Friday, September 19, 2008

Farbie for life!

Today was the 18th of Elul, and I attended a couple of Farbrengens in honor of that auspicious day. The first was with Rabbis Moshe Feller and Manis Friedman. The following two stories were told by the former; unfortunately, I'm not so good at writing down Chassidus type-shtuff on the fly, and so the latter's words will be available only in private consultation.

After the publication of the Rebbe Rashab's (the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe) Kuntres Aitz Hachayim, many Rosh Yeshivos became very angry. The Rebbe wrote in Kuntres Aitz HaChayim that Yeshivos that don't learn Chassidus have major problems. The Roshei Yeshivos decided to make a big deal, and they sent a delegation to R' Chaim Brisker, their leader, and asked him to comment on the Kuntres. They were shocked when he looked it over and said that it was great.
Another time, R' Chaim Brisker asked the Rebbe Rashab, "Why is it necessary for Yeshivos to learn Chassidus? Why can't they just learn the rest of the Torah?" The Rebbe Rashab answered, "In order that they don't forget who gave the Torah." "I don't understand," said R' Chaim, "if they can forget who gave it when learning the Talmud, why not when learning Chassidus?" The Rebbe said, "I'm surprised you're asking this question! It's an explicit law in Pesachim; how can a person search for Chametz on Pesach, maybe he'll eat it! The answer is that he won't, because all his actions are devoted to destroying it So too, all Chassidus is devoted to learning about G-d, there's no way a person can lose sight of the objective."

After this Farbrengen I hightailed my way over to the Yeshiva High School of the Twin Cities, where a Rabbi Jacobson of Toronto was leading a rousing Farbie. Rabbi Baruch Zvi Friedman kindly provided the transportation, for which I am eternally grateful.

There was once a big cynic named Mendel, whose sole joy in life was making fun of Chassidim in general, and the Alter Rebbe in particular. Mendel once ran out of material, and he decided to go to Liozna to get some new shtuff to work with. When he got there, he changed his name from Mendel to Chaim and tried to get into Yechidus. The Shamash (beedle) told him he needed to prepare, and dedicated man that he was, he stayed many months, pretending to work on himself and gathering information. Finally he got into the Rebbe. He came into Yechidus with a note which said that his name was Chaim, and that he wanted a Tikkun for a big sin; he had once urinated on his Tzitzis by accident. The Alter Rebbe took his note and went into a state of Deveikus. Framed by two candles, the only light in the room, he said, ""Mendel, that's your only problem?" He became a Chassid.

Two Misnagdim once came to make fun of the Tzemach Tzedek. One of them dressed up as a woman, and they came as a couple, saying they were married for thirteen years, and yet still had no children. The cried, begged, pleaded, and generally outdid themselves, and the Tzemach Tzedek, after looking at them for a short while, blessed them with many kids, etc. The two came out of Yechidus laughing, with the knowledge that they had pulled a fast one on the Rebbe. A couple weeks later the "wife" started feeling chest pains. At first he thought it was something he ate; five excruciating months later, he was in Lubavitch, begging for forgiveness.

A Chassid once called the Rebbe's office, and said that his wife was giving birth, but there were major complications. The Rebbe gave a Bracha, a blessing, that everything should go fine, and eventually she gave birth. The next morning, her husband telephoned in the good news, and at what time it happened. He received a response from the Rebbe's secretariat, saying Mazel Tov, but also that there's something wrong with the time. The Chassid checked at the hospital, and found out that since the birth was so complicated, they hadn't written down the exact time, and had in fact put it about half an hour later than in really was. Later, the Rebbe explained, "When I heard that she was having trouble, I couldn't sleep, and at the real time I fell asleep. Later, when I heard the other time, I wondered what the story was...."


cee said...

Nice title. Farbie for CHAI elul.
Do these titles just come to you or you sit and think and think...?

TP2 is a girl, no boy yells I have to go to sleep.

The Real Shliach said...

I never spend more than thirty seconds on a title, especially when I'm posting at 2:00 AM, which seems to be happening more and more frequently...

So, the mystery deepens, eh? Will TP2 ever come out of the closet?