4 posts categorized "Chassidic stories and parables "

Serving the same G-d

During the Omer, we must make a special effort to love, and at least respect, our fellow human. We curtail music and rejoicing during this time of the year because of Rabbi Akiva's 24,000 students who died in a plague. Yes, they were lofty Torah scholars, but they didn't properly respect one another. We must rectify this... 

The Melitzer Rebbe shlit'a told me the following story about his great grandfather, Rebbe Meir'l of Promiszlan. Keep it in mind before allowing yourself the "luxury" of feuding with a fellow Jew:

Serving the same G-d

Rebbe Meir'l of Promiszlan and Rebbe Yitzchok of Strettin were engaged in a long, drawn-out feud. Knowing that dissension serves no purpose, Rebbe Meir'l approached Rebbe Yitzchok and attempted to make peace. The latter only turned his face to the wall. "Please, Strettinner Rebbe, allow me to tell you a tale," said Rebbe Meir'l, and told him the following story:

During the time of the Spanish Inquisition, a Marrano* suspected of secretly being Jewish became deathly ill. The Inquisitors called the local priest, and told him to go see if the dying man would make last confession, proving that he's a Catholic, or else otherwise be burned at the stake as a Jew. The Priest and the Henchman entered the sick man's room, and the sick man turned his face to the wall, refusing to reject his true faith in Hashem during his last minutes on earth.

The Inquisitors said, "Ahah, he's a secret Jew!" The priest said no, he's embarrassed to confess in front of others. Everyone must leave the room!

Only the dying man and the Priest remained in the room. The priest, a Marranno himself, whispered in the man's ear, "You can say Shma Yisrael now, and express your belief in Hashem before you die. You no longer need to turn your back on me, because we both serve the same G-d." With his dying breath, the Marrano utterred, "Hear O Israel, the Lord our G-d, the Lord is one!"

"So you see, Strettinner Rebbe," said Rebbe Meir'l, "You no longer have to turn your back on me, because we serve the same G-d!" The feud ended on the spot.

*Marranos - the Spanish Jews who posed as Catholics on the outside, and secretly continued to practice their Judaism behind closed doors


Piety with Good Sense

Chossid Tipesh

If you are a man, and your answer to the question in the above photo is "yes", and you consider yourself religious, then you better double-check your value system, because your not synched with the Torah...

Yes, the hand you see in the above photo is the hand of a woman. And she's drowning, screaming for help with her last breaths. But you don't look at women, and you're shomer negia, so you certainly don't touch them...

The Gemara teaches that any "religious" person who ignores a drowning woman is a pious idiot. The Gemara also tells the story about another pious idiot who saw a baby drowning in a river, but he didn't jump in to save the baby because he wanted to fold up his tefillin first.

Hashem doesn't want pious idiots. The entire Torah is common sense and human decency. Saving lives overrides everything. Where do we learn this from? It's right in the Torah: Moses became the leader of the Jewish People not because he was so frum, but because he never ignored the needs of a fellow human. Read all about it Piety With Good Sense, my feature article in the week's stimulating issue of Breslev Israel magazine. 

Rav Shalom Arush tells about the power of gratitude in No Place to Park.

Dr. Zev Ballen shows you how to check the health of your brain in 20 seconds in The Heron.

Also featured this week:

Racheli Reckles - Waiting For Moshiach

Jennifer Woodward - The Right Way

Rivka Levy - On the Floor

Sacha Levein - Aliya, the Emuna Way

Dennis Rosen - The Only Address

Bright Beams blessings for a beautiful new week!

 


Serving the Same G-d

The Baal Shem Tov worked so hard for Jewish unity, so that every Jew should love every other Jew. Although mixing in between a feud between two great tzaddikim is like standing between two Mack trucks about to collide head-on – dangerous, to say the least – it’s still painful when they fail to get along with one another.

The Melitzer Rebbe shlit'a told me the following beautiful story, passed down from father to son from his great great grandfather Rebbe Meir'l of Promiszlan; Keep it in mind before allowing yourself the "luxury" of feuding with a fellow Jew:

Rebbe Meir'l of Promiszlan and Rebbe Yitzchok of Strettin were engaged in a long, drawn-out feud. Knowing that dissension serves no purpose, Rebbe Meir'l approached Rebbe Yitzchok and attempted to make peace. The latter only turned his face to the wall. "Please, Strettinner Rebbe, allow me to tell you a tale," said Rebbe Meir'l, and told him the following story:

During the time of the Spanish Inquisition, a Marrano* suspected of secretly being Jewish became deathly ill. The Inquisitors called the local priest, and told him to go see if the dying man would make last confession, proving that he's a Catholic, or else otherwise be burned at the stake as a Jew. The Priest and the Henchman entered the sick man's room, and the sick man turned his face to the wall, refusing to reject his true faith in Hashem during his last minutes on earth.

The Inquisitors said, "Ahah, he's a secret Jew!" The priest said no, he's embarrassed to confess in front of others. Everyone must leave the room!

Only the dying man and the Priest remained in the room. The priest, a Marranno himself, whispered in the man's ear, "You can say Shma Yisrael now, and express your belief in Hashem before you die. You no longer need to turn your back on me, because we both serve the same G-d." With his dying breath, the Marrano utterred, "Hear O Israel, the Lord our G-d, the Lord is one!"

"So you see, Strettinner Rebbe," said Rebbe Meir'l, "You no longer have to turn your back on me, because we serve the same G-d!" The feud ended on the spot.

*Marranos - the Spanish Jews who posed as Catholics on the outside, and secretly continued to practice their Judaism behind closed doors


The Modzitzer's roar

My good buddy Yitz from Heichal Hanegina sent me the following note & story:

Hi Reb Lazer!  Regarding your tobacco/Shabbos post, I'd like to share an incident which I heard from the brother of the one who heard it first-hand.

As you know, I have a connection to Chassidus Modzitz. One of the Modzitzer Chassidim lives in the Lower Galil, on Kfar Gideon, just outside of Afula. As you can imagine, someone dressed in Chassidic garb is a bit unusual to find on the Egged buses in this part of the country. So my friend's brother, R. Avraham, is travelling on the bus; a man spots him and asks him if he's a Gerer Chassid. Avraham says, No, I'm a Modzitzer. So the man says, "nuch besser" - even better - I have a story to tell you about your Rebbe.

Of course by now Avraham's curiosity was piqued, and he was "all ears."
 
Rebbe_shaul_of_modzitz  When Rebbe Shaul of Modzitz ZT"L [grandfather of the present Rebbe Shlita] was still in Europe, a young man was seen in his Beis Medrash, smoking on Shabbos! The Chassidim didn't know what to do with this, so they went & told the Rebbe. When the Rebbe, who was a big man - tall and broad - heard this, he began to run towards the man who was smoking. But the man just continued, undaunted, to puff away. When Rebbe Shaul approached him, he said to him, "B'farhesia - in public - you dare to do this?"

Reb Lazer, I've been told that Reb Shaul had a voice like thunder! You can be sure that these words penetrated the very being of this man! How do I know? Read on...

From that day on, the man never smoked on Shabbos. All week long he would smoke, but not on Shabbos. Other than that, he was completely non-observant. He came to live in Eretz Yisrael, and raised his family in one of the secular Kibbutzim in the Lower Galil.

His children couldn't figure it out - this man didn't keep Shabbos, he smoked all week long, yet on Shabbos, Abba never lit up! It got to them so much that they decided to investigate what Shabbos is all about. I probably don't have to tell you that they are fully observant Jews by now - just from that "B'farhesia?" statement of Rebbe Shaul of Modzitz! And yes, the one who told the story was one of these children!

As Reb Shlomo Carlebach used to say, "You never know!"

best regards, yitz