#668 (s5771-02 / 7 Tishrei 5771)
Late for Kol Nidrei
Nopbody could understand why Rabbi Levi Yitzchak
of Berdichev was delaying to begin the Yom Kippur Evening prayers.
Connection: Seasonal - Yom Kippur)
#667 (s5771-01 / Erev
Rosh Hashana 5771)
Two Parables for Prosperity
The Modzitcher Rebbe rebuffed a chassid seeking
advice on his parnassah, saying, "I don't occupy myself
with the frivolities of this world." Immediately after this,
another chassid entered the Rebbe's room and spoke to the Rebbe for
a full two hours - about his parnassah.
Connection: Seasonal - Rosh Hashana)
#666 (s5770-51 / 21
Jacob & Ivan; Israel & Peter
Many visitors had come to spend the Days of Judgment
in the nearness of the saintly Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev.
Connection: Seasonal - Saturday night starts the Selichot
prayers before Rosh Hashana (for Ashkenazic Jews; the Sephardim have
been saying for three weeks already, since 2 Elul)
#665 (s5770-50 / 14
The Pesky Beggar
"If you feel you have no needs," the Baal
Shem Tov said, "perhaps you will listen to a story I have.
But you must listen attentively."
Connection: Seasonal - Shabbat 18 Elul is the 312th
anniversary of the birth of the Baal Shem Tov, and the 286th annioversary
of his revelation of the Chasidic movement.
#664 (s5770-49 / 7
From Lubavitch To Warsaw
Once, a very distraught woman made an arduous one-week
journey to Lubavitch because someone told her that the Rebbe Reshab
could help her.
Connection: Weekly Reading - documents of divorce
#663 (s5770-48 / 30
On a daring rescue mission in the Himalayas, Dror-Moshe
Shaul succeeded in utilizing skills he gained as an Israel Army
Connection: Weekly Reading - To prevent 21:1(inspired
by D. Kahn, England)
#662 (s5770-47 / 23
The Enticing Platter
Reb Shmuel Munkes pranced
about, pouring l'chaim and serving food, with the bowl of roasted
lung snug and elusive under his arm, deftly side-stepping all attempts
to free it from his grasp.
Connection: Weekly reading - eating kosher
#661 (s5770-46 / 16
The Broken Letter
It is known that Rabbi Moshe of Peshevarsk
wrote every word of tefilin in holiness and purity, so every existing
pair is considered extremely valuable.
Connection: Weekly reading (this week and last) -- tefilin
#660 (s5770-45 / 10
From Fire to Ice
Despite her husband's attitude, whenever business
took him away for an extended period, she would go to visit Rebbe
Meir of Primishlan.
Connections (2): Shabbat reading (Mincha) -- verse 7:14; Seasonal
- Shabbat Nachamu
#659 (s5770-44 / 2
Will Power to Live
Rabbi Benzion Halberstam of Bobov
was regularly provided by his followers with Havana cigars to smoke.
Connections (2): Weekly reading -- verse 4:15; Seasonal -
#658 (s5770-43 / 24
Power of Prayer
When Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu first became
a dayan (an official rabbinical court judge) in Be'er Sheva, in 1957
at age 28, his was the only rabbinical court between Eilat and Be'er
Connection: the end of the thirty-day mourning period for
Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu on 25 Tammuz (Wednesday, July 7).
#657 (s5770-42 / 17
Handle with Care
On his deathbed, the Ohr HaChaim whispered
to his wife: "Do not fear, I will not allow you to starve."
Connection: Seasonal: 267th yahrzeit
#656 (s5770-41 / 10
The Rebbe Rayatz replied
to Rabbi Menachem Porush, "For 'Porush' there are many peirushim
[interpretaions]; which one are you?"
Connection: Seasonal: 83rd anniversary of miraculous liberation.
#655 (s5770-40 / 3
Takes Two to Deal
The Lubavitcher Rebbe
answered, "How do you know that you are closer to G-d than they?
Maybe they are closer than you! Who can know what is inside the soul
of a Jew?"
Connection: 16th Yartzeit
#654 (s5770-39 / 26
The following day the Baal Shem Tov came to
the same spot in the forest, and they proceeded to the young man's
home. A tantalizing aroma greeted them.
Connection: Weekly Reading -- See the commentaries about the
opposite influences of the wives of Korach and On ben Pelet.
(Also, we missed having a Besht story for Shavuot, as is traditional.)
#653 (s5770-38 / 19
The soldier was quite surprised when the Rabbi called
upon him for the most important aliyah to the Torah.
Connection: Weekly Reading -- the end (tsitsit)
#652 (s5770-37 / 12
A Matter of Taste
Rabbi Shlomo of Karlin was expected at the
home of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi. But the visit gave rise
to a dispute between the Rebbe's wife and their daughter,
Connections (2): Weekly Reading -- the manna contained all
tastes; Seasonal - 197th yahrzeit
#651 (s5770-36 / 4
With Only a Single Page
"Let me know when it will be," Rabbi
Moshe Feinstein instructed. "I wish to take part in this
Connection: Seasonal - Shavuot, learning Torah
#650 (s5770-35 / 27
"Your idea does not appeal to me at all,"
Rabbi Meir of Primishlan said emphatically.
Connection: 160th Yartzeit
#649 (s5770-34 / 20
A Blessing Through the Volcano
Within the chaos, one young Jew merits a smile of
grace from the Creator of the World, and a miraculous series of events
begins to unfold.
Connection: Current Events
/ 13 Iyar 5770)
The Suddenly Inaccessible Shortcut
Only when they heard the faint sound of the Shabbat
siren in the village of Meron, heralding the arrival of Queen
Shabbat, did they realize that they had to return to their hostel
Connection: Seasonal - Lag b'Omer / Meron
#647 (s5770-32 / 6
"Don't be concerned," the Koznitzer
Magid assured them;"it was surely not an evil spirit or sorcerer."
Connections (2): Seasonal - Iyar: Month of Healing, and Weekly
Reading -- Acharei Mot
#646 (s5770-31 / 29
A New Cousin for Seder
"I must not let a minor matter such as his severe
stench repel me from the great mitzvah of hospitality," Rabbi
Lezer of Reishe thought to himslef. "But what about my wife?"
Connections (2): Seasonal - Passover, and Weekly Reading --
#645 (s5770-30 / 23
Perils of Pita and Pesach
Salah Taamari was one of the prisoners in
the Israeli detention camp, Ansar; he was a senior PLO terrorist,
much admired by his henchmen.
Connections (2): Seasonal - Passover, and Weekly Reading --
#644 (s5770-29 / 14
Pesach in a Siberian Labor Camp
The prison officer said to R. Eliezer Naness:
"You are doing yourself a grave disservice by having the matzot.
There is talk already that you are demoralizing the other prisoners.
You know that there are plenty of ways of eliminating undesirable
elements here. ...Your bones will never be found."
Connection: Seasonal -- Passover Festival
#643 (s5770-28 / 8
Earning the Prize
The young man determinedly maneuvering forward explained:
"I want to get a dollar as soon as possible [from the Lubavitcher
Rebbe] so I can go on line again and get another one."
Connection: Seasonal -- 11 Nissan: Lubavitcher Rebbe's birthday
#642 (s5770-27 / 1
In Place of a Temple Offering
"Leave out my 'Rebbe' and your 'Rebbe' and come
with me," excalimed Rabbi Moshe-Leib of Sassov.
Connection: Weekly Reading -- the offerings
#641 (s5770-26 / 23
Something In The Air
I decided to drive to a nearby city, one with, unlike
Tsfat, eating establishments that would be open despite it being the
Connection: Weekly Reading -- Shabbat (34:21)
#640 (s5770-25 / 16
The Purim Code
Rabbi Michoel-Dov Wessmandl asked me, "Did
I ever tell you how many letters there are in the Book of Esther?"
Connections (2): Seasonal -- the festival of Purim;
Weekly Reading (30:23)
#639 (s5770-24 / 9
Purim Treats from Heaven
Everyone was waiting for their beloved Rabbi Levi
Yitzchak of Berdichev to lead the Purim prayers, but he was not
Connection: Seasonal -- the festival of Purim
#638 (s5770-23 / 2
Saturday Afternoon Soccer
The Polish-born father said to his Israel-born son,
"The Rebbe "Beis Yisrael" of Ger is here,
let us go to him to receive shalom."
Connection: 33rd Yahrzeit
#637 (s5770-22 / 25
Preparing for a Message from Beyond
Rabbi Yaakov Landau,
subsequently the chief rabbi of Benei Brak for half a century(!),
was a chasid of the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Rebbe ReShab
Connection: 24th Yahrzeit
#636 (s5770-21 / 18
We Don't Ask Twice
Whenever they had a question, they would ask Rebbetzin
Chaya Mushka Schneerson, wife of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
Connection: 22nd Yahrzeit
#635 (s5770-20 / 12
A Stunning Fruit Basket
The stranger set down a gigantic basket bulging with
choice fruits in front of Rabbi Yosef Meir of Spink.
Connection: Seasonal -- the festival of Tu B'Shvat
#634 (s5770-19 / 4
The elderly cleaning lady who worked for Rabbi
Yisrael Abuhatzeira - "Baba Sali" even knew his holy
grandfather, Rebbe Yaakov.
Connection: 26th Yahrzeit
#633 (s5770-18 / 26
Change of Heart
"Are you giving this money wholeheartedly?"
asked Rabbi Yaakov-Yisrael of Cherkass. "If not, I can't
Connection: Weekly Reading (tenuous)
#632 (s5770-17 / 19
From Moses to Moses
The medical writings of Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon,
known as the RaMBaM or Maimonides, influenced medical practice throughout
the world for centuries.
Connection: 806th Yahrzeit
#631 (s5770-16 / 12
With a Few Drops of Vodka
Some Jews confronted Rabbi
Yisrael of Ruzhin. "We pray the morning prayer at first opportunity,
daybreak. But the chasidim pray after the statutory time."
#630 (s5770-15 / 5
The Rebbe that Banged on the Table
On Thursday, the townspeople asked Rabbi Yechezkel
of Shinova whether he planned to stay with them over Shabbat,
but he avoided answering.
Connection: 110th Yartzeit
#629 (s5770-14 / 28
The Ninth Flame
"I will never forget the last Chanuka in the
barracks. In those last weeks before the liberation, the Nazis were
particularly unpredictable and cruel."
Connection: Seasonal - The festival of Chanukah
#628 (s5770-13 / 21
Honoring a Broken Bottle
The guest in Bagdad was awed by the plush richness
around him; the thick Persian rugs, gold inlayed dishes and beautifully
Connections - 2: The festival of Chanukah that begins this
Shabbat, and a direct quote from the Weekly Reading, Vayeshev.
#627 (s5770-12 / 14
Echoes of Abraham
"After terrorists murdered our spiritual guides,
Rabbi Gabi and Rivky Holtzberg, one year ago, I left my position as
Director of the ICU Medical Center at British Kennedy in Mumbai, India."
Connection: Weekly Reading (last week) - Rivka takes her father's
#626 (s5770-11 / 7
The Rabbi with the Torn Coat
Rabbi Naftali of Rophshitz asked
the young man to lead him to his father's tailor's shop.
Connection: Weekly Reading - the engagement process
#625 (s5770-10 / 30
The Last Straws
The Chassidim looked at the Baal Shem Tov,
but he seemed unmoved by the children's cries.
Connection: Weekly Reading - Gen. 26:12
#624 (s5770-09 / 23
When Spain expelled all of its Jews during the Inquisition,
a group of exiles went to settle in Hebron.
Connection: Weekly Reading - Jewish ownership of Machpela
Cave in Hebron
#623 (s5770-08 / 16
The Non-bleeding Challah
Rabbi Yitzchak of Kalisch kept an open house for
travelers. Once, a gentile man entered and asked for piece of bread.
Connection: Weekly Reading - Jewish hospitality
#622 (s5770-07 / 9
An Old-Time Delicacy
"Many years ago in Vienna, I ordered a bottle
of mead from a nearby Jewish inn. It was the most delicious mead I
Connection: Weekly Reading - 2weeks!) - Circumcision this
week, and the unending bottle in the Haftorah of Vayera next
#621 (s5770-06 / 2
Praying for Freddy
The Driver asked the Professor
if he could get him a ticket to enter the "Ohel"
around the burial place of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
Connection: Weekly Reading (2) - caring for animals and immersion
in water for purification
#620 (s5770-05 / 25
Honeymoon Meal Ingredients
The wife of the Baal
HaTanya was willing to prepare the entire Friday night meal,
but there was no fish available, and Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev
had a custom to always eat fish at a festive meal.
Connection: the 200th yahrzeit of the great Berditchever,
"defender of the Jewish people"
#619 (s5770-04 / 18
A Simchat Torah Dance for Zaleski
Our local New Jersey Reform rabbi organized a trip
to Brooklyn for the holiday of Simchat Torah with the Bobover Rebbe.
Connection: Seasonal - The festival of Simchat Torah
#618 (s5770-03 / 11
The Etrog Business
He sought a very special etrog for his Rebbe, Rabbi
Avraham of Chechnow, but the only one he could find had been designated
for the "Toras Emes" of Lublin.
Connection: Seasonal - The festival of Sukkot
#617(s5770-02 / 4
An Inspired Substitution
Rabbi Yechezkel Landau, "the Noda BiYehudah,"
was on friendly terms with the Baal Shem Tov, but did
not believe in him as a holy man.
Connection: Weekly Reading -- Haftorah verse (Word
Count: 419 + 167)
#616 (s5770-01 / Eruv
Rosh Hashana 5770)
The Tzemach Tzedek once invited a non
religious doctor to spend Shabbat with him.
Connection: Holiday and birth date (Word
Count: 343 + 95)
#654 (s5770-39 / 26 Sivan 5770)
With Only a Single Page
Watching his newly-observant son poring over his
Talmud, the father was very impressed. (Rabbi Moshe Feinstein)
Connection: Seasonal - Pirkei Avot