Rabbi Shalom Ber Lipshitz arrived in New York on a Thursday after a long flight from Israel with plans to continue on to Canada immediately. Rabbi Lipshitz, a Chabad-Lubavitch rabbi, headed an organization supporting Jewish educational institutions in the Land of Israel. He was travelling specifically to attend a fundraising event and hoped that spending the Sabbath with the locals would enable him to share his success stories in a more relaxed environment.

But the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, had other plans. Before he was able to leave for Canada, Rabbi Lipshitz was tracked down by the Rebbe’s secretariat and given a direct mission from the Rebbe.

An old classmate of his was apparently feeling quite lonely and miserable and the Rebbe wanted Rabbi Lipshitz to stay in New York over the Sabbath, visit the man’s home several times, and try to improve his mood.

Rabbi Lipshitz did not remember this classmate as much as the classmate seemed to remember him, and the request took him by surprise.

Although he had no prior experience with easing another’s loneliness, he immediately agreed to the Rebbe’s request, arranged a place to stay and purchased a new ticket for after the weekend.

True to his word, Rabbi Lipshitz visited the man several times over the Sabbath and tried to lift his spirits.

On Sunday the rabbi was summoned to a private audience with the Rebbe. The Rebbe emphasized the importance of what he had done and showered upon him many blessings for his self sacrifice.

Rabbi Lipshitz repeated this story many times, conveying how important it is for each of us to worry about even a single individual who is feeling down.