Here's a great tip:
Enter your email address and we'll send you our weekly magazine by email with fresh, exciting and thoughtful content that will enrich your inbox and your life, week after week. And it's free.
Oh, and don't forget to like our facebook page too!
Contact Us
Here's My Story is part of JEM's My Encounter with the Rebbe oral history project, dedicated to documenting the life of the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory.

Here's My Story

Here's My Story

 Email
Generous support for Here's My Story is provided by the Crain Mailing Foundation
The Rebbe listened carefully to my husband and then had his secretary call me to say, “The Rebbe doesn’t want you traveling on buses right now. And he doesn’t want you to wash the floor anymore.” He was so concerned for me, for my health, now that I was pregnant at last.
Today, there are about thirty or maybe even forty families who keep kosher, who keep Shabbat as a result of Ryan’s illness and recovery.
Now I finally understood what the Rebbe knew all along – that with my degree and my reputation as an Aristotelian scholar, I was in a position to have a major influence on other Jews. In fact, I didn’t even have to open my mouth – just being who I was, a respected philosopher who was religious, spoke volumes.
The Rebbe told me that every day before prayers, I should read a Chasidic teaching. “It’s not important how long it is, or whether it’s simple or complex. You could even recite something which you know by heart. What’s important is that you take it seriously, not do it by rote.”
The Rebbe – with a big, radiant smile on his face – raised his hand upwards and said, “The One Above will send it down from heaven.” And then he moved his hand slowly in a downward motion. My father understood that gesture as bringing down G‑d's blessing.
It is an incredible story, but there is more to it. The Rebbe didn’t just open my physical eyes, he opened my spiritual eyes. I was exposed to the beauty of Chabad teachings and, at age twenty-three, I became a Lubavitcher chasid.
The Rebbe gave us this blessing: “May you create a home where all kinds of Jews will love to visit. At your home they will be drawn to Yiddishkeit, and, as a result, their lives will be enriched and, because their lives will be enriched, so will yours.”
When the Rebbe read my letter, he answered: “You should finish your doctorate.” “But there is so much ‘apikorsut’ (heresy) that I have to read and write about,” I protested. At that the Rebbe said, “You should write all the footnotes you need. And then” he added with a big smile, “you should do Teshuvah.”
The Rebbe then asked, “What do the women do during this time? ”Dov answered that the women were in the kitchen preparing the third meal of Shabbat. “Dov, that’s not good enough,” the Rebbe replied. When Dov came home from his audience with the Rebbe, he informed me: “Alice, the Rebbe said that the women must study too, so you must teach a class to the women.”
“Yes, they went to doctors but the doctors said that they can’t have children.” At that, the Rebbe laughed. He threw back his head and he just burst out laughing. Then he said, “They will have children, and they will have healthy children.”
The Rebbe responded with a beautiful letter thanking me for this book and also for another book by HaRav Eliezer Papa, better known as the Pele Yoetz, which I had published in the memory of my father.
I asked the Rebbe to comment on the face, he looked at the face and replied, “Very good” – he said three times. And then he added, with a smile on his face, “Better than the original.”
The approach that the Rebbe was advocating, of treating patients as individuals and looking beyond their specific disease, is what today we call a holistic approach to medicine.
The first time I went to the African National Congress's Department of Publicity offices, I literally came face-to-face with a massive poster of Yasser Arafat, which covered the wall facing the entrance. This immediately made me question the wisdom of what I was doing, so I decided to ask the Rebbe’s advice. The Rebbe didn’t hesitate to give me a blessing for success and advised that I should use my influence “to focus on the good.”
'The Rebbe taught me a very important lesson – he made it clear to me that every day is important and an opportunity not to be missed.'
'Then the Rebbe leaned toward my wife and said, “These children are my generals. You shouldn’t worry.”'
The Rebbe turned to him and said, “No. He’s left-handed.” The Rebbe knew that I was a lefty and that, for a lefty, the left hand takes the place of the right hand. You see, the Rebbe knew me. I was but one of his thousands of followers, but he knew me!
I grew very fond of Rebbetzin Chana. She was a joyful person, exuding a lot of optimism, always with a smile on her face. She gave me the feeling that she was like my Bubby, that she really cared about me – the little kid schlepping her groceries.
The Rebbe said, "Not only will your father live for the wedding, he’ll participate with joy and dance at the wedding, and he’ll live to see even more nachas.” It was a three-pronged blessing, and all three things came true.
Generous support for Here's My Story is provided by the Crain Maling Foundation
Here's My Story is part of JEM's My Encounter with the Rebbe oral history project, dedicated to documenting the life of the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory.
Related Topics