Friday, June 13, 2008

Last of the vim and vigor

Here are the last of the four stories from Rabbi Yisroel Wilhelm. And once again, enjoy.

The Rebbe's seventieth birthday in 1972 was the most hyped up to that time. Everyone was there for the Farbrengen, and when the Rebbe walked in pandemonium broke loose; everyone trying to catch a glimpse of the Rebbe. One Bochur was also pushing and shoving, and eventually he pushed down on someone's shoulders in order to get a better view. He looked down at the person whose shoulders he was on, and realized that they belonged to the Rebbe. He fled 770 to his bedroom in Yeshiva and refused to come out, because he was so embarrassed, mortified, and various other forms of self-loathing. It got to the point that the administration of the Yeshiva wrote a letter to the Rebbe asking what they should do about this Bochur, because he was refusing to come out of his room or even to eat. The Rebbe responded, "I appreciate the Hergesh", or roughly translated, "I appreciate what he's going through."

Josh Gordon, head Shliach of the Valley (in California) once decided to build a new building. There was only one impediment. He had no money. Not only did he have no money for the building, he had no money to plan to get money for a building. He decided to approach the local Federation and ask them for 100,000 dollars to help plan the general campaign. He went with Rabbi Einbinder, second in command, to ask the rich people at the annual board meeting of the Federation to help. Rabbi Einbinder did all the talking, and then the two Rabbis went out of the room while the rich people conferred. A few minutes later they were called back in, and the leader stood up and said, "Rabbi Gordon, we're not sure if your proposal is a joke, or if you meant it seriously. You want us to give you money to help you find money to build a multi-million dollar building? Do you have any expectation of receiving any funds? I'm sorry, but we can't help you."
Rabbi Gordon, who up to this point had yet to say anything, got up and said, "I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but I'm a Shliach of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, and I have a personal promise from him that this building is going to be built. It's going to look very embarrassing for the Federation if Chabad builds a massive building and you guys didn't help at all."
They gave the money. The building went up. Everyone was happy.
Incidentally, Josh Farbrenged a little while back in Colorado for the Shluchim who live there. He talked about Shlichus, and how some people think that it gets easier as you get older. He said that in fact it gets harder. People think that eventually they won't be in debt. Never happened. People think that eventually their message will be received more easily. Never happened. It takes work, lots of it. And you know what Rabbi Gordon said? It's worth every second.

This next, and last, story I don't remember so well, but the point remains.
Abba Refson, Rabbi at the Ohel, tells of the guy who pulled up in a limo, went straight into the Rebbe's Ohel, and started to pray or something like that. Abba Refson asked him what was up. He answered with the following story: I came from Russia to America in the sixties, and I thought I was coming to the golden land. Well, it turned out that it wasn't quite so stolen, and I spent many months just barely staying financially afloat. I began to get depressed, and I didn't know what to do. A friend suggested that I visit a Rabbi in Crown Heights who always had time for Russian Jews. I went to visit, and I was ushered right in. The Rabbi sat down with me, and we talked for a long time about my financial problems. I left his office feeling much better, with a plan for the future. Later I found out that he was the Lubavitcher Rebbe. I never saw him again, but whenever I felt down I pictured him in my mind and remembered that there was someone who cared about me.


Anonymous said...

nice, tack for sharing.

Elisheva said...

That's who Abba Refson is? Goodness I was wondering actually.