#180 (s5761-27/3 Nissan 5761)


The Lubavitcher Rebbe turned to me and said, 'Now it is up to you to fulfill your part of the agreement.'


Wednesday night, Rosh Chodesh Nissan 5760. The wedding ceremony in Boca Raton hadn't taken place yet, as the new couple-to-be, Rabbi Menachem-Mendel Gutnick and Esther Biston, were still involved in their respective preliminary stages. Nevertheless, the band was playing lively tunes and many guests were already seated at the luxuriously set tables. The father of the kallah, Rabbi Yosef Biston, one of the chief Chabad representatives in that region of Florida, circulated among the early arrivals. With a beaming face and a heart bursting with happiness, he shook hands and hugged with the guests on the men's side of the hall. The guests too were brimming with excitement and joy; they were well aware of the long years the Bistons had been married before their daughter was born.

Suddenly, Rabbi Biston noticed Y.H., who lived in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn and was an old friend of his father's. He was quite surprised to see him. Although he had sent him an invitation, their relationship was not so close that he could have expected that he would make the long trip from New York to Florida.

After they exchanged heartfelt greetings and mazaltovs, Rabbi Biston gave vent to his curiosity. "What is my merit that you should trouble yourself so?" he asked. Y.H. smiled intriguingly. "Later, later. I'll tell you later."

The ceremony took place. The young couple went to their private room for a short while. The guests filed to the sinks to wash their hands and take their places at the food-laden tables for the meals. At his first opportunity, R. Biston sought out his surprise guest from Brooklyn and demanded full disclosure. The latter prefaced his explanation by saying, "No doubt you will find this story to be truly remarkable.

"It begins around twenty years ago, the year before the bride was born. As you know, your father and I were close friends for many years. Of course I was invited to your wedding too. A number of years went by and you two were still not blessed with children. I empathized with your pain and the pain of your family, and I kept wondering if there was anything I could do to help you.

"One evening I suddenly had an idea. I would go to the Lubavitcher Rebbe and ask him for a blessing for you, even if I wasn't a chassid myself. No sooner thought than done! I drove over to Crown Heights, to the main shul at 770 Eastern Parkway, and waited for the Rebbe to leave his office to go home. It took about an hour. When the Rebbe emerged, I quickly approached him and asked, 'Please, a blessing to have children for Yosef Yitzchak ben (son of) Svetta Gittel and Bayla Rachel bas (daughter of) Devorah.'

"The Rebbe immediately corrected me: 'Bas Devorah Leah.' Then he added, 'I already gave them a blessing.'

"As I said, I'm not a Chabadnik so I permitted myself a measure of chutzpah and brazenly said, 'Rebbe, a blessing is not enough. We need a promise!'

"The Rebbe was silent for a few seconds. To me it seemed an eternity. Then he raised his eyes and, looking at me intensely, said, and I quote, 'I and you will dance at the wedding.'

"I was so surprised by his words that I responded, 'But is not the Rebbe known to never go to wedding parties?' The Rebbe smiled. "But this wedding I will be at.'

"That was the end of our conversation, and I want you to know that until this moment, I never repeated it to a single person.

"In less than a year your daughter was born. More years went by as much water flowed through the Hudson. Your father passed away. The connection between our families weakened. I even forgot that extraordinary conversation with the Rebbe.

"About two weeks ago I received the invitation to Esti's wedding. I was very happy to learn the good news, and even more so that you still remembered me. But it never occurred to me to attend. And even if it had, I wouldn't have given it much thought anyway; recently my financial situation has been extremely difficult and there was no way I could have come up with the money for a plane ticket to Florida and a hotel room.

"So what am I doing here? And how did I get here? Listen.

"Last Shabbat [25 Adar B 5760] on Friday night I had a dream. I saw the Rebbe, and your late father, Reb Yudel, was standing with him. The Rebbe faced me and said, 'I promised you that we two would dance at the wedding. Now it is up to you to fulfill your part of the agreement.' I woke up then, but I didn't attribute much significance to the dream. As the Talmud says, 'most dreams are meaningless,' I thought to myself.

"But on Saturday night I dreamt again, although this time the Rebbe appeared to me without your father. He said to me, 'Why aren't you arranging to travel to the Biston wedding?' In the dream I answered him, saying, 'I don't have the money to fly to Florida. I have no money at all.'

"The Rebbe's response was immediate. "Chassidim have never worried about money in such situations.' 'But I am not a Chassid,' I resisted demurely. "You are!" stated the Rebbe firmly.

"The next night, Sunday, I dreamed a third time. The exchange between the Rebbe and I was much like on the second night, but this time the Rebbe ended with the words, 'The money is already being made available, in one way or another.'

"Although it had recurred three nights a row, I continued to dismiss the dream as a mere product of my imagination. On Monday, when I went to my office, I encountered a friend from business circles, who worked near where I did. 'What's the matter, my friend?' he asked me with genuine concern. 'You seem to be very troubled lately.'

"'Nothing unusual, just financial problems like everyone else,' I shrugged.

"'Listen, take my advice,' my friend urged forcefully. 'What you need is a vacation. Go away somewhere for a few days and forget about your troubles. You'll see; it will make a big difference.'

"I smiled ruefully. I didn't have even enough money to get through the week, and he is talking to me about taking off for a few days and spending a lot of money for a vacation?

"I guess my thoughts were obvious. Certainly my friend read them correctly. He slipped his hand into his pocket and pulled out four hundred dollars. 'Here, take this,' he said, proffering me the money. 'Even if you go for just one day, it will help.'

"Of course, I didn't want to take the money, even though I knew he was quite a wealthy man. But he was very insistent, in a manner that negated any possibility of argument.

"I thanked him and went about my day. When I arrived home, before I could tell my wife about what happened, she said to me, 'Why don't you call Biston in Florida and wish him mazaltov? Don't you remember his daughter is getting married in two days?'

"At that instant all the strands wove together for me: The Rebbe's promise twenty years before, the three dreams, my generous friend, my wife's reminder.... So here I am, at the wedding of your daughter in Boca Raton."

While they were speaking, the first course had already been served and completed. A surreptitious signal was given and the band struck up a traditional merry tune-bride and groom were about to enter! The chattan was quickly hoisted onto the shoulders of his friends. But Rabbi Biston, instead of allowing himself to also be lifted up, as was expected, took Y.H. by the hand and led him into the center of the wildly swirling circle. They danced together in front of his new son-in-law, and danced and danced and danced. When nearly everyone else tired, including the young men, they were still going. The band also needed to break, but they gamely maintained their lively accompaniment.

The room was abuzz with curiosity. Why was the father of the bride dancing for so long with someone not from the immediate two families? And who was this stranger anyway? No one could guess the secret of the dancing pair...because only the two of them were perceiving that it was not a pair but a threesome! "I and you will dance at the wedding."

[Translated and adapted by Yrachmiel Tilles from Sichat HaShavuah #704]


Biographical note:
The Lubavitcher Rebbe
, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson (11 Nissan 1902 - 3 Tammuz 1994), became the seventh Rebbe of the Chabad dynasty after his father-in-law, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, passed away in Brooklyn on 10 Shvat 1950. He is widely acknowledged as the greatest Jewish leader of the second half of the 20th century. Although a dominant scholar in both the revealed and hidden aspects of Torah and fluent in many languages and scientific subjects, the Rebbe is best known for his extraordinary love and concern for every Jew on the planet. His emissaries around the globe dedicated to strengthening Judaism number in the thousands. Hundreds of volumes of his teachings have been printed, as well as dozens of English renditions.

Yrachmiel 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.

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

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