Wednesday, August 20, 2008

19 Av stories

This afternoon I got an email that stated that tonight there would be a Farbrengen at Adath Israel Synagogue with Rabbi Shmuel Lew. I resolved to write as much of it as I could. I'll present about half here tonight, and the rest, which deal with R' Levik, the Rebbe's father, I'll post tomorrow night I"YH. So here goes:

When Rabbi Lew went to England many years ago on Shlichus he didn't know which city he was going to. By the goodbye Farbrengen that was made for him in 770 Rabbi Chadakov said, "This is the true idea of 'Lech Lecha', that a Jew is leaving tomorrow morning on Shlichus and he doesn't know where he's going to." The next morning Rabbi Lew was informed that he was going to be a teacher in a high school. When he began teaching, not only was there not a Minyan, there wasn't even a Mezumen!
Years later they decided to close down the high school, which was half day Jewish/half day secular, and open up a Yeshiva with all day Jewish studies. Rabbi Vogel wrote into the Rebbe, saying that he was happy to close down the high school, as it was costing a lot of money to run. The Rebbe immediately wrote back, insisting that a Lubavitch school with secular studies remain open.

At one point they were concerned about competition from a bunch of new Jewish schools; the Rebbe said, "Don't worry, it's in your merit that all these schools are opening."
A doctor from Miami came to 770 for Tishrei. His wife caught the flu, and couldn't shake it. They went in to Yechidus after the holidays were over, and the Rebbe told the Mrs. to drink some tea with lemon and honey. She said, "But so many of my friends told me to do that, and so far it hasn't worked!" The Rebbe said, "That was before I told you to drink it."

Some people expect big miracles, or miraculous cures. They don't understand that sometimes the most natural things will bring results. R' Levik, the Rebbe's father, wrote many thousands of manuscripts, but the only ones which survive are the few that he managed to write while in exile. These were written with ink made from berries, in the linings of books, but nevertheless they are the sole examples of R' Levik's work. Sometimes the humblest things are what count in the end.
What was the Rebbe's innovation? Before him, the sole goal of the Jewish community was to insulate itself, in the "ghetto of the mind", and try and avoid all worldly influences. The Rebbe was the first to actively assault the outside world, to try and recapture the precious Jewish souls who had earlier been thought to be forever lost.
After the Rebbe met Albert Einstein in Princeton they asked the Rebbe how the visit went? He answered, "I'm not sure what all the fuss is about. In my lifetime I've met six people who are smarter than him." They asked Albert, and he replied, "From him I learned about the unity of G-d."
When Shluchim left for the Yeshiva in Brunoy, in 1962 they didn't know when they would be coming back to America. As far as they knew, they'd never see their homes again. They left in Adar, and when it came time for the twentieth of Av they wanted to make a Farbrengen to mark the auspicious day. The administration took a dim view of their efforts, and they struggled mightily to ensure a Farbrengen. Right after they succeeded in making it they received a letter from the Rebbe which said that they should come home, their Shlichus was complete.
When R' Mendel Futerfas was in jail he realized that another Chassid was in the cell beneath his. He figured out that it was possible to communicate by way of a pipe that ran between the two cells. R' Mendel's first words were, "Moshe-are you happy?" He didn't ask this Chassid, tortured and near death, if he was still alive or how he was doing. The main thing that mattered was if he was happy. If he wasn't, then the Soviets were winning.
When R' Mendel was in a Siberian labor camp he used to Daven at 5:00 AM, because they left to work at 6:00 Am. Once he was discovered by a guard, who asked him what he was doing. R' Mendel replied that he was praying to G-d. The guard said, "Ha! You see that this has accomplished nothing for you." R' Mendel said, "How do you know? We're in the same place, and you're in the same boat as I am. The only difference is, I know why I'm here. You don't." The guard did not take kindly to these words, and wasn't too sweet in their future encounters.
What did R' Mendel learn from the Six Day war in 1967? The Egyptians had state of the art Soviet tanks, but whenever they encountered Israelis they fled. The Israelis climbed up into the abandoned tanks, turned the barrels around, and advanced on the fleeing Egyptians. R' Mendel said, "It's nice to have a brilliant mind, but it's worth nothing until you figure out which way it's pointing."
R' Mendel was a big proponent of Mashke, but he said that when he was in the camps in Siberia he didn't need any, because his whole life there was one big Farbrengen.
They once called R' Mendel into an interrogation, which happened very often, and told him that the game was up, the (previous) Rebbe had passed on. At first R' Mendel thought they were playing around with him, but then he realized that they were telling the truth. For the first time in all his years of questioning his knees buckled and he fell onto a chair. In a moment's time he was up though, realizing that in fact the game was not over, and now was not the time to give up.
Rabbi Manis Friedman once said to Rabbi Yudel Krinsky, "All the years I translated the Rebbe's Sichos on TV, how did the Rebbe know that I was doing a good job? Who reported that I wasn't messing up? When did the Rebbe accept that having a live translation of his Sichos was a good idea?" R' Yudel answered that it wasn't him, and continued, "You don't know? That was the Rebbe's style. He didn't need someone to tell him if something was going well." R' Manis then said, "I know that after the third Farbrengen I translated the Rebbe asked for a tape, and watched a whole Sicha with my translation. If he was worried about quality, why didn't he do this after the first? Why wait until the third?" R' Yudel replied, "He wasn't doing it to see if you did a good job; he was doing it to see how he could make life easier for you."
The next Farbrengen the Rebbe used a lot more English words.
Someone once wrote to the Rebbe and asked him to appoint someone to take the place of the head of an organization who had passed on. The Rebbe responded that it was not his policy to appoint new leaders, but rather to let someone else rise from the ranks and take over. In a similar vein, someone once wrote in and noted that there were two people doing essentially the same thing. He thought that it would be easier for both if the Rebbe would tell them to consult with one another and combine their efforts. The Rebbe responded that it was better that they continue on their own separate ways; when a person works hard on something he feels a connection to it, and this would be lost if the project were combined with another. In fact, more would be accomplished with two projects, even if they were the same, over one.

Only the Rebbe was able to make such a system work. After Gimmel Tammuz people thought that Lubavitch would fail, because they believed that the leadership structure was extremely strong. The truth is, however, that the Rebbe gave people an incredible amount of leeway in the way they could carry out their jobs.
A Frum guy who wasn't Lubavitch once met an Israeli for business, and saw that he had a large picture of the Rebbe in his wallet. The Frum guy asked the Israeli, why do you have that picture? You aren't Lubavitch. The Israeli said, "I keep this picture with me whenever I do business. Here's why:

After serving in an elite unit in the Israeli army I came to the United States, burnt out from the military, and looking for employment. I found a succession of odd jobs, but wanted something that would enable me to use my training and experience from the army. I found none, and eventually had a great idea. I wrote a letter that explained who I was, an Israeli who had served his country, and what I wanted; not money, but rather a chance to find a job which would utilize my unique talents. I had this letter copied, and sent it to 200 Rabbis and community leaders, of all stripes and kinds, in the American Jewish scene. 199 didn't get back to me. Only one did, the Lubavitcher Rebbe. He sent me a check for fifty dollars. I didn't know who I should be more angry at, the 199 who didn't even respond, or the one who had, but not in the way I wanted. I put the check in a drawer. Several months later I ran out of money, and realized that I needed the fifty dollars, so I dug it up and went to the bank to cash it. After I finished doing this I saw an old friend of mine from the army. He rushed over to me, and said that I was just the guy he was looking for. Turned out that he had opened up a string of businesses, and needed someone to help run them. He had been thinking that I would be the perfect guy to help him, and here I was...

The moral of the story? Sometimes all you have to do is cash the check. You have everything already, you're just missing the final step. Additionally, you never know where your success is going to come from. Instead of stressing out over this just take a deep breath and watch divine providence work its magic.
Someone asked R' Manis, "Who is the Nasi Hador, the leader of the generation, in our days?" R' Manis answered that it was the Shluchim, because they had taken the responsibility of the world on their shoulders.
Rabbi Kazanofsky came to Bais Chana in the seventies, in the days when hippies were real hippies. One of the girls was very taken with the white-bearded Rabbi, and she asked if she could speak to him privately. He said okay, and they spoke for a couple of hours. This girl was a hippie among hippies, who hadn't combed her hair in years and had belonged to an ashram. She and the Rabbi talked for a couple of hours, and when they were done R' Manis asked her what they had discussed. She replied, "I told him all about my spiritual questing. When I finished he said, 'That's nice, but maybe you'll try a little rouge?"


Leo de Toot said...

Dear Mr. R.S.
A lot of work I'm sure but sincerely appreciated by those of us unable to attend.
Looking forward to part 2,

e said...

I did not get the last story.

e said...

When did the Rebbe meet Albert Einstein? When was the Rebbe at Princeton?

The Real Shliach said...

e: 1. You never heard of rouge? Why didn't you click on the link that was kindly provided for you?
2. Sometime before the Nesius.

e said...

i know what rouge is, but what is hirougem? And why did Rabbi Kazarnovsky want her to put it on?

2. If Einstein learned about God from the Rebbe, he only learned of the Rebbe's opinion. Einstein's own opinion was firmly in the realm of kefirah.

The Real Shliach said...

Yeah, I made a typo. My bad. The point of the story was that the Rabbi wanted her to stop being such a hippie and act like a normal girl again.
As for Einstein, I made this point last night, albeit under my breath, which may explain why i wasn't stoned for it.

Anonymous said...

Someone asked R' Manis, who is the Nasi Hador, the leader of the generation, in our days? R' Manis answered that it was the Shluchim, because they had taken the responsibility of the world on their shoulders.

this is a terible story

the rebbe is and will always be the leader

The Real Shliach said...

The only problem I had with this story was that I punctuated badly. This problem has now been fixed.
As for your issue, my dear rabble-rousing anon, have you ever heard of the phrase, "Shliach Adam K'moso-K'moso Mamosh"?

Anonymous said...

yes - we have all heard of it - k'moso - still the rebbe leads us after 3 tamuz. thier has been no change in 7th generation - and to say the shluchim took over is a travesty of the rebbes teachings

The Real Shliach said...

A travesty of the Rebbe's teachings? Really! Can you find me some of these teachings please?

Anonymous said...

basi legani - 5711. 7 generations.

The Real Shliach said...

Okay, Okay, you obviously don't quite understand what the Rabbi said. All he's saying is that the manifestation of the Nasi Hador right now is the Shluchim; no talk of an eighth generation.

Anonymous said...

if he wants to believe that - g-d bless; however, no matter how great a shliach is - even with the kmoso teaching - it is still incomprehensible to equate the rebbes role to the shluchims role. the shluchim assist the rebbe, not take over for the rebbe.

The Real Shliach said...

See the Sicha of 28 Nissan-the Rebbe's work is being done by us. The Rebbe said that we're the mouth of the Friedriker Rebbe, and I believe somewhere else he said that we're the body too. Like it or not, we are the living embodiment of the Rebbe's vision. That might sound too much like corporate-Chabad, but...

Danny said...

dear anonymous,

your opinion is 100% correct, and I'm positive that if you asked Rabbi Friedman if the Rebbe is no longer the nasi hador he would state unequivocally that the Rebbe certainly is.

That's why the written word is so bad at conveying a spoken message.

a possible explanation: The shluchim are the leaders of the generation today, as they have assumed the duty of conquering the world. They are nesei hador. But the nasi hador? Hakol modim - it's the Rebbe.

Anonymous said...

Manis Friedman is a kofer of the worst sort. he gave a whole speech in chabad of skokie how the rebbe can't be moshiach. you call that shlicah of the rebbe?

The Real Shliach said...

You want this to get personal against Manis? Let this get personal against Manis. I suppose that he should take this as a compliment; not many people get attacked anonymously by people who they just did a favor for...V"DL.

YochananG Aust said...

to anonymous
you bring a source which is a bunch of pictures in order to be able to argue on what Manis said you need to put up an audio and until then don't not say things you can't back up

Manis Friedman said...

Yochanan, thanks for standing up in my defense.

Benjy said...

a. not likely that Rabbi Friedman actually left that comment.

b. I don't think that Anonymous will be reading these comments, as he/she has probably crawled back under the rock where he/she lives, coming out only rarely to spew stupdidity.

But if Anony was reading, here's what I might say: Which sin is worse on your planet: Publicly shaming a (fellow?) Jew and name calling, or saying that the Rebbe isn't Moshiach?

This Internet thing is so dangerous b/c it allows people that should be far removed from humanity to interact with the civilization they despise.

G. I wonder if Anony was at the speech in Skokie and stood up and called Rabbi Friedman 'the worst sort of kofer' (apparently there's good sorts of kofers) to his face...

Cheerio said...

the stories like these were always my favorite parts of farbrengens, so thanks for publicizing them!
and as regards the last story: bwahahahahahahaha! wow (wipes tear from eye), e, i can't believe you did not get that!