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Lubavitch, 5660
A rich description of the holiday of Rosh Hashanah 5660 (1899) as it was celebrated in the town of Lubavitch. The writer was a young student who found himself in a world he had never known existed.
“Fools!” cried the coachman. “Do you think that I gave you to drink so that the hay you devour should be more tasty?”
On one occasion when they were playing "Rebbe and Chassid," Sholom Ber asked his brother, "Rebbe, tell me, what is a Jew?
At a wayside inn, a dozen chassidic merchants were warming themselves at the fire. The conversation soon turned to the greatness of their rebbes, as each extoled the virtues of his miracle-working master...
When they played, Zalman Aharon, the older son, would sit on a chair and put a hat on his head. He was the rebbe. Sholom Ber would prepare himself and then enter the “rebbe”’s room for a private audience.
Over the next few hours, several more packages arrived with the same message, each from a different store. When Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak looked over the names of the firms on the boxes, he realized that they were all stores specializing in women’s and girls’ apparel.
The grocery store gave its last warning. No more credit. Either Yehoshua had to pay up his bill, or forget about getting any more food.
When I was 11 years old, my father gave me the manuscript as a gift. “This is a chassidic kiss,” he said. “In time I will explain.”
Father is standing with his face to the wall, praying. But I do not understand: Why is he entreating more than all other worshippers? Why does he need G‑d’s mercy more than other people?
“The flame is not yours,” said the Rebbe, “you are just its carrier. The lamp is ready to be lit—you need only touch it with the flame.” “Should I grab him by the throat?” asked the chassid. “By the throat, no,” replied the rebbe. “By the lapels, yes.”
When the rebbe indicated that he would deliver a chassidic discourse, the students began to sing the introductory melody. But, being anxious to hear the discourse, they rushed through the melody . . .
The answer was fast in coming. Less than an hour later the Rebbes secretary stood facing her with good news. "The Rebbe says that you should travel to Warsaw." She was overjoyed! But her smile faded as she realized that there was no more to the message. "But where in Warsaw? What should I do there?"
During the Russo-Japanese War, tens of thousands of Jewish conscripts found themselves in China. Collaborating with the imperial Russian government, the fifth rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch instigated a campaign to provide them with Passover matzah.
Rabbi Shalom DovBer of Lubavitch and the Russian Revolution of 1917
In the face of tyranny and upheaval, Judaism’s future always remained the Rebbe's foremost concern.
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