#540 (s5768-30 / 25 Adar II 5768)

The Extra Yeshiva Student

The Rebbe Resahb suggested to let the first floor of his house be used as the dormitory of the yeshiva.

The Extra Yeshiva Student


Rabbi Tzvi Gurary was the wealthy owner of a big factory in Krementshog, Russia. He was also a prominent Lubavitcher chasid.

Once he bought a big mansion, previously belonging to a well-to-do Russian general, who had retired from army service. It was a two-story building with a magnificent garden. The ground floor was decorated with expensive marble vases and all manner of ornamentation.

Rabbi Tzvi asked for special permission to see Rabbi Shalom-DovBer of Lubavitch in order to receive a blessing for his newly purchased mansion. The Rebbe gave his blessing and added: "Since only you and your wife live there and you really don't need such a big house, I suggest that you give permission to the boys in Yeshivat Tomchei Tmimim to use your ground floor as a dormitory, and you will use the rooms on the upper floor."

Rabbi Tzvi accepted the Rebbe's proposal. Perhaps the decision was not easy, since he was well aware of the fact that the boys probably would not keep up the place in its present condition, but he had very strong trust in his Rebbe and did not ask any questions nor come up with any objections.

The very first day when they arrived, the boys broke all the beautiful decorative vases downstairs, strew their personal belongings all over, and made a big mess in general.

Rabbi Tzvi accepted the "decree" and let them stay without any comments. Little did he realize then that following the advice of the Rebbe actually meant saving his life.

One day the Bolsheviks invaded the town. Their first goal was to get hold of the rich people in order rob and kill them. Rabbi Tzvi was not only rich, he was a Jew; and in their eyes this was even more welcome prey.

When the Bolsheviks one night started to bang on the door, attempting to break into his house, he jumped out of his bed, dressed only in pajamas, and ran downstairs. He threw himself under the blanket of one of the Yeshiva boys. The boy understood the danger and continued to "sleep" with Rabbi Tzvi next to him.

The Bolsheviks found the boys sleeping on the ground floor, left them alone and stormed upstairs. They did not find their victim and after a while they left the house. In his thoughts, Rabbi Tzvi sent his heartfelt thanks to the Rebbe for saving him by his advice. He took the first opportunity to escape from the town.

However, the Yeshiva boys who remained in the building found themselves in trouble. The house, which looked like a palace, was likely to be handed over for "general use" and they would not be allowed to to stay there any longer. It was unlikely that they would be able to find some other suitable place as a dormitory.

Following the advice of their mashpia (spiritual mentor of the yeshiva), they organized to recite Psalms together, especially chapter 119, saying the eight verses each that begin with the letters beith, yud, and tav, which spell bayit, the Hebrew word for house.

And behold, for some reason that was never satisfactorily explained, they were not asked to leave the house. They resided in the mansion for a long period of time until finally they were able to reorganize the Yeshiva.


[Adapted by Yrachmiel Tilles from "Chassidic Gems", edited by Tuvia Litzman, who heard it from Mottel Kozliner, who heard it from one of the yeshiva students]

Biographic Note:
Rabbi Sholom-Dovber Schneersohn
(Cheshvan 20, 1860 - Nissan 2, 1920), known as the Rebbe Rashab, was the fifth Rebbe of the Lubavitcher dynasty. He is the author of hundreds of major tracts in the exposition of Chassidic thought.

Yerachmiel Tilles is co-founder and associate director of Ascent-of-Safed, and editor of Ascent Quarterly and the AscentOfSafed.com and KabbalaOnline.org websites. He has hundreds of published stories to his credit, and many have been translated into other languages.

A 48 page soft-covered booklet containing eleven of his most popular stories may be ordered on our store site.

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