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Unread 05-16-2002, 12:22 AM   #1
Shlucha
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mivtzoim stories

I started this thread so we can share any stories (funny, happy, inspirational, etc) that happened to us, or other people while on mivtzoim. So please share!
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Unread 06-12-2002, 02:46 AM   #2
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There was a bochur in LA who on Mivtzoim saw a catr pullling out and somehtibng fell from on top of it. They quickly went to pick it up. They discovered that the owner had apparently left his wallet on the hood of the car and had forgotton about it an drove off. The wallet had a few thousand dollars in cash inside! Theyu found the nam,e inside and called the owners cell phone. He came back and was so impressed by what they had done, that he immediatly rolled up his sleeve and put on tiffillin right away.
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Unread 06-12-2002, 05:22 PM   #3
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Is it really hard to get people to put on tefillin?
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Unread 06-13-2002, 09:09 AM   #4
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yes
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Unread 06-13-2002, 04:52 PM   #5
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DOn't you feel happy afterward, with women I never end up knowing if the lit, so it really annoying--you never see the fruits of your labor, with tefillin--u watch them do the mitzva--you understand?
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Unread 07-03-2002, 06:42 PM   #6
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Yes, often it can be hard to get someone to put on Teffilin. Especially American's, they are very stubborn. THe most important technique I have found is to tell them the truth. Tell them I am here for YOU. I want to do a mitzvah for you.

There was a story about a group of misnagdim who set up a tefillin booth opposite lubavitch bachurim. People were passing up the misnagdisher bachurim and going to the Lubavitcher's. Finally, the misnagdim approached a man returning from the lubavitchers why he passed them up. To which he replied, "they do it for me, you do it for you!"

Not always does everyone know that you are here for them. It is important to verbalize it.

With regads to self-gratification for putting on tefillin. Though we see the fruits of our labor, we don't think about these things. We do it for them.

-Yisroel
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Unread 07-03-2002, 09:15 PM   #7
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a bochur once went to jail on purim. he prepared a 10 minute speech. when the 10 minutes were over and he had not yet finished his point, he turned to the inmates and asked them if they had more time? the one in the corner raised his hand and said: i have 18 years, he has 11 years etc. everyone laughed.
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Unread 07-10-2002, 07:17 PM   #8
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I dont know the source of this idea that those who did accept are the Gerim, but I dont know waht is so hard to understand, The Midrash speaks about the collective, and that "vort" is about indviduals who were renegade souls!

On spiritual terms, they are the holy sparks who are ingrained in Klippah and are yearning to get close to kedushe.

But as mentioned in another thread about Goyim, the common explanation used by the Rebbe numerous times, which comes From the Chido (But in a footnote in Likutei Sichos, I saw, the Rebbe found a source for that concept in some newly published manuscript of the Baalei Tosfos) is thus. That the Gemara uses the term "Ger Shnigyir, apparently the proper term should be "Goy shnisgayir"? To indicate, that the eventual Ger has a hidden latent Jewish Soul which waits to be discovered and activated.

According the AR the Geirim are stray sparks which fell in Klipeh and are restless until they are becoming Jewish

(The AR explains that this restlessness has to do with Avrahams circumcision, which caused that holy souls belong exclusively to Avraham and not to anyone else (until that point, you could have a holy soul and need not convert as Meshiselech, Mamerei who had great souls but did not feel an urge to convert), so if an holy spark somehow "fell" into a goy's body the holy spark cant rest calmly in the goys body and has a iresistable urge to become Jewish since Avrahams mileh dictated that all holiness has to be Jewish
However, this is only about the offsprings of Avraham which were post mileh, but concerning Yishmoel, since he was born prior to Avrahms milah, therefore, the AR says, we see so few converts from bnei Yishmoel, since they were not influenced by Avrahams mileh, so if a stray spark enters them, they dont have the urge to convert)

Last edited by masbir; 07-11-2002 at 12:23 AM.
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Unread 07-10-2002, 07:53 PM   #9
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T.B pm the source.

you probably meant Likutei sichos 10 p89.

Thanks
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Unread 07-11-2002, 04:13 PM   #10
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Kosuv b'Sefer Hachinuch: ossur l'yisroel limsor l'akum divrai torah, chutz misheva mitzvos bnai noach, shne'emar magid d'vorov l'yaakov !!
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Unread 07-11-2002, 09:52 PM   #11
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kimdumani she'af al pi shenechl'ku haposkim im mutar l'lamed torah lger kodem shenisgayer, hineh l'poel lomdim itam. K'muvan achar shebarur retzonam l'hisgayer.
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Unread 07-12-2002, 09:13 AM   #12
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Halocha l'maaser, shei mutar l'yochid al pi ho'roah mai ha bais din
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Unread 07-12-2002, 12:56 PM   #13
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BS"D <<All they have is a nefesh habihamos>>

Not so. Gentiles have a nefesh ha'sichlis (intellectual soul), which is known as the tselem Elokim (Divine "image") in man. By studying Torah and connecting to the Jewish people, the gentile is given the strength to make his intellectual soul dominant and overcome his animal soul.


The unprecedented phenomenon of widespread interest in Judaism amongst gentiles is an expression of the inner desire to find the Noahide Code, the Law of the Torah which is binding on all gentiles.

Any gentile who comes to a Chabad House should be warmly invited to join the Noahide Bible Study Class regularly taught by the Chabad House Rabbi.

If by some strange, inexplicable oversight none yet exists, one should be immediately created.


The Rebbe says that gentiles SHOULD be taught any Torah that strengthens:

a) the actual observance of the Noahide laws and all their many ramifications,

b) the belief in their underlying basis - "Torah and Moshe Rabbeinu" i.e. Rabbinic authority alone,

c) the belief in Hashem's Absolute Unity,

d) worthy character traits and behaviours,

e) belief in the coming of Moshiach and everything which that entails.
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Unread 08-29-2002, 04:36 PM   #14
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last year after 9/11 my office got a fax from NCJFE to encourage all women to light shabbos candles that friday night. my boss asked me about neshek (since she was not frum) and i explained it all to her. I gave her leichter, licht and the calendar with candle lighting times on it. she offered to pay me back for the cost of the candles and candle-sticks, but I told her that in lieu of payment I wanted her promise that she would use them every Friday evening to welcome in shabbos.

over the passed year, I've asked her a few times, how the candle lighting project was going and she said fine.

this year, I am working at another job, but went over to her office to give her a "Tishrei Guide" and she was excited to see me and actually asked me a new calendar for the new year.

it made me very happy!!!!
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Unread 09-18-2002, 01:20 AM   #15
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A friend told me this story:

She was on mivtzoim one night, handing out NeSheK. A few modern- orthodox kids passed by, and as soon as they saw them giving out NeSheK they took their yarmulkes out of their pockets and put them on...

Moral of the Story:
You also affect people you are not handing things out to, et. Just by being seen, you do not know how much of an ifluence you can have.
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Unread 09-18-2002, 05:08 AM   #16
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i have 2 stories, the first one is cute but the second is rather a sad one - and is with a very important moral.

1) i live in Israel. this yom kipur we went few bochrim to this old age home to arrange a minyan there. as good lubavitchers we passed with our car on the last second you could drive... it was fantastic seeing all those Israeli kids - rebuking us - hey! you`re not aloud to do it it s yom kipur ... yemois hamoshiach..

2)in my mivtza tefillin route few years ago, i had this guy working in a coffee shop, he was putting on teffilin every week, and was very warm to every Jewish thing.after 2-3 years of being in tuch he married had a little cute girl, but was quite in depression, he was talking to me about it and i tried to cheer him up, he looked very bad, and than after few weeks which i didn't see him - his father told me sadly, that he committed suicide....

moral : if you have someone that you see and feel he is in a bad situation - just remeber that this can be a lot serious than you think. not always speaking and smiling is enough, you have to get him to get professional help...
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Unread 09-18-2002, 12:16 PM   #17
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For all of those who don't see the results of Neshek...

In my high school we used to go out every Friday afternoon on Neshek. Of course we were wearing our uniforms, so people recognized us. It happened more than once, that we came over to people and asked them if they lit Shabbos candles- and they answered "A girl from your school told me about it several years ago, I've been lighting every week since then." A real Nachas! And I'm sure the specific girl in question has no idea how many licht she is responsible for...
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Unread 10-13-2002, 12:39 AM   #18
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This past week while on mivtzoyim, I met a lady who was totally shocked and overcame when I handed her the NeSHeK and explained what it was. She told me she had just ran out of candles the week before, and hadn't been able to buy more (this was on Thursday, and she did not live near a store that sold candles, so she would not have been able to buy more before Shabbos). She was so happy that I had given her, telling me that G-d sent me, etc. It felt very good, especially in comparision to the number of rebuffs I had gotten that day.
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Unread 02-09-2003, 12:05 PM   #19
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Rabbi Yaakov Minsky relates:

I’ve been in the field of chinuch for decades in the Chabad system in Lud. In 5741, I was told by the Rebbe to go to Be’er Sheva with my family and to establish a school there for boys and for girls.

I rented an apartment in Be’er Sheva and prepared for the transition and new challenge. On moving day, right in the middle of the move, as the truck waited downstairs and workers were going in and out carrying my furniture, the phone rang. I distractedly answered the phone, keeping an eye on the movers, and heard an irate woman on the line. She said, "Is this Minsky? … Because of you I have no peace, not by day or by night. The phone in my house rings non-stop with people looking for Yaakov Minsky. No sooner do I conclude one conversation than the phone rings again. Everybody’s looking for Minsky. Don’t you think it’s time to do something about this? How long must I go on being bothered because of a Minsky I don’t even know?"

She was upset and was letting me know it. When she finally allowed me to speak, I told her the fault was that of Bezek (the phone company). Instead of having my number down as ending with 94, it was printed ending with 04, which was the woman’s number. I explained that this annoyance was not actually my fault and that Bezek had promised to correct the error in the new edition of the telephone book, though this information didn’t seem to appease her.

I attempted to end the conversation because the time she had chosen was not exactly convenient. Before I could hang up she asked me, "What are you? An organization? An office?"

"No," I answered shortly. One of the workers had nearly dropped the refrigerator. "A private home." At the time I was thinking, ‘My private home is being packed up… For Heaven’s sake, I’m busy now.’

"A private home?" she said in amazement. "Every time I’m called, I’m asked about t’fillin or mezuzos, sifrei Torah, shuls. Before Pesach - about matza and wine; before Sukkos - about lulavim and esrogim. This is a private home?"

"Something like that," I said, as I shifted from one foot to another and transferred the phone from ear to ear. "We from Tzeirei Chabad try to help people in need of help." The workers wanted to ask something and I couldn’t hear them. In half-sentences with hand motions, I asked them to repeat what they had said. It was extremely noisy and I prayed that this conversation would come to a speedy conclusion. Thank G-d I’m not the type who hangs up the phone on people.

Just as I was about to say some words of apology about the very, very imminent end of our conversation, I grasped what the woman was saying. "Maybe you can help me, too. I also need help," she said with her voice breaking. I covered my other ear in attempt to direct my focus to this phone call, encouraging her to tell me her problem.

In a broken voice she told me she was married for over ten years and had no children. I asked her about the t’fillin and mezuzos in her house. She said that she didn’t believe there was a problem with them. I promised to call her back soon and wished her with all my heart that she’d hear good news. I jotted down the information and rushed back to deal with the thousand things I had to do.

I called my brother-in-law in Lud a few days later from Be’er Sheva. I told him about the woman’s call and asked him to get involved, giving him the woman’s address. I told him to check the t’fillin and mezuzos, and to see what had to be done.

In Be’er Sheva I had my year of hard work waiting for me. I had to start a school for boys and girls, hire teachers, register children, and prepare a curriculum. All this demanded days and nights of work. This was all in addition to the usual difficulties one encounters when a family moves to a new place. The conversation with the woman flew out of my head.

A long time after the mosdos were established, I was told by the Rebbe to return to Lud. The mosdos in Be’er Sheva were strong. In fact, they are still active, providing hundreds of boys and girls with a Jewish education.

Upon our return to Lud, we were greeted by friends and family, including the brother-in-law I had sent to take care of that woman. The conversation with the woman on moving day came to mind, and I asked my brother-in-law what had happened with her.

My brother-in-law remembered the story. He told me that when he had gone to her home, he had discovered that neither the t’fillin nor the mezuzos were kosher. On the spot, he helped them exchange and buy new mezuzos, and spoke to them, strengthening them on some areas that needed chizuk, and that was it.

We both wanted to know what had happened, but because it was nearly midnight we didn’t call. Since that night was Thursday and the next day was Erev Shabbos, we decided to call her Sunday morning.

On Sunday we called the woman. An old woman answered the phone, the mother of the woman we wanted to speak to. She happily informed us that her daughter had given birth that day to a son, after years of waiting.

A wonderful feeling of joy and thanks to Hashem washed over us. We were blown away by the amazing hashgacha that we called precisely on the day of the yeshua.

There are no mistakes in life. If Hashem wants to connect someone with Jews who could help out, He can do so even through a wrong number in the phone book.
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Unread 02-12-2003, 01:30 PM   #20
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Rabbi Tuvia Bolton relates:

When I first arrived in Israel over 25 years ago, before I got married, I learned in the Yeshiva in Kfar Chabad for a year.

Now, everyone knows that Chabad encourages outreach.

So early every Sunday morning I would catch a long passenger train filled with Israeli soldiers that stopped in Kfar Chabad, and put Tefillin on as many passengers as possible, and then get off at the last stop to catch the train back.

It so happened that early one Sunday morning Rabbi Mendel Futerfass, theHead of the Yeshiva, saw me rushing out the door and asked me where I was going.

Rav Mendel was over sixty years old, very impressive looking and had recently been released from over five years of hard labor in one of Stalin’s Siberian prison camps.

When I told him I was going to put Tefillin on soldiers in a train, without hesitating he said, "I want to go too."

I figured he was just being nice so I said, "Fine, Reb Mendel, G-d willing we’ll go together some time, but now I’m in a hurry."

"Good!" he answered, "Let's go!"

I was already late and it was a ten minute run, but he just said (and kept yelling at me all the way there) "You just run and don’t look back, I’ll make it, just don’t look back!!"

So I half-heartedly ran and miraculously I made it in time. But I figured that Rav Mendel didn’t have a chance (he also had troubles with his legs so it was hard for him to run).

The next thing I knew, he was pulling himself up the steep steps after me into the coach, and the train pulled out!

How he did it I never really figured out, but needless to say he was really out of breath, and as the train began moving he just motioned to me to give him some Tefillin and begin without him. So I gave him one of my four pairs, entered the first car and went to work.

The way it usually worked was that at first a few people would politely refuse until someone broke the ice and agreed, and then there would be a flood of takers.

But this time I was in for a surprise.

As expected the first man said no, as did the one sitting next to him.

But the third man, in a short, stocky, middle-aged, balding, beady eyed, bull necked, mean-looking fellow got angry...really angry.

In Israel there are a lot of people that really hate Judaism and religious Jews...and he was one of them.

His face became red like an apple, and the veins stood out on his neck. He squinted his eyes in hatred, leaned toward me to the edge of his seat, like any instant he would spring, and began hissing a string of menacing Israeli threats such as:

"T’oof MiKan Oh Ashbor l’chaw et HaPartzuf!" (lit. Bug off or I’ll break your face!) with appropriate Israeli gestures and motions.

I took the hint, forced a smile, and moved on.

Then someone in the middle of the car wanted to put on Tefillin, then another, and before I knew it all three pairs were in use.

Suddenly I remembered...Reb Mendel!

I had completely forgotten about him. Certainly he had caught his breath by now and would enter any minute. I had to save him from that bull-necked monster! Who knows what he might say (or do!!).

I whipped around in time to see that (Gevalt!) the worst was happening!

The first two men had refused him also, and Reb Mendel was beginning to lean over to speak to....Him!

I tried to catch Reb Mendel’s attention but to no avail.

"Our friend", reading a newspaper, saw Rav Mendel from the corner of his eye and began to twitch with rage.

Then one of the soldiers behind me called out, "Nu, Rabbi, how do I take off the Tefillin!" Then another, "Hallo! My turn, I want to put on!"

I quickly turned to them, removed the Tefillin from one and put it on the other, when suddenly the unmistakable high-pitched voice of Reb Mendel pierced through the noise of the crowd:

"I love you! You are my brother! Come, put on Tefillin! I love you!"

I shot a look over my shoulder and saw that Reb Mendel was reaching over the first two men, grabbing the arm of the amazed "beast" and was preparing to slide Tefillin on it.

Again the soldiers called me back, so I had to stop watching, and take care of the next set of customers.

I finished as fast as I could, and when I looked back toward where Reb Mendel was, I beheld one of the most amazing sights I'd ever seen in my life:

The same fearsome "wild man" that wanted to destroy me moments earlier was now rocking slightly back and forth, reading the SHEMA from a small page, with Tefillin on his arm and head. Reb Mendel was looking lovingly at him with the most angelic look on his face, like a mother hen at one of her chicks.

He had literally conquered him with love.
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Unread 02-12-2003, 01:31 PM   #21
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R' Tuvia Bolton relates:

I once spent three days in Amsterdam with my wife. We saw a few art museums, visited some friends, I spoke at an Israeli Synagogue and we returned. Several interesting things happened on the trip.

Firstly, all the Israelis I met there told me; "There are thirty thousand Israelis here in Amsterdam."

I have no idea where they got this figure from, but they all said it in the same monotone, empty look in their eyes and half smirk on their lips as though to say, "It's disgusting, but I'm here to stay!!" (For those of you who don't know, Amsterdam is possibly as far from a "holy city" as you can get i.e. the spiritual opposite of Jerusalem. And that is why the Israelis love it.)

The other things happened on the plane back to Israel.

The flight was in the daytime so I decided to use the opportunity to put Tefillin on the Jews who were on the plane. (This will be explained in a few paragraphs)

I took out my Tefillin and stood up, a bit apprehensive about figuring out who was Jewish, only to discover that my worries were for naught.

I discovered that people from Holland do not move. I don't know if it was because of the plane flight or if they are always like that, but except for occasionally rattling their newspapers or saying a few words to the person next to them, they just sat in semi-suspended animation. Even their faces were sort of frozen.

The Jews on the other hand, especially the Israelis, could not sit still for a moment. They were constantly talking, making endless facial and hand gestures, getting up or just squirming around. So just approached anyone that moved.

At first several refused, then one agreed, then a few more, then one said that he had already put on and so on. I proceeded down the aisle until I came to three young fellows, obviously Israelis, sitting next to each other. They looked like they had gotten a lot out of Amsterdam; their brows, nostrils and lobes were well pierced with rings and studs, small tattoos decorated their arms and all had hair dyed unnatural colors.

"Nu? What do you say Yhudim (Jews)?" I approached them "Want to do something really wild? Here, put on Tefillin! It takes one minute on the clock and doesn't cost money! What do you say?"

From experience I know that you can never know what is going to happen. Several times people hugged and kissed me and once I actually had to protect myself, so I was ready for anything.

The one sitting nearest the aisle contorted his face as though I was offering him a dead cat and shrugged his shoulders as high as possible which is Israeli for "drop dead".

I got the message and, not disheartened, turned my attention to his neighbor who wasn't looking at me, "What about you, my friend?" I asked.

Immediately he closed his eyes, tilted his head to a side and let out a snore, feigning deep sleep.

Only one was left. Sitting near the window reading a magazine enveloped in the drone of the plane he was unaware of what had just happened, I raised my voice in his direction, "Would you like to put on Tefillin?" He looked up at me suddenly and said "What!? What did you say?"

The first fellow, the one that refused, was following the whole thing with relish awaiting my total defeat, the one in the middle was still "asleep", but I could see he was peeking. I repeated the question as I held up the Tefillin. "Want to put on Tefillin?"

"Tefillin?" He said incredulously, "You want ME to put on Tefillin?! He stood, bent over a bit because of the overhead bin, rolled up his sleeve and exclaimed with a smile, "Of course I'll put on Tefillin!!"

The first fellow was shocked! His best friend! Was one of.....them! The "sleeper" in the middle even opened one eye to see if he had heard correctly. Meanwhile my customer joyously let me help him put on the Tefillin, then sat down and began reading in a loud voice the the "Shma Yisroel" from the card I gave him.

But I didn't notice that we were being watched. A well dressed non-Jew, perhaps in his fifties sitting in the row before us had turned around and was watching the entire thing.

As soon as I noticed him I said hello and asked him if he had any idea what we were doing. He was a distinguished looking fellow traveling with what I assumed to be his wife and some friend, who just kept reading their papers and didn't even look up, and he shook his head "no".

He waited and watched intently as the Israeli finished and I removed his Tefillin, and then I began to explain.

"These", I told him holding up the Tefillin, "are made of leather and are a commandment of G-d to the Jews. G-d wants every male Jew to put them on like that man did, once a day every weekday." Then I explained to him that because most Jews are not observant, the Lubavitcher Rebbe told his followers to go out and remind and help them, and I'm one of his followers.

I saw that he was obviously impressed. He looked at the Israeli then back at me and said with astonishment, "You mean that that young man is not religious, and he put on those boxes just because you asked him?! If I didn't see it with my own eyes I would not believe it!"

His excitement was contagious. "I asked him his name, he told me it was Peter and I continued. "Do you know what is inside of these leather boxes? Parchments containing the four paragraphs from the Bible that mention this commandment. And the most important of them says Shma Yisroel, Listen Jews G-d is ONE."

He was listening intently above the noise of the plane as I continued. "It means that G-d alone creates everything constantly! Do you know what that means, Peter?" His eyes were wide with amazement his traveling partners even looked up to see what was going on, but I wasn't finished.

"It means G-d, who can do anything, creates YOU every second brand-new! And He does it for free! So if G-d creates you for free, then do something for Him for free!" And I told him briefly about the Seven Noahide commandments.

We shook hands and I figured that that was the end of it, but it wasn't.

Suddenly he unfastened his safety belt, stood up, straightened his jacket and tie, pointed at me and yelled at the top of his lungs. "This Rabbi is correct!!" Then he majestically pointed up and announced: "And I want to apologize. To publicly apologize to him for what we have done to his people! We have taken a man and made him god, and we have denied THE HOLY COMMANDMENTS!!"

The last three words he really belted out so that several rows around us were staring. Then he very warmly and officially shook my hand again, sat back down and returned to the book he was reading.
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Unread 02-16-2003, 09:42 PM   #22
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R' Tuvia Bolton relates: I read a story told by a certain elderly Belzer Chassid. He once overheard one of the other Belzer Chassidim, a family man of some forty years old, speaking very harshly against the Lubavitcher Rebbe; that his outreach movement was for ulterior motives etc.
The old Jew tried to calm him down but only succeeded in fanning the fire.
This Chassid had a twenty-year-old son who was the apple of his eye. He was a handsome, intelligent and very devoted to the service of The Creator. He would learn Torah for entire nights and was the perfect example of a Chassid, but after the aforementioned tirade of his of his father, unexplainably he became suddenly bored with it all.

Within weeks he stopped learning and praying, even putting on Tefillin! Instead, he found himself some ‘new’ friends and began spending his evenings in the pubs and discos of Tel Aviv. It wasn’t long before he took a flight to the U.S.A and became swallowed up in the nightlife of Manhattan. Needless to say his father was insane with grief.

One morning, after a year of ‘fun’, the young man was walking home from some party when suddenly a young Chabad Chassid approached him on the street and asked him if he was Jewish. “No I’m not, leave me alone” he answered in his Israeli accent. “Ahh, an Israeli,” said the young Chabadnik. “ Only the Israelis say they aren’t Jewish. Come…please put on Tefillin”. But the young man ignored him.

A week later our young adventurer again was walking down a different street and was again approached, coincidentally, by the same Chabadnik with the same offer… and again he refused. A few days later he happened to pass by a Chabad-mobile parked in another location and suddenly saw the same young man who again approached him with a pair of Tefillin in hand. “What do you want from me? Leave me alone! Are you following me all over Manhattan or what?” shouted the ex-Belzer.

“No,” he answered, “but please put on Tefillin. I’ve been standing here all morning and no one wants to put on. Please do me a favor; you’re Jewish, right? Come put on Tefillin it will only take three minutes, you’ll like it, and it’s free.” He said with a smile. He looked into the Chabadnik’s eyes and saw something very warm and genuine…. And… he did it… he actually rolled up his sleeve and put on Tefillin for no reason. It was like he couldn’t hold himself back.

After that, one thing lead to another and instead of going to the bars he began going to farbringens and making new friends etc. etc.

A half year later he was back in Israel knocking at his father’s door, but this time a full fledged Belzer Chassid again, and much wiser. When his father opened the door and saw his beautiful son standing there he let out a shout of joy, hugged him with all his soul and began crying from sheer happiness. “The Chabadniks drove me crazy and I came back to Judaism” his son explained.

Suddenly it struck his father like a bolt of lightning; because he spoke against the Rebbe, his son left, and because of the Rebbe his son returned! Immediately he decided that he must fly to New York and ask forgiveness from the Rebbe face to face. He called the travel agent and ordered his ticket.

A week later, he was standing alone sheepishly before the Rebbe. As he lifted his head and looked into the Rebbe’s holy eyes he realized, even more, what a mistake he had made one and a half years ago and how he should have listened to the elder Chassid. “Rebbe, I’m sorry” is all he could say before he burst into tears.

“When your son left you were really broken weren’t you?” Asked the Rebbe.

“Rebbe, broken is not the word, I was destroyed”

“And when he returned you were happy, right” Continued the Rebbe.

“Insane with joy” the man answered.

“Well” concluded the Rebbe “Now you know how bad I feel each time any Jew leaves Judaism, and how happy I am each time any Jew returns”

This is the feeling that the Rebbe tries to inspire in each of us.
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Unread 02-20-2003, 10:42 PM   #23
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R' Tuvia Bolton relates:

This is a story that happened to me a few months ago.

Every Friday I go out and put Tefillin on Jews. I go with a friend or two if possible, to a huge outdoor artsy-craftsy market in Tel-Aviv (Midrachov of Nachalat Benyamin), take three pairs of Tefillin (which I bought with money I saved up), borrow a table from one of the restaurants, set up stand, and ask Jewish men walking in the street if they want come over and do a 'Mitzva'.

Literally hundreds of people, perhaps thousands on a sunny day, pass by our table and often as many as a hundred put on tefillin. But one Friday something happened that made me appreciate what I was doing anew.

It was a beautiful summer day, the market streets were filled with people browsing or bustling to and from their destinations.

Suddenly a man brought his bicycle to a screeching halt in front of our table, looked us over contemptuously like a Baron reviewing his serfs, narrowed his eyes and said, "Aren't you ashamed!?"

He looked like a typical Israeli leftist professor; healthy build, perhaps sixty years old, a ring in his ear, balding, white hair drawn back into a neat little pony tail, dressed in shorts and sleeveless t-shirt revealing a small tattoo on his shoulder. His tone was that of a teacher that just caught us pupils writing on the bathroom walls.

"Aren't you disgusted with yourself?!" He repeated.

I told him that I wasn't feeling particularly disgusted and asked … "Why?"

"Why?! Ha Ha!" He scoffed. "I'll tell you why! Don't tell me you don't know why! Ha!!"

I just opened my palms, shrugged my shoulders and he continued.

"You are standing here in the street, throwing your guilt-trips and Divine retribution hang-ups on people, making them feel ashamed, inferior, guilty, depressed and miserable!!

"And," he paused for a moment, leaned a bit closer to me and calmly announced, "I want it stopped! This is NOT going to be Iran!! Here everyone is free of your medieval superstitions!"

Interestingly enough he said all this without really raising his voice. Either he was trained in maintaining academic cool or perhaps he thought maybe if he was cool enough he could convince me to stop forever. In any case I had to think fast because I wanted to start putting Tefillin on people and it looked like he wasn't going to leave.

"Listen, maybe you're right" I answered feebly, "I certainly don't want to make people feel bad. I'll tell you what," I was thinking while I was talking, "you stand over here behind me and the first person that you notice reacting to me with a sour face, well, you tap me on the shoulder and I promise that I'll stop everything and listen to you for ten minutes."

Now, the truth is that up till then I had never really taken notice of how people reacted so I didn't really know what I was in for, but I figured that at least I would be rid of him for a few minutes and maybe some other 'cause' would catch his eye and he would leave.

He took his place off to a side and I asked the first man that passed,

"Hello there my friend! Come put on Tefillin."

He looked at me with a big smile and without stopping he raised his hands and shook his head 'no' as he passed me by.

"Sir! Tefillin?" I shouted at the next passerby.

He smiled, pointed to his watch, and kept going.

"Hey, Yehudi! (Jew) Have you got a minute for Tefillin, only one minute on the clock!!"

"He too broke into a smile and said, "Nope, not me!"

The next one also grinned and let out a big TSK! sound with his lips (which the Israelis do when they mean '"Sorry, I can't help you") and kept going.

Meanwhile I'm noticing that everyone is responding with a smile and I'm feeling pretty good about myself, when suddenly another bicycle came to a screeching halt about ten feet away from us and the driver just sat there staring at us defiantly.

He was a man of about fifty, healthily built, rings in both ears, balding, white hair drawn back into a neat little pony tail, dressed in shorts and sleeveless t-shirt revealing a small tattoo on his shoulder, in other words a typical Israeli leftist professor.

'Oy', I thought to myself, "I've got two of them! What am I going to do now?!"

He got off the bike and approached with absolutely no expression on his face, just like the first one did. So, expecting the worst, I forced a smile and said,

"Nu, want to ...... put on Tefillin?"

He stopped about two feet in front of me, looked me in the eye, stuck out his arm, grinned and said ….. "Sure!"

I shot a glance over my shoulder to see if the professor behind me was observing all this, and saw only his back fading into the distance on his bicycle. He ran away!!

I realized something very important that afternoon: Jews like the Commandments.

Maybe they don't do them, maybe they don't understand them, maybe they even oppose them, but somewhere down deep they like them.

And who revealed this amazing secret in our generation?

The Lubavitcher Rebbe.

If it wasn't for him, no one would even dream it's possible to stop a non-religious stranger in the street, on his way to somewhere important, ask him to do a religious ritual …. in public! ….. for five minutes!! And that he would actually do it!!!
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Unread 02-23-2003, 01:19 PM   #24
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The scene; some twenty years ago in the central synagogue of the Chabad Chassidim in Brooklyn. Hundreds of Chassidim of all ages gathered (as they do every Shabbat now-a-days as well) to make a 'farbringin'; a gathering replete with singing, dancing, words of Torah, Chassidic stories and, of course, 'LeChiams' (usually vodka).

The spirits were high when a young man, a Chassid in his early twenties stood up, cleared his throat and announced. "I have a miracle story about the Rebbe!"

He was referring to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Shneerson, and although there are thousands of such stories everyone was very eager to hear another.

"The story begins in Israel" He said. "A ten year old boy, we'll call him Yoni, from a wealthy family suddenly began suffering from severe headaches. He was taken for an examination and was diagnosed as having a malignant tumor. Of course the family was turned upside down on the spot and they began running to doctors.

"Money was no problem, but it seems all the money in the world couldn't help. After several months of painful and debilitating X-rays and chemicals with no positive results the doctors finally advised them to stop the treatments and just let the boy live out his life in peace.

"The doctor even advised them to spend the next few precious months traveling the world together. Yoni's father and mother cancelled all their business and social plans and in no time their bags were packed and they were all on their way to Europe. They saw Paris, London, and Rome, traveled in the Alps and across Spain and flew to New York with the rest of the U.S.A before them on the itinerary.

"On the second day of their stay in Manhattan they were walking down Fifth Avenue when suddenly through the noise and traffic something caught the boy's attention. A camper-truck decorated with all sorts of colorful pictures and loudspeakers blaring happy clarinet music from its roof was parked at the side of the street with several bearded young Chassidim standing by its open door talking to people on the street. Yoni told his father he wanted to see.

"As they were nearing one of the Chassidim looked at Yoni's father and called out "Hello my friend! Are you Jewish?"

"The blood rose to his head.' Jewish?!' He answered scoffingly. Go to Israel and join the ARMY!! That's Jewish!! Let's go Yoni! Let's see something else." Yoni's father, like so many Israelis, was allergic to religious Jews. He took his son's hand and began to walk away. But the boy's curiosity had been aroused.

"But daddy, aren't we Jewish? What's wrong with being Jewish? Who are these people?'

"When the Chassid understood they were Israelis he exclaimed, also in Hebrew.

"'Ahhh! Boruch HaShem! Jews from the Holy Land! Welcome to America!!' He said, grabbing Yoni's dad's hand and shaking it vigorously.

"'Nu! What do you want?' Yoni's father asked angrily . He was irritated but he didn't want Yoni to see it.

"'I want you to put on Tefillin!' said the Chassid with a warm smile. 'It won't hurt, you'll enjoy it, Jews have been doing it for over three thousand years, it doesn't cost money, it only takes two minutes, it's the best buy in Manhattan and your son wants you to do it! Right Yoni?' (He had heard the boy's father call him by his name).

The boy looked up at his father with big goggly eyes and shook his head 'yes' and of course the poor man had no choice but to comply.

It wasn't long before they were talking and the conversation got around to Yoni's condition.

"Wow! I'm sorry to hear he isn't feeling well.' said the young man. But I don't think you should give up so easily. G-d forbid!! First get to see the Lubavitcher Rebbe. He has saved people in worse shape. Give it a try!! Here! Here is the telephone number and the address. Call up and ask for one of the Rebbe's secretaries. You know what? Here is my phone number. Call me and I'll go with you to the secretaries. I guarantee it will work and well… you have nothing to loose.

"That evening the boy's parents talked it over and decided to give it a try. The next morning they called the young man, went to the Rebbe's headquarters in Crown Hights and got an appointment to see the Rebbe that evening.

"That night at twelve o'clock they were seated before the Rebbe's desk with Yoni's X-ray's and medical papers spread out before them.

"The Rebbe examined some of the documents looked up at Yoni's father and said.

"'I don't see anything so serious. It's just a problem of diet. If he begins to eat only kosher food he will be perfectly healthy.'

"Yoni's father looked at the Rebbe in wide-eyed disbelief. He knew that religious Jews are superstitious and ignorant, but this was really going overboard!! This so-called great Rabbi is not just contradicting the greatest professors in the world, he's contradicting common sense!!

"He stood up, coldly shook the Rebbe's hand, took the boy by the hand, shot a glance at his wife and they left the room.

"He was blazing mad!!! 'Nothing serious!! Just a matter of diet!' he said over and over as they left the building. 'Ha! I'd like to go back to that young fool that we met on the street and bust him one in the face!!

"But his wife didn't exactly agree. "Maybe there is something to what he says.' She said as they returned to their hotel room. 'After all, we really do have nothing to loose. And he didn't ask for money. Maybe we should give it a try.'

"The next day she bought kosher food from a local market and wouldn't let her husband take them to a non-kosher restaurant. She kept it up for a few days until one day Yoni said he felt strange.

"His father made an appointment with the professor of the nearest hospital rushed his son there and in less than an hour the professor was looking at the X-rays.

"'A definite improvement!' he murmured, obviously impressed. 'What type of a treatment is he taking? Who is treating him? I have to admit I've never seen anything quite like it!'

"Yoni's father burst out into tears and his mother grabbed her son and began kissing him.

"'It was the Rabbi!! I knew he was right!!' she said and began weeping as well.

"When they returned several months later to Israel Yoni was completely cured of his disease and his father and mother were cured of being non-observant Jews.

Everyone thought that the young man finished his story. But he hadn't.

"Just one more thing" he concluded. "I am Yoni! I'm the boy that was saved by the Rebbe's blessing'. He announced with a beaming smile.
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Unread 02-25-2003, 03:54 PM   #25
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by R' Tuvia Bolton

Ofer (The name has been changed) was an embodiment of the Israeli dream. He was young, handsome, intelligent, athletic, uninhibited and … a successful stuntman in Hollywood. He ‘made it’ in California!

Money! Fun! Action! Excitement! The world was his for the taking, and he took as much as he could.

But most of all he loved riding his motorcycle. Speeding down a desert highway over 100 Mph was what made him really happy. That’s where he wanted to be forever; on the cutting edge of life.

Of course in the true Israeli tradition he kept as far from G-d, and certainly from Judaism, as possible. “In fact” he often quipped, “If I thought that religion was like Marx said, the opiate of the masses, I might have tried some.” But it was even more meaningless to him than that.

Until his accident.

One beautiful summer day on a lonely highway somewhere in Nevada he hit about 130 when suddenly, from nowhere, a huge semi-trailer truck appeared in front of him. It took him a second to realize that it wasn’t a mirage and then it was too late. He smashed into the front of it and flew into oblivion. When the police arrived they had to search for a while till they found his broken body several hundred feet from the scene of the accident. He was still alive, but they had seen a lot of accidents and they were sure he wasn’t going to last.

“This one is for sure a gonner” was the last thing he heard as they pushed him into the ambulance and closed the doors. He thought to himself, “ I don’t want to die; I’ll do what You want. PLEASE, G-d, Save me!!!” And everything went black.

When he woke up it was dark. He couldn’t move. Was he dead? No, he was alive. Why couldn’t he see or move? Then suddenly he realized what happened; “My G-d - I’m buried alive!! They buried me!!”

He was sweating; it was getting hard to breathe. He tried to get up but he couldn’t, he couldn’t move. He started to scream, “Please G-d - Please, HELP ME!! I’M SORRY!! G-D, HELP ME!!!

Suddenly he was blinded; it was so bright! The flourescent light flickered on. He was in a hospital.

“Doctor!! Doctor!! Come fast!!! He’s conscious!!”

He had been in a coma for over a month. He couldn’t move because he was in a body cast from head to toe; almost all his bones had been broken. Even the policemen that were at the accident had never seen anything like it. It was clearly a miracle that he was still alive. But the miracles didn’t stop.

It took a lot of physical therapy and a lot of prayer but in one year he was actually back on his feet, completely recovered! He even went back to work as a stuntman and bought a new bike. And completely forgot his vow.

Although it sounds a bit hard to believe, a year later the same thing happened again!

Speeding like the wind through the desert, he lost control on a curve, destroyed his bike, broke his neck and skull and on the way to the hospital made another vow to G-d before losing consciousness.

A year and a half later after another miraculous recovery, he was back on his feet and back to his old lifestyle like nothing had happened.

(When I first heard the story I also didn’t believe it, until I remembered that the exact same thing happened with the Israelis after the Six-day war, and again after the Yom Kippur war (and yet again afterwards after the Gulf war); everyone forgot the miracles and secular life continued as usual.)

He even set his sights on a promotion. He had caught the attention of a very influential manager in Hollywood and was on his way to getting some really big-time jobs with opportunities to do some serious acting. If it worked out he could be earning more than a million dollars a year! Things were looking up.

There was only one drawback; the manager was a missionary.

Now really the fact was that Ofer could have cared less. Religion meant nothing to him. He read the books the manager kept giving him because he wanted to keep on good terms. He even went to a couple of meetings with him. Everyone there was friendly, the lectures were nice, but he was interested in having a good time.

And it would have remained that way if his manager would have left him alone, but he didn’t. He kept shaking up Ofer’s indifference with strange interpretations of the Torah and ideas about sin and salvation that he had never thought about.

He didn’t know what to do. On one hand he wanted the big bucks and really couldn’t find anything wrong with the manager’s line of thought. But on the other hand, maybe it was just his Israeli egotism or Jewish stiffneckedness. For the first time in his life Ofer felt that he was a Jew and someone was trying to take it away from him. The only problem was that he didn’t know enough about the Torah to argue back.

This continued for several months until one Friday morning he happened to be walking downtown thinking about some of the things his manager said when someone called out to him, “Excuse me sir, are you Jewish?” “What?” he replied as he turned around and saw a young Chabadnick standing behind a small folding table filled with literature and holding a pair of Tefillin. “Are you Jewish? Come put on Tefillin, it will only take a minute. Have you got a minute?”

It wasn’t long before Ofer was sitting in the Chabad house pouring his heart out to the ‘Shliach’ (the Rabbi in charge) about his missionary friend.

Now he was ready. The next time the manager brought up the subject, Ofer wrote down all the quotations, thinking he would defeat them. But the more he read from the Torah and the prophets afterwards to prepare his rebuttals, the more he realized that he himself knew nothing about Judaism.

“My advice to you” said the Shaliach a few days later, “is to write to the Lubavitcher Rebbe for advice and a blessing."

“A blessing?” Asked Ofer incredulously, but he wrote anyway and in two weeks he received a reply. The Rebbe told him to concentrate only on strengthening his own Judaism through learning the Torah and doing the commandments and to forget the debates.

Today Ofer is a Chabad Chasid and lives near Sefad with his wife and seven children.
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