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Unread 01-14-2003, 09:16 PM   #1
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The 6th Lubavitcher Rebbe, the "Frierdiker Rebbe"

The Rebbe Rayatz’s account of his visit to the Holy Land chronicling his first three days in Jerusalem. * The highlight of the trip: a maamer delivered from the roof of the Amdursky Hotel before a crowd of thousands. * The Rebbe’s visit to the Kosel “left an impression that can never be erased.” * The Rebbe Rayatz describes his emotions standing before the place of the Beis HaMikdash.

B”H Beis Menachem Av, 5689 [Aug. 2, 1929]


Yesterday, the 1st of Av, we left Alexandria at 3:00 p.m. Bey Fitzata [Senator Yosef Di-Figoto Bey], HaRav HaChacham HaGaon Nadler and a few others came with us to the train station. By 5:30 we had reached the Bena station, where we waited an hour before changing trains.

As the train pulled in, a special delegation arrived from the Cairo Ashkenazi community (a shochet and three baalei battim) to extend its blessing and an invitation to visit. There was a huge crowd waiting for us at the station, bli ayin hara, as they had known in advance that we were coming.

Around 9:30 p.m., we reached the border station of Kantara on the English Canal [the Suez Canal]. An officer and two soldiers asked to see Rabbi Schneersohn. The officer saluted, relaying an order from the government to personally greet the great rabbi and ferry him across the canal separately from the other passengers. He also asked for our luggage (which would not be opened), and promised that it would be transferred to our train compartment. The train would be leaving in two hours. We could board immediately if we wished, but everyone else would have to wait another hour and a half. The officer then ordered a sailor to transfer all our things by boat and load them onto the train.

The fact that a special governmental order had been issued to transport our group made a great impression on everyone. Mr. Mendel Schneersohn (from Warsaw), who was with us on the boat to Alexandria, accompanied us this time, too. He said he was very happy.

At 12:00 a.m., we left Kantara for Jerusalem, and at 5:00 a.m. we had a stopover in Lod. [As will be described later, the Rebbe actually arrived in Rechovot at 5:00, and slightly later in Lod.]

At 4:00 a.m., I woke up to daven. By 5:00 we could faintly hear the rumblings of a large crowd; I assumed they had come to welcome us, but I remained in my compartment.

At 5:30, I opened the door and was told that a special delegation of about 100 people representing several cities had arrived: Jaffa, Tel Aviv, Petach Tikva, Tzefat, and some moshavim. Others were waiting at the train stations along the route, and in Lod itself several hundred more had gathered. In Lod we would change trains and continue traveling in a first-class compartment.

At 6:10 we arrived in Lod, but I wasn’t permitted to debark until a semblance of order was imposed. It was extremely noisy. The train platform was completely filled with people, bli ayin hara. I waited 15 minutes to step off the train, whereupon a ring of people and Jewish soldiers surrounded me. It took about six minutes to walk from the first train to the second; the second was much nicer, with first-class accommodations.

That train left Lod at 6:20 and arrived in Jerusalem at 8:30. For the first half-hour I sat alone in my compartment, then I met with the various representatives who had come to see me. This filled an hour and five minutes. At around 8:00 we pulled into a station that was only about a half-hour from Jerusalem [Betar], where a delegation representing several rabbanim was waiting. I was presented with letters from HaRav Kook, Rabbi Sonnenfeld, and Rabbi Yaakov Meir (who sent me his “honor guard” consisting of his mazkir and two uniformed aides, complete with weapons and silver batons). It was a great honor. Nonetheless, for someone who is unaccustomed to such a spectacle, it produces a feeling of discomfort. This honor guard would later accompany us to the hotel, perched on the car’s running boards. In the meantime, they waited outside my door.

The train was absolutely packed, as my visit is the day’s top news item. May HaKadosh Boruch Hu make it successful in every way.

At 8:30, I changed into a different sirtuk. I was about to see Jerusalem, and would have to tear kriya. I wore my silk sirtuk.

Amidst all the confusion, a piece of luggage was lost. All things considered, it was a miracle that only one was misplaced. As soon as we realized it, we sent off a telegram, and we hope the package will be recovered.

At 8:30, we arrived at the Jerusalem station. Bli ayin hara, such a large crowd was waiting! So many different types of people: old men dressed in silk with velvet hats, younger ones in white suits and hats, with yarmulkes and caps, red hats and hatless. Apologetically, they asked me to remain on board until I got the all-clear. Someone opened a window, and I was asked to bentch the crowd. When I looked out the window I saw a wall of British policemen, some on horseback. (This was on the train platform.) Bli ayin hara, it was such varied assemblage of men, women, and children.

Thunderous applause and wild cheering erupted when I appeared at the window. It was so fervent that it hurt my heart. This lasted for about two minutes, then all was quiet. I said from the window, “Shalom aleichem,” and an earsplitting shout of “Aleichem shalom” and “Baruch ha’ba” rose up in response. Again there was rustling for a few minutes until the noise settled. Then the silence was pierced by the cry of, “Boruch Ata...she’hechenayu v’kiymanu, etc.”

I returned to my train compartment. A few minutes later the station director and the chief of police came to extend their official greetings.

At 8:45, I stepped off the train. As soon as I appeared at the door there was more cheering and cries of “hooray.” After I delivered a few words of blessing, the police led me over to a prearranged area to meet with dignitaries. This took ten minutes. Then, still under police guard, I walked to the front of the station where a car was waiting with my son-in-law, R’ Shmaryahu. The two men with their batons were positioned on the running boards. A huge crowd walked along with us on foot. It seemed as if the whole city was in an uproar.

The whole way to the hotel, the streets were lined with groups of well-wishers shouting “Shalom aleichem.”

So many security precautions had been taken at the Amdursky Hotel that it was not easy for us to get inside. Within a half-hour of our arrival some 500-600 people (maybe more) were milling about, requesting that I come out onto the balcony. I sent word that I would do so in a few minutes. By then, the crowd had doubled in size. When I stepped outside, the air immediately filled with the echoes of “Boruch ha’ba,” “Shalom aleichem” and “She’hecheyanu,” then all was quiet. I said a few words — that I accepted each greeting of “Shalom aleichem” and answered each person “Aleichem shalom” individually, and apologized for not being able to stay out longer because I was simply too tired. A roar of “Toda u’vracha” rose up from the throng, accompanied by applause. I could still hear it when I got back to my room.

At 11:00, the elderly Rabbi Sonnenfeld came to visit. His personal visit was a great honor, as he had already sent a representative. He sat with me for a few minutes and then left.

Word came that HaRav Kook and Rabbi Yaakov Meir were going to arrive together at 2:00 p.m., but this was only unofficial.

Those who are familiar with the Jerusalem mentality say that this is the first time they have ever witnessed such a heartfelt reception.

All of the newspapers representing all of the different political parties —even Labor — have printed greetings, as have many mosdos and institutions.

I rested until 2:00, then received prominent visitors between 2:00 and 4:00.

At 4:00, we went to daven Mincha at the Kosel Maaravi. One can travel only up until a certain point, after which it is necessary to continue by foot. Despite the fact that no one knew our plans in advance, there were several hundred people accompanying us, under police guard.

The visit to the Kosel made a very deep impression on me. The Mincha service warmed me as if it were Erev Yom Kippur; truly a great impression. As it turned out, a warmhearted Chassidic Jew led the davening with a sincere and heartfelt voice. He davened word for word, with a melody that perfectly matched the vicissitudes of the soul. The entire square was filled with people davening Mincha. They estimated a crowd of at least 1,500, not counting the hundreds who stood on the roofs of nearby houses. The mighty sound of so many prayers pouring forth touched me deeply, till I went out of the realm of keilim (literally, vessels; i.e., rational experience). An enormous wail rose upward, bathing the heart in hot tears. Hundreds of people were weeping aloud. It was as if everyone had been transported to a higher realm.

After Mincha I recited Tehillim. They brought me chair to sit on, as by then I did not have the strength to stand. My torn silken sirtuk, rachmana litzlan, together with the spiritual elevation of the crowd, created a truly awesome atmosphere. Everyone was saying Tehillim.

In the short time I was at the Kosel, word of my arrival had spread. More people came running over, only to be stopped by mounted police who blocked their way. Some people had already been injured in the terrible crush, and their cries were audible. No one could remember there ever being such a crowd at the Kosel Maaravi, bli ayin hara.

We were there until 6:30 p.m., after which I paid a reciprocal visit to Rabbi Sonnenfeld, who welcomed me with a large retinue. I sat with him for ten minutes, then went back to the hotel.

On Friday, at 2:00 p.m., I visited HaRav Kook for 15 minutes. Then I visited Rabbi Yaakov Meir for ten minutes. At 2:45 I returned to the hotel. Telegrams were arriving from all over Eretz Yisroel, each conveying blessings and an invitation to visit that particular part of the country.

At 4:00, I went to the mikva. Wherever I go, huge crowds greet me. I am told that my visit has created much joy among all types of Jews.

The suitcase from Alexandria is missing, so we are without Shabbos clothes. I had to buy a new streimel and have my old Shabbos clothing altered...

The hotel is very big. I have a room, a balcony, a small sitting room to receive guests, a large parlor, and a waiting room. The large parlor was completely filled for Kabalas Shabbos; they had to open the door to the smaller sitting room (where I davened) to accommodate everyone.

Kabalas Shabbos lasted an hour and quarter. Boruch Hashem, it appears as if many people are drawing nearer. For Shabbos, approximately 70 minyanim arrived from the surrounding neighborhoods.

They daven very early here, on Shabbos at 7:00 o’clock in the morning, but I indicated that they should start at 8:30. The roof of the hotel was prepared for my saying Chassidus. There is a very wide area on the rooftops, where people can stroll about; I’ve been told that it can accommodate 2,000 people.

The [Friday night] Shabbos seuda was eaten at 9:00 p.m., with my son-in-law and our friend, Reb Alter Simchavitch. The wine was made by one of our own, and it was very good. The meal lasted about an hour.

I thought I might say some Chassidus I brought from home, but when I saw the huge crowd awaiting me (bli ayin hara) I realized that I would have to change my plans. Starting after nightfall, I worked on preparing the maamer until 12:00 a.m. Then I lay down to rest, and slept until 4:00 a.m.

At 4:00, it was back to working on the maamer. By 9:30, I had completed about three-fourths of it.

At 9:00, a small minyan assembled to daven. The large parlor was filled to bursting, bli ayin hara. I was told that there were hundreds of people. They finished davening around 12:00 p.m.

I davened in my room and finished the Chassidus by 3:00 p.m. Then I went to make Kiddush and eat the Shabbos seuda. The seuda took about an hour and a quarter, after which I went back to review the maamer.

At 5:30, they davened Mincha, and at 6:10 I was ready to say Chassidus. I was informed that the roof was filled with people, bli ayin hara, and that it was very crowded. Even the surrounding roofs were packed; I should speak in a loud voice so that everyone could hear me. For a moment I could rejoice in the Chassidus that HaKadosh Boruch Hu has granted me; may He give me the strength to deliver it properly, that it have the desired effect and leave the right impression.

For the first few minutes it was difficult to maintain order, but eventually the pushing and talking aloud stopped. I began to speak, with everyone listening attentively and with great interest, Boruch Hashem.

I spoke for an hour and three-quarters, after which we sang “Dem Emes’n Niggun.” There was happiness in the streets. People wanted to dance but there wasn’t enough room.

Eight-thirty was Maariv, after which I made Havdala by myself.
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Unread 01-14-2003, 09:17 PM   #2
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From the Rebbe Rayatz’s Letters

Motzaei Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Eikev, the evening of 18 Menachem Av. I have been paid very great honor, not merited by many in Eretz Yisroel and in Jerusalem in particular, by all political parties without exception. For this I thank G-d. But in my innermost being, I am broken into pieces.

My first Mincha at the Kosel Maaravi cost me much in terms of health. I kept in mind a vision of myself standing in the Beis HaMikdash. At such a moment, standing at the wall of the Beis HaMikdash, everything becomes different. A person is completely changed. He experiences a certain spiritual elevation, a broken-heart, a sense of self-nullification. It is as if the whole fleshly “I,” the ego, has disappeared. Everything becomes elevated and subsumed in the spiritual, in the realm of the soul, in a layer of rachmanus, an outpouring of the soul in pure prayer and devotion to Above.

That first Mincha afforded me a certain amount of spiritual strength. May HaKadosh Boruch Hu accept all our prayers and requests with everything good.

10 Elul. ...There were some very serious moments; against one’s will, one is transported to a different life entirely, spiritual and celestial.

That first Mincha was on Thursday, 2 Menachem Av, immediately upon my arrival in Jerusalem. I was still under the impression of the sights and sounds that had greeted us previously: the hundreds of delegations, the thousands of people, the tearing of kriya, rachmana litzlan, the cheering in the Jerusalem train station, the crowd at the hotel, my standing on the balcony wearing my old silk sirtuk with the ripped lapel, the noise of the throng, the echoes of “She’hecheyanu.”

Then there was the second kriya upon seeing the place of the Beis HaMikdash, the massive crowd, the hundreds of people standing on the rooftops as we passed by.

It was a very serious Mincha. I forgot everything. All I could remember was our family, each member separately. I asked for mercy for each one, I cried for each one, and for our brethren who are in dark, bitter Russia. I kept all the pidyonos next to me, then placed them on the holy stones.

In general, I mentioned all the Chassidim and their families; I perceived it as my obligation. I was broken, like a true Schneersohn “going out of the realm of keilim.”

With this sense of geshmak I kissed the stones and recited Tehillim. Everyone was saying Tehillim; there was so much crying and yelling. People were saying Tehillim individually, but it was as if we had only one voice and a single kavana. At that moment I imagined that our brethren still at home could feel this, and it lightened my heart a little.

Those hours of davening Mincha and saying Tehillim left a genuine impression. Such moments would be repeated several times in the course of my visit, but in different forms.
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Unread 01-26-2003, 06:09 PM   #3
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Translated by Z. Arubai

In the year 5700, the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Rebbe Rayatz arrived on the shores of the U.S.A., a refugee from the horrors of war torn Poland. He was broken in body, having previously "tasted" the prisons of Stalin's Russia. However, his spirit was more than intact.

As soon as the Rebbe arrived in America, he announced that he has not come for his personal advantage, but to make America a place of Torah and Chassidus, since "America iz nit anderesh" (America is not different..

The Rebbe immediately got to work. First, he enrolled "soldiers" in his private army – he founded "Yeshivas Tomchei Tmimim" – soldiers of the House of David. He started sending young emissaries to the spiritual wastelands to make them bloom and flower with warm Chassidishe style Yiddishkeit.

He began disseminating Chassidishe works, by starting the Kehot Publishing, and the Machne Israel and Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch organizations. From a meager handful of Tmimim, Lubavitch grew and branched out all over the world. And to think that all this was accomplished by a Jew whose soul was imprisoned in a weakened and broken body!!

Towards the last months of his life, when anyone in a likewise situation would be resting on his laurels and thinking of easing up the workload, the Rebbe started a new and unique project: concern and care for the spiritual condition of the Jews of North Africa!! (This didn't come to fruition in his life time – and the Torah institutions there are named in his honor).

During the winter of 5710 the Rebbe expressed himself to his son – in- law and right hand man – the RaMash (later known as the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach) that he would like to go to Eretz Yisroel. The RaMash answered that how can he go there – when there is so much work here. And the Rebbe Rayatz answered -" Nu, that is a nice thought." Only later, after Yud Shvat we understood to what the Rebbe alluded.

The Rebbe received Chassidim in his private holy chamber for Yechidus, including on Friday the 9th of Shvat. The last Chossid to merit a private audience with the Rebbe was a Jew from the Holy Land- Rabbi Dolitsky.

In honor of the Yohrzeit of the Rebbe's beloved and saintly grandmother, Rebetzin Rivka Schneersohn, which was on that Shabbos, Yud Shvat, the Rebbe had a Chassidic discourse printed to be learnt that Shabbos, beginning with the words "Basi Legani".. The content hints and indicates what was about to happen – but nobody could have possibly fathomed what was coming….. and surely no one was looking for hints…..

In the introduction to the Maamar (discourse) there was a "printing error", and that was noticed but dismissed as a curiosity. In the word "Shlita – which is an abbreviation of: May he live long days and years amen, the letter Yud – Yomim (days) was left out. Definitely an eerie typo….By morning all will be too clear……

At 7:15 a.m. the Rebbe, who had been suffering greatly, but was not common knowledge, asked to be taken into his Yechidus room. While there, he looked around all over the room, and asked to be taken back to his sleeping quarters. About one half hour later, he suffered a serious attack, and medical help was brought immediately. R' Sholom Ber Eichhorn was sent to notify the RaMash and his wife Rebetzin Chaya Mushka of what happened. By the look on the Rebbetzin's face it was clear that she understood without being told.

The new "Russians" – that handful of bochurim who escaped Communist Russia and came to learn in 770 via France arrived, and were asked immediately to say Tehillim as the Rebbe is not well at all.

The police came immediately with oxygen. They couldn't be of much help. In the room at the time of the histalkus were Rabbi Shmuel Levitin, R' Sholom Ber Eichorn and Dr. Seligson. Someone commented: a Cohen, a Levi and a Yisroel! Rabbi Yochahnan Gordon had been in the room, but was unable to bring himself to stay.

A Chossid who had arrived Shabbos morning at 770 and was standing at the front entrance, saw all of a sudden two policemen running out of 770 and carrying oxygen. One of them one short but shocking word: gone!

Tmimim who arrived at 770 knowing that today the Rebbe will be "Maftir", and were rushing to prepare for davening, were horrified to learn the worst news of their lives. Everyone was appalled, shocked etc.

The RaMaSh was in the mikveh. It was hard to discern from his expression if he knows anything or not – until he remarked that the mikveh will be open all day. What amazing inner forces he must have to be able to show such restraint!!

From the mikveh to 770 – it is a sea, or rather an ocean of tears. Impossible to describe what everyone felt… Little by little the news spreads, Chassidim from the outlying neighborhoods have been notified and come running. Upstairs, in the Rebbe's apartment, the RaMash announces that only that that have immersed in the mikveh may come up. T'hillim (the other kind) is being said. Sobs are heard and echo all through 770. The RaMash finds it necessary to request of someone to "please control" himself.

The Shabbos services take place, and the all rush to eat the Shabbos meal – woe to such a meal!!

When Shabbos is over, the Chassidim from far are notified by phone. The word has gotten out and the phone in the secretariat is ringing "off the wall". Everyone is asking the same thing – can it be? They cannot bring themselves to ask more…and they are told, come immediately; all will be clear when you get here.

Someone has the idea of calling Rabbi Moshe Dovber Rivkin. He had been present at the histalkus of the Rebbe's father – the Rebbe Rashab in Rostov, and would know what is to be done. He arrives and is ushered in quickly to the Rebbe's room, and the door closes behind him. A telegram is sent to the Ohel of the Rebbe Rashab in Rostov to announce what had happened.

The Chassidim were able to see the Rebbe being put on the floor, and 5 candles lit. He is covered by is Shabbos kapote. That sight brings a fresh wave of crying – everyone's nerves are taut, and every small detail brings on new tears. All that one saw in 770 that night were tears and Tehillim.

The RaMash takes charge. The levaya is scheduled for 12:00 noon the next day. Bochurim were given different tasks and the Elder Chassidim through lots for the Tahara (ritual purification). Reb Yochanan Gordon merits "Rosho Ketem Paz" and Rabbi Mordechai Groner merits putting on the yarmulke. ( R' Yochanan disclosed that soon after the histalkus he came into the room and saw the Rebbe's yarmulke on the bed. When he went to put it on the Rebbe's holy head, he was surprised to see that he was wearing one…The Rebbe wore two head coverings…)

All through the night Jews thronged to 770 to say Tehillim and be with the Rebbe. The out of towners began arriving. Shortly before the funeral, the Tmimim and Anash go up to ask mechila (forgiveness) of the Rebbe.
The sobbing and sighing is unbearable. Everyone comes in, passes by for a moment of privacy with their beloved Father and Rebbe, and is rushed out the other door. The moment is indescribable…

Masses of Jews from all walks of life are already gathered at 770 to pay the Rebbe, leader of world Jewry, Nasi of Klal Yisroel and the Moshiach of his generation, due respect. The crush of people is tremendous.

The funeral proceeds to the Montefiore resting place of Agudas Chassidei Chabad, that had been purchased when the Rebbe's mother Rebbetzin Shterna Sora passed away.

Before the kevura the RaMash announced that "this is on "condition" that if we go to Eretz Yisroel, we don't go without you". At this point, the source of tears has dried up... After the kevura, everyone is given the opportunity to write a request (pidyon nefesh) of the Rebbe and put it on the holy place. Everyone is pushing, everyone is eager to merit a blessing from the Rebbe. The Amshinover Rebbe faints in the crush of the crowd..

The Chassidim return to 770 – the RaMash makes a tear in his Shabbos sirtuk and all the Chassidim make a tear as well. The Rebbe – as the RaMash will be known as from now on – and his brother in law the Rashag, make separate minyonim for Mincha. They will continue as well for the entire year….Yud Shvat – the day the sun set, and rose…..
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Unread 01-30-2003, 02:53 AM   #4
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Great posts Jude.
On a different note, isn't the Mitteler Rebbe given that title because there is no idea of a "Previous Rebbe"? Why do we call the Rayatz the Friediker Rebbe?

Last edited by hishtatchus; 01-30-2003 at 03:21 AM.
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Unread 01-30-2003, 12:34 PM   #5
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>On a different note, isn't the Mitteler Rebbe given that title because there is no idea of a "Previous Rebbe"? <
Where did this idea come from?
AFAIK, he was called the MR since he was between the AR and the ZZ.
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Unread 01-30-2003, 01:12 PM   #6
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Thanks Jude
Achdus Yisroel!
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Unread 01-30-2003, 03:11 PM   #7
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I believe originally he was called the Previous Rebbe, when someone (the Rebbe then?) intervened. When the Chassidim asked what title to give then, they were told the "Mitteler Rebbe."
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Unread 01-30-2003, 05:33 PM   #8
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Unread 01-30-2003, 11:41 PM   #9
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Somewhere in the depths of my unreliable memory
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Unread 02-25-2003, 03:49 PM   #10
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The story begins with a ‘Farbrengen’ (Chassidic gathering) of the Chassidim of the previous Lubavitch Rebbe in France shortly before WWII. The Rebbe’s son-in-law (who in another ten years would become the next Lubavitch Rebbe) was also present and he was the main speaker, but some of the other Chassidim also spoke.

One of them told of a miraculous experience that he had two years earlier. After escaping death in Russia the Rebbe had to move his headquarters to Poland and many Chassidim moved there to be with him. But in the course of his stay the Rebbe told many of them to leave Poland and settle in other countries, for instance the one telling the story was one of a group of five that the Rebbe told to go to France.

Now back in those days this was no small task; they had several borders to cross, among them dreaded Germany, and to make matters worse one of them had an non-valid passport and no time to get a new one; the Rebbe told them to leave immediately.

On the trains, one of them would lie on the bench and the other four would sit on him, covering him with their long winter coats to avoid the passport checks. And they even managed somehow to pass all the other borders. But the check post at the German border was notoriously dangerous, especially for Jews, and for Jews with no passports it was almost suicide.

They decided on some sort of plan, but as they neared the front of the line they heard shouting and screaming from inside the inspection center, then a pistol shot followed by a moan and silence. They tried to look as confident as possible but were really trembling inside, if it wasn’t for the Rebbe’s blessing they would all have turned back and returned to Poland on the spot.

But to their amazement when the first Chassid got to the window, the official snatched his passport from his hand and stamped it without asking questions! And so he did to the second. Then he began talking on the phone and stamped the remaining three passports without even looking at them!

But their problems were far from over; the place was full of cruel robot-eyed policemen and soldiers checking and rechecking everything and everyone that moved (probably that is where the shots came from) but strangely the police paid no attention to them! They walked through the station unnoticed, as though they were invisible, hailed a taxi, and left. One half hour later they were in a telegraph office sending a message back to the Rebbe … they were free! It was a miracle!!

The Rebbe’s son-in-law listened attentively to the story. When it finished he asked for the exact date and time of the miracle and when he heard the answer he smiled and said, “Now I understand something that was a mystery to me these last two years.

“The Rebbe, my father-in-law, had to have a nurse come in every day and give him an injection because of his health. (After his imprisonment and torture in Stalin's prisons he became increasingly paralyzed).

"One day the nurse came in and saw a frightening sight: the Rebbe was sitting rigidly in his chair, eyes slightly open and completely unresponsive. She was sure that he was having a catatonic attack of some sort, and immediately called the Rebbe’s wife. When the Rebbitzen entered she began weeping frantically, but before they called a doctor they called for me.

“When I entered I also was shocked at first, but then I noticed something that made me realize that there was noting to worry about; it was almost imperceptible but the Rebbe’s lips were moving, he was saying or reciting something!

“I bent down and listened and then straightened up and announced that there was, in fact, no cause for alarm …the Rebbe was saying “Az Yashir Moshe” (The song that the Jews sang after crossing Yam Suf. (Shmot 15:1 –19)!! “After ten minutes the Rebbe opened his eyes and returned to normal.

“I never asked the Rebbe for an explanation but now I have it. It was the exact same time that your miracle was occurring. The Rebbe was passing you all through the German inspection like Moshe passed the Jews through the sea!

That is the Job of a Rebbe; to help free Jews.
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Unread 02-27-2003, 01:47 PM   #11
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as told by R' Tuvia Bolton

The previous Lubavitch Rebbe O.B.M. once had to travel to another town and stopped at a hotel. The word of his arrival quickly spread, and within hours there was a line of people waiting at his door for advice and blessing. One woman arrived together with her thirty year old son and begged the Rebbe to make him return to a Torah observant life.

It seems that the young man had become a successful lecturer in some German university and had thrown away all trace of Judaism. He stood haughtily before the Rebbe with a condescending look written all over his face. "Well Rebbe" he smiled as he sat in the chair facing him. "My mother tells me that you are a very wise man, not like all those other Rabbis that are steeped in superstitions and nonsense. So do tell me something wise, Rebbe".

"Do you put on Tefillin?" asked the Rebbe.
"Certainly not!" answered the young man.
"What about Shabbos or Kosher food?" The Rebbe continued.
"Well I see that we've just about finished our little conversation, haven't we Rebbe? I see you are no different from the others, living in your dark dream world. When will you wake up to the real world and see what is happening around you?"
"May I tell you a story?" asked the Rebbe.
"All right," said the visitor in a disgusted tone " I have already wasted an entire morning, what difference does it make if I lose a few more minutes. Who knows, maybe now my mother will leave me alone with her foolishness"

The Rebbe began his story:
"Once there was a mathematics professor who suddenly got a brilliant idea in the middle of one of his lectures. He went home that night and thought about the idea until morning without sleeping or eating. The next day he was pleased, he made a rough sketch of his work and showed it, first to some of his colleagues and then to the head of the math department and everyone was enthusiastic.
They all agreed that if his theory was as correct, as it seemed to be, he had really stumbled on a revolutionary breakthrough.

He obtained a leave of absence from his lectures and threw himself completely into developing his new discovery. At first he proceeded cautiously, consulting with others, but after a few months he became inflamed with ideas of genius and visions of greatness, and worked alone as a man possessed.
One year later his work was finished; a two hundred page masterpiece of mathematical prodigy.
He'd been over each stage of his essay, tens, nay, hundreds of times, writing and rewriting each idea so that future generations would see that he was not only a genius in deep thinking but a perfectionist in expression as well."
The Rebbe looked at his guest and the young man had forgotten his haste and was listening. The Rebbe continued.
"The professor carefully stacked the finished manuscript on his desk and decided to step outside into the beautiful summer afternoon for a short walk before taking his paper to the printers.
It was over a year since he had taken a stroll outdoors and this time he felt like a new man at the dawn of a new era. Yes, he would be famous, there was no doubt in his mind, but he wouldn't let it go to his head, no not him, he would continue working at his little university and still be his same humble, albeit genius, self until the pressure from Princeton or Harvard became so great etc. etc.
After several minutes he returned to his apartment, opened the door and was horrified by what met his eyes. His manuscript was strewn all over the floor and on each page was… a thick line… a line of cancellation!
Obviously someone had entered the house (he probably forgot to lock the door), checked his essay and found a mistake! Why else would anyone make a slash through each page!? His mind was reeling 'Where did I go wrong? How can it be?"

The next-door neighbors heard a loud thud and a crash as he fell to the floor in a faint and broke a glass or something. They ran next door just in time to see him try to get on his feet again and then suddenly look around, put his hands over his eyes and yell 'Ohhh my masterpiece!!' and fall once more unconscious to the floor'.

It was about ten minutes later that the doctor arrived and he immediately understood that the problem was serious. Every time that he woke the professor with smelling salts, the he would again look around, give a moan and pass out. The doctor began to look about him. He stood up and began to examine the room until suddenly a smile formed on his face. He returned and bent down over the unconscious professor and spoke quietly into his ear, 'Professor, it was only a cat, only a cat. A cat put those lines through your paper.'

'Eh', said the professor as he opened one eye 'A cat, only a cat? What do you mean?'

The doctor helped the professor to his feet and showed him that a cat must have entered the room through the window, dipped his tail inadvertently into the inkbottle and put slashes through the papers as he knocked the manuscript to the floor. 'Ha! A cat! It was only a cat! And the professor began to laugh and laugh."

"That is the end of the story", announced the Rebbe, "did you understand it?"

"That's the end?!" yelled the young man "that was a stupid, infantile story and a complete waste of time!"
" No," Said the Rebbe "The point of the story is that the professor laughed when he realized that only a cat had cancelled his theory, because what comparison has a cat's intelligence to that of a professor".

"Well", continued the Rebbe "that is only a fraction of how ludicrous your attempt to cancel the Torah is to me. Your understanding of the Creator's infinite wisdom is much less than a cat's understanding of mathematics!"
The young man became silent and for several minutes sat before the Rebbe lost in thought.
"Thank you, for the story" he quietly said as he stood and shook the Rebbe's hand before leaving the room, the Rebbe had planted the seed of change.
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Unread 07-23-2003, 01:58 PM   #12
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The following is a translation of the Rebbe Rayatz’s notes which were written after visiting Philadelphia on 13 Kislev 5690 (1930) * The Rebbe describes his visit to Independence Hall where he sat on the chair of President Washington and laid a wreath near the Liberty Bell


Monday 15 Kislev

“Wagon” – New York – Philadelphia. [Note: The Rebbe arrived in Philadelphia on 13 Kislev. Immediately after the reception described in this article, he went back to New York for a special gathering. He returned to Philadelphia on 15 Kislev, and on the “wagon,” i.e., the train from New York to Philadelphia, he wrote some of these entries in his journal.]

... We left New York at 11:00 a.m., accompanied by a committee from New York and a committee from Philadelphia. The trip took two hours; we arrived in Philadelphia at 1:00 p.m. A delegation of 30 rabbanim was waiting at the station, as well as affluent baalei battim, representatives of all the mosdos, a special delegation from the city representing the mayor, and a few thousand people. It took half an hour to get from the station to the taxi. The mayor’s representative officially invited me, in the name of the free republic and in the name of Philadelphia, to visit Independence Hall. There, from President Washington’s chair, I was to bestow my blessing to the American Republic. I agreed.

At 2:30 p.m., we went to the Hall where a large crowd waited. A few hundred other cars followed us. All the streets were closed and we traveled with a police honor guard (not like in the past, the one that brought me to Spalerna [prison in the USSR]). When we arrived it took some time until we got out of the car. The mayor’s representative walked ahead of us, followed by the director of the honor committee of Independence Hall. He was followed by the director of Agudas Chassidei Chabad in Philadelphia, Mr. [Nosson] Feigen, who is one of the distinguished wealthy men in the city, bli ayin ha’ra. Then we walked, the uncle... [my son-in-law], R.S. [Gurary], and myself, followed by the committee from New York which accompanied us. Following them, they allowed 50-60 other people to enter, Jews and ******ians, and representatives of the Jewish and Anglican newspapers.

The most significant area in the building consists of two rooms, one of which contains President Washington’s chair, in which he sat 150 years ago and wrote the principles of freedom of religion and the principles of the law which gives equal rights to all men. The other room contains the historic bell upon which is engraved “Freedom for all Men.” This bell was rung in order to inform the country of the news of liberty.

It is considered a great honor to be allowed to enter the room and to inscribe one’s name in a book, as well as to lay a wreath of flowers near the bell. People who have been victorious [in their battle for liberty] are so honored. This honor was awarded a few years ago to General Fas of France when he visited America. An additional honor given to kings and heads of state is to be allowed to sit on President Washington’s chair, in which he sat 150 years ago and wrote the Declaration of Independence. The chair is placed high up and one must ascend a few steps to reach it. The entire area is cordoned off by ropes and nobody is allowed to go up to the chair.

When we entered the room where the chair is, the mayor’s representative delivered an address in English, the gist of which described how happy they are for the privilege of having such a guest who has fought and continues to fight for religion, which is one of the principles of the American Republic. In the name of the city of Philadelphia and in the name of all officials of the city, Mother of Liberty, he blessed the great guest and asked for a blessing for the American Republic. This took 15 minutes.

I responded in Yiddish, “I think it is obvious to everyone what a fine impression such a warm and humanitarian reception would have on someone who was imprisoned for his religious and moral endeavors. It is difficult to find the appropriate words of appreciation. I will just say a few words of heartfelt thanks to G-d and bless the American Republic.

“Blessed is G-d Above, Maker of heaven and earth, Who grants man wisdom.

“For the good relationship the American Republic has with all nations, for the good care the American Republic bestows upon the Jewish people, the eternal nation, I bless the American Republic with great success, with all its esteemed leaders, mayors of all its cities, led by President Hoover, the great implementer of principles of religion, spirit, and humanitarianism everywhere.”

Then they brought me to the place where the chair is and honored me by allowing me to sit in it. All the invited guests stood nearby and I said, “The great G-d who created man and endowed him with understanding to bring the true light to humanity; He, blessed is He, shall give blessing and success to all who fight for justice, truth, and faith.”

From there we went to the room where the bell is. The mayor’s representative and Mr. Feigen picked up the wreath of flowers which I was supposed to place near the bell. When we arrived there, they handed me the wreath of flowers. I took the wreath and the crowd was most somber. Before placing it I said, “Liberty based on faith is the most proper and the strongest.”

From there we went to the place where a crowd of thousands waited. The mayor’s representative gave an address in English, saying that the foundation of everything is faith, and this is what America fought and continues to fight for and will support all who fight for it. He said that the city of Philadelphia, Mother of Liberty, was fortunate to receive the honor that befell it, to merit the visit of the esteemed guest, who has entered into the golden book of history as one of the great people who inscribed magnificent pages therein with blood and sweat.

“We are happy to express our support for the hero, Rabbi Schneerson, who merited to accomplish so much. His great and holy work is not only for the Jews of Philadelphia, not only for American Jewry, but for the entire Republic, which supports religion and humanitarianism. It is doubtless a joy for all humanity to see you as a beacon of light, and in the name of the residents of Philadelphia, I bless you with much success in your great, moral work.”

Then I said a few words – how fortunate are those whom G-d gave the privilege to be residents and citizens of this country and its cities; they should all be blessed in everything they need. I turned to the mayor’s representative and thanked him for the warm reception and for his blessings for success.
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Unread 07-23-2003, 05:46 PM   #13
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torah, the reason why the Mittler Rebbe is thus called is written in Chitrik's book
no peace with terrorists!
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Unread 02-01-2004, 09:08 AM   #14
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this thread contains appropiate reading material for Yud Shevat
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Unread 02-01-2004, 11:01 AM   #15
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Jude, it would be helpful if you would always give the original source, tanslator's name and where these pieces are printed.
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Unread 02-01-2004, 11:24 AM   #16
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I (usually?) often give the sources of the original material, like if it's in a sicha, Igros, etc. I often provide volume titles and page numbers too.

the translator's name is often not included and not that important, in my opinion, if the original source is given and people can look it up

as to where it's printed - for those articles or excerpts that come from "Beis Moshiach" magazine, I'd be willing to include that bit of information if it didn't, automatically, invite hateful comments. A whole thread was devoted to that, and I think that's more than enough. T. Bolton's articles are available on his website:
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