Day 15 of the Omer

הַהִתְוַעֲדוּת דִּסְעוּדָּה שְׁלִישִׁית, שַׁבָּת מְבָרְכִים, וְיוֹמֵי דְּפַּגְרָא — בְּרָאשֵׁי חֳדָשִׁים וּמוֹעֲדֵי אַנְשֵׁי שְׁלוֹמֵינוּ — צְרִיכִים לְהִתְקַיֵּם בְּבֵית הַכְּנֶסֶת. הַהִתְוַעֲדּוּת דִּמְלַוֶּה מַלְכָּה — אֵצֶל אַנְשֵׁי שְׁלוֹמֵינוּ שֶׁיִּחְיוּ, בְּבָתֵּיהֶם הַפְּרָטִים.

Chassidic farbrengens connected with the Third Meal of Shabbos,1 or with Shabbos Mevarchim, or with festive occasions such as Rosh Chodeshand chassidic festivals, should be held in shul. Farbrengens associated with a Melaveh Malkah2 should be held by members of the chassidic brotherhood in their own homes.3

A Story with an Echo

A villager had married his daughter to a chassidic scholar. After the initial period of adjustment to married life, the young son-in-law began to leave home from time to time to visit his Rebbe for Shabbos. As a dedicated chassid, he also wanted others to appreciate his way of life, but being somewhat immature, he was a little too pushy. One of the people who bore his zealous efforts was his father-in-law. “Come see the Rebbe,” the young chassid constantly pressed him. “Visit him for just one Shabbos,” and the like. The father-in-law did not object to his son-in-law’s involvement with a Rebbe, but he was personally uninterested. “I’ve seen many Rebbes,” he assured him. “I’m sure that he’s special, but it’s not for me.”

Nevertheless, after a time, and more to quell his son-in-law’s incessant requests than for any other reason, he agreed to accompany him for one Shabbos. That Friday evening,the Rebbe led the prayer service. The son-in-law was overwhelmed with the sweetness and sincerity of the Rebbe’s prayers. “Wasn’t it outstanding?” he asked his guest.

“I told you I’ve seen Rebbes before,” his father-in-law answered indifferently.

Afterwards, when the Rebbe partook of the Shabbos meal together with his chassidim, the son-in-law listened in rapture to the wistful melodies and intuitive teachings. Again, however, the father-in-law was unimpressed: “I’ve seen many Rebbes before.”

The same exchanges repeated themselves throughout Shabbos morning and Shabbos afternoon. The son-in-law was extremely impressed with his Rebbe; the father-in-law remained unmoved.

As they were preparing to return home Saturday night, several chassidim invited them to a Melaveh Malkah. The son-in-law was embarrassed to keep his father-in-law waiting and decided to defer to his wishes. To his surprise, however, the father-in-law agreed: “I always have a Melaveh Malkah at home, and there’s no reason for this Shabbos to be any different.”

They spent a couple of hours with the chassidim, sharing a modest meal, songs and stories.

Throughout the whole of the following week, the son-in-law did not mention a word about the Rebbe to his father-in-law. Suddenly, on Thursday night, he was overwhelmed when his father-in-law proposed: “Let’s go to the Rebbe again.”

“Why do you want to go?” the young man asked. “Nothing you saw impressed you!”

“True, I was not impressed by the Rebbe’s insights and songs, but I was moved by the Melaveh Malkah. We were in a home with a dozen chassidim for two hours and I couldn’t tell who was the host and who were the guests. If a Rebbe can engender such togetherness among his chassidim, I want to be one of his followers.”