organize a public Pesach seider for university students in 5722,
refused to accept money for expenses. Nevertheless, The Rebbe insisted
that it should be given to them: The pain they have in taking the money
is nothing compared to the pain that Hashem would have, ch’v,
if Jews do not have a seider.
to be embarrassed by a Chassidic custom
R’ Berel Baumgarten
related: On Succos 5702 or 5703, before davening, and after they
made the bracha on the esrog and lulav, the Rebbe
(during the lifetime of the Rebbe Rayatz) entered the succa at
770 and gave out mezonos (baked goods) to the Anash and Tmimim
there. One of the Chassidim approached the Rebbe and said that Chassidim
eat mezonos before davening due to weakness, etc. — so
why do this publicly?
Rebbe answered: Mit a minhag Chassidim iz nita vos tzu shemen zich! (There’s
no need to be embarrassed by a Chassidic custom).
to the mikva first
A person from Eretz
Yisroel wrote a letter to the Rebbe, and the Rebbe responded: I
generally mention the letters and names at the tziyun. Therefore,
from now on, go to the mikva before writing.
Is It Possible That They Should Serve As Obstacles
In one of the first maamarim
(Ki Sisa 5711) the Rebbe said:
learn in Likkutei Torah (Savo 43, 2) that there must be three
preparations for davening each day: 1) learning Chassidus, 2)
going to the mikva, and 3) giving tzedaka.
there are those who say that since they have to innovate new Torah
thoughts, they have no time for that. The reason for this is the belief
that the Torah is his, “his Torah,” and he has to approach the Torah
with his human intellect, and therefore, he does not do these three
if he learned Torah because it is Hashem’s wisdom and desire, how is
it possible that these preparations, which were commanded by Hashem
Himself, should serve as obstacles to his Torah study?
read Between the lines
A person gave a letter
to the Rebbe about a friend. The Rebbe said: Tell him to write it
himself, because when I read a letter I also read between the lines.
day in Tomchei TMIMIM
asked the Rebbe about a bachur who was ready to go to yeshiva,
but for certain reasons, if they would send him to Tomchei Tmimim, he
would only be able to learn there for a short time; if he would go to a
different yeshiva, however, he would be able to learn
there for a few years. Which yeshiva should they choose?
Rebbe said they should send him to Tomchei Tmimim even if he would be
there for only one day!
turned out that after going to Tomchei Tmimim, he remained there for
quite a few years.
reason for being too tired
A Chassid once
complained to the Rebbe about something he could not do because he was
too tired. The Rebbe said: It says, “and you were tired and weary.”
Why? Because “and you did not fear Hashem” — yiras Shamayim
Positively And It Will Be Positive
Somebody wrote a letter
to the Rebbe in the month of Adar, asking for a bracha for
someone who was seriously ill, and for whom they had already despaired.
Rebbe answered: “It’s surprising that we talk and talk and when it
comes to action, everybody thinks that it doesn’t apply to them.
has been quoted many times, the saying and directive of the Rebbeim our
leaders, “Tracht gut vet zein gut” (think positively and it
will be positive), which conversely illustrates the problem with
the fact that we are in the month of Adar, when we are commanded to
increase in joy, he is steeped in despair (see Tanya on this topic).
we will conclude with a Dvar malchus: “tracht gut vet zein gut”
in a visible and revealed way.”
end of the story was that the sick person suddenly became better, to the
surprise of all the doctors.
You Read The Paper Before Going To Sleep…
The Rebbe told one of
the Chassidim to befriend a certain Jew. The Chassid once told the Rebbe
that he was very concerned about that person because lately he had made
heretical statements. Said the Rebbe: I know him. It’s just talk and
apparently he read a newspaper before going to sleep. When you read the
paper before going to sleep, you speak like that the next day.
can do both
The administration of
Tomchei Tmimim in Montreal wrote to the Rebbe that the students were
spending a great portion of their time on hafatza and mivtzaim
(outreach), and their learning was suffering. They asked the Rebbe
to tell the boys to limit their mivtzaim so that it wouldn’t
adversely affect their studies.
Rebbe said: They can do both.
One Thing He Couldn’t Do
At a farbrengen
in the Rebbe’s first year (VaYigash), he related: My father-in-law,
the Rebbe, was talented in all areas, even horse riding and target
Rebbe continued: I heard from the Chassid R’ Eliyahu Chaim Althaus
that he once traveled with the Rebbe in the lifetime of his father, the
Rebbe Rashab. When they passed by a place where people did target
practice, R’ Eliyahu suggested to the Rebbe that they compete, to
which the Rebbe agreed.
Eliyahu Chaim related that the amazing thing was that the Rebbe always
hit the bull’s-eye, whereas he always missed entirely! Yet even though
the Rebbe Rayatz was talented in all areas, he did not know how to drive
Rosh Mesivta must learn Chassidus too
At a farbrengen in 5712,
the Rebbe told one of the Roshei Mesivta: Sometimes you have to forget
you are a Rosh Mesivta in Nigla, and learn Chassidus before davening.
By doing this, you will influence the students to learn Torah with yiras
Shamayim (fear of Heaven).
At a farbrengen in 5712,
the Rebbe said that even small children, like three-year-olds, should be
brought to farbrengens to rub shoulders with the Chassidim. He
spoke about someone in Kutayis in Georgia (the C.I.S.) who saw a Jew
bring his small son to the siyum on erev Pesach.
people asked him: Does he understand?
replied: And they (the older ones) understand?
the Rebbe’s name
the winter of 5711 they found Reb Avrohom Sykens badly wounded in the
street. He was taken unconscious to the hospital, and he lay in a coma
for three days. The doctors despaired, saying there was no hope.
of the Tmimim called the office of Merkaz L’Inyonei Chinuch and asked
that they tell the Rebbe about the situation and ask for a bracha.
Rebbe said they should whisper in the man’s ear that they had told the
Rebbe what had happened, and they should whisper the Rebbe’s name and
his father’s name.
Tamim did so immediately, and the man suddenly opened his eyes and
recognized the people standing around him. The doctors were astounded
and said it was entirely unnatural.
one who speaks is better
The Rebbe spoke to
someone at a yechidus about those who write and tell the Rebbe
everything, and those who don’t say anything. He said: there are two
types of fools, one who speaks and one who keeps quiet. I love the one
who speaks more.
be a vessel
A Chassid complained to
the Rebbe that he was not a vessel for ruchniyus (spirituality)
and asked for a bracha. The Rebbe said: When it’s time to eat
you choose a nice portion, and if it lacks salt you add salt. If you lie
in the depths, how can you be a vessel for ruchniyus?
two Blessing Are Alike
At a farbrengen
in 5712, someone asked the Rebbe for a bracha that his brother
would be able to leave Russia, “a bracha like so-and-so had
Rebbe said: The truth is that giving a bracha is something
connected with the individual’s soul. (Therefore it makes no sense to
ask to receive a bracha like somebody else.)
Is Because He Wanted To
The Chassid R’ M.M.
Cunin suffered from his second wife, and he always said that the reason
was that he had badgered the Rebbe Rayatz until he received his consent
for the match. At a farbrengen (Shmini 57120) the Rebbe said:
Hashem should help you understand that when it concerns a Rebbe, there
is no such thing as his being forced. If the Rebbe agreed, it is because
he wanted to.
you believe me
A woman once came to 770
and asked for a yechidus so that the Rebbe would help her father.
The doctors had said he was mortally ill. Since it wasn’t a yechidus
time, Rabbi Groner refused to allow her to enter. She insisted and stood
near the Rebbe’s room and cried.
her cries, the Rebbe phoned Rabbi Groner and asked who was crying
outside his door. When Rabbi Groner told him, the Rebbe told him to go
over to the woman and tell her that if she believed in him — and
certainly she did, since she came to see him —he was telling her that
it wasn’t the time for yechidus now and, therefore, she
Rabbi Groner told the Rebbe that she wanted an assurance that her father
would recover, the Rebbe told him to tell her that the doctors had made
a mistaken diagnosis and that her father would surely recover.
Groner relayed the Rebbe’s message, but the woman did not calm down.
She took out a telegram she had received from Eretz Yisroel in which the
doctors wrote about her father’s critical condition. Rabbi Groner
repeated the Rebbe’s message, and she finally calmed down and left.
weeks later, the woman returned and asked Rabbi Groner to relay her
thanks to the Rebbe, because the doctors did, in fact, err; her
father’s situation was actually not that serious, and he was on his
way to recovery. The lady said that now she understands why the Rebbe
did not want her to enter his room, because it turned out that she was
worrying for nothing.