Wednesday, June 18, 2008


This past Shabbos there was a discussion about Rebbe stories. One person said, "What's the point? They're all the same! Someone in trouble, asks for Bracha from Rebbe, they're saved. What's the point?" This person was answered by our retiring and humble leader, "The point is exactly that. There are a million stories, and a significant number of them are true, that heave the Rebbe miraculously helping someone. Forget the specifics of the stories; the Rebbe effected some incredible miracles."
I was thinking about this, and last night, while listening to Dovid Gabay sing on Hasc 20 remembered a story on this very subject. I heard this particular tale from Shmuley Weinberg of Kansas City, Kansas, who heard it from Dovid Gabay's father about a year and a half ago when he (Shmuley) was stranded in some New York town on the way to the Rebbe's Ohel. Here's the story, without my trademark "enhancement", because many of the principles are still alive and probably wouldn't appreciate my making fun of them.
Many moons ago, circa 1993, Dovid's grandfather, who from now on will be referred to as "GrandGabay", got some sort of stomach illness. The doctors told his family in Israel that the only way to save GrandGabay's life was to remove most of his stomach. Dovid Gabay's family, in New York, didn't know if this was a good course to follow, and they somehow arranged to have the Rebbe be asked by one of his secretaries. The Rebbe was at that time only communicating with hand signals, or maybe with his head (I'm not sure), and the Rebbe three times motioned that the doctors shouldn't perform the operation.
The Gabays of New York relayed this message to the Gabays of Israel, but they weren't interested in listening. They told the NY branch that, "Everyone knows that the Rebbe had a stroke; everyone knows that he can't speak. Who says that he knows what's going on? Much better to listen to doctors." The Israelis wouldn't be swayed, and GrandGabay underwent the operation.
About ten years later, GrandGabay got sick again, and the doctors told the family that there was nothing they could do, "If ten years ago his stomach hadn't been hacked into, a totally unnecessary operation, then we could save him now, but..."

The lesson of the story? Do as you're told, and then we can have stories with happy endings.


Nemo said...

One might be inclined to suggest that the Rebbe stories are an alternative distraction to all the other fun things that we could be doing instead of hearing these tales while licking chumus off our fingers.

The Real Shliach said...

What else could we be doing while licking our fingers? That activity involves the hands and mouth, leaving the nose, ear, feet, and brain unoccupied.
I'm willing to take suggestions...