Chapt Arayn Yidden [long story]
Where was the Rebbe MH"M?
Where was the Rebbe Rashab?
A Rebbe Never Makes Mistakes! [long story]
Journey to the Holy "Ohr HaChayim"

 

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Chapt Arayn Yidden!

There was once a Poilishe Rebbe who, at his Melaveh Malkah, would ask his Chasidim to fill him in on the latest news of the world. The Rebbe would listen carefully to their stories of recent events and occasionally point out the lessons that could be derived from them.

One week there was a certain Chasid present who had just returned from a lengthy business trip abroad. The story he had to tell involved a powerful king, and a hunting expedition that had turned out to be quite an adventure.

One bright and sunny day the king had decided to go hunting with his closest advisor. Dressed in his hunting garb, the two men mounted their swift-footed horses and set out for the forest.

It was a beautiful day, pleasant and warm. But no sooner had the king and his friend entered the forest than the skies darkened. Black clouds obscured the sun and the wind began to whip the trees unmercifully. Within minutes the heavens opened, drenching the forest in rain. At first the hunters hoped it was a passing shower, but it soon became evident that the rain was not going to stop. The king and his advisor were soaked to the skin. Stranded in the middle of the forest, there was nowhere to go to seek shelter from the storm.

The rain continued. By now it was completely dark, and the path that they had been following was no longer visible. The ground was one big puddle. They had to admit that they were lost.

Even the horses were getting spooked. The two wayfarers lashed at them repeatedly, but their hooves kept getting stuck in the mire. To make matters worse, the hoots and howls of wild animals could be heard all around them. It made their skin prickle and their hair stand on end. The king and his friend were quickly losing hope. "Who knows if we'll ever come out of this alive," they worried. "If the animals don't attack us, we're sure to come down with pneumonia!"

The horses were so tired that they could barely move. Suddenly, way off in the distance, the king's advisor thought he saw a faint glimmer of light. The two men strained their eyes, but they could not be sure it wasn't just a figment of their imagination. Nonetheless, they changed course and set off in the direction of the tiny flicker.

A few minutes later they came upon what looked to be an abandoned hut. From its single window a faint light was visible. The king and advisor found a door. "Is anyone home?" they cried, pounding on the door with all their might. "Please let us in before we die of exposure!"

The sound of approaching footsteps was heard. The door was opened, revealing a tiny room no more than six feet by six feet. Its only furniture was a large wooden crate and a plank of wood resting on four supports, which obviously served the room's occupant as both table and bed.

"I would gladly allow you to stay the night," said the watchman who lived in the hovel, "but as you can see, there isn't enough room for guests. However, not far from here there lives a Jew named Moshke who used to own a tavern. Unfortunately for him the wheel of fortune recently took a turn for the worse. But he's an honest fellow, this Moshke. I'm sure he'd be happy to put you up for the night, even if the accommodations will be less than luxurious."

Throughout this conversation the watchman's floor was getting wet from the hunter's dripping clothes. Concerned that his meager belongings would be ruined, the watchman insisted that they leave, but offered to show them where Moshke lived. The three men set out for Moshke`s dwelling, with the watchman leading the way.

The three men rode for a quarter of an hour until they reached their destination. "Moshke! Moshke!" The watchman called out, knocking on the door. "You've got company!" The Jew who unfastened the lock half asleep. "Please let us stay with you the night," the king said.. "We are hunters who got caught in an unexpected storm. The sun was shining when we set out this morning, and the rain took us completely by surprise. We beg you to have mercy on us!" Without hesitating Moshke led them inside, and the watchman returned home.

Noting that his guests were trembling from the cold, Moshke immediately threw more wood upon the fire. "You must be terribly hungry and thirsty," he said, "but the only food I have to offer you is goat's milk. I used to be a successful innkeeper, with more customers than I could handle. But that's all gone now. The only thing left of all my possessions is a she-goat." Moshke sighed. "But room I've got plenty of," he added, brightening, "And you're more than welcome to stay here."

Moshke hurried into another room and returned with two mugs. Squirting directly from the goat, he filled them to the brim with the warm milk. The king and his advisor took them gratefully and gulped the milk down, paying no attention to its rather unpleasant taste.

Next, Moshke ran to the barn for an armful of straw, which he laid out on the floor in an adjoining room The "bed" was then piled high with a mountain of washed-out rags, the "blankets" with which his guests could cover themselves.

Without another word the two exhausted wanderers lay down to sleep. In minutes they were snoring peacefully. When the sun came up the next morning the king and his advisor were still asleep. By then the storm had long since ended, and the weather was once again fair and mild. In response to their request for directions, Moshke personally led his guests to the main highway to make sure that they wouldn't get lost. Before they parted ways, on of the hunters wrote down Moshke's exact name and address on a piece of paper.

It was around one week later that a highly unusual event occurred: Moshke received a letter in the mail. And not just any letter, but an official envelope sealed with the king's seal. Tearing it open with trembling hands, Moshke was shocked to learn that he was being summoned to appear before the king in three days. That was it. There was no explanation attached, nothing to indicate why the king would be interested in Moshke the Jew.

He was sure that the invitation was some kind of trap. Why else does the king wish to see me? he thought. He racked his brains for a possible enemy, someone he may have inadvertently offended, but could think of no one. "Whatever it is, it's nothing good," he told his wife.

On the appointed day, with tears in his eyes, Moshke left his wife and children in his eyes. Who knew if they would ever see each other again? Before setting off, Moshke went into a corner and poured out his heart before Hashem.

When Moshke reached the palace gates he showed his letter to one of the guards. "Excuse me, Sir," he said, "but do you have any idea what this is about?" The guard inspected the letter and told him that that type of paper signified that the person was to be admitted into the king's inner room.

He knocked on the door as he had been instructed and took a deep breath. The light inside the king's chamber almost blinded him at first. Moshkes' breath caught in his throat. He had no idea how many seconds passed, but all of a sudden he felt himself being squeezed in a strong hug. He looked up to see a smiling face, and a pair of eyes that were warm. When recognition dawned, Moshke almost fainted on the spot. It was the king! The king himself was hugging Moshke the Jew!

"I must be dreaming," he decided. Moshke wanted to pinch himself, but his arms were occupied. "Moshke, my friend, do you not recognize me?" To tell the truth, the voice was somewhat familiar. Moshke dared to gaze at the king's face for a moment longer and then it came to him. This was one of the guests who had suddenly appeared on his doorstep the other night in the middle of the storm! "Moshke , you saved my life," the king continued, still embracing him. "Whatever I give you as reward can never amount to even one percent of what I truly owe you. From this day on you and your descendants will be distinguished citizens. Your new home shall be a mansion, and the royal tailor is waiting to take your measurements for a new suit of clothes. As much gold and silver as you ask for is yours."

At that the king rang a tiny silver bell. A flurry of servants appeared to carry out his commands, and a royal carriage was immediately dispatched to fetch Moshke`s wife and children.

"Lost in the forest, far away from his royal palace, the king was in a state of exile, a condition so degrading that a humble bed of straw and a cup of 'goat's milk' were enough to cause him delight - so much so that he was willing to reward Moshke with half his kingdom. But when the king is in his palace, surrounded by his storehouses of gold, silver and precious gems, even the most generous gift of emeralds, sapphires and rubies is insufficient to win his favor.

"Yidden! Listen well! The Rebbe cried out suddenly. "While we are yet in exile, together with Hashem, the smallest sincere gesture is sufficient! Even if we only offer Hashem, a 'cup of goat's milk' -- with its unpleasant taste -- it is as pleasing before Hashem as the greatest treasure, and He will reward us beyond our dreams. All that is required is that we make the effort to give Him even this most tiny offering.

"Not so in the very near future, may it happen speedily in our days," the Rebbe concluded. "For when Moshiach comes with the full and complete Redemption and Hashem returns to His palace, even if we attain what we now consider to be the highest spiritual levels, it wont be enough. No matter how hard we work!

"So chapt arayn, Yidden! Grab it while you can! Take advantage of this golden opportunity while there is still time."

Chasidic Stories Made in Heaven/Otzar Sifrei Lubavitch

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Where was the Rebbe MH"M?

Less than four years ago, Mr. Jacques Michel a middle aged architect in Paris France, had been going through a very trying time. He had not been feeling well for some time and finally decided to see a doctor. After his examination, the doctor informed him that he would need a surgery. Jacques was rather alarmed at this news. Being a cautious person in general, he decided to go for a second option. As he sat in the waiting room of the second doctor, he became friendly with an elderly Chasidic gentleman who was in the waiting room as well.

Though Jacques was irreligious at the time and seemingly from a totally different walk of life, the two hit it off immediately. He found himself telling the bearded gentleman about his personal life. He also mentioned the situation of his present health t dilemma regarding the surgery. The man listened patiently and attentively to Jacques 's problem. When he finished speaking the man offered his advice. He suggested that Jacques should not go for surgery. He explained that the situation will heal on its own and surgery is unnecessary. Spoken with such conviction, Jacques felt convinced this man knew what he was talking about. He walked out of office intending to follow the advice given.

Several weeks passed and the condition completely disappeared!! To his pleasant surprise he felt perfectly healthy!

One day as was driving down one of the main streets of Paris he noticed a Mitzva Tank (mobile Chabad House). A picture hanging on the Tank made him very excited. He immediately stopped driving, and approached the young yeshiva students manning the Mitzvah Tank. "How could I meet the man in the picture?" The students looked at him in surprised, explaining that he would not be able to meet him at this present time.

Jacques was insistent that he must meet him. The boys were equally insistent that he couldn't meet him, because since Gimmel Tammuz, the Rebbe is concealed. Jacques was outraged at the poor excuse they gave him for not allowing him access to the Rebbe. In an annoyed voice he exclaimed, "I know for a fact that what you are saying is not true! I myself sat next to that Rabbi in a doctor's office just three weeks ago! He advised me not to have surgery. I would like to have an opportunity to thank him for his wonderful advice."

When Jacques realized that he had actually seen and spoken physically to the Rebbe he was overwhelmed. He was inspired and decided to become more actively involved in his observance of Judaism.

Miracles Vol. 1 # 26

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Where was the Rebbe Rashab?

The lateness of the night hour in Rostov intensified the bitter frost outside. In the heated homes, the good citizens slept sweetly. There was only one house, which didn't know the difference between night and day. There was activity as though it was noontime. The tens of people who stood in the Rebbe Rashab's waiting room, were deep in thought this one thinking of his difficult situation, that one with his concerns. All hoped that the secretary, the Chassid R' Chonyo Morozov a'h would give them a turn as soon as possible.

Suddenly, the quiet was disturbed. The loud arguments that could be heard from the secretary's room greatly bothered the people waiting. Certain phrases could be made out: it was an aguna whose husband had deserted her and her young children. The situation was intolerable. She would break under the emotional and physical burden." You must treat me as an exception to the rule and allow me to enter to see the Rebbe", she demanded without letup. But the reaction of the secretary was to make it clear to her that she has no choice but to wait like all the unfortunate people on the list. The poor woman left with a downcast look on her face. She had been so sure that her salvation would come that night, and now…the world became dark.

Suddenly a light shone, in the form of a young boy, Mordechai Aharon Freidman, a'h, who was a Ben Bayis (houseboat) of the Rebbe. Her sad plight aroused his pity and he hoped to help this desperate woman. He suggested that she write her problem on a paper and he would take care of it. With awe and love the young Mordechai Aharon, went to the table of the Rebbe, where the Rebbe would eat supper, and left the letter there, hoping the Rebbe would see it. Footstep could be heard. The Rebbe entered and saw the note on the table.

He took it and read it, then he turned to Mordechai Aharon and told him something. With hurried steps the boy left and headed for the waiting room. In low exited tones he told the woman the Rebbe's answer, "Go to Warsaw".

The aguna's great joy turned to concern. How would she obtain the great sum needed to make the trip to Warsaw? Her worried didn't last long. When the Chassidim heard that the Rebbe had instructed her to go to Warsaw, they quickly gathered the sum for her and the agunah was on her way. Her heart beat rapidly as the train stopped at its destination. The many travelers left quickly, each on his way. Only one woman walked with hesitant steps, lost in worried, weaving in and out of the many people. Where should she turn in this strange place? After a while she left the station and headed in the direction of the city. She walked for one hour and then another, and then suddenly, struck by intense loneliness, she sat and wept.

A person whose appearance testified to his Jewishness approached her. A red beard framed his face, and a black hat was upon his head. He offered his help. She told him of her plight and the events which led to her sitting there, and finally asked him whether he had heard anything of her husband whose name was X. The man replied in the negative, but informed her of a factory nearby which employed people of many countries. "Perhaps your husband is there, too." The woman, with renewed confidence, walked towards the factory. She saw a huge building crammed with workers. She went to the office and asked to see the administrator. She explained her problem and asked whether she could examine the roster of workers. The kindhearted administrator allowed her to search for her husband's name on the long lost of workers. Her heart nearly skipped a beat when she cam upon a familiar name. Encouraged and excited she turned to the room where the workers could found. She entered the room and began her search.

Suddenly she saw him! The husband was just as surprised to see his wife in Warsaw. They began to speak, but the woman despaired when she realized that her husband wanted to remain in Warsaw and not return home. Suddenly, her husband asked her, "How did you know where to find me?" The woman explained that the Rebbe Rashab sent her there. When her husband heard of the Rebbe's involvement he immediately changed his mind and decided to return home. Upon returning home , the wife wanted to immediately relate the good news to the Rebbe. But, the secretary told her to wait in line again… Some Chassidim suggested that she stand near the place where the Rebbe washes his hands before davening an d tell him the miracle then.

Excitedly, she stood to wait to see the Rebbe. The door opened and the Rebbe exited. She took one look at the Rebbe's face and fainted!! After reviving her, the Chassidism asked what was the cause of her fainting. She emotionally explained that the Rebbe was the same exact man who helped her find her husband in Warsaw!!

After the Chasidim somewhat calmed down, they tried to figure out at exactly what hour the woman was in Warsaw, and recall what the Rebbe was doing in Rostov at the same time. It turned out that the event occurred at the time the Rebbe went to daven. That day the Rebbe had tarried in his room before coming out to daven. When they saw the time passing, they were very curious to know what was keeping the Rebbe.

They edged their way over to the window, and one of then volunteered to climb up and peek into the window. When he stuck his head into the window, he recoiled immediately, while screaming, "Oy, Rebbe!" He took the others that the Rebbe was facing the window with his holy face burning like a torch.

"Uh huh," said the storyteller to the crowd. " He did indeed see the Rebbe in his room in Rostov, nevertheless the Rebbe was in Warsaw!!"

Beis Moshiach # 112

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A Rebbe Never Makes Mistakes!

Chaim Zelig was a simple Jew. While not rich, he was certainly not poor. Chaim Zelig lived on an estate belonging to the local poretz. His livelihood was earned from the inn he rented from the poretz, which was located at a busy crossroads. The inn was also home to Chaim Zelig's wife and children.

Chaim Zelig was famous for his indignity, enjoying the respect of Jews and non-Jews alike. The peasants knew that if they ordered a glass of vodka it contained only vodka, not a mixture of vodka and water. If someone was short on cash Chaim gladly extended credit. He never pressured customers to pay, no matter how high their debt, and never accepted a penny more than was owed him. Everyone was greeted with a smile, especially those who hesitated coming to his establishment because they owed him money. All in all, the inn was a popular place to gather and seek lodging.

The poretz, for his part, was glad to have such a worthy tenant. Zelig's honesty Chaim Zelig always paid his rent on time, and never quibbled when the poretz demanded more. True he might ask for leniency, but if the poretz insisted on the increase, Chaim Zelig paid it.

Things continued for several years until Ivan, the manager on the poretz's properties, appeared at the inn. "The poretz asks you to come to him at the first available opportunity," he announced "there's no rush; it needn't be today or tomorrow". Chaim Zelig asked him for this sudden invitation, but Ivan was evasive. "I really don't know."

There was something in the manager's manner that made him suspicious. He tried to think back over the last few weeks. Had he offended somebody? Had he been less than courteous to one of his guests? Chaim Zelig couldn't think of anything he had done that would displease the poretz. Everything had seemed fine at the time.

What was the reason he was being summoned? The rent wasn't due yet for another month? If he was asking for an increase why wouldn't he mention it then, as he had already don many times before? What was different now?

Chaim Zelig had a bad feeling. He tried to push it from his mind, but his anxiety only grew. There is nothing to be gained by postponing the meeting, he thought to himself. I might as well get over with it as soon as possible. At least then, I'll know for sure what the poretz wants.

When he arrived at the poretz's mansion, he was received politely, although surprised by his irregular visit. Chaim Zelig kept a smile on his face and walked directly to the poretz's office.

The poretz was cordial and asked him to be seated, but Chaim Zelig got the impression that it was only the calm before the storm. After inquiring about the health of his wife and children the poretz got right down to the point.

"Zelig, I have some very unpleasant news for you," he said his face serious "I've decided that I will not be renewing your lease for the coming year. You have one month to pack your belongings and leave the premises. You'll just have you find another source of income."

"Merciful and gracious poretz!" Chaim Zelig cried. "What have I done wrong? Haven't I always been honest in my business dealings?"

"I'm sorry, but my mind is made up. It is my final decision."

"Haven't I always paid you whatever you asked?"

"Zelig, don't even try. Whatever you say won't make a difference."

"But at least tell me why! Why are you throwing me out into the street?"

The poretz was angry. "I don't have to give you an explanation! The inn is mine. It is mine to do whatever I please."

"But I'll pay you double, kindhearted poretz."

"Enough!" The poretz thundered "I can't stand false flattery! You and you're family must be gone by the end of the month. If you continue this detestable bowing and scraping, you'll see how kindhearted and benevolent I really am." The poretz spat with contempt.

Chaim Zelig was almost crying when he left the office. Weeping and wailing filled the house when Chaim Zelig broke the news to his wife and children. No one could understand why the poretz had suddenly decided upon this drastic measure.

The clock was ticking; time was of the essence. As a Chassid of the Tzemach Tzedek, he decided to leave for Lubavitch. Only the Rebbe's blessing could save them now. Grabbing his talis and his tefilin and a small package of food, he set out on a journey. As soon as he arrived he went directly to the Rebbe's gabbai and requested a yechidus. "I have something urgent to discuss with the Rebbe," he explained.

Chaim Zelig entered the Rebbe's holy room and burst into tears. When he finally composed himself he related the entire story. "Rebbe," Chaim Zelig began "My whole life has been spent being nice to people and dealing with the honestly. Now, out of the blue, the poretz wants to evict me! I don't know what his motives are; he refuses to tell me. What will I do? Where should I go?" Chaim Zelig was at loss of words "I don't see any solution to the problem. I have no idea how to soften his heart. However, it might help if the Rebbe wrote a letter to the Chassid who is known as 'Berel the Short.' He is a very wealthy man. If he intervenes on my behalf, there's a small chance that the poretz will listen."

The Rebbe thought for a moment. "Writing a letter to Berel isn't all that bad an idea. I will do so immediately, and may G-d help you." "Amen!" Chaim Zelig answered gratefully. The Tzemach Tzedek withdrew a piece of paper and pen from his desk drawer. After writing a few short lines he folded the page, inserted it in an envelope before handing it over to Chaim Zelig. To excited to even glance at the envelope, the innkeeper stuffed it into his pocket.

With a spring in his step, he left the Rebbe's presence, assured that his holy blessing would bring help. It was not until later that Chaim Zelig thought to examine the envelope. When he did, he almost fainted! He rubbed his eyes; maybe there was something wrong with his eyesight. But no, the words remained the same. The envelope was addressed to Berel the Tall, not Berel the Short! Both Berels were Chassidim of the Tzemach Tzedek; both traveled to the Rebbe frequently to ask his advice. But that is where the similarity ended. Berel the Short was a successful businessman whose fortune had been made in forestry. He was so rich that he often lent money to nobles and princes. Berel the Tall, was a teacher of small children. He earned a meager salary. Many times he was forced to borrow money to feed his family. This Berel had never spoken to a poretz or prince in his life.

Chaim Zelig's first thought was to return to the Rebbe to point his…what should he call it? A mistake? An oversight? But he knew it was highly unlikely to be permitted another yechidus. He was terribly confused and upset. How in the world could Berel the Tall possibly help him? Chaim Zelig went over to one of the Tzemach Tzedek's sons and told him his story. "Perhaps you might mention to the Rebbe," he concluded.

The Tzemach Tzedek's son was shocked to hear such talk. " My father does mot make mistakes!" He told him in no uncertain terms. "If he addressed the letter to Berel the Tall, It is meant for Berel the Tall. If I were you, I'd deliver the letter right away, for that is where your salvation lies. Don't fix something that isn't broken. You'll only make the situation worse." The Rebbe's son had spoken with absolute faith that Chain Zelig was filled with hope. In any event, there was nothing to lose.

Chaim Zelig left Lubavitch and set out for the town where Berel the Tall lived. He knocked and handed him a letter. When Berel realized it was a letter from the Rebbe he ran to wash his hands and put on his gartel. With a sense of awe and fear he opened the envelope and read it's contents.

"Zelig, my dear friend," he said when he had finished reading, "there is no denying that you are in trouble, and that salvation seems impossible within the natural order --especially one that would come about through me. But that is only because we're looking at it with our own fleshy eyes. A tzadik's vision is different. The Rebbe can see from one end of the world to the other and knows the future. If we truly believe in the Rebbe's power we will merit to be helped. Strengthen yourself, my brother, for it will surely come. You are welcome to stay in my house until it arrives."

In the face of such confidence Chaim Zelig was ashamed of himself. Why, he was actually jealous of Berel's faith in the Rebbe, which was so strong and rooted that nothing could shake it. "This alone is reason enough to make my coming here worth while," he said.

Berel prepared for his guest a room in the attic, and Chaim Zelig settled in. a few days passed then a week, and nothing changed; it still seemed hopeless. Just thinking about Berel's faith in the Rebbe made all his doubts and fear disappear.

On the first day of the second week, the skies turned dark toward evening. The heavens opened, unleashing a torrential rain. The weather did nothing to improve Chaim Zelig's mood. He sat in the attic, huddled in his coat. I wonder what my wife and children are doing now, he thought to himself as a wave of homesickness overcame him. Tears rolled down his cheeks and wet his beard.

It was late at night. Suddenly Chaim Zelig heard loud knocking at the front door. "Please let me in!" a voice cried out, "I'm freezing to death out here! Take pity on me and open the door!"

Chaim Zelig ran down the stairs and flung the door opened. And who should be standing on the threshold? None other than the poretz, dressed in the traditional hunting garb. He was soaked to the skin that he looked like a wet chicken. Chaim Zelig was so shocked he couldn't speak. He begged to be allowed to seek refugee from the storm.

Chaim Zelig ran to awaken Berel. "Wake up!" He shook his shoulder, "we have an unexpected guest her. It's the poretz! The same one who wants to evict me!"

The poretz explained how he had gone out earlier that day, that has been caught unaware by a violent storm. "Another few hours outside and I would've die from exposure!"

By the next morning the storm had already passed. As he was about to leave the poretz turned to Berel and said, "I owe you my life. If not for you, I would have perished. Ask me whatever you wish. I am a wealthy man, and I will gladly fulfill your request."

"I am touched, illustrious poretz," Berel replied. "But thank G-d, I lack nothing. Hashem, who sustains the world and all it's creatures, has blessed me with sufficient livelihood to support my family."

But the poretz was insistent on rewarding him, and he wished to express his thanks. Berel the Tall thought for a minute. "If you really want to make me happy," 'he said, "there is one thing that you can do. I have a dear friend named Chaim Zelig, an innkeeper who finds himself in trouble. For some reason the poretz has decided not to renew his lease. If he and his family are evicted they will be left penniless, without a roof over their heads. The greatest present you could give would be to allow him to stay."

"Then consider it done," the poretz replied. "I owe you my life; in truth, there is no way I can repay you adequately. Zelig the innkeeper can continue to run the inn for as long as he likes. And not only that," the poretz added, "I hereby absolve him from paying rent for the next three years. It is the least I can do to show my appreciation."


Chaim Zelig was summoned and the poretz put his promise in writing. The document was signed and sealed.

Chaim Zelig then asked, "Dear poretz, there is one thing that remains a mystery. Why did you wan to evict me in the first place? Haven't I served you faithfully and honestly over the years?"

"To tell you the truth it wasn't anything personal'" the poretz explained. It wasn't even my idea. You see, I have a friend called Berel The Short. I borrowed allot of money from him. A few days ago he told me that his brother-in-law lost everything in a fire. It was Berel the Short's idea to evict you. He wanted his brother-in-law to take your place. I had to agree to him. But now I changed my mind."

As soon as the poretz left, Chaim Zelig threw his arms around Berel the Tall. "How true were the words of the Rebbe's son when he said 'my father never makes mistakes!' I was a fool to think otherwise!"

"There's a lesson to learn from this," Berel the Tall said. "Just remember that faith in the Tzadik is the basis of a person's happiness and a key to all brochos."

Chassidic Stories Made in Heaven/Otzar Sifrei Lubavitch

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Journey to the Holy "Ohr Hachaim"

During the time of the Baal Shem Tov there lived in Eretz Yisroel, a very great tzadik by the name of Rev Chaim ben Atar. The Baal Shem Tov testified that everyday Rabbi Chaim would learn Torah from Hashem himself. Indeed, until this day, Reb Chaim is still known as the ''holy Ohr Hachaim" after his holy sefer Ohr Hachaim.

Rev Yisroel Baal Shem Tov realized that if he would go to Eretz Yisroel and meet the holy Ohr Hachaim, then together they would be able to bring Moshiach. Therefore he sent a letter to his brother-in-law, the Tzadik Rev Gershon who lived in Eretz Yisroel. In his letter the Baal Shem Tov requested that the he find a way to contact the holy Ohr Hachaim and tell him of his plans to travel to Eretz Yisroel to meet him. Rev Gershon succeeded in carrying out the Baal Shen Tov's request. The Baal Shem Tov received a letter which included the response of the holy Ohr Hachaim. What the Ohr Hachaim wrote was as follows:

"You, Re Yisroel, the holy Baal Shem Tov, will see a vision of me. If my entire body appears in the vision that will be a sign that you should indeed make the journey. If, however, any part of my body will not appear in the vision, that will be a sign that you should not make the journey."

For some unknown reason the Baal Shem Tov did not receive this return letter. When he saw the vision of the Ohr Hachaim, he did not pay much attention to the fact that the heels of the tzaddik's feet did not appear. Unsuspectingly, he set out on his journey to Eretz Yisroel.

Angels were sent from Heaven to stop him, as it was not time yet for Moshiach's arrival. They put many obstacles in the path of the holy Baal Shem Tov but he overcame all and continued on his journey. At around Pesach time he arrived at a city called Istanbul. There he boarded a ship and set off for Eretz Yisroel.

 

A great commotion arose in heaven and it was decided that even greater obstacle must be placed in the Baal Shem Tov's path in order to prevent him from continuing his journey. No sooner was the decision made in heaven, then Rev Yisroel's daughter, who was accompanying him on the journey, nearly drowned to death, and then the ship was shipwrecked.

When the holy Baal Shem Tov saw all the troubles that had befallen him he realized that in Heaven they did not want him to continue his journey. He lifted his eyes towards heaven and said, "Sh'ma Yisroel, Hashem Elokeinu, Hashem Echod! Master of the Universe I'm returning home!"

Instantly, he reappeared in Istanbul, and from there he traveled back home to his town-Mezibuz. There he continued to spread his teachings, with self-sacrifice, bringing the Jewish people closer to Hashem, so they they will be worthy of having Moshiach come before the appointed time!

Lesson: From this story we see how much self-sacrifice we must have in order to bring Moshiach. In those days a journey from Mezibuz (which is in Russia) to Eretz Yisroel, was very long and risky. Yet, not only did the Baal Shem Tov take the risks, but in fact even after many obstacles were put in his path he still continued his journey. Even when he finally had to return home, he continued to spread his teachings with self-sacrifice in order to bring Moshiach!

To Await Moshiach

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