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Famous and not-so-famous people describe their experience of the Rebbe

First Person Encounters

First Person Encounters

Famous and not-so-famous people describe their experiences with the Rebbe

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I wished I could have the chance to kiss the Torah. It was impossible. I was just too far. I clumsily stretched out my arm. Suddenly, the Rebbe stopped.
Having travelled around the world in my work as a China scholar, I have had many encounters that were deeply transformative. None, however, match the subtle, enduring change enacted by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, whom I met only briefly three times in my life.
The idea of writing a letter requesting the Rebbe's blessing – and then praying to G-d at his gravesite - seemed almost absurd. I felt I had a much bigger chance of success if I just worked on my resume and interviewing skills some more.
I got straight to the point. “Rebbe, I have heard that many miracles come from this room. Please give my daughter a blessing that she should be cured!”
Yaacov (Jack) Hanoka, 75
Solar energy pioneer Yaacov (Jack) Hanoka, who held patents for 56 of his inventions and was known for his passion and optimism in finding alternative energy sources to fossil fuels, passed away at the age of 75.
One day, after another round of my incessant questioning, the teacher suggested, “Why don’t you write a letter to the Rebbe requesting a private audience?”
The Scientist and the Rebbe
The Rebbe thought deeply for a few minutes and said, “Keep looking. To sit here, and not look, and say there is nothing out there, is placing a limit on G‑d’s creation. That you can’t do!” . . .
Three instructions from the Rebbe during “Operation Urgent Fury”
Flying across Grenada, I receive instructions from the Pentagon to call Lubavitch World Headquarters in Brooklyn.
Sitting on the stairs outside the Rebbe’s office, I found myself daydreaming, asking myself, “If I had unlimited time with the Rebbe, what would I ask him?”
The Rebbe told me, “You are very different from each other. Remove him from your agenda.”
Of diamonds and students
The Rebbe explains to a London diamond dealer why his investment in education is so important.
The Rebbe's message to an eight-year-old child
I started looking around the Rebbe’s room to find the box of toys. I figured thousands of kids came through this room—there must be toys somewhere.
The Rebbe’s words on retirement
The Rebbe asked about my uncle. I responded by saying that he was well, thank G‑d, and had just retired. The Rebbe shook his head. In Yiddish, he said, “Retired—what does that mean?”
The story of Sammy Reshevsky
The Rebbe's relationship with an international chess champion; the Rebbe's spiritual take on the "Game of Kings"; and the chassidic "kings" who enjoyed the game.
Although I was at peace about my situation, it was still reassuring to hear from someone of the Rebbe’s stature that there is a role for every woman, whether a mother or not, in Judaism.
The Rabbi and the Sculptor
He said an artist needs inspiration, that you have to wait for a certain thing to come down--he called it the 'holy spirit'--and for him putting on tefillin gave him his inspiration for the day...
No one knew how to tell me the news, and so, although I knew the truth in my heart, for those agonizing minutes I kept on hoping. Hoping that it was just an accident . . .
A glass inventor tells of his experiences with the Rebbe in France before and during WWII.
The Rebbe himself had no children, yet he gave so many people blessings for children. Who are the Rebbe’s children?
Question: How did you become a rebbe?
Answer: What do you do if they put the key in your pocket and walk away?
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