At a chassidic get-together (farbrengen) held in the early years of Chabad Chassidism, Reb Shmuel Munkes was doing the honors. The merry chassid danced about the participants, pouring the vodka and serving the farbeisen—the food to follow the l’chayims.

Among the dishes which had arrived from the kitchen of Reb Nosson the shochet was a bowl of roasted lung, a most tasty delicacy. But for some reason, Reb Shmuel was reluctant to part with this particular dish. Throughout the evening he pranced about, pouring the l’chayims and serving the food, with the bowl of roasted lung snug and elusive under his arm, deftly sidestepping all attempts to free it from his grasp.

Soon the chassidim grew weary of Reb Shmuel’s game, and demanded outright that he hand over the bowl and its mouth-watering contents. But the waiting chassid ignored their angry demands and kept up his dodging dance. Finally, a few of the younger chassidim decided that Reb Shmuel’s prank had gone on long enough. They rose from the table, and soon the bowl and its bearer were cornered. But with a final leap and twist, Reb Shmuel dumped the roasted lung into the spittoon, and broke out in a merry kazatzka dance.

The younger chassidim sat down to consider the gravity of Reb Shmuel’s crime, and decreed that a few well-placed stripes were in order. Without batting an eye, Reb Shmuel stretched himself out on the table and received his due. He then set out in search of more farbeisen to keep the farbrengen going. But the hour was late, and the best he could come up with was a plate of pickled cabbage donated by one of the residents of Liozna.

Upon seeing the replacement dish, the expressions on the faces of those who had already imagined the taste of roasted lung grew as sour as the kraut set before them. But soon a commotion was heard in the hallway. The town’s butcher ran in, a most stricken look on his face. “Jews! Don’t eat the lung!” he cried. “There has been a terrible mistake.” It seems that the butcher was out of town, and the butcher’s wife mistakenly gave the shochet’s wife a non-kosher lung to roast for the farbrengen.

Now it was the elder chassidim who sat in judgment upon Reb Shmuel. The audacity of a chassid to play the wonder-rabbi! By what rights had Reb Shmuel taken it upon himself to work miracles? Up onto the table with you, Reb Shmuel, decreed the court.

After receiving his due for the second time that evening, Reb Shmuel explained: “G‑d forbid, I had no ‘inside information’ regarding the roasted lung. But when I entered into yechidut (private audience) with the Rebbe for the first time, I resolved that no material desire would ever dictate to me. So I trained myself not to allow anything physical to overly attract me.

“When the bowl of roasted lung arrived, I found that my appetite was most powerfully roused. I also noticed that the same was true of many around the table. To be so strongly drawn by a mere piece of meat? I understood that something was not right.”