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The Day I Became a Chassid

The Day I Became a Chassid

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I was all of fourteen years old. For the first time in my life, I was going to have a yechidut, a private audience with the Rebbe. This, in accordance with the custom that every Chassid was granted an audience on the occasion of his birthday.

I carefully wrote out on a piece of paper what I wanted to tell and ask the Rebbe. Item number one: my 14th birthday was on this and this day, and I am requesting a blessing for a successful year. Number two: my parents wanted me to take off from yeshivah and spend the summer in the mountains, at a bungalow colony, with the family. My question was, should I do so, or did the Rebbe feel it was preferable to remain in yeshivah for the course of the summer as well?

I was quite nervous as I took my place on line in front of the Rebbe's door. I had of course heard the Rebbe speak in public, but this was different, I told myself. This is yechidut. Would I be able to understand the Rebbe? He would probably read my note, utter a few words, and I would be on my way out, hoping that I had caught the gist of what he had told me. After all, isn't that the way a tzaddik speaks?

I girded myself, trying to sharpen my senses so that I should not miss any of the Rebbe's holy words.

My turn arrived. I stood before the Rebbe's desk, waiting tensely while he read my note.

The Rebbe spoke. First he wished me much success in the coming year; then he turned to my question. It went something like this:

"If you go to the mountains--will that mean breaking up a class in the yeshivah?"

"No, there are enough boys without me."

"Do you have a study partner in the mountains?"

'Yes, Itche Pevsner will be there."

"And if you have a question, is there anyone you can ask?"

"My zeide will be there."

At this point the Rebbe summed up. "Well, if your parents would like you to go, and you are not breaking up a class, and you have a study partner and someone to ask... then it is all right to go. May you have a fruitful summer."

The yechidut was over. I backed out of the room (as customary) in a state of near shock. Is that how a tzaddik speaks?

My surprise was surpassed by a feeling of deep humility. The Rebbe had given a young kid the benefit of his time, had treated his question seriously, and had made him feel that during those few moments, there was nothing else in the world but the question and its resolution.

That was the day I became his chassid.

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ahadha_am wpg., mb. ca. September 25, 2004

genuine concern I -- through my wife -- was introduced to such a person. He was at first meeting obviously a man in G-d's favour -- you could see it. He displayed the gift to read me before I said a word, yet, was unafraid to show his humanity and all its foibliels.

is this not a true tzaddik ? Reply

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