Thursday, November 22, 2007


Someone left a bunch of comments. I didn't appreciate them very much. Remember people, the goal in life is to think positive. On that note, I'd like to tell a story that I read in the previously-mentioned "Shabbos Secrets". By the way, this book absolutely rocks. Buy it now. Seriously. Anyway, there's a story told of the Belzer (Bobover?) Rebbe who once held a Tish by a summer resort. Short note: I've been to just on Tish, of the Skverer Rebbe in LA, and it was pretty amazing. I imagined, if this is a Tish, then imagine how great a Farbrengen with the Rebbe was. As my friend Sholom Goldberg said, quoting his father, "Watching a video of the Rebbe Farbrenging is amazing. The only thing you miss is the sound of angel's wings beating."
Back to the story. A bunch of Litvisher (man, that was PC, huh editor?) Bochurim from Mattersdorf (don't ask) came, and they were very interested to see all the interesting Minhagim. The Rebbe invited them to ask any questions that they might have on his Hanhaga (conduct). One Bochur, named Chaim, asked, "I noticed that the Rebbe made Kiddush very late, at 11:00. It says in Shulchan Oruch that a person should make Kiddush as soon as possible after Shabbos starts. What gives?" The Rebbe answered, "The Shulchan Oruch doesn't say a time that a person has to make Kiddush by, just that he should hurry. And this I did, for if not, I'd be making Kiddush tomorrow morning." The Bochur was so impressed that he became a Chassid on the spot.
Do I have a problem with this story? You bet. Let me preface my rant with another story. Back in the day, Mikves were cold. Like freezing cold. Like Lake Superior freezing cold. Like I once went into Lake Superior for Mikve. Like it was really cold. Once again, back to the story. The way they used to heat up the Mikve was that they'd keep a steaming vat of water near the Mikve, and every time a guy wanted to use it he'd pour some in, jump in, out, and get on with his life. I believe this story took place in Ruzhin, but don't quote me on that. Anyway, two local Chassidim went into the Mikve, did the vat-pouring trick, and a horrible scream alerted them to the fact that there was in fact a guy underneath the vat. Whoops. They carried his dead body to the Rebbe (of wherever it was) and he did the Elisha thing (look it up) and the guy, who happened to be a Lubavitcher woke up. An incredible miracle. The Chassid said to the Rebbe, "Yasher Koach (Thanks), but the Rebbe is in Lubavitch."
So what's my problem with the first story? If you're going to be affected every time someone has a brilliant comment, you may as well go be the Chassid of a late night talk show host. Judaism demands inner struggle, work, the triumph of good over evil. OK, so I'm being a little harsh. But that's what Thanksgiving is all about, no?