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D’var Malchus | Likkutei Sichos Vol. 9, pg. 175-183


Thought | Rabbi Chaim Ashkenazi


 Feature | Ofra Badosa


Moshiach & Geula | Rabbi Sholom Dovber HaLevi Wolpo
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[Continued from last issue]

8. Still we must understand the

G-D’S following. All matters are determined

by Divine particular providence [i.e.,
every single detail of events,
regardless of how minute and
seemingly insignificant – even, for

RETURN example, the number of times a leaf

turns over in the wind as it falls to the
ground – is under the supervision
and determination of G-d]. Thus,
also regarding the “gentile nations”

WITH THE (for example, the Ammonite people,

mentioned above) there is Divine
particular providence, (that is, not
only will the nation (of Amon) in
general be returned from exile, but

JEWISH also) determining which people of

the nation (of Amon) will be
redeemed and in what manner.
Therefore, it follows, at first glance,
that “hold[ing] the hand of every

PEOPLE single person” must also apply to the

“gentile nations.”
This matter will be clarified by
analyzing two diverging streams of
thought regarding how far – or to

Likkutei Sichos Vol. 9, pg. 175-183
what degree of detail – Divine
providence extends. The opinion of
Rambam41 is that Divine providence
only extends to human beings. In
seeming contrast with the Rambam’s
Translated by Boruch Merkur view is that of the Baal Shem Tov,
who opines that Divine providence
applies even to the mineral kingdom,
as well as the plant and animal kingdom. However, the
following well known insight of Chassidus42 resolves the
two approaches, explaining how the statement of the
Rambam actually does not contradict the approach of the
Baal Shem Tov.43
There are two general manners of providence from
Above: a) as it is plainly revealed, b) as it is clothed within
the concealment and the garments of nature, and the like.
Rambam’s statement – that there is no Divine providence
over the mineral, plant, and animal kingdoms – only
applies to the revealed providence from On High. [That
is, only man is governed by revealed Divine providence,
whereas the concealed providence from G-d applies to
Accordingly we can understand why it is said
specifically regarding the Jewish people that G-d will
“hold the hand of every single person,” notwithstanding
the fact that also regarding the exiles of the “gentile
nations” it is certain that providence determines whom

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among them will be redeemed and in what manner. exiles, every individual Jew is significant in the eyes of G-d,
Namely, because the providence that is upon the it follows that until the last Jew is redeemed, the Divine
individual people of the gentile nations is concealed Presence remains, as it were, “amidst the suffering of
within the garments of nature in a manner that their exile.” Thus, the following question emerges: How
exemplifies the providence extended to the mineral, plant, can it be said that G-d redeems the Jewish people in a
and animal kingdoms,44 being that “You [the Jewish manner of “hold[ing] the hand of every single person,”
people] are called ‘man,’ but gentile nations are not called for at the time when He “literally hold[s] the hand,”
‘man.’”45 saving a Jew from exile, in a manner of “(He) will return
Of consequence, when we are speaking about “(He) (with) your captivity,” He is saved together with the first
will return” or “I shall return,” which indicate an action Jew from exile?!
that is overtly recognized as being performed by G-d (as We must, therefore, say that the level regarding
discussed above, at the end of Section 6), the following which it says, “He…hold[s] the hand of every single
distinction applies. “I shall return,” referring to the person,” is [only] a contracted and individualized
“Ammonite people,” is only regarding the nation in emanation of G-dliness, which, so to speak, is connected
general. Whereas, with regard to the Jewish people, the with and becomes apportioned to46* every individual Jew.
“(He) will return” also applies to every Jew as an Thus, it is possible that the specific Divine emanation
individual (since with regard to every single Jew it is said, connected with an individual Jew (whom G-d holds literally
“G-d, your L-rd” (Havaya Elokecha) in the singular46 by the hand) should go out of exile, notwithstanding the
[not the plural, “Havaya Elokeichem]) – “He personally fact that other Jews remain in exile.47 Whereas, the
needs to literally hold the hand of every single redemption of the aspect of the very root [or essence] of
person…‘You, the Jewish people, shall be gathered one by the Divine Presence (ikar Sh’china), which transcends
one.’” division, will only occur when all Jews are redeemed.
Divine particular providence extends to the Jewish In fact, the latter point is alluded to in Rashi’s saying,
people always, even amidst the time of exile. However, “But He has inscribed redemption for Himself when they
during the time of the darkness of exile, intellectual are to be redeemed,” as follows. The redemption “for
contemplation is required to perceive this Divine Himself” (l’Atzmo) (the Divine Essence (Atzmus)) will
providence, which was not the case at the time when the take place “when they are to be redeemed” (“they,” in the
Temple stood nor will it be so of the [future Era of] plural), when all the Jewish people are redeemed. And as
Redemption. Rashi emphasizes also with the expression, “for He will
Thus, with regard to the concept of redemption, it is return with them,” as mentioned above at the end of
“literally [that He] hold[s] the hand” (without any Section 5.
concealment), whereas regarding exile it says, “He will [To be continued be”H]
not fail [to grasp you with His hands],” mentioning only NOTES:
“His hands” [not the word “literally,” indicating a 41 A Guide to the Perplexed 3:17.
concealment of Divine providence].
42 D”Ch 13a.
The latter explanation also sheds light on the use of
the word “literally,” as follows. The Divine providence of 43 See Likkutei Dibburim Vol. 1, pg. 166 ff; HaYom Yom pg.
“[He] hold[s] the hand,” which is invested within the 108; among others.
garments of nature, also applies to the “Ammonite 44 See A Guide to the Perplexed ibid Ch. 18.
people,” however, without mention of “literally” [a term
45 Yevamos 61a, beg.
reserved for the Jewish people, indicating that the Divine
providence that extends to Jews is without any 46 See Footnote 46 in the original.
concealment]. 46* Similar to the “second soul” that exists within every single
9. Expressed in the lexicon of the “wine of the Torah”
person [i.e., Jew] “a literal portion of G-d from above” (Tanya
[i.e., the inner, mystical dimension of the Torah]:
Ch. 2, beg. See glosses of the Tzemach Tzedek there, Igeres
According to the above discussion, it is still difficult to
HaKodesh Section 7, among others).
understand: Since regarding the ingathering of the Jewish
47 See Footnote 47 in the original.

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By Rabbi Chaim Ashkenazi

The month of Tishrei is likened to an

annual fair, where the merchants earn
sustenance for an entire year. Now that
we have returned home from the fair,
the members of the household ask:
What did you buy at the fair? What did
you bring home? What merchandise did
you pick up in order to sustain us
throughout the entire year?
Having celebrated the month of (with explanations from the Rebbeim the royal palace which occurs on
Tishrei to the fullest, we ask and numerous explanations from the Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur.
ourselves what have we gotten out of Rebbe MH”M) that in the month of Afterwards, on Sukkos, the king
the month replete with days of awe – Elul the king is in the field. We are embraces us: “His right hand
Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur – city people and not people of the embraces me.” This is expressed
and holidays of joy – Sukkos and desert, where nothing worthwhile with our presence in the sukka,
Simchas Torah? grows and there are snakes and which has at least two complete
The month of Tishrei is likened scorpions. Nor are we people of the walls, as the halacha requires, and
to an annual fair, where the field. A field has the advantage in one wall that is at least a hand’s-
merchants earn sustenance for an that it produces our food, but we are breadth wide. This is like the form of
entire year. Now that we have there only for the avodas ha’birurim an arm which has two larger
returned home from the fair, the and not because a field is our place sections and the palm of the hand.
members of the household ask: per se. Then, on Simchas Torah,
What did you buy at the fair? What Since the king is in the field, we Hashem says, “come and partake,
did you bring home? What need to go out and greet him. Why you and I.” Or, as the Zohar puts it,
merchandise did you pick up in do we want to do this when he is not “I and the King alone,” as alluded to
order to sustain us throughout the wearing his royal garments? Because in the Musaf sacrifice of the day of
entire year? we know that this is the king, one ox and one ram, corresponding
Let us review what took place at because we are city people. to the Jewish people (as opposed to
the fair and even before that – from Why does the king go to the the seventy oxen that are sacrificed
when we prepared to go to the fair field? Because he wants to lift us up on Sukkos to correspond to the
in the month of Elul. so that we do not remain mere city seventy nations).
We heard from the Alter Rebbe people but are deserving of entering We experienced this at the fair,

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and the impression of these you look older than your father (R’ king and when he was asked what
experiences, which are etched deep Shmaryahu Sossonkin a”h)? the king said, he answered that he
within us, is what we acquired at the When R’ Asher was asked how once stumbled into the palace
fair and what we bring home. he withstood his ordeals, he said that garden and when the king saw him
after repeated interrogations he felt he screamed: Get out of here before
WE ARE CITY PEOPLE! he couldn’t take it anymore and he I order you killed!) The king
wanted to die. Suddenly the gentile embraced us and took each of us to
What is the profit that we make
interrogator said: Why are you the inner sanctum for a private talk.
on the merchandise? How do we
denying it? We know you are a So what do we have to do with
benefit by being city people who
Chassid of the Lubavitcher! Eisav?
were invited to the king’s palace and
These words infused R’ Asher We don’t relate to him! Eisav is
have memories of being close to
with strength as he thought: Even making a big mistake when he sees
the goy says I’m a Chassid, so why us in the field and tries to entice us
An anecdote of a Chassid of the
should I be fazed by what I am with his wiles. We are there only in
Alter Rebbe will help us understand
experiencing? order to grow our food, i.e., to
this. The Alter Rebbe said about him
This is what enabled R’ Asher to extract from the earth sparks of
that he was a Chassid as a result of
survive throughout his holiness. Our connection to the field
pride. Every time his animal soul
imprisonment. is incidental!
came to entice him to act
Based on these stories, we can
improperly, he would say: I am a
answer our question. When we I PLACE HIM BEFORE
Chassid of the Alter Rebbe and such
return to work, whether to the
conduct is unbefitting for me!
Chabad house or whatever mosad
A similar story is told about R’ I met a Chassid in 770 and asked
one works at, whether back to
Asher Sossonkin a”h who sat in jail him when he had come. I had meant
yeshiva or to one’s business, we
and exile in Russia and suffered to ask when he had arrived at 770,
meet Eisav, the man of the field.
greatly. His terrible suffering was but he answered me: I am here for
Regarding this encounter the
apparent on his face to the point that forty years!
Torah says, “He found her in the
when he went to the Rebbe for the I was taken aback since I know
field, the girl cried out and nobody
first time for yechidus, the Rebbe him from Eretz Yisroel, where he
came to help her.” There is nobody
stood up for him, and R’ Asher burst lives. He said: My body travels back
to rely on for help in a field. The
into tears (because Chassidim who and forth, but my soul is always
only thing that can help under these
felt that the Rebbe was mekarev here!
circumstances is the knowledge that
them saw this as an indication that This perspective is reminiscent of
we are city people. In fact, we are
they were spiritually distant, which is the Rebbe’s explanation of the Rashi
even greater than that, for we have
why the Rebbe had to be mekarev about Yaakov sending messengers to
entered the king’s palace.
them). Eisav. Rashi says they were malachim
Our visiting the king was with
When R’ Asher asked why the mamash (actually angels). The Rebbe
great honor. (Unlike the person who
Rebbe stood up, the Rebbe says that Yaakov only sent the
boasted that he had spoken to the
answered: What should I do when “mamash” (the “material,” superficial

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component of the angels) to Eisav are aware of from the moment we willing to help me, fine, and if not,
and not their soul, which he retained. get up in the morning. When we say, goodbye!
Our entire outlook on life needs every morning, “the neshama You Presumably the rich brother
to be that just our bodies go out to gave me is pure,” we are earned his money honestly, so why
the field, while the nefesh remains emphasizing that it is pure now, not did his poor brother respond this
elevated and united with the King as only when it was in the treasury of way? The answer is that if you are a
he is in his palace in the city. souls up above. Even after Hashem city person, you have a minimal
The Alter Rebbe writes at the put it in a physical body, it remains connection with the field. If you take
beginning of his Shulchan Aruch (a pure, as the Alter Rebbe says that pride in the field, then you are not a
book that outlines a person’s entire the word “tehora” (pure) is like, city person!
way of life) that the words of the “k’etzem ha’Shamayim l’tohar” (like Thus, the Chassid’s battle is not
verse, “I place Hashem before me the essence of the sky in its purity). to lose his true identity. There is the
constantly” appear at the beginning That is, just as when the sky is clear parable of the Baal Shem Tov about
of the Shulchan Aruch because with not even a wisp of a cloud, so the prince who was sent far away
man’s behavior when he is alone is too, there is nothing that can mar from the king, who forgot his
not the same as it is when he is with the neshama’s connection to the origins. When he heard that the king
other people, all the more so with a Creator. was coming, he went out to greet
king. This information of knowing From the moment we open our him but nobody recognized him
before whom you stand and the level eyes in the morning, the words in since he looked like all the other
that you are on enable you to fulfill the davening remind us that we are men of the field. It was only his cry,
the Shulchan Aruch. still city people. And not just any city “Father, father, save me!” that the
In Chabad shuls we don’t have people, but people who are close to king recognized.
signs that say, “Know Before Whom the king – “I and the king alone.” The cry of the prince emanated
you Stand” because this should be This approach is important for from the depth of the soul that “is
engraved in our minds and hearts every one of us. If you are in pure” even after it is sent into exile
throughout our lives, not just on a yeshiva, every moment must be within the physical body in this
sign that we see in shul. If we don’t permeated with the awareness that world.
constantly remember this, we can you are a city person, and your
think that since we are in the field, thoughts, speech, and action – HOW THE KING
our fellow “men of the field” are our whether while learning or during the
friends. When we enter shul we breaks, whether eating and sleeping
temporarily drop them, letting them or shopping – need to be There is a story of a talmid of
know we’ll be back soon. appropriate. Tomchei T’mimim in Lubavitch who
Our true standing as men of the If you are a businessman, then all married and moved far away. A few
city and the king’s friend ought to your dealings and involvement with years later he went to Lubavitch and
be a constant thought, and then people need to be done with this the T’mimim there marveled that
every action or thought or word in premise in mind, “the soul You gave even though years had passed since
the field will be done as is fitting for me is pure.” Your lifestyle and home, he had been in yeshiva, he had
a man of the city. If we are your furnishings and clothing, the remained strong in his Chassidishe
permeated with the sense of our talk and actions in your home, all behavior as he had as a bachur. In
lofty level, we can avoid enticements need to be appropriate. other words, he had remained a city
from the start, because we have There’s a story brought in the person.
refined our animal souls. In other sichos about a Chassid who needed This is why Chassidim try to
words, certain inappropriate things money to marry off his daughter. He copy the Rebbe’s behavior. The
will simply be out of the question. went to his rich brother who had a customs, in addition to laws, were
Most people haven’t reached this large house with many rooms. The given to Moshe at Sinai, as gifts by
level, so at least, when enticed, we wealthy brother was proud to show the angels. They are to show how a
need to remember where we come off his wealth. After the grand tour, city person behaves. Certainly, the
from and before whom we stand. the Chassid said to his brother: conduct of our king, the Rebbe –
There’s an animal that lives in during davening and doing mitzvos,
excrement up to its nose that wishes his mode of dress, etc. – is a model
it could also cover its head in it…
GAVE ME IS PURE You are immersed in material things It’s sad to see T’mimim and
This idea must be something we and are happy with it all. If you are married men not wearing the kind of

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yarmulkes that the Rebbe wore, or bride’s father was unhappy and
white shirts, Chassidishe haircuts, when he told them about his brother When R’ Asher
etc. Instead of following the Rebbe,
they follow the non-Jews, or in a
who hadn’t attended the wedding,
one of the musicians promised to was asked how he
better case scenario, they follow
balabatim who forgot they are city
bring him. This musician went to
the brother’s house and presented
withstood his
people. himself as a hungry passerby. As a ordeals, he said
They tell of a Chassid who was a sign of his appreciation for the meal
merchant and dressed like one. he was served, he played a tune on that after repeated
When he went to the Rebbe, he his fiddle. His host was drawn after
changed into Chassidishe clothing. the musician as after the Pied Piper interrogations he
One time he decided not to be a
hypocrite and he went to the Rebbe
and as the musician neared the
wedding hall, the man followed him felt he couldn’t
dressed in his usual clothes. The
Rebbe said: I thought you were in
until he reunited with his brother
and they hugged. It was only after
take it anymore
essence a Chassid, and you wore they had calmed down somewhat and he wanted to
different clothing for the purpose of that the brother realized he was still
doing business. Now I see that you wearing his pajamas. die. Suddenly the
are in essence a merchant … In The grand wedding between
other words, you are not a city Hashem and His people is about to gentile
person. begin. All that remains to be done is
to see how we will look the moment interrogator said:
HOW WE WILL APPEAR we find ourselves in the king’s
palace. Will we be dressed properly
Why are you
This is all the more pertinent in
with a beard and peios and proper denying it? We
haircut? What about our family
our generation of Geula, in which members? Our preparations must be know you are a
the reality that we are city people is all encompassing – as the well
an indelible fact whether we feel it or known comparison to Sukkos, when Chassid of the
not. We are about to see how
Hashem embraces every single Jew.
everything we have is in the Sukka,
all our involvements, eating, Lubavitcher!
We don’t have a choice as to
whether to continue to act as a man
drinking, etc. – everything must be
devoted to and embraced by
These words
of the field or not because to
Hashem, we are city people, as it
Hashem. infused R’ Asher
says, “for your sins separate between
A SPECIAL GIFT FOR with strength as he
you and G-d,” and not “between G-d
and you.” The challenge is for us to THOSE WHO LEARN thought: Even the
act accordingly so that when we see CHASSIDUS
how we are embraced by G-d, we The ability to prepare in the goy says I’m a
won’t feel uncomfortable about
where we stand.
months of Elul and Tishrei, at a time
of spiritual elevation, which raises us
Chassid, so why
There’s the story of the Satan
causing a fight between two brothers
up above the reality of the lowly should I be fazed
world and enables us to view the
which caused them to become field from the perspective of a city by what I am
estranged. Then one brother made a person, is the chiddush we have
wedding for his daughter and thanks to the revelation of experiencing?
wanted his brother to come but the Chassidus.
brother was not interested in How does a Jew look at the end the beginning of the month and is
participating and he put on pajamas of Tishrei when he does not have the able to open a new page in his
and went to bed and pulled the teachings of Chassidus? What does connection with Hashem. Then he is
cover over his head so he wouldn’t he have from all of Tishrei? He happy and dances on Sukkos and
hear the music. merited pardon and forgiveness at Simchas Torah. Then what?
The musicians noticed that the

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Our preparations sins, which is a very great thing but,
bottom line – he returns to what he
heard and felt the “hinei hinei
Moshiach ba.”
must be all was?
From what we have learned in
In 770 I heard a story about a
Chassid who went to the Rebbe as
encompassing – as Chassidus, our visit to the fair in
Tishrei defines our identity. As a Jew
he stood in the doorway of his room
with the key in his hand. The
the well known who is beloved to Hashem, we have Chassid told the Rebbe about a boy
merchandise with which to set out that the doctors had given up on.
comparison to on our way. The Rebbe raised his hands in a
Sukkos, when The custom in Lubavitch is to
announce on Motzaei Shabbos
gesture of surprise and said: Since
when are they in charge?
everything we have B’Reishis, “and Yaakov went on his
way.” The Jew is no longer Yisroel –
The Chassid said: So the Rebbe
should give a bracha.
is in the Sukka, an obvious city person as he was
during Tishrei, but reverted to being
The Rebbe said: If it depends on
me, I give all the brachos.
all our Yaakov – he returns to the field. The Chassid said: So there is no
Even if he is a ben Torah and sits reason to worry?
involvements, and learns, he is still in the field, in The Rebbe said: To worry? You
eating, drinking, this world which embraces him in a
bear hug with all its enticements. If
need to worry about just one thing –
when will Moshiach come?
etc. – everything he stopped learning for a moment,
he would feel this full-force. It’s just
This is what we have returned
with from the king’s palace. We have
must be devoted to the knowledge that he is a city
person that raises him up a bit above
but one worry on our minds – where
is Moshiach?
and embraced by the passions of the world and gives From this perspective, the world
him the ability to view all the looks exceedingly small and it really
Hashem. materiality from an objective doesn’t pay to get too excited about
perspective. it when we know that we will
What changed in his awareness Those in 770 for Tishrei merited imminently see our king, Moshiach,
as opposed to before? Did anything to look down upon the world from in all his glory.
change or does he remain on the the highest peak. They lived and
same level as before albeit minus his breathed Moshiach, and saw and

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To All Of Anash And Tmimim whjha
The Rebbe was accustomed to request after the selling of the Pesukim of "Ato Hereiso" that the
following should be announced "Your word to Hashem is equal to physically giving to a person."
In many of his Sichos the Rebbe recalled words of the Alter Rebbe concerning the greatness
of the quality of alacrity in all matters pertaining to Torah and Mitzvohs, especially regarding
the Mitzvah of Tzedaka, he stressed, that one should act as quickly as possible.
In keeping with this dictum we wish to remind all those who had the merit of buying a
Posuk of Ato Hereiso this Simchas Torah for the Merkos (which is under ihe leadership of
Rabbi S.M. Simpson in accordance with the Rebbe`s instructions) to bring their pledge in as
expeditiously as possible to the offices of either Rabbi Simpson or Rabbi Groner or to send in
their pledge to the address below.
Keren Hashono: A special tzedoko fund which the Rebbe established in 5714, from
which tzedoko is given twice a day (except Shabbos and Yomtov), before Shacharis and before
Mincha> This assures that all participants in this fund, fulfill the mitzvo of tzedoko twice a
day. One is to contribute sums in the amount of days of the coming year. This year, 5768 has
383 days. The sums can be in pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, dollars etc., for each member
of the family.
May giving of this Tzedaka speed the coming of the full Geulah through the revelation of
Melech Hamoshiach.
Rabbi S.M. Simpson Rabbi Y.L. Groner

P.S. Based on the Rebbe's Sichos those individuals who were not able to buy a
Posuk on Simchas Torah can still participate by sending their donations now.
Pidyon money etc. can also be sent to the abovve.
Please make all checks payable to KUPAS RABBEINU.
Eretz Yisroel address: KEREN KUPAS ADMU"R / P.O.B. 1247 / KIRYAT MALACHI / ISRAEL

By Ofra Badosa

FARBRENGEN older and single and there was a baby.

OF MIRACLES feeling that something in Heaven Rus: “It was my first encounter
had to be opened for them. At the with Hashem on this subject and it
Tishrei 5764. Hundreds of girls
end of the farbrengen we resolved was quite amazing. One of the
of all types and backgrounds filled
that everybody would daven for all women in the group gave birth to
770, born and bred Lubavitchers
the other girls at candle-lighting. twins after 20 years and another one
alongside baalos t’shuva, young and
The Rebbe’s response in the Igros gave birth after 28 years! These
old. That year there were quite a few
Kodesh related directly to the pregnancies took place after years of
baalos t’shuva from the schools that
farbrengen as though he was there! fertility treatments. This gave me the
cater to them. A group of them,
He gave blessings and chizuk to the push I needed to start more and
most over thirty, decided to get
girls. The most amazing thing of all more groups.”
together and farbreng. There was
was that the following year, about
the feeling that they needed their
85% of the girls married!” ENCOUNTERS
own place with a focus on their
issues. OF ACHDUS
I took it upon myself to organize THE FIRST GROUP Within three years, about fifteen
a farbrengen for them. For an entire Still feeling the profound groups were started. The ladies who
morning I tried to find the right impressions of Tishrei with the join these groups are all types. Some
person to farbreng with them. I Rebbe as well as this special are religious, running the gamut
wanted a woman, someone who farbrengen, Rus went back to Eretz from Chabad to Satmar, Mizrachi to
would help us get more in touch Yisroel. When she sat down to Ger. There are some women who
with ourselves, Hashem, and the ponder her good resolution for the aren’t yet religious.
Rebbe. We wanted fire in this new year, she knew that she wanted Rus: “I lead the first three
farbrengen! to continue the work that was meetings in which the women are
Before Mincha I noticed Rus connected with strength in prayer. becoming acquainted. We awaken in
Mipai [see issue #546 for an What could be better than having them very deep issues that may have
interview with her] talking with a group for women who did not yet lain dormant for many years. It’s
some girls. That’s when it hit me have any children? very important to raise the problems
that she was the perfect person to In these situations, prayer is and discuss them so as to prepare a
farbreng with us. After a brief needed more than in any other vessel for blessing. In the first stage,
conversation we had arranged a time situation. It was just at this time that most of the women feel threatened.
and place: Monday at three o’clock Ohr B’Lev (which is a volunteer Some of them do talk but there are
in Rubashkin’s sukka. organization that has workshops for others who might remain silent at
Rus: “It was a very special parents and marital advice, in most of the meetings, though in the
farbrengen with lots of achdus and memory of Rus’ mother) wanted to end, they all open up. The
love. We spoke mainly about the expand its activities. And so, the first atmosphere is very positive and
power of prayer and about how group was started in Bareket with 15 supportive.”
‘whoever prays for his fellow for women, aged 25-50. Their success Rus has one rule which she
something that he himself needs, he was unparalleled! 14 women had announces at the first meeting. A
is answered first.’ children and the 15th continued woman who becomes pregnant has
“Most of the girls were relatively with another group and then had a to leave the group. This is a rule that

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the Rebbe told a similar group that
consulted with him. There are many cases in which
bachurim want their rosh yeshiva to be
Rus: “At the second meeting we the mesader kiddushin. The rosh
focus on spiritual weaknesses that
can cause a delay in the bracha.
yeshiva might be wonderful as a rosh
There are couples who try for years yeshiva but he might not know how to
to have children and go to the best
doctors but cannot be blessed until be a proper mesader kiddushin.
the spiritual blockages are dissolved.
The goal of this meeting is to cases in which a young boy jokingly particular with family purity in
discuss this and to find solutions.” told a young girl ‘harei at cases where couples did not have
Can you give an example? mekudeshes li.’ If two friends nearby children. About ten to fifteen
“One of the most common happened to witness this, it could be meetings are dedicated to a careful
examples has to do with the k’suba. considered an actual marriage. review of the laws of family purity
There are many cases in which “Sometimes there are hard with a knowledgeable teacher.
bachurim want their rosh yeshiva to feelings like when a younger sister “I explain that if the Rebbe said
be the mesader kiddushin (the one marries before an older sister and this, then it must be so, except that
who officiates at the marriage). The did not get her consent, or someone it needs to be put into practice. The
rosh yeshiva might be wonderful as a broke an engagement and did not halachic end of things is
rosh yeshiva but he might not know ask and receive mechila strengthened and often the women
how to be a proper mesader (forgiveness) from the other party.” consult with a rav regarding their
kiddushin. There are many detailed At the third meeting, Rus leads fertility treatments. One of the
halachos that must be followed in the women with the aid of special women, after seven years of
the writing of a k’suba. cards designed to help disengage treatments, decided to contact a rav.
“One of the dayanim that I am in from negative things of the past. The She arranged to meet with him but
touch with told me that when his women are very cooperative and before she actually met him, she was
daughters were married by a thanks to the closeness and honesty pregnant with twins. Her second
mesader kiddushin that he did not among them, it is possible to resolve birth was ten months later and the
rely on, he changed their k’subos the serious problems. third was less than a year after the
next day. second birth.
“In other instances, the ring was THREE PILLARS “As for T’filla, I
not bought with the groom’s money. emphasize the power
Although the rabbi asks him under Rus: “At all the meetings we
of prayer. The
the chuppa if the ring was bought emphasize Torah, T’filla, and
Rambam says
with his money, the question is not Tz’daka. The Torah part consists of
that in order
always understood. Sometimes, the learning halacha. This is one of the
kalla picks the ring and pays for points that is most emphasized. The
it. There have also been Rebbe stressed being

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fulfill one’s biblical who
obligation of prayer, one needs to teaches them Rebbe,
(aside from the prayers established halacha. and in the end they all connect to
by the sages) talk to Hashem and the Rebbe in some way or another.
tell Him your needs. There’s a story A DAY OF PRAYER At the meetings, Rus tells them
in the Gemara about a man who was stories about hiskashrus and miracles,
Rus: “Last Elul, all the groups
walking on the road and was and writing via the Igros Kodesh. The
convened for a day of prayer.
exhausted from the heat. He prayed thing that strengthens the women the
Women from several groups came,
to Hashem and asked for a donkey. most is when they hear that women
Satmar along with irreligious ladies,
“Before he could finish his prayer have had children. Their faith and
but the feeling of achdus filled the
one of the king’s ministers came by trust that Hashem hears their prayers
air. It’s hard to describe the special
riding on a donkey and leading are strengthened. Even in the group
atmosphere on the bus, when about
another donkey. When the minister that Rus started in Kiryat Seifer, a
fifty ladies, all of whom did not have
saw him, he ordered him to carry Litvish stronghold, the Rebbe is in the
children, united to daven. We went
the other donkey on his shoulders forefront, and the women accept this
for Mincha at Kever Rochel, a very
till the city. The story teaches us to and even send their names with Rus
emotional prayer. We were all in
be careful when we daven and to when she goes to 770.
tears and felt that our prayers rent
specify what we want. Obviously, Tell us a story about the Rebbe
the gates of heaven.
Hashem knows what we want, but and the Igros Kodesh that
“We felt k’dusha and great love.
He takes pleasure in hearing us say happened to one of the women.
Some of the women, who did not
it. He wants us to talk to Him.” Rus: “In one of the groups there
know one another at the beginning
Each of the women in the group was a woman who had gotten
of the day, felt like sisters by the end
commits to davening for a friend married in her forties. For ten years
of the day. From there we went to
and her husband. She reads that she had no children. She heard
daven Maariv at the Kosel. Then we
woman’s chapter of T’hillim and her about the group and joined it
went to the Tzemach Tzedek shul in
husband reads the chapter of the enthusiastically. She came to every
the Old City to hear a shiur on
other one’s husband. They are meeting and internalized the
emuna and bitachon and the power
strengthened in the knowledge that importance of writing to the Rebbe.
of prayer. By the end of the day, it
their prayers are accepted, that She wrote her story to the Rebbe,
was hard for the women to part, as
Hashem has a treasury of prayers, about how the doctors laughed at
such a strong bond had been created
like a bank account, that protects her for still trying to have a child at
among them.”
them. her age.
Rus says that the most special
The Tz’daka part of the program “The answer she opened to
thing about these groups is the
consists of the women contributing said not to despair and that
connection formed with the Rebbe.
towards Rus’ travel expenses and doctors have permission to heal
Most of the women have no
towards the salary of the woman but not to discourage people. The
connection to Chabad or to the
following week I was told she was

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By Rabbi Sholom Dovber HaLevi Wolpo
Translated By Michoel Leib Dobry

In response to requests by our

readers, we now present the next
segment from “ V’Torah Yevakshu
MiPihu,” Rabbi Sholom Dovber
HaLevi Wolpo’s seifer on the Rebbe’s
teachings regarding Chabad
chassidus, its approach to emuna,
and its various customs.
Rabbi Mazuz continues: “And and “the event that happened…is realization, we will now explain the
regarding this, the Rambam writes only from our material point of view, Rambam in a manner that everyone
(Hilchos Melachim 11:4, censored and is only a trial (one of the trials can understand.
in many printings): ‘And if he did of the birth pangs of Moshiach that First of all, we must be precise in
not succeed to this degree (in must take place prior to the coming the two possibilities the Rambam
building the Beis HaMikdash in its of the Righteous Redeemer), the writes about: “And if he did not
place and gathering in the exiles of entire purpose of which is to conceal succeed…or was killed.” It would
Israel) or was killed, it is known that and cover the truth.” Thus, there is have been enough if he had written,
he is not [the Redeemer] promised no question whatsoever on the “And if he dies, it is known, etc.”
by the Torah.’” Rambam. Moreover, why did he use the term
According to what was explained In any event, since these things “or was killed,” and not “or died”?
above (and will be elaborated on were written for public consumption, The explanation is that when we
further be”H), “Moshe Rabbeinu did and since not everyone can grasp consider the matter carefully, we see
not die,” the Rebbe is chai v’kayam, and internalize the truth of this that the signs of “and he will compel

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all Israel…and he will fight the wars war by the victorious enemies, as observance have in recent years
of G-d,” brought by the Rambam in was Bar Koziba, this is a proof that have joined the ranks in fulfillment
Halacha 4, are not incidental signs “he did not succeed” (in the second of the king’s orders, whether they
(pertaining merely to identity), sign of “the wars of G-d”), and thus know it or not, establishing special
rather, this is the halachic “he is not the one whom the Torah associations for this purpose, such
description of Moshiach. This means had promised.” as Lev L’Achim, Arachim, El
that if there is a Jew from the However, this is not the case, HaMa’ayan, Todaa, etc., all of which
House of Dovid, etc., involved in because the Rebbe shlita succeeded come from those circles that
bringing the entire Jewish People in a wondrous manner (as much as vociferously opposed the Rebbe’s
closer to G-d and who fights the is possible within the limits of approach, and now have been
wars of G-d, he possesses the nature, and even higher than transformed and have begun to
characteristics of Moshiach. nature) in bringing hundreds of work on his shlichus. Even other
The Rambam then adds that if thousands of Jews throughout the chassidic communities have founded
this person did not succeed in his world closer to Torah (whether in outreach organizations, distribute
avoda to bring the Jewish People accepting an observant lifestyle, candles to Jewish women and girls
closer to Torah and mitzvos or was fulfilling certain mitzvos, or on Fridays to awaken them to the
killed in the wars of G-d, it is then strengthening their faith in G-d). “Neshek Campaign,” make seminars
clear that this is not the one whom
the Torah has promised, because he
has absolutely failed in those very
things that define who Moshiach is.
The Rambam then adds that if this
Similarly, we find regarding Bar person did not succeed in his avoda to
Koziba, that at the moment that he
was killed by his enemies as he bring the Jewish People closer to Torah
fought the wars of G-d, this ended
everything completely. (As Rambam and mitzvos or was killed in the wars
puts it in Hilchos Taanios 5:3:
“They had a great king, and all
of G-d, it is then clear that this is not
Israel and great chachamim
presumed that he was Melech
the one whom the Torah has promised,
HaMoshiach, but [when] he fell into because he has absolutely failed in
the hands of the Romans and all of
them were killed, it was a misfortune those very things that define who
as great as the destruction of the
Beis HaMikdash.”) Moshiach is.
Thus, the Rambam was specific
in writing, “or was killed,” meaning He brought the Word of G-d to to bring Jews towards a path of
that he was killed while fighting the millions of Jews through thousands t’shuva, and conduct “mivtzaim”
wars of G-d, proving that “he did of shluchim, striving to reach all training that the Rebbe spoke to
not succeed to this degree.” corners of the earth with literal self- them about decades ago, when he
As a result, if the situation were sacrifice. (We have already brought was only “a voice in the wilderness.”
that the Rebbe proclaimed in 5711 clear proofs from the seifer Yechi It thus can be said that this
that the task of our generation is to HaMelech HaMoshiach (from p. represents the fulfillment of another
bring the Redemption, and he would 203) that when the Rambam states sign that the Rambam notes
begin to try and send shluchim to that Moshiach “will compel all regarding Moshiach, i.e., not only
spread Yiddishkait and ch”v they Israel,” this means in the ways of will he influence the Jewish People
wouldn’t go out on shlichus, or they pleasantness.) This very concept “to walk in [the path of Torah and
would go out but fail to bring Jews continues today – and with greater mitzvos],” he will also compel all
closer to Yiddishkait – this is called strength and greater fortitude! sectors within Jewry “to strengthen
“and he did not succeed” (in the Furthermore, all those streams [its observance]” through
matter of the first sign of spiritual of observant Jewry that initially involvement in his shlichus to bring
influence upon the Jewish People). opposed this manner of reaching every Jew closer to his roots.
Similarly, when the king is killed in out to those far from Torah

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By Avrohom Rainitz

as he walked down the path that

Mr. Yehoram Ben-Shalom recently leads to the entrance to 770. He
hadn’t been here in many years and
visited Crown Heights. Under the this visit revived pleasant memories
for him.
Shamir government, he served as “I remember as though it was
today, that Erev Yom Kippur of
representative of the Likud movement 5750. Rabbi Kuti Rapp called and

in the US. Today he works for the said, ‘Yehoram, the Rebbe is giving
out honey cake with a special
United Nations as Special Adviser to bracha for a good, sweet year. It’s
worthwhile coming.’
WAFUNIF’s President, and Coordinator “I was the representative of the
Likud movement in the US and
of WAFUNIF’s Culture of Peace since I was very friendly with the
Trade Attaché at the Israeli
activities. * Ben-Shalom tells of his Consulate, Mr. Manny Buber, I

association with Chabad, about the called him and suggested that we
go together to the Rebbe.
Likud ministers whom he brought to the “Due to traffic, we arrived late
and as our car stopped at the
Rebbe, and about his great admiration entrance to 770 and I saw that the
area was empty, without the long
for the Rebbe’s leadership. line, I sadly realized that we had
missed the Rebbe. Then I suddenly
heard people yelling at us, ‘Come
When I called Mr. Yehoram Shabbos, invited me for this quickly! The Rebbe is still waiting!’
Ben-Shalom to arrange a time for Shabbos and I couldn’t refuse.” We “I ran forward and opened the
an interview regarding his agreed that we would talk on door. There stood the Rebbe,
connection to the Rebbe, he Motzaei Shabbos. smiling. Aside from secretaries,
surprised me when he said he We began the interview precisely nobody else was there. It looked as
would be spending Shabbos Slichos where Ben-Shalom’s relationship though the Rebbe had been waiting
in Crown Heights. “The terrific began with the Rebbe – at the especially for us. We approached
bachurim from Chabad who come entrance to 770, near the Rebbe’s the Rebbe and after he gave us
to our shul in Manhattan every room. Ben-Shalom was very moved lekach and a bracha, he motioned

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to his secretaries that the conjunction with the meeting of the benefit thereby. It was beyond my
distribution was over and he went delegation or another occasion. understanding.
to his room. “This was the first time I was “Later, when I spoke with
“I will never forget those holy seeing the Rebbe and from the very Knesset members and ministers
moments on Erev Yom Kippur, as start I realized that he wasn’t just from the Likud and told them to
we stood alone facing the Rebbe, another rabbi. He was completely visit the Rebbe, some said they had
and that special smile.” different. He was a genuine Jewish seen many rabbis already and didn’t
leader whose words and gaze feel like visiting the Rebbe. I would
LEADERSHIP WITH penetrated deeply into the neshama. tell them: You have to go and see
“After the yechidus, as the this for yourself. This is not a
A WAVE OF A HAND Rebbe left his room, many natural phenomenon. There is no
Yehoram Ben-Shalom was born Chassidim were congregated on the other leader who with a wave of his
into the world of askanus path leading up to 770, and the hand can send people to the end of
(communal involvement). His Rebbe waved his hand in a gesture the world, to do holy work, in sub-
father, Ovadia Ben-Shalom, was of simcha. The Chassidim burst human conditions, all to give the
president of the Yemenite Rebbe nachas!”
community in Eretz Yisroel and Do you remember what the
chairman of the association of Rebbe said at that encounter?
social and cultural development that The truth is that when I try to
preserved Yemenite tradition. His review my conversations with the
brother, Yigal Ben-Shalom, has Rebbe, I don’t manage to remember
worked in recent years as director them well. When I would pass by
of the National Insurance program. the Rebbe, I would undergo a
Yehoram became acquainted process that is hard to explain. In
with Chabad through government my great excitement I was unable to
offices. “R’ Shloimke Maidenchek remember what the Rebbe said to
would come to us before holidays me.
and throughout the year. He In later years, when I went with
checked the mezuzos and took care Kuti Rapp, I would ask him to
of other Jewish matters in the remember what the Rebbe said to
government offices.” me. In those years they also wrote
At that time, Yehoram was down what the Rebbe said in a
special advisor to Aharon Lozen, Chabad publication (Chadashot Beit
the minister of Labor and Financial Chayeinu) and thanks to that I can
Relief, and he was also involved in sit down and read through my
campaigns to bring Jews to Israel encounters with the Rebbe. But I
from various countries. In 5744 have no notes of the first meeting,
was offered the position of special just an awesome general impression
consul for Israeli matters in the US into song and danced of the Rebbe.
and he flew to New York to check it enthusiastically in their places.
out. When I saw this, I was
“On my trip here, a delegation
flabbergasted by the power of the
of young Israeli leaders came to Ben-Shalom ended up refusing
Rebbe’s leadership. I had never
visit the government offices in the job of consul for Israeli matters
seen a leader move a crowd with a
Washington. Part of the program and took a job no less important –
wave of his hand.
was a private audience with the representing the Israeli government
“Later on, when I became better
Lubavitcher Rebbe. Since I had in its efforts to help Jews in Arab
acquainted with the Rebbe’s
joined the delegation, I was able to countries. In this position he
leadership, and had attended
see the Rebbe too. The yechidus developed contacts with diplomats
farbrengens, my amazement grew. I
took place in the hallway before the from Arab countries in the attempt
saw the deep connection with the
Rebbe’s room. I remember also to eliminate restrictions on Jewish
Chassidim who obeyed the Rebbe’s
once having yechidus in the Rebbe’s emigration from those countries. In
orders without any prior conditions,
room, as he sat at his desk, but I collaboration with the Jewish Syrian
despite their not receiving any
don’t remember whether this was in community and the Jewish Yemenite

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uncompromising like a shamir- ‘dollars’ in order to get a bracha
“I would tell them: worm (extant in Biblical times with from the Rebbe.
You have to go the power to cut through stone).
A committee formed by Likud
“The Rebbe’s brachos gave me
renewed strength. Always, in
and see this for and headed by Shamir, decided to
set up a public relations arm in the
difficult times, I think of the
Rebbe’s smile and this gives me the
yourself. This is US which would circumvent the strength to go on, to deal with
Foreign Ministry and would work whatever comes my way, and to be
not a natural together with rightwing Jewish successful.”
movements. Yehoram Ben-Shalom Were there difficult times when
phenomenon. was asked to establish Likud USA you felt a special need for the
There is no other and that is how he became the
official representative of Likud in
Rebbe’s brachos?
“There were many situations like
leader who with a the US.
It was at this time that Ben-
that. As soon as I took the job, I
decided to bring Benny Begin to the
wave of his hand Shalom became acquainted with the US, both for public relations work
Rebbe’s shluchim around the US as well as joining me so that I could
can send people to and when he established a personal make connections with heads of
relationship with Chabad Chassidim Jewish movements and communities
the end of the in New York. One of these in the US. In the course of his trip
world, to do holy Chassidim was Rabbi Chone
Perman, who went to Ben-Shalom’s
we arranged a lecture at Columbia
University. Two weeks before Begin
work, in sub- house once a week to give a shiur
in Gemara and Chassidus. During
arrived, the Israeli ambassador
spoke at Columbia and certain
human conditions, the shiur he would give the elements ran him off the stage in
participants a summary of the humiliation.
all to give the Rebbe’s latest sichos and that is “I saw the Rebbe at that time
how Ben-Shalom became aware of and this visit gave me renewed
Rebbe nachas!” the Rebbe’s teachings and his energy with lots of Jewish pride. I
strong position against returning decided that Begin would speak at
community in the US, he was able land in Israel. this university, which is known as
to bring about a change in the “At a certain point, Kuti Rapp being anti-Israel, come what may!
position of the governments of began giving the weekly shiur. At My friends at the consulate called
Syria and Yemen. After two years of that point I was already the official and asked me to get out of it.
massive effort, groups of Jews representative of Likud and I put ‘You’re new,’ they said, ‘why start
began emerging from Arab together a group of diplomatic in the Leftist stronghold?’
countries. attachés who joined the shiur on a “In light of what the Rebbe said
In 5748, a year after the regular basis. I had a deep personal though, I knew we had to convey a
outbreak of the Intifada, Israel had connection with Kuti Rapp. tough message and we could not
a unity-national government which Whenever I had a religious issue to display weakness. All the advisors
combined Likud and Labor. With discuss, I picked up the phone and who spoke to me at that time were
Shamir as Prime Minister and Peres called him and he was always happy against the plan, but in the end
as Foreign Minister, Israel had no to help me. Begin went there and 300 students
organized public relations approach “When I received this position, I sat and listened to his speech in
to counter the attacks in the media. felt I needed the Rebbe’s bracha. fascination.
All of Israel’s spokespeople were After all, although I grew up in a “My big surprise was when I
stricken dumb because any position home of askanus, I wasn’t used to discovered that the person leading
they took opposed the position of the diplomatic world and rubbing the attack against the Israeli
either the Prime Minister or the shoulders with heads of state. I felt position was the director of the
Foreign Minister. Peres’ position I had been given a task of great Hillel organization, whose opinions
was one of compromise and importance for the sake of the were close to that of Palestinian
concessions and Shamir’s position Jewish people, to promote Israel’s organizations. That scared me.
was – as the Rebbe called it – interests in the US, and I went for

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“I took the Rebbe’s hard line would speak to the secretaries and Israel. Roni told the Rebbe that his
position on shleimus ha’Aretz and would arrange it so that the blessing was important ‘in these
came to the conclusion that no Jew ministers and Knesset members did difficult times.’ The Rebbe said,
is born a Leftist. Even the biggest not have to wait on a long line but ‘These are not difficult times but
Leftist is on the Right by nature, could enter via a side door that was the days preceding Rosh Chodesh
but the media brainwashing often designated for VIP’s. Elul when the King is in the field
perverts straight thinking. “Visiting the Rebbe was not on and is close to every Jew, especially
“The moment I identified the the official itinerary. It was only those living in Eretz Yisroel.’
Rebbe’s policy line and it was clear once the ministers had arrived in “This message of the Rebbe,
to me that this was precisely the the US that I would personally which was one of the first regarding
line I wanted to bring to the public suggest that they visit the Rebbe the Gulf War, greatly encouraged
relations efforts in the US, I with me. I didn’t put the visit on Roni Milo. Although he was not
decided that all the Knesset the official agenda so that they religious, he received
members and ministers who would wouldn’t compare the Rebbe to encouragement from the Rebbe’s
come to the US who belonged to other rabbis, and ask to visit rabbis tremendous bitachon.
the Likud party had to see the of other groups. After I spoke to “A short while later, on 19 Elul,
Rebbe. They had to hear the them and explained why it was I brought the Foreign Minister,
Rebbe’s position before they set out important for them to visit the Dovid Levy, and a whole entourage.
on their travels to promote the Rebbe, they all happily agreed to do It was after the dismantling of the
Israeli position.” so. unity government and the
“One of the first ministers I establishment of Shamir’s narrow
ARRANGING MEETINGS brought was Roni Milo, then the government. The Rebbe received
minister of Police. We went to the him warmly and spoke to him for
WITH THE REBBE Rebbe at the end of 5750, the week several minutes. At the end of their
“When it came to arranging of ‘Judges and Enforcers.’ This was conversation, the Rebbe said to me,
meeting with the Rebbe, our shortly after Saddam Hussein ‘You will certainly influence the
contact person was Kuti Rapp. He invaded Kuwait and threatened Likud not to try to expand the
government…and in ways of
pleasantness and peace.’ The Rebbe
also blessed me with a ‘k’siva
va’chasima tova, and much
“Dovid Levy was greatly moved
by the visit. After the distribution of
dollars, we and the entourage went
to a special farbrengen at the home
of someone in Crown Heights.
Dovid Levy spoke excitedly about
his acquaintance with Chabad,
going back to his Chabad school in


Yehoram had a special story
with Mr. Silvan Shalom. He came
to the US in Teives 5752 along with
his wife Judy. At that time, he
served as director of the Electric
Company and also sought a place
on the Likud list for the Knesset. “I
suggested that they come to the
Mr. Yehoram Ben-Shalom near the Rebbe’s room on Motzaei Shabbos Slichos Rebbe and they happily acquiesced.

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Judy had been to the Rebbe the year before and was Syrian Jews were freed.
happy to go back and be blessed. “The Rebbe did not respond directly to this, but
“The Rebbe gave him several dollars, more than the said that in order to save the Jews of Syria, there were
usual, and blessed him, ‘You are appointed to bring things that could be done that were not in the natural
light to all,’ referring to his job at the electric company. order of things, but they could obtain the release of the
Then the Rebbe spoke to his wife, whose parents Jews from there. The Rebbe explained, referring to my
(Mozes) owned Yediot Acharonot, and said to her that position as representative of the Likud movement:
they should reserve a spot on the front page of the ‘Lelakeid (to unify) all Jews, men, women, and
newspaper to report on the coming of Moshiach. His children, in Eretz Yisroel, around the study and
wife was quite moved and she told the Rebbe that since fulfillment of mitzvos. This likud will unify them to
the Rebbe’s previous bracha to her, the newspaper was greet Moshiach and to receive all the good tidings.’
even more successful. “The Rebbe added, ‘May this also speed up all these
“R’ Rapp told the Rebbe that Silvan was running in matters.’ The Rebbe gave me another dollar and
the Likud’s internal elections and asked for a bracha blessed me, ‘Blessing and success, good news.’ We left
that he gain a realistic position in the upcoming with Silvan Shalom and his entourage to farbreng in
national elections for the Knesset. The Rebbe’s answer the home of a Lubavitcher in Crown Heights, along
was, ‘good news, much success.’ with R’ Rapp.”
“When we left, some Chassidim came over and
hugged and blessed Silvan. We didn’t know why. They
told us that the week before, Mr. Zev Baum had been
to the Rebbe. He now serves as Minister of Absorption,
and at the time he also planned on running in the
internal Likud elections. The Rebbe told him, ‘there is
no need to rush,’ and he gave you a blessing. That
means your being elected is assured, they said.
“Silvan didn’t quite believe in his chances of being
elected to the Likud list for the Knesset, and even after
receiving the Rebbe’s bracha, he remained unsure,
especially after he heard about Ron Nachman’s visit to
the Rebbe. Nachman was the mayor of Ariel and the
Rebbe had also blessed him with, ‘good news, much
success’ for his running in the elections. It didn’t make
sense to him since Ron Nachman’s chances of being
elected to a realistic spot were lower than Baum’s. Why
did the Rebbe push Baum off while blessing Ron Mr. Yehoram Ben-Shalom receiving a dollar from the Rebbe
Nachman with the same blessing as Silvan?
“When Silvan discussed this with R’ Rapp, Kuti STRONG MESSAGES
said, ‘You don’t ask questions about the Rebbe!’
“Of all the public figures I brought to the Rebbe for
“As always, the Rebbe was right. Ron Nachman and
dollars, then Transportation Minister Moshe Katzav’s
Silvan Shalom were elected and also entered the
visit, on Yud Shevat 5752, is most well known. In a
Knesset, while Zev Baum did not. Nachman at first
long conversation with him, the Rebbe made his
received an unrealistic placing on the list, but he got a
position against any concessions abundantly clear, as
reserved spot somewhere in the twenties on the list. I
well as his opposition to mere discussions about
helped place Silvan Shalom 32 on the list and over the
concessions to Arabs.
years he rose within the party and held senior positions
“I went for dollars many times and never heard the
within the government. Baum, who was told not to
Rebbe speak with such pain and such forcefulness to a
rush, entered the following Knesset, four years later.
public figure who came for a blessing. The Rebbe’s
“When we visited the Rebbe with Silvan Shalom, I
pain over Shamir, who until then had represented
asked the Rebbe that he make a big outcry that in all
shleimus ha’Aretz but had begun to capitulate under
the talks taking place with Syria at that time, they
American pressure and was ready to discuss giving
should demand the release of all the Jews living in
away land, was apparent.
Syria who were being held captive there. The terms
“The Rebbe said, ‘I consistently fought for Shamir’s
should be that Israel would not release captives until all
government, and just as I did all I could to establish a

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government led by Shamir, if they continue in this Laws. I saw how the main goal of these seven mitzvos
direction with talks like these, then I (and the Rebbe is, as the Rambam says, to enable yishuv ha’olam
referred to himself by name) will be the first to fight (civilized life).
with all the power and all my strength against Shamir “I learned what the Rambam says about Yemos
so that his government collapses. Until now, only Mr. HaMoshiach when ‘the occupation of the entire world
Shimon Peres was against Shamir’s government, but if will be only to know Hashem.’ In the meantime, we
Shamir continues in this direction with autonomy talks, need to prepare the world for Geula and as a first step,
then I will also be opposed to Shamir’s government.’ people have to know how to treat one another with
“Today, when we see the devastating results of these respect, to live in peace with those who are different
talks that began with the Madrid Conference, we can than themselves. This is what I try to do in my work
understand how far-reaching the Rebbe’s vision was. I for the UN.”
have no doubt that the Rebbe, with his ruach
ha’kodesh, saw the present situation and tried, with all DEDICATED BACHURIM
his might, to avert the slide down the slippery slope.
“In recent years I’ve renewed my connection to
“What the Rebbe said to Katzav was so sharp that
Chabad thanks to the terrific bachurim from Crown
until they showed Katzav a transcript of the
Heights. A few years ago, I helped found a shul near
conversation and he saw it in black on white, he
my home in Manhattan. My father died a few months
refused to believe that the Rebbe spoke so harshly.”
later and, by Divine Providence, I had a place close to
my home where I could daven three times a day.
“Every Shabbos we had the third meal in shul and I
would say a d’var Torah based on the parsha. One
Shabbos, bachurim showed up who introduced
themselves as students of the Chabad yeshiva – 770.
They asked whether they could relay an idea from the
“I was happy to let them do so. I recalled those
wonderful times I had spent in the Rebbe’s presence
and was happy to, once again, hear the Rebbe’s
uplifting and deep ideas. From then on, they came
every Shabbos.
“I travel a lot but when I am in New York for
Shabbos, I am always amazed by the dedication of the
bachurim who come from Brooklyn to Manhattan, no
matter the weather, in rain and snow and the heat.
Mr. Silvan Shalom receiving a dollar from the Rebbe
There were Shabbasos when the weather was so bad I
was sure they wouldn’t show up, but they always came.
“A few weeks ago I suggested that they spend
WORLD PEACE AND Shabbos with me so they wouldn’t have to walk. They
THE SEVEN NOACHIDE LAWS told me they were on K’vutza and they do not leave
In recent years, Ben-Shalom is busy promoting 770 even for weddings of brothers and sisters! Perhaps
values of peace around the world. He works as Special it was in exchange for my invitation to them that they
Adviser to WAFUNIF’s President, and Coordinator of invited me to spend Shabbos Slichos in 770.
WAFUNIF’s Culture of Peace activities, and spends “I told them that back then, Kuti Rapp had invited
many weeks a year in African countries in the attempt me to spend Shabbos in Crown Heights several times
to educate the new generation to peace. but what he did not manage to achieve, despite our
When I told Ben-Shalom about the Rebbe’s many great relationship, they would achieve, thanks to their
activities in promoting universal educational values to mesirus nefesh every Shabbos.
the world, he enjoyed finding parallels between his “Now, between the wonderful Shabbos I spent here
work and the messages the Rebbe wants us to convey. and Slichos that are about to begin, I thank Hashem
In the course of his work, Ben-Shalom encountered for the privilege I have to return and be so close to the
R’ Boaz Kali who disseminates the Seven Noachide Rebbe, and I hope that we will soon see him with the
Laws among Israeli-Arabs. “I met with him and saw Geula shleima.”
the brochures he produces on the Seven Noachide

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By Zev Crombie

Amman, Jordan. I saw two things on

A member of Anash living in an the flight that I found appealing, and
established community in Eretz Yisroel would strongly suggest that El Al
adopt similar policies (with some
travels to the “ends of the world” to be small changes). Firstly, every flight
begins with the captain saying a
with his son and daughter-in-law, a prayer (T’fillas HaDerech?) for a
safe trip, without any inhibitions
young couple on shlichus. He gets to regarding the mention of G-d’s
name (in Israel, this would be a case
experience some of the less pleasant for the Supreme Court). Secondly, a
aspects of shlichus for the first time. His number of times during the flight a
message appears on the large screen
experiences make for fascinating indicating the direction to face (for
Moslems) for prayer.
reading. * A diary of Tishrei 5766. THURSDAY, 6 TISHREI: We
landed in Colombo at first light.
Mendi came to meet us at the
Two years ago, my son Mendi Jewish community of local
airport, and he used the opportunity
and my daughter-in-law Talia went businessmen and Israelis, as well as
to invite the surfers that were on our
off on shlichus to Sri Lanka (an many tourists and trekkers passing
flight to attend Yom Kippur services.
island nation in South Asia), in through.
As soon as you step out of the
order to add this island country to
airport, you see the great poverty of
the map of lights that the Rebbe is TISHREI 5766 the country. Everything is old and
planting across the world in
WEDNESDAY, 5 TISHREI: We rundown. The atmosphere is hot and
anticipation of the Geula.
are in Ben-Gurion Airport in Eretz humid. It feels like you’re in a sauna.
When Mendi and Talia, along
Yisroel. Mendi asked us to bring the The drivers careen about recklessly,
with a contingent of three bachurim,
four species. A Calabrian Esrog was and there seem to be no rules and
first landed in Sri Lanka, they set up
no problem, but where do you get no laws. The white line in the center
camp in the village of Hikkaduwa,
the other three items, ten days of the road seems to be only a
which is in the center of the surfer
before the holiday? Mendi also “suggestion.” The only way to make
beaches area, where many Israeli
asked us to bring machzorim with the trip safely is to follow Mendi’s
surfers congregate. In Hikkaduwa,
English translation, packages of pre- advice, “Close your eyes and pray.”
they did outreach activities for a few
rolled dough, yahrtzait candles, Before the trip, I had suggested that
months with the Israeli surfers, and
tuna, little Levik’s coat, mezuzos, we rent a car, but Mendi had
enjoyed great success. At the
Bamba snacks for Levik (very negated that idea. “In Sri Lanka,
beginning of that winter, when the
important!), and a whole list of other only Sri Lankans can drive,” he had
surfing season came to a close, they
vital things. replied. Now, I knew exactly what he
decided to move to the capitol city
The flight to Sri Lanka was on meant.
of Colombo, where there is a small
Royal Jordanian Airlines by way of In honor of our visit, Mendi and

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for a half hour in the tok-tok until

they get to the local mall, where
there is a playground. All the other
children there are very dark-skinned
Sri Lankan kids, and Levik stands
out as the only white-skinned child.
Everybody stares; there are no
playmates; no friends; nobody to
fool around with. It’s not such a
simple way of life!
showed me a letter that he received
from an English tourist who is
married to a Buddhist woman from
Sri Lanka. Mendi ran into him when
he went to look for Jews at the hotel
on Erev Rosh HaShana. This fellow
had joined the Rosh HaShana meals,
and was very moved by the whole
experience. He wrote to Mendi, “I
will never forget the meal we had
together for the rest of my life.”
In the morning, we went to the
apartment of Mali to put up a
mezuza. Mali is an Israeli girl who
works in Sri Lanka. On the way to
Mali we stopped to buy a “soft
drink.” All along the sides of the
roads there are fruit stands selling all
sorts of exotic fruits. We stopped at
one of the stands and Mendi bought
a fresh coconut. The vendor cut a
hole in the top of the coconut, put in
a straw, and we drank the coconut
little Levik had gone to one of the vegetables are in abundance, and milk. Later, we went to the home of
nearby villages to milk a cow, and so Talia uses them to prepare Gilad and Vered to put up mezuzos
we had hot coffee waiting for us wonderful dishes, but the nearest by them as well.
when we arrived. In general, we read place to buy kosher meat is in Before Shabbos, Mendi and I
a lot about the lives of shluchim in Thailand. Not long ago, one of his took a tok-tok to the beach to
faraway undeveloped countries, but donors paid for Mendi to take a immerse. Since Colombo is on the
it is only when you actually visit flight to Bangkok and bring back ocean, there is no problem finding a
such a Chabad House in person that enough meat to last for a while. It’s suitable beach, especially since the
you really understand all the little a lot more expensive and women here are modestly attired and
details of what daily life is like for complicated than walking to the would never go to the beach during
these shluchim. For example, on corner grocery in Kiryat Chabad, in daylight hours. The problem is that
Shabbos and Yom Tov, they stay in my hometown of Tzfas. there is a very strong current, which
the house all day. There is no shul to Here’s another complicated made it very frightening. We’ll have
go to, there is no Seifer Torah (yet), issue. Back home, a mommy who to think about where we will
and (most of the time) there is no wants some peace and quiet tells her immerse ourselves on Erev Yom
minyan. kids, who are climbing up the walls, Kippur.
For a mikva, Mendi set up a very to go outside and play. What does a SHABBOS, 8 TISHREI:
large plastic container filled with mommy in Sri Lanka do? She has to Shabbos here is so very different
water on the porch, where he dunks go out and flag down a “tok-tok” than Shabbos in Tzfas. There is no
himself each morning. Fruits and (rickshaw taxi). Tali and Levik travel

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shul (temporarily, we are certain
that Mendi will succeed in building
one soon), no minyan and no Seifer
Torah. All the prayers are held
privately at home, so we have all the
time in the world to think about
Two Israeli couples came at night
to the meal. “Where did you buy
these delicious challos?” they asked
Talia about the challos she baked.
No guests came for the lunch meal,
so we spent a long Shabbos as the
Sri Lankans went about their lives
outside. Towards sunset, Mendi and
I had a “seider niggunim.”
I was somewhat upset about the
t’fillos on Shabbos, but Mendi
consoled me and told me a story On a rickshaw, on the way to Mivtza Lulav
about the holy brothers, R’ Elimelech
and R’ Zushe, who spent a period of locals look at us in wonder. Then I chazaras ha’shatz. We were a motley
time in jail. In the center of the cell give malkos (symbolic lashes) to my crew with nothing in common. We
was a bucket for the prisoners to son, but who can do the same for sat there together in the conference
relieve themselves and this prevented me? room of the Hilton Colombo.
them from being able to put on In the afternoon we packed all Outside, life continued as usual
t’fillin. the good food that Talia had while here, all of us were united in
“The same Master of the prepared for the Seuda HaMafsekes, the desire to approach our Father in
universe who said we should put on along with all the utensils and the heaven.
t’fillin is the One who said not to put cake for the end of the fast, and we One person emotionally told me
them on in a place like this,” one went to the Hilton Hotel of that he was living in Sri Lanka for
brother said to console the other. Colombo. The hotel management 17 years, was married to a local
So I thought, who knows which deviated from its normal policy in non-Jew, and he fasted on Yom
t’filla is more accepted by G-d, the allowing Mendi to rent the Kippur every year. He knew no
one I pray in the large shul in Kiryat conference hall in the hotel where more than that. This was the first
Chabad in Tzfas, with a large the t’fillos would take place as well year that he was participating in the
congregation, or the one I pray as the meal before the fast. t’fillos. I thought the trip to Sri
alone in a forsaken corner of About 25 people came for the Lanka was worthwhile just for this
Colombo? meal and that was already a great man!
SUNDAY, 9 TISHREI: The eve achievement. The waiters served and Another man, a tourist from New
of Yom Kippur. There is no white I imagined what it would be like Zealand, reminisced about going to
chicken with which to do Kaparos. when Moshiach comes. shul, as a child, with his father.
“This money will go to tz’daka, to I explained to the people in Mendi met him on his round of the
the Chabad house of Sri Lanka,” English about the significance of the hotels and invited him to the t’fillos.
and I remembered how in Tzfas they Kol Nidrei prayer and the other It’s hard to believe that he would
slaughter an entire semi-trailer load prayers of the day. When Yom have fasted otherwise.
full of white chickens. I remind Kippur began, Mendi was the The davening was over and we
myself of the story of the holy chazan and I guided the people, “We all called out “Shma Yisroel.” It was
brothers. The same Master of the are now on p. 42.” I am so unused an emotional moment. Mendi blew
universe that wants us to use a white to this style of davening. the shofar and the fast was over. I’ll
chicken for Kaparos in Tzfas, wants YOM KIPPUR: We did not have never forget that Yom Kippur!
us to be in Sri Lanka in order to be a minyan for Shacharis or Mincha. BETWEEN YOM KIPPUR
mekarev His children. Instead of reading the story of Yona, AND SUKKOS: We used the days
In the afternoon we take a tok- I told the story in English. At N’ila, between Yom Kippur and Sukkos to
tok to the sea and immerse. The we had ten Jews and could have tour the country a bit. We hired a

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driver who took us to the tall would use it just to prepare supper similar to the date palm, but it’s
mountains in the center of the for ourselves. He was very polite but taller.
island. After the terrible heat of he maintained his refusal, which We had a few guests for the night
Colombo, we felt relieved to really surprised us since Sri Lankans meals. One of them, Oran, had
experience weather conditions more are nice, easy-going people. traveled a lot in the Far East and had
similar to that of Tzfas. The road Having no choice, Mendi took already visited several Chabad
wound through the mountains. the portable gas burner along with a houses. He told us a story that he
Along the way we saw fruit stands pot and some potatoes to the end of had heard at the Chabad house in
with many fruits that we had never the garden that surrounded the hotel Delhi. When the bachurim-shluchim
seen before. I especially enjoyed a and sat in the dark to cook the food. arrived there, they wanted to put
large, fresh pineapple, which the Nobody was around. All the guests stickers on all the rickshaws, but the
vendor expertly peeled. were ensconced in their rooms. local drivers did not allow it. The
We went to an elephant Then, in the darkness, a young drivers consider the rickshaw too
“orphanage.” It’s amazing to see couple approached. They couldn’t precious for stickers to be stuck on
how one man can control dozens of find their way in the vegetation that them. Only one driver allowed them
these enormous animals. This surrounded the hotel. to do so and then he told them an
illustrated for us what we learned in One glance from Mendi was incredible story.
Chassidus about the greatness of enough to ascertain that these were He had not had children for
man over animals. We took an Israelis. Not only that but they were many years. When his wife finally
elephant ride and held the first mekuravim of Rabbi Yehuda Dunin became pregnant, it was complicated
Tzivos Hashem rally in the world on in Chaifa! We invited them to join us and the doctors said she had to
an elephant as we said the Twelve and we spent an enjoyable evening terminate the pregnancy. He was
P’sukim with Levik. together. In the morning, Mendi devastated by this. When the Chabad
We went to our hotel at night went to put t’fillin on with Dror. shliach saw him walking
and explained to the manager that SUKKOS: Erev Sukkos Mendi despondently down the street, he
we were religious Jews and could and Danny (one of the mekuravim) stopped him and asked what was
not eat in the restaurant. We asked built a sukka on the roof. There was wrong.
for permission to cook on the no problem with s’chach since there He told his story and the shliach
portable gas burner we had brought is an abundance of coconut leaves suggested that he come with him to
with us. To our surprise, he refused. there. For those who don’t know, the Chabad house and write to the
We continued to explain that we coconuts grow on a palm very Rebbe. He did so and when he
opened the Igros Kodesh the letter
with the Rebbe’s answer was clear:
not to listen to the doctors but to
sustain the pregnancy.
So in opposition to the doctors’
advice, this simple Indian followed
the Rebbe’s answer. Where did his
faith in a man he had never heard of
or seen, come from? It’s hard to
know. His wife eventually gave birth
to a daughter. “And now,” he said to
the shluchim, “you can stick as
many stickers of the Rebbe as you
want on my rickshaw.”
I saw many other interesting
things on my visit, but the most
impressive thing of all was to see
one of many young couples on
shlichus from up close. We salute
them! When Moshiach comes,
Hashem will bring the Jews of Sri
Lanka to the Holy Land. May it be
The Hilton hotel, where we davened on Yom Kippur now!

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By Nosson Avrohom

for the Rebbe,” began R’ Raskin.

At a young age and even behind the “We lived in Gorky (today
Nizhni-Novogrod). After a large
Iron Curtain, Rabbi Yehoshua Raskin group of Chabad Chassidim left

experienced the Rebbe’s miracles, Russia in the famous escape of

1946-7, my father also tried to
starting when he was instructed to leave but was caught. He managed
to send his sisters across the
enter the lion’s den of the terrifying border but as for himself, he was
too late. We remained in Russia.”
KGB building and continuing Gorky was a closed city in
Russia and you needed a special
throughout his years of work for permit to live there because many

CHAMA in the former Soviet Union. * Russian security industries were

located there. Tourists or guests
Personal stories and recollections in an were not allowed entry. If a son,
who lived in another city, wanted
interview with Beis Moshiach. to meet his parents, for example,
they had to meet in Moscow.
“In my youth, my brother and I
It was Rosh Chodesh Kislev story starting in Russia and went to learn in an underground
night 5767 when students of continuing in Eretz Yisroel. I yeshiva in Samarkand. It wasn’t
Chabad – Ohr Avner in Kfar Sitrin asked if I could interview him for easy being accepted to the yeshiva
sat and farbrenged with Rabbi this magazine and he happily because they constantly tested us
Yehoshua Raskin of Nachalat Har agreed. in various ways to make sure we
Chabad. First, he sat with the R’ Raskin’s life story is could keep a secret.”
Russian students who study in the intertwined with a wide range of At a certain point, the
Naaleh program and then with the stories that he merited to see and government began to allow some
students of the yeshiva g’dola and experience in his life, many of people to make aliya for the
smicha program. them connected to the Rebbe’s purpose of uniting families. Most
He explained to the students, Heavenly activities to help Russian of the families which left Russia
in their language, the significance Jewry, including Chabad were from Kishinev and
of Rosh Chodesh Kislev “the Chassidim who remained in Soviet Chernovitz. All those who received
Rebbe is healthy.” Then he went Russia. “I don’t know if anyone permission to emigrate were
on to relate his fascinating life could do a miracle like this except elderly. At this time there was

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great tension between Russia and Veshedsky a”h. It was 9 Kislev government he was supposed to
Israel because of the aid that 5726. He went to the Rebbe and remain there, and for Hashem it
Russia provided the Arabs. This in yechidus he asked for a bracha makes no difference whether it’s a
was the reason that young people for us to leave Russia. At the big miracle or a small miracle. My
were not allowed to emigrate. The beginning of the yechidus he said, father had asked R’ Moshe to ask
Russians said they weren’t “My brother-in-law needs a big the Rebbe whether we should leave
interested in supplying soldiers for yeshua,” referring to my father, R’ Gorky, but the Rebbe said there
the Zionist army. Sholom Dovber Raskin. was no reason to move since the
One of the people allowed to The Rebbe pointed out that he communists ruled everywhere.
leave Russia was my father’s too had needed a miracle since Then the Rebbe surprisingly
brother-in-law, Rabbi Moshe according to the communist said that we should submit papers

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to leave the country to the would ever leave. We didn’t know a request like this in Gorky was
emigration office in Gorky. R’ how to submit our request. My unheard of. She called Moscow
Moshe was taken aback since parents finally decided that if the and a clerk at the emigration
Gorky was a tough place under Rebbe said we should submit our office guided her in how to open
extra surveillance, making it much papers in Gorky, we would have to an emigration file for us. We were
harder to deal with them. go to the KGB office. stunned. We thought we wouldn’t
When we found out what the The KGB building was a leave the building alive, yet the
Rebbe had said, we were building with four stories above Rebbe had opened an emigration
flabbergasted. To present the ground. Nobody knew how many office for us within the KGB
papers in Gorky?! To a normal additional stories were building in Gorky!
person this idea was out of the underground. People walked four She asked us to fill out forms,
question. (To make this clearer I’ll blocks out of their way to which we did, and then all we
tell you that in 5750, after circumvent it. Yet we were going needed to do was come back again
perestroika, I went to Russia on to enter the lion’s den with the in order to hear whether our
behalf of the CHAMA organization Rebbe’s bracha. request had been approved or we
together with a group of bachurim My mother and I arrived there were on our way to jail and years
in order to do activities in various and apprehensively entered. We of slave labor in exile.
cities. I was able to go everywhere asked at the entrance where we A week went by and we were
but Gorky, which was still closed could submit our emigration told to go back to the KGB
to strangers!) request. The clerks were furious building. The tension at home was
If the Rebbe said it though, we and every minute another clerk enormous. To receive a response
wouldn’t argue, despite our great and another soldier joined the so soon did not bode well. I
fear. My parents asked my brother fracas and shouted “traitors” at remember going with my mother
and me to return to Gorky. We us. It was terrifying. on the bridge that led to the
realized it had to do with Then in the midst of the building, with a prayer in my heart
requesting permission to leave commotion, a door of one of the that the bridge would never end.
Russia. rooms opened and a woman with We were taken to a waiting room
We lived in a common the rank of captain came out and in a building built in the shape of
courtyard with gentile neighbors. asked what the hullabaloo was a Ches. Around us sat officers and
When the letter with the special about. When she heard our senior clerks who looked grim. We
stamp arrived in the mailbox, one request, she took us to her room. stood in the center.
of the gentiles opened the box. She listened to us but as I said, After a few seconds of tense
When he saw it was addressed to
us, he was sure it contained a
harsh decree from the government
and he threw it in the snow. Only
afterwards, when he realized that
this was dangerous, did he slip the
envelope under our door.
Remember, tensions with Israel
ran high. If the authorities found
out that a Jewish woman received
a letter from her son in Israel, she
was fired from her job.
Rabbi Sholom Ber Laine, my
mother’s brother, sent us an
invitation to emigrate to Israel
under the program of uniting
families. After receiving this letter,
a new problem arose. There was
no emigration office in Gorky. It
was simply out of the question to
them that any resident living there
Yehoshua Raskin’s picture when he left the Soviet Union

 2FPEOBF #'1 + - 1 & '  ! &

Rabbi Yehoshua Raskin giving
a pidyon nefesh to the Rebbe

silence, one of the officers got up We realized that if my mother had that if we left on Shabbos too.
and said to my mother, “Do you been frightened by his threats and We left Sunday morning by
want to change your mind? You asked to rescind her request, we train to Austria via Poland. I was
have the right, and we will ensure would not have received the thrilled but my father’s face was
that you will only suffer minimally permission that had already been inscrutable the entire time.
from your traitorous actions. If granted! The Rebbe simply took us Whenever the Polish border
you don’t change your mind, we out of Russia in the most legal, guards entered the compartment,
will act accordingly.” official way, though it was he knew that the danger was not
My mother was brave and said, miraculous! The Rebbe changed yet past. It was only when
“I appreciate what the communist the order of nature. We were Austrian policemen came in that
government has done for me, such ecstatic. he knew that the Russian
as my sons studying in university, In the following days, until we nightmare had ended. My father
and who knows whether, when we left Russia, we experienced a few went over to the Austrian border
get to Israel, they can continue glitches. The first was that our guard and hugged and kissed him
studying. But the Germans exit permit was in effect for four and then he hugged us.
murdered my entire family and I days and it was Thursday. We ***
have only one brother in Israel went to Moscow immediately and When the Raskin family arrived
and he is sick and very weak. This arrived on Friday where we got a in Eretz Yisroel they settled in
is why I want to go and help him. visa for Israel. The Russian exit “Tochelet” (which later became
If he was strong enough, I would permit expired on Sunday. We part of Kfar Chabad).
ask him to come here and be with asked two rabbanim whether we In Tishrei of that year, the
me.” could leave on Shabbos. One Rebbe paid for tickets for all the
A few moments of silence paskened that we should desecrate Chassidim who had left Russia, so
prevailed, moments in which we one Shabbos in order to be able to they could come to 770. The Vaad
trembled. The officer suddenly observe many other Shabbasos but in Kfar Chabad, that had the
changed his tone and took out a the other rabbi, a Chabad Chassid, responsibility of distributing
signed letter which permitted us to said the permit expired Sunday tickets, decided to give them only
leave. He gave it to my mother. evening and if the Russians to those over age 20.
We were openmouthed in shock. wanted to foil us, they could do “I was just 20, but my brother

#'1 + - 1 & '  ! & 'PPRB 

made great efforts in order to Rebbe every Tishrei, except for meeting for us with him in
raise the money so that he could one year when I was in Germany Metzudat Ze’ev.
fly too. In those days, the financial for Jewish seminars that I When we told him what we
situation wasn’t great.” arranged for emigrants from wanted, not only did Begin not
It’s difficult to describe in Russia. When I went to 770 understand us, he even berated us.
words how one feels when first afterwards, Rabbi Groner the I’ll never forget what he said.
encountering the Rebbe: We were secretary asked me where I had “When boys your age are risking
given an appointment for yechidus been… I don’t know if he asked their lives in the dunes of the
on 6 Tishrei. I didn’t know how to me on his own or because he was Sinai and freezing in the Golan
write a letter to the Rebbe. I wrote told to ask… Heights in order to protect our
the pidyon nefesh in Russian and That year, Tishrei was packed homeland, you need to be here! If
mentioned that my 20th birthday with experiences. At the end of the you want to learn, do it here, in
was the next day. month, my brother and I returned Eretz Yisroel. You are not
The Rebbe’s first question was to Eretz Yisroel with the desire to permitted to gallivant in the
whether I had received an aliya return and be with the Rebbe. United States of America.”
before Shabbos and I said I had Since we were of draft age, we We were taken aback by his
not. The Rebbe said, “If you were not allowed to leave the approach. Not realizing that Begin
didn’t get before, get after.” He country except for once in three knew Russian, I said to my
thought a little and said, “It will years. brother in Russian, “Let’s leave.
surely be hard for you to find an During the following year, we He’s a demagogue.”
aliya, so get an aliya on Monday tried to use connections so that we Begin jumped as though he had
or Thursday.” The Rebbe also told could go back to the Rebbe for been bitten by a snake. “Me, a
me, “Until age 20 there is no Tishrei, but all our attempts were demagogue?”
punishment [meted out from On to no avail. One day, we found out He called for his advisor,
High], and now a new page has that the Chassid, R’ Moshe Segal Yechiel Kadishai and asked him to
been opened for you.” was friendly with Menachem tell us about his war against the
Since then, I’ve been to the Begin, who was in the Opposition British. I said to him, “We risked
at the time. He arranged a our lives to learn Torah. By


As I said, I worked for CHAMA for many years and was greatly
encouraged by the Rebbe. When we built the main building in Nachala,
“How surprising
someone told us about the possibility of getting a million and a half
dollars from the American Congress. They said it would be done through
that you declare
a yeshiva in Yerushalayim that would receive five million dollars, and out that if you do not
of that, we would get a million and a half. The middleman urged us to
accept or reject the plan within a week, and if we weren’t interested he receive an
would find someone else.
We don’t do things without asking the Rebbe for a bracha, so we duly answer within a
sent a letter to the Rebbe. We were afraid that the answer wouldn’t arrive
quickly enough because the Rebbe did not always answer institutions. In
week that you
consultation with an askan we dared to write that if we did not receive
an answer within a week, we would take it to mean that the Rebbe
would interpret
supports the plan. this as my
A few days went by and we got a letter in which the Rebbe wrote that
he rejected the idea. He added, “How surprising that you declare that if consent, when it
you do not receive an answer within a week that you would interpret this
as my consent, when it is possible that the letter did not even arrive.” To is possible that
say the least, the Rebbe did not like being pushed for an answer.
It turned out, two or three years later, that whoever received those
the letter did not
funds ended up in jail for fraud. The Rebbe saved us. even arrive.”

 2FPEOBF #'1 + - 1 & '  ! &

I was very
surprised by the
Rebbe’s answer
knowing that the
Rebbe’s approach
was to have short
engagements, and
the Rebbe was
telling me to
marry eight
Rabbi Raskin receiving kos shel bracha
months later!
nature, I would rather be at the gave you permission.” He thought been decided yet. “Were there
Suez Canal now, but even if the that since I was engaged, I would suggestions? Were matters
Rebbe was in Russia, I would ask not go, but he was wrong. A few concluded?” I said no. I said the
the Russian consulate to allow me days later I was on my way to only conclusion was that I would
to see him there.” 770. go to the Rebbe and everything
When Begin heard this, he It was before Pesach. The would be decided there.
retorted, “I am also a Chassid of talmidim on K’vutza had just The Rebbe said, “If there were
the Rebbe,” and he asked his started their year of K’vutza at no suggestions or decisions, I
advisor when he would be writing that time (unlike today). In those would suggest that the wedding be
his next letter to the Rebbe since days, the Rebbe held the Pesach held in Kislev. During all months
he wanted to complain about us in Seder in the apartment of the it is customary to make the
his next letter! Rebbe Rayatz. It was decided that wedding in the first half of the
Apparently, Begin had a only “shivas ha’kanim” (lit., the month and since Kislev is special,
lengthy correspondence with the seven branches of the menora, you can marry during the second
Rebbe. When I heard that he was referring to select groups of seven half, when the moon is
going to write to the Rebbe about bachurim each, who were charged diminishing.”
me, I was very nervous. Not long with producing and giving over I was very surprised by the
afterwards, Begin received an novel insights to the other Rebbe’s answer knowing that the
amazing reply in which the Rebbe bachurim on a weekly basis) in Rebbe’s approach was to have
responded to all his complaints, Nigleh and Chassidus as well as short engagements, and the Rebbe
“Since two bachurim went to you, those finishing their year on was telling me to marry eight
who were moser nefesh to fulfill K’vutza, would be allowed to months later! I was thinking to
Torah and mitzvos in Russia, you enter. I was asked to be on guard myself about getting married on
should help them come here…” so that only those allowed in 14 Kislev (the Rebbe’s
When the Rebbe asks, that’s entered. anniversary), and the Rebbe, as
another story. Begin used his After Pesach I had yechidus though reading my mind, said “As
connections on our behalf. In the and I asked when I should get far as the date in Kislev, the kalla
meantime, I became engaged and married and where I should live. will decide.”
then, one day, R’ Shloimke Regarding the time of the The Rebbe continued to be
Maidanchek came to me with an wedding, the Rebbe said, “Surely involved in all the preparations for
exit permit. He winked and said, there were decisions that were the wedding. A few months later, I
“Now you’re really in trouble, they mutually made?” I said it hadn’t asked the Rebbe where to live,

#'1 + - 1 & '  ! & 'PPRB 

whether in Nachalat Har Chabad, Rabbi Raskin worked for years work out well for family reasons
that had been founded at that for the CHAMA organization in and after two years I stopped my
time, in Kfar Chabad, where my Nachalat Har Chabad, organizing work in the CIS.
parents lived, or in Lud, where my activities and lectures for Russian While working in Russia, I saw
in-laws lived. The Rebbe said we Jews. He began his work while still many ‘Baalshemske’ miracles.
should live in Kfar Chabad. a bachur, under the auspices of Here are two of them:
Tzach. “A few days before the
In those days, the vaad hardly “My brother Shlomo did a lot attempted revolt in Russia at the
allowed anybody to live in the of work at that time in the end of 5751, I was in 770. I
Kfar, because they wanted families absorption centers throughout the planned on going to Eretz Yisroel
to move to Nachalat Har Chabad, country. One time, a Russian and from there to continue on to
which was just getting started. In bachur who lived in the US had a Russia. On Shabbos, I got a bottle
light of the Rebbe’s answer, the yechidus and the Rebbe asked him of mashke from the Rebbe in
vaad made an exception and why he didn’t reach out to new honor of CHAMA’s having a booth
approved my living in Kfar immigrants. The bachur said he at the international book fair in
Chabad. was shy and it didn’t suit his Moscow. On Thursday I passed by
Two months later, when all had nature. The Rebbe said, ‘Go ask for ‘dollars’ after a sicha, and the
been arranged, Rabbi Efraim Wolf Shlomo Raskin. He’s an expert in Rebbe told me what to do. Among
told me he would not accept me this.’ other things, he said to have a
into the Kollel in Kfar Chabad. He I worked for years for CHAMA pushka at the booth, and he
wanted me to live in Nachalat Har and always received amazing indicated that it should be a big
Chabad. I argued with him, but he answers from the Rebbe. I felt that one. The Rebbe gave me a dollar
stuck to his guns. Before I the Rebbe was pampering me and additional dollars for
returned to Eretz Yisroel I had because on nearly every subject everything I asked.
another yechidus and I asked the that I wrote, I received a clear “A few hours before leaving for
Rebbe about this. The Rebbe said answer. Back at the beginning, the the airport, I found out that things
that he had changed his mind and Rebbe told me I should use my were in an uproar in Russia. I
now it would be better if I lived in abilities and talents in this work. didn’t know what to do. I stood
Nachala. The Rebbe explained that More than once I saw how where those traveling abroad
the government was complaining every answer of the Rebbe’s was received a parting bracha from the
that Chabad had been given a precise. It was in 1990 when Rebbe, and thought about my
neighborhood in Kiryat Malachi communism fell and I was asked options. I could ask the Rebbe for
for immigrants and instead of by the organization to run permission to cancel my trip, yet I
immigrants, they were sending CHAMA’s activities in Russia. had no doubt that the Rebbe knew
old-timers there, “and you are a When I wrote to the Rebbe about there would be a revolt and he had
new immigrant.” this, the answer was, ‘If your wife blessed me regardless.
*** agrees, it should be in a good and “As I stood there wondering
successful time.’ It really didn’t what to do, Leibel Groner (who
knew about my dilemma) came
over and told me that the Rebbe
I told the Rebbe that I really didn’t told him that I shouldn’t change

understand how I could live for my plans. I immediately ran and

called Moscow and informed the
another six months. The Rebbe said it office that I was coming and they
should send a car to the airport to
was not a problem with the heart, and pick me up.
“At the office they didn’t know
that I should divert my attention from what I was talking about since all
flights had been canceled, and
it and it would go away on its own. tanks were patrolling near the

“Strengthen your faith and bitachon. airport. I said that if the Rebbe
had blessed me, I wasn’t changing
It’s just a matter of nerves.” my plans.

 2FPEOBF #'1 + - 1 & '  ! &

and fell. He went for tests but
from that point on, he began to
experience similar attacks from
time to time and became very
stressed by the situation.
When he arrived in Eretz
Yisroel he rushed to Kaplan
hospital, where he knew a top
doctor. When this doctor, Dr.
Trachtenberg, heard that he was
from Nachalat Har Chabad, he
began to praise the Lubavitcher
Rebbe to the group of doctors
standing around.
After examining R’ Raskin, the
doctor said it was a problem with
his heart and he asked him to
come for another examination in
six months.
Rabbi Raskin with his shluchim sons R’ Raskin: After a few months,
when the attacks didn’t stop and
even got worse, I went to 770. It
was a few months after the
Rebbe’s heart attack in 1978. The
Rebbe allowed yechidus for only
thirty seconds. When R’ Groner
saw that I wanted to submit all my
medical records, he asked me to
bring a letter which he would hand
in for me so that when I had the
yechidus, I wouldn’t hold up the
When I went into the Rebbe, he
smiled, raised his hand and asked
whether I had written something
for him. After a minute or two I
suddenly realized that R’ Groner
had not given the Rebbe the
medical report. He had planned on
giving it after the yechidus.
Fortunately, I had a copy with me
Rabbi Raskin (center) doing outreach work and I gave it to the Rebbe who
read it all quickly. After a few
“The reality far exceeded as everybody else knew, the revolt moments, the Rebbe said, “I see
anything that I may have would last a long time and end in that he is not recommending
imagined. I arrived in Eretz bloodshed, yet the Rebbe knew medication, and that he is telling
Yisroel and heard that the revolt precisely when it would end.” you to come back in six months.”
had ended. It lasted all of three R’ Raskin experienced many I told the Rebbe that I really
days, which was against what all miracles in his life, but the didn’t understand how I could live
the experts had predicted. The following story stands out. The for another six months. The Rebbe
flight I left on was the first flight story began when he was in said it was not a problem with the
that landed in Russia after the Canada and he suddenly began heart, and that I should divert my
revolt. I was enthralled by the feeling intense tremors in his attention from it and it would go
Rebbe’s obvious prophecy. As far chest. He had trouble breathing

#'1 + - 1 & '  ! & 'PPRB 

away on its own. “Strengthen your
faith and bitachon. It’s just a THE REBBE NOTICED
matter of nerves.” The Rebbe told At CHAMA we decided to publish a newspaper called Alef. At first,
me to go back to the doctor in six it came out once a month, then twice a month, and it was very
months just to follow through with successful. Every Thursday I would rush to the post office in Tel Aviv
it. I was ecstatic. and send four copies, one to the Rebbe, one to the Rebbetzin, one to
After a few days I went to the the secretaries, and one to Rabbi Chadakov.
airport and felt another attack. One week I had a strange thought. Why did I always rush to send
This time I wasn’t nervous about the publication to the Rebbe? Who said the Rebbe read it? Shluchim
it since the Rebbe had blessed me. from around the world sent the Rebbe their publications and when did
Since then, the situation improved he have time for them all?
more and more until the attacks That same week I found out that the Rebbe not only read it but he
ceased. In subsequent exams, the also read my thoughts. I received three comments from the Rebbe
doctor admitted that the attacks about the last issue, two of which I remember. One comment was
had nothing to do with my heart about a news item in the Judaism-Around-the-World section about the
but were just from nerves and he first female Reform rabbi who officiated at a wedding. The Rebbe
suggested that I take tranquilizers asked: was our goal to give her publicity, void of any criticism? Then
and stop my public work. the Rebbe asked us not to publish anything negative about her in
He told me how he knew the subsequent issues because this too was publicity.
Rebbe and why he had so highly The second comment was about a mistake in a date about a certain
praised him at our first meeting. A city. The person who had translated it had made a mistake and written
few years earlier he had visited that a certain building in the city had been built at a time before the
Caracas for a conference. Rabbi Flood. The Rebbe noted: Who saved this city from the Flood?
Moshe Perman, the shliach there
in Venezuela, had also participated
and he suggested that the doctor
go with him to New York and that the doctor had changed his ***
meet the Rebbe. At first he opinion to what the Rebbe said to R’ Raskin is involved in baking
refused, but when he heard that begin with, and said that I should matzos in Kfar Chabad and the
they would be at a farbrengen – stop my public work. R’ Perman Ukraine and has a great influence
hearing this Yiddish word excited chastised me for not writing all on many of the workers, most of
him and he decided to go. He this to the Rebbe. whom are not Chabad Chassidim.
went to New York and to the I immediately wrote a letter R’ Raskin takes pride in his
farbrengen and was swept away by and did not expect a response. A three sons on shlichus: Shlomo,
it. few hours later, when I was about shliach in Frankfort, Germany;
A few months after that to fly, I heard that the secretaries Aryeh Zev, shliach in Cyprus;
appointment with the doctor, were looking for me since they Shmuel, shliach in Budapest,
when I visited 770, I met R’ had a response for me. The Hungary. “My other sons will also
Perman and told him about my Rebbe’s answer was not to stop be shluchim when they get
meeting with the doctor and how my public work, even for a short married,” he says gleefully, and
he admired the Rebbe. I told him time, because this change would adds that nothing could be better
worsen my state of mind. than that.

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By Rabbi Yaakov Shmuelevitz, Chabad house-Beit Shaan

the sad news. They quickly arranged

Having just experienced the ten with advertising, etc. for his flight back home.
days of repentance and Yom Kippur, The Chabad house received There was just one very serious
I am reminded of three stories of information that a certain Israeli problem that thwarted the mekurav’s
baalei t’shuva and their mighty who was touring in Thailand had to t’shuva process, and that was
challenges and triumphs. Let us be be told that his father had suddenly Shabbos observance. Throughout
inspired by them and perhaps we too passed away in Israel. A picture of the week, he was fully involved at
will try to change some little things the young man was sent via email to the Chabad house. On Fridays too,
in our own lives, or at least be more all the Chabad houses in Thailand he went to the Chabad house and
sensitive to the process baalei and the Israeli who was a mekurav helped set up the tables and with all
t’shuva go through. of the Chabad house was asked to the Erev Shabbos preparations. He
I heard the following story from hang up notices with the man’s even joined the Friday night
a Tamim who spent some time on picture and name. davening and the beginning of the
shlichus at the Chabad house in The mekurav heard that the man Shabbos meal, but in the middle of
Thailand. An Israeli young man they sought had just joined a tour the meal, as though powerful forces
participated in all the shiurim at the into the mountains. He immediately were dragging him away, he left the
Chabad house, recited the entire got on his motorcycle and chased table to join his friends out on the
book of T’hillim every day, went on after the group until he located the town.
Mivtza T’fillin, and helped out the son and brought him back to the The mekurav was greatly
Chabad house by running errands, Chabad house, where he was told disturbed by his behavior. He tried
in various ways to stop himself.
Sometimes he arrived on Friday and
told the shliach, “Please, take my cell
phone and the keys to my
motorcycle. Put them in your safe
and don’t give them to me until
Shabbos is over.” But it didn’t help.
When the time came, he simply
disappeared with his friends and
returned, as always, on Sunday.
On one occasion, at a 3 Tamuz
farbrengen, the mekurav was
inspired and he announced that the
next day he was going to open the
ark and before the Torah scrolls he
would swear that he would no
longer desecrate the Shabbos. The
bachurim-shluchim told him not to
swear, but he had made up his
mind. The next day he gaily said he
had sworn and everything would be

#'1 + - 1 & '  ! & 'PPRB 

fine, but when Shabbos came, he sinned, because they conquer the the heat, to enable passersby to do
disappeared once again. Evil Inclination more than them.” the mitzva. Towards the end of
We, who are shomer-Shabbos, Sukkos he didn’t feel well, maybe
who are used to being so for years THE PATH TO T’SHUVA because of the sun or from
or our entire lives, can never exhaustion, and he did not show up
understand the inner struggle that
BEGINS IN A SUKKA in shul Simchas Torah night.
baalei t’shuva experience as they are A few years ago, a young man I was a little worried about him,
becoming observant (and even for from a kibbutz came to the sukka in but I couldn’t tarry. We davened,
years afterward). We can only quote the center of the business district of made Kiddush, and did the hakafos
the Rambam (Laws of T’shuva, Beit Shaan. He was looking for a with tremendous simcha. When we
chapter 7, halacha 6), “Great is mezuza (he said he had a mezuza were finished I asked two T’mimim,
t’shuva which draws a person close and just needed the paper that goes who had come to help out, to come
to the Sh’china … yesterday he was inside). The Chassidim in the sukka with me to Aryeh’s house.
despised by G-d, disgusting, distant, explained a bit about Torah and Aryeh’s parents motioned to us
and abhorrent, and today he is mitzvos. Today, that young man is to be quiet since Aryeh really wasn’t
beloved, dear, close, and a friend.” the shliach in Bolivia, Rabbi Yotem feeling well and he did not allow
With time, that mekurav was able Klein. anyone to enter his room. I
to overcome his test and today, Sometimes, the story begins with informed the parents that we were
baruch Hashem, he is Shabbos sleeping in a sukka. Aryeh was 15 going to make hakafos in their
observant, and helps the guests who when he made aliya to Beit Shaan house together with Aryeh, and his
join the Chabad house. from Minsk. Perhaps in the merit of father was invited to join us in the
his grandparents, Aryeh was drawn dancing.
to Judaism and he switched from a Once again, Aryeh’s parents
Here’s an example of a baal Aryeh’s parents warned us that Aryeh
t’shuva who needed guidance. A
bachur from Beit Shaan began was sick and there was no way he would
getting involved in a religious life.
He became more and more come out of his room for hakafos...
observant until he rented an
apartment in the Old City in warned us that Aryeh was sick and
Yerushalayim. The first Shabbos in public school to a religious school. there was no way he would come
the holy city, he woke up early, put We met a few times in shul and out of his room for hakafos. Being
on his tallis and t’fillin, and went to as Sukkos approached he wanted to somewhat intoxicated, I went into
daven Shacharis at sunrise at the sleep in the sukka on our porch. I Aryeh’s room and told him he was
Kosel. didn’t tell him that according to coming out for hakafos. Aryeh
He wondered why people were Chabad custom we do not sleep in actually got up and came out. Each
looking at him oddly until someone the sukka but happily invited him to person was given some volume of
finally motioned to him that on use it. He came every night, Chassidus (to use in place of Torah
Shabbos you don’t wear t’fillin. You sometimes with a friend, and went scrolls) and the dancing began
can just imagine how embarrassed to sleep in the sukka. Our around the table. Our enthusiasm
and awful he felt, and what strength connection deepened because of was so great that the parents asked
he needed in order not to break. this. He went to learn in the yeshiva us not to jump too high so we would
This is what baalei t’shuva have of Rabbi Grossman in Migdal avoid banging into the chandelier.
to contend with – nonstop HaEmek and then he went to the Aryeh came home with me as he
disappointments and setbacks until Gutnick Center-Chabad in needed to say Kiddush and have the
they stabilize. Perhaps we can now Yerushalayim. Yom Tov meal. Two hours later he
understand what Chazal say (quoted The next chapter in the story also returned home, hale and hearty, to
in Rambam, ibid, halacha 4), “The took place on Sukkos and Simchas his delighted though stunned
place where baalei t’shuva stand, the Torah. The bachur came home to parents. The fire of simcha had
perfectly righteous cannot stand Beit Shaan for Tishrei and got completely eradicated whatever ailed
there. They [baalei t’shuva] have an involved in mivtza lulav. He stood him (like in the famous story with
advantage over tzaddikim who never for hours at the Sukkas HaAchva in

 2FPEOBF #'1 + - 1 & '  ! &

the Alter Rebbe). joy to the soldiers. connects Teveria and Tzfas in the
Today, Aryeh helps out shluchim My brother and I, aged 12 and north with Yerushalayim, the Dead
and is a successful teacher in the 13, asked whether we could join Sea, and all the cities of the south.
US. He maintains that it was an them. I have to admit … don’t tell Not too many years ago, this
outright miracle and solely because anyone, but between ourselves, we highway was heavily traveled and
of the power of being on the Rebbe’s called this “Chabad outings.” What many tourists would pass Beit Shaan
shlichus that he was able to get out could be more fun for kids than to and would need a sukka on their
of bed and dance on that Simchas let them enter an army base, dance long trip.
Torah. with soldiers, and see tanks and We built a large sukka near the
missiles! road and hung a big sign: “Sukkat
“A SUKKALE A KLEINE” Apparently though, deep inside, HaAchava – Tzeirei Chabad” (back
the seeds of admiration for Chabad then we even advertised in
Who can estimate how many
were sown until one day, we joined Hamodia). We helped many families
baalei t’shuva, shluchim and
Chabad and became the Rebbe’s fulfill the mitzva of sukka on their
rabbanim, owe their t’shuva to the
shluchim ourselves. Today, we are long trips.
little Sukkat HaAchva that is set up
the ones who organize these I suggest to any Chabad house
in Beit Shaan, Dimona, or
“outings” and we enlist bachurim for that is located near a main road or
Yerucham. Or to the mobile sukka
mivtzaim. Everybody benefits. The near a tourist spot, to put up a
that goes around and visits army
soldiers enjoy the Yom Tov and get sukka. You can usually find donors
bases and tiny outposts all
to shake the Dalet minim, and the who will pay to put up a sukka like
throughout Israel.
bachurim work on the Rebbe’s this in exchange for advertising their
One of my childhood memories
shlichus and enable Jews to do a name on a big sign that is seen by
from before I became acquainted
mitzva. thousands. You need a spacious
with Chassidus was when we lived in
sukka, a table and benches, a picture
Yerushalayim and my brother and I
ADVICE FOR MY of the Rebbe and a pushka for those
heard that every day of Chol
who want to make a donation. It’s a
HaMoed, cars left Shikun Chabad FELLOW SHLUCHIM mitzva as well as a kiddush Hashem
for army bases in the Jordan Valley. Beit Shaan is near the Jordan and kiddush sheim Lubavitch. Many
Cars also went out there on Valley highway which is called Axis visitors left thank you notes and
Chanuka and Purim to bring holiday Road 90. It’s the main road that praise for Chabad and the Rebbe.

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By Menachem Ziegelboim

city, hiding in the home of one

A story of Chabad Chassidic heroism Chassid or another, until he felt
that things had calmed down
and the revelation of the hidden spark somewhat and then he emerged

within every Jew, presented in honor of from his hiding place.

One day they caught him when
the first yahrtzait of Reb Shmuel he went to the train station to meet
his brother-in-law who had arrived
(Mulle) Pruss, on the sixth day of from Chelyabinsk. They didn’t
even know who he was when they
Tishrei. arrested him; simply spotting a
religious Jew with a beard was
reason enough to arrest him. It
PART I finance anti-Soviet activities.
was later on, in the NKVD offices
A tense silence filled the Therefore, we sentence Shmuel to
that they identified him. For
courthouse. All waited to hear the ten years of hard labor and Yosef to
weeks, Mulle went through
sentence. In the prisoners’ dock five years of labor.”
exhausting nighttime interrogations
sat two young Lubavitchers of The judge rose from his place
that broke a man’s body and spirit.
average height and intelligent eyes. and left the room.
Mulle was not the type to be
They knew the sentence ahead of frightened by these cursed people
time, more or less. The defense PART II though, and when they saw that
lawyer they were given said foolish For many years, Shmuel Pruss – they couldn’t extract anything
things that was no defense at all. or as he was known among the worthwhile from him, they put him
The judges’ dais looked like a Chassidim, Mulle – was dedicated on trial.
stage. The communist judge with to spreading Judaism. He raised Mulle sat in jail for two months
his serious demeanor sat in the money for Talmudei Torah, paid the until he was sent to a labor camp in
center. To his right and left sat two salaries of melamdim, built secret Asia, very far from the center of
female judges who served as mikvaos, supported the wives of Russia. His friend Yoske Mochkin
representatives of the people. Chassidim who were imprisoned for was sent there too. “Two are better
These two judges were young ladies the “crime” of spreading Judaism, than one,” and in that terrible place
in their twenties. That was Soviet and other “revolutionary” activities. they supported one another in all
justice. The NKVD searched for him for their wars to observe Shabbos, keep
The judge banged with his gavel months. He was on the wanted list a beard, and eat kosher food.
and began to officiously read: ever since that black night when They rejoiced when they met
“Shmuel Pruss and Yosef numerous Chassidim in Leningrad another Chassid in the camp, an
Motchkin are found guilty of the were arrested. He escaped and the old friend by the name of Yisroel
crime of ‘Chassidism, Zionism, and authorities frantically searched for Kook.
being counter-revolutionaries.’ him, though he repeatedly evaded Mulle was put to work in the
Aside from this, Shmuel is guilty of their clutches. He fled from city to weaving factory. Dozens of
concealing money in order to

 2FPEOBF #'1 + - 1 & '  ! &

weaving machines were placed next and who would die, who in his depths of the pit.” These few
to one another and the work was allotted time and who not in his words summed up his situation and
exceedingly difficult. These weren’t allotted time. If that wasn’t expressed his feelings. “Today will
modern electric machines. Mother enough, a prisoner was broken be written in the book of
Russia wouldn’t benefit from those emotionally as his thoughts remembrance, of life and death,
capitalistic inventions, so these wandered to his family who didn’t please…rise up, plead and arouse
were wooden machines and in know where he was. mercy for the soul” – he couldn’t
order to operate them you had to help but remember the dozens of
use your hands and feet PART III prisoners who were buried daily
simultaneously. Even strong young around the camp.
The holidays were approaching.
men were tired out by this grueling He couldn’t restrain himself and
Someone managed to smuggle a
work. The “brigadiers,” who were burst into tears. He didn’t pay
shofar into the camp and on Rosh
the foremen, were not unduly attention to what was going on in
HaShana the Chassidim blew it in
impressed and the machines the barracks nor did he notice a
some corner of the vast camp.
worked all day in two shifts, with natchalnik who stood and watched
There was no minyan for Yom
each shift working twelve hours him in fascination. Mulle forgot
Kippur for there were only three
straight. that the routine patrol checked the
Chassidim in the camp. Somehow
Mulle knew that he wouldn’t last barracks at midday. The natchalnik
or other they got out of work and
long in such arduous work. G-d stood there for over half an hour
stood and davened in different
placed some compassion in the and watched him until he came to
places so the wicked ones wouldn’t
heart of the foreman who saw that himself, glanced around the room
lay eyes on them.
Mulle was weak and turned a blind and left without saying a word.
Mulle chose an old barracks. It
eye every so often. “If only I would daven
was a long structure divided into
Their food rations did not nowadays with the same feeling of
two large rooms with each room
contribute towards their health. inspiration as I did that Yom
sleeping about a hundred prisoners
The more productive laborers Kippur,” Mulle said years later.
in bunk beds that were crowded
received 800 grams of bread on
together. Nearly all the prisoners
every workday while those who PART IV
were at work at the time and only
couldn’t keep up were given only
he stood there in the narrow Yom Kippur was past and
400 grams of stale bread. No
passageway near the window, Sukkos, “the Time of our
wonder then that the prisoners died
pouring out his heart to his Rejoicing” was approaching, but
off rapidly with over sixty men
Creator. Mulle looked sad. What would he
dying every day.
He had no machzor; he tried to do about a sukka? Did being in a
Aside from these untenable
recite the holiday prayers from labor camp exempt him from
conditions there was also an
memory: “Inform forgiveness to the mitzvos? No! What about cruel
ongoing fight for existence among
starved soul, extract them from the overseers watching his every move?
the prisoners as to who would live

R’ Yoske Motchkin At a Hachnasas Seifer Torah donated by Rabbi Pruss

#'1 + - 1 & '  ! & 'PPRB 

Hashem is watching him! Avrohom immediately got “his followed another and the three of
A Chassid, even when mitigating men” to work and within a few them forgot the soldiers and
circumstances place him in the hours they brought him everything bloodthirsty dogs. They were
category of an ahnus, who is he needed: boards, wooden poles climbing to great spiritual heights
exempt from mitzvos, does not and ropes for s’chach. The little and they forgot that at midnight the
forgo the mitzva of sukka, which is sukka was built in the middle of the natchalniks checked the rooms to
why Mulle wondered where he night next to the window of make sure everything was as it
would get boards and s’chach from. Avrohom’s room and he took all should be.
*** responsibility for it. An electric line In the middle of a niggun a head
Avrohom was the name of the was run from his room out to the poked its way in the door and a
Georgian Jew who had also been sukka. natchalnik entered the little sukka.
exiled to the camp for various When the sukka was complete, He was a cruel fellow and he
crimes. He wasn’t an observant Mulle was called to check it out. It looked at the threesome derisively
Jew and he knew very little about was fine. “What else do you as though to say, “I’ve gotten
Torah and mitzvos from what he need?” asked Avrohom good- myself some fat fish in my net.”
had seen and heard in his youth. naturedly. This natchalnik was a senior
His job was sewing hats for all the “Vodka,” said Mulle. “On officer in the army. He had
commanders in the camp. He had Sukkos we make Kiddush!” commanded thousands of soldiers
a special room where he did the until he was wounded on the front
sewing. He did good work and had PART V and was sent to the prisoners’
a good reputation for hat-making. camp, where his work would entail
It was ten o’clock at night and
Even army officers in the nearby less effort. He was known for his
pitch black outside. Only the
city would order hats especially ruthlessness and all trembled before
distant workrooms where the
from him. He had good him.
second shift worked were lit up.
connections among the natchalniks Mulle, who had drunk plenty of
The members of the first shift had
in the time-honored tradition of mashke, didn’t understand what
fallen into bed after their twelve-
“you scratch my back and I’ll danger they were in. “Come
hour stint. Soldiers and guards
scratch yours.” comrade-officer,” he called out
were in their places.
Aside from hat-making, merrily. “You know today is
One by one, Mulle, Avrohom,
Avrohom was the head of the Sukkos, come and make Kiddush in
and Yoske entered the sukka. The
underground among the prisoners. honor of the day,” and he poured
two Chassidim davened the Yom
They ran things in the camp as if it vodka into the tin cup. “Nu, make
Tov Maariv, quietly humming the
belonged to them; they punished Kiddush,” he urged.
holiday tunes. Then they made
and rewarded, murdered or granted The others didn’t know where to
Kiddush over vodka in a tin cup,
clemency, built or destroyed. bury themselves, so great was their
both of which had been provided by
Fortunately for the two Chassidim, fear. The situation had gotten
Avrohom’s men. The cup had been
they had an excellent relationship much worse. Mulle’s invitation had
made in the metal factory. From
with him. Apparently his Jewish surprised even the natchalnik. No
somewhere they had gotten a salted
spark burned deep in his heart and prisoner had ever spoken to him
fish and cooked potatoes.
soul and this is what connected him like that. He approached the table,
The Chassidim began singing
and them even though they came took the cup from Mulle, looked at
joyous holiday songs. One niggun
from separate worlds.
When Avrohom noticed Mulle’s
downcast look, he asked him what Mulle, who had drunk plenty of
was wrong. Mulle told him that
Sukkos was approaching and he mashke, didn’t understand what
needed a sukka but had no way of
building one. Avrohom asked him danger they were in. “Come comrade-
how a sukka is built and Mulle
explained the laws.
officer,” he called out merrily. “You
Avrohom thought for a moment
and then said, “Don’t you worry,
know today is Sukkos, come and make
you’ll have a sukka!” Kiddush in honor of the day…”
 2FPEOBF #'1 + - 1 & '  ! &
night, I heard a niggun. I followed
“When I went out tonight for the the sound and found this little
routine check, as I do every night, I sukka. Sukka? Sukkos? In a
prisoners’ camp? I couldn’t believe
heard a niggun. I followed the sound it.
“I remembered Sukkos, the
and found this little sukka. Sukka? sukka in my father’s home, the
sukka I sat in, in my youth. Many
Sukkos? In a prisoners’ camp? I years have passed since then.
When you asked me to make
couldn’t believe it. Kiddush, I immediately
remembered what it is and
him for a moment and then began concepts in one of the more somehow managed to remember
to recite the Kiddush with the difficult sections of tractate Bava the words and the tune.”
holiday tune, “Baruch ata Hashem Basra, known as Chezkas HaBatim. Silence fell in the little sukka.
Elokeinu Melech ha’olam...” “I am a Jew, and I attended Each person was lost in his
Only Mulle wasn’t shocked. He yeshiva in my youth. I studied thoughts and busy with the
regarded it matter-of-factly in his Torah and knew how to daven. emotions stirred up by this
inebriated state. He poured again When I grew up I joined the army, astounding discovery.
and said to the natchalnik, “Take where I neglected my religious life. “Now leave the sukka and go to
some more, this time say l’chaim.” I served in the Russian army for sleep,” said the natchalnik,
The natchalnik took the cup again many years and I climbed the breaking in on their thoughts. “If
and drank it down. He ate some of ranks, until I became a general. I I’ll be caught here with you, they
the food too. completely forgot my Judaism. It will send me to exile too, an exile
The mashke went to his head has been years since I’ve thought from which I will not return.”
and he was in a good mood, but he about my being Jewish or about They finished their meal, got up,
was careful not to sit with the Jews. and went to bed in their barracks.
prisoners. He remained standing “When I went out tonight for (from a personal interview with R’ Mulle)
but he began to review different the routine check, as I do every

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