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Once, in the middle of the prayer of Yom Kippur, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi removed his tallit and went to a house at the edge of Liozna.

There was a woman who had given birth there who had been left alone when everyone went to the synagogue, and he attended to her vital needs—chopping wood, building a fire and heating water in the midst of the holy day, because the woman's life was in danger.

Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak of Lubavitch commented that here we see the self-sacrifice of Rabbi Schneur Zalman, how he pulled himself away from attachment to G‑dliness and descended to do a Jew a physical favor.

(Sichat 19 Kislev 5720)

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Marcia Chico, CA July 2, 2010

As we are able, we attend to the needs of others. We must estimate where our energies are best directed in order to serve our fellows. Isn't the putting aside our our own needs, even the need to pray, necessary to perform the humble duties of charitable service? We return to prayer after this service. Reply

Anonymous pune, Maharashtra /india July 2, 2010

nice story good Reply

Marcia Chico, CA September 29, 2009

Which need must we meet first? Before prayer we attend to the sustenance of others. By meeting physical needs, we make it possible for others to nurture their spiritual selves. This story of self-sacrifice is a beautiful illustration of charity. Reply

Anonymous Montreal, Canada September 18, 2009

Might we not feel the self-sacrifice experienced by this dying woman, perhaps, before pausing to appreciate the Rabbi? Reply

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