Weekly Chasidic Story #685 (s5771-19 / 6 Shevat 5771)

The Chasidic Railroad Line

"We used to sing, 'G-d should give us good health and life, and we will be reunited with our Rebbe' (Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak of Lubavitch)."

Connection: Seasonal - 61st yahrzeit


The Chasidic Railroad Line

A group of Chabad yeshiva students in Israel were on their regular Friday afternoon schedule of helping Jewish boys and men put on tefilin. The students met a group of recent immigrants from the Soviet Union.

The students were teaching the men how to put on tefilin when all of a sudden an old Russian-born Jew approached them excitedly: "You're from Lubavitch?" he asked them. "Do I have a story to tell you!

"When I was a youth back in Russia," he began, "I used to attend the secret Torah gatherings (farbrengens) of the Lubavitchers. I also used to pray with them and went to their classes.

"At one farbrengen I will always remember, the main discussion was the desire to be reunited with the Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak (Shneersohn--the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe). We sang 'G-d should give us good health and life, and we will be reunited with our Rebbe.' Our intense yearning to be with the Rebbe was almost palpable, and was growing from minute to minute.

"In the middle of the farbrengen, a few chasidim suddenly stood up and decided to 'take action.' Grabbing some chairs, they turned them upside-down and arranged them in a row to make a 'train.'

"Just picture it - grown men behaving like kindergarten children, sitting on overturned chairs and making believe they were going to the Rebbe!

"Most of the others, myself included, stood around watching. We laughed at them and told them they were crazy. What ridiculous, childish nonsense!

"But, do you know," concluded the man in amazement, "within a short time, all of the chasidim who rode the 'train' received permission to leave Russia, and actually did go to the Rebbe. Whereas the rest of us, the 'normal' ones, were left behind. As you can see, most of us did not have the strength to keep up our observance of Torah and mitzvot, and are only now beginning to catch up."


Source: Adapted from Yerachmiel Tilles from a report by Rabbi Zalman Notik of Jerusalem that appeared in Beit Mashiach Magazine as translated by Michoel Dobry of Tsfat.

Connection: Seasonal - 61st yahrzeit

Biographic note
Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn (12 Tammuz 1880-10 Shvat 1950), known as the Rebbe Rayatz, was the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, from 1920 to 1950. He established a network of Jewish educational institutions and Chassidim that was the single most significant factor for the preservation of Judaism during the dread reign of the communist Soviets. . In 1940 he moved to the USA, established Chabad world-wide headquarters in Brooklyn and launched the global campaign to renew and spread Judaism in all languages and in every corner of the world, the campaign continued and expanded so remarkably successfully by his son-in-law and successor, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.


Yerachmiel Tilles is co-founder and associate director of Ascent-of-Safed, and chief editor of this website (and of KabbalaOnline.org). He has hundreds of published stories to his credit, and many have been translated into other languages. He tells them live at Ascent nearly every Saturday night.

To receive the Story by e-mail every Wednesday--sign up here!

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

back to Top   back to this year's Story Index   Stories home page   Stories Archives
Redesign and implementation - By WEB-ACTION