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A Change of Clothes

A Change of Clothes


Evening had fallen, and Rabbi Shmuel of Lubavitch was receiving those who came to seek his counsel in yechidus, the private meeting of souls between rebbe and chassid. Scarcely an hour had passed, and already the Rebbe was exhausted; he called a break and asked for a fresh change of clothes.

The Rebbe's secretary emerged from the room carrying the clothes which the Rebbe had removed. They were drenched in sweat. "Master of the universe," muttered the secretary, "why does he exert himself so?! Every hour he needs a new change of clothes. Why does the Rebbe sweat so much?"

The Rebbe's door opened, and Rabbi Shmuel stood in the doorway. "Go home," he said to his secretary. "You have not the slightest understanding of my work. I will continue to pay your salary, but I no longer desire your services.

"Don't you understand? In the past hour twenty people came to see me. Each of them poured out his soul to me and asked for my assistance in curing it of its spiritual ills. To relate to each one's dilemma, I have to see it through their eyes. So I must divest myself of my own personality and circumstances and clothe myself in theirs. Then, in order to answer them, I must re-assume my own persona - otherwise, why would they come to consult with me?

"Did you ever attempt to change your clothes forty times an hour? If such physical dressing and undressing would exhaust you and bathe you in sweat, can you imagine what it involves to do so in the mental, emotional and spiritual sense?"

Yanki Tauber served as editor of
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Eleanor Skibo Pennsylvania, USA July 15, 2017

Rabbi Shumel must have truly been a holy Rebbe to give such loving care to his job that he took the time and effort to walk in each person's shoes before giving an answer to their questions, advice, and not to say of his deep hearted decisions. Rabbi Shumel was an outstanding example of the types of souls we need in this universe. Reply

Jean USA July 9, 2015

Practical application The story illustrates in a very real way one of the reasons that people involved in the "helping" professions often burn out - they are changing their clothes so often during the course of the work day, it is exhausting. It also provides rationale for embracing the Sabbath. On that day, one can trade his / her clothes for those of G_d, at least as much as is possible on this earth. Reply

S.Z.E AUST April 11, 2013

Re: Chabad Lubavitch -- Kayo, Tokyo, Japan This is definitely true.
Although we do not anymore have a Rebbe, the 7th Rebbe's spirit stills lives on. Reply

Anonymous July 9, 2009

sounds like acting class Is it the prayers said on behalf of 'sinners' that cause the rebbe to sweat?

the anxiety of knowing the truth of who was guilty of what and then the responsibility of asking for forgivieness; even from an ego perspective

is this a metaphor of losing faith and the work done in regaining it?

temptation & forgiveness!!

what a drama!! Reply

Kayo Tokyo, Japan July 9, 2009

Chabad Lubavitch Every generation has it's Moshe. I believe Chabad Rebbeim are Moshe in their generation. Reply

The life and teachings of Rabbi Shmuel of Lubavitch, the fourth Chabad Rebbe, known as the Rebbe Maharash
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Kehot Publication Society
Kehot Publication Society and Merkos Publications, the publishing divisions of the Lubavitch movement have brought Torah education to nearly every Jewish community in the world. More than 100,000,000 volumes have been disseminated to date in over 12 languages, both for newcomer as well as for those well versed in Torah knowledge.
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