Baruch Hashem

Please print before Shabbos so you can read during Shabbos.

The Previous Chabad Rebbe

Next week - is 'Yud Shvat' the date of the passing of Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Shneerson (kown as  the Rebbe Rayat'z) the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe in 1950, and the date that his son-in-law Rabbi Menachem Mendel took over the leadership a year later.

The Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe lived in perhaps the worst period in history for the Jewish people: Stalin's rule in Russia.

Estimates have it that Stalin killed over twenty million of his own people and nevertheless was so revered by his brainwashed citizens that children regularly turned their own parents in to the police for counterrevolutionary crimes.

And public enemy number one was the 'Shneersinki' movement, especially its leader Rabbi Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe.  So it was a miracle that the Rebbe could stay alive.

But the Rebbe Rayat'z paid no attention to the danger to his own self.  His only thought was for Judaism.

While everyone else was afraid to even 'think' against Stalin, he established a huge network of secret Torah schools and Rabbi's (to provide kosher education, food, weddings, mikvas, circumcisions and more) throughout the U.S.S.R..  And even more amazingly, he inspired thousands, even tens of thousands, of Jews to risk their lives to send their children to these schools and observe the commandments. (Something like how Moses stood up to Pharaoh)

He was eventually imprisoned in 1927, beaten, tortured and even sentenced to death only to be miraculously released just weeks later. He was eventually actually helped by the Russian Government to leave the country together with his entire massive library, spent the next ten years in Latvia and Poland and, at the outbreak of WWII, moved to the U.S.A where, in the last ten years of his life he began the 'outreach' movement that is saving Judaism and the entire world today.

Of course all this self-sacrifice began with Abraham the first Jew but we can see it clearly in the following story.

Before Communism, in the days of the Czarist regime (until 1917), there were also ample problems for the Jews one of the worst of which was in the person of an evil anti-Semitic minister called Stolypin.

At that time Rebbe Yosef Yitzchak's father, Rebbe Shalom Dov Ber was Rebbe and once it was necessary for him to send Yosef Yitzchak to Petersburg to try to avert one of Stolypin's terrible decrees.  The Rayat'z  went there, met people, tried to get in to offices and make connections but with no success.  All avenues were closed and all ears were deaf to his pleas.

But when he returned to his father and told him that there was no recourse but prayer, his father told him to return and try again. And when he asked his father how much should he be willing to risk. his father answered;

"To the point of self-sacrifice; even your life."

Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak immediately returned to Petersburg and began to ask if there was anyone in the government that didn't hate Jews and after several days of asking he got what he wanted.

He discovered that there was one particular minister that was a devoutly religious man and, according to rumor, respected other genuinely religious people. But it was no easy matter to get to meet him and although he spared no time and energy it was only after many disappointments and much effort that an appointment was arranged.

And that was only the beginning. This minister lived outside of Petersburg where Jews were forbidden to live and the only time he had free was . on the Shabbat in the morning which made things almost totally impossible. 

It was too far to walk from the city (it is forbidden to walk more than a mile or so from a populated area on Shabbat) and there was no where nearby the Rebbe could spend the Shabbat. And even if there was a house to stay in he couldn't set foot there; all the houses were filled with religious icons, statues and idols. No place for a religious Jew.

The only option was the barroom.

Not far from this minister's house was a tavern. It would mean that the Rebbe would have to sit there for the entire Shabbat night, walk to the minister early in the morning and then walk back there and spend the rest of the Holy Day until the sun set.  It was a wild idea but it was his only chance.

The only problem was that on the weekends all the local ruffians and riffraff came there to get drunk, make trouble, have fist fights and pursue other such uncivilized activities; the place was packed with drunken maniacs. 

So the odds were a thousand to one that he would succeed:  Even if he lasted the entire Shabbat with the illiterate, anti-Semites who knows if  he would succeed in convincing the minister, and even so. who knows if  the minister could convince Stolypin.

But there was no other choice. It was the only way to avert a terrible decree. 

First obstacle was .. the bar.

The Rebbe suddenly had a brainstorm.  As soon as he entered the bar everyone's eyebrows raised. But he calmly sat down and immediately set about making interesting comments and impressing everyone there with his bravery, wisdom, wit and genuine friendliness until everyone relaxed and even the drunkards felt good to have him around.

The entire night he managed to stay awake, early the next morning he found a quiet corner in the tavern to pray the Shabbat prayers and then he set out in the cold winter to the house of the minister.

It is not recorded what exactly happened there but it is recorded that he succeeded in convincing him, returned to the bar for the remainder of Shabbat and not only survived but a few days later the decree was canceled.
 
The Rebbe Loves Everyone, even 'lil' Me
 
The following is a speech delivered by Esther Rachel at this year's annual Tzivos Hashem dinner. Tzivos Hashem is the international youth club for children under the age of Bar or Bat Mitzva established by the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
 
My parents always wanted to have a child, but had never been blessed with one. Until, ten years ago, my father came to see the Lubavitcher Rebbe, and asked him for his blessing.

It was just before Rosh Hashana. The Rebbe was standing in front of his room, giving out honey-cake. At first, he gave my father two pieces. My father had never spoken to the Rebbe before, but my mother had told him that this time he would have to ask for the Rebbe's blessing to have a child. So he did.

The Rebbe turned around, and my father got very nervous. Perhaps he had said something wrong. But then the Rebbe filled his hands with cake and said, "Hashem, who is the source of all blessing, will speedily and surely answer your request."

Three months later, my father had to change his job. To his surprise, he got a phone call from a member of the Rebbe's secretariat. The rabbi told my father that the Rebbe wanted him to know that this was going to be a wonderful month for him. My father thought that it meant he would have good luck in his new position.

A few days later, my mother told him the good news, that she was going to have a baby. Thank G‑d within the year, I was born.

So you see, in our family, we are all very grateful to the Rebbe for his holy blessing, and we know how powerful the blessing of the Rebbe is.

When I was a little girl, my father arranged a tutor for me to learn to read and write Hebrew as my first language. Soon I was able to read and write the Hebrew alphabet. Since I now could write, I wanted to send a letter to the Rebbe myself. I didn't know how to write words or sentences, but my mother said I could just write the alef-bet and send it to the Rebbe.

I did just that. And the Rebbe sent me an answer. He said that he had enjoyed reading my letter very much. This meant very much to me. It made me realize that the Rebbe really cared.

When I was four years old, the wife of the Rebbe passed away. We were all very upset, and my father flew to New York right away to come to do the mitzva of comforting a mourner.

As my father passed by the Rebbe, the Rebbe called him back, and asked him, "How is Esther Rachel? How is she growing in mitzvot and good deeds?" Even when the Rebbe was in mourning, he was concerned to ask about a little girl.

I learned from this how much the Rebbe cares for every Jewish boy and girl in the whole world. The Rebbe cared enough to ask about 'lil' me. 

Everyone knows about how Hurricane Andrew recently struck Miami. When we read about it coming, we were very worried. But then my parents heard that the Rebbe said everything would be all right, so we weren't afraid.

Then the storm hit. The building shook. The chandelier shook. We were getting nervous, but then my mother said, "Look, the picture of the Rebbe isn't shaking!"

I was looking out through the metal shutters on our condominium window on the 18th floor. Then I saw the most unusual sight. I called my mother to come quickly. There was part of the Dreidel House in the garden below. The storm had blown it away from the shul where it is stored several blocks away. It was the side of the Dreidel House that had the letter "hay" on it. To me, it meant the "hay" for Hashem, reminding us that Hashem is here and He is always watching over us.

The Man on the Junk Heap

Once upon a time there was a fabulously rich man named Mr. Farbes. But he was miserable.

He tried everything he could to soothe his misery; he went to doctors but they said he was completely healthy. He took up music, sports, hobbies, dancing, went traveling and even tried meditation but nothing seemed to help; he was bored and depressed.

With no other choice he went to a wise man for advice.

"Your problem," the wise man said "is that you never give charity. You live totally for yourself — that's why you are miserable. If you want to be happy, begin to help others."

Here was an idea he hadn't thought of! He would give charity and finally he would be free of melancholy. He left the wise man with a new hope.

But he discovered that it wasn't so simple. Giving away money was an entirely new world to him and he didn't know where to begin.

Most of the people that looked poor gave him the feeling that they really weren't. On the other hand, he was certain that there must be many people that really needed money but didn't look it.

He couldn't just give to everyone; if he gave to undeserving people he would not have given charity at all. But on the other hand he had to give or he would go crazy. There must be some way to find out who is really needy.

Suddenly he hit on an idea: He would give only to people that had lost all hope. That, he concluded, was true poverty.

So he put on his coat and began going around to places where unfortunates were to be found: hospitals, orphanages, jails, barrooms, slums. But he had no success at all.

Everyone he spoke to had some hope in life. He met people with problems, diseases, debts, enemies; he met homeless, penniless, jobless, helpless people, but no hopeless people.

He was getting desperate.

Then, one day as he was walking down some side street he heard moaning coming from the direction of the junk yard. Excitedly he walked in that direction.

There, sitting on a junk heap was a man in ragged clothes, covered with boils and moaning like Job.

"What happened to you?" Farbes asked eagerly.

"Ayyyi, don't ask" the man replied rocking back and forth and holding his head in his hands. "I lost everything, everything! Ooy! My money, my job, my house, friends, family, everything! And now I got these boils! Ayyyi!"

"Tell me," asked the rich man excitedly, "do you still have hope?"

"Hope?" he replied. "What do you mean hope?"

"You know", said the rich man, "hope that things will get better."

"Of course I have hope!" the poor man looked at him wide eyed and replied. "As long as I'm on the ground and the ground isn't on me, I have hope. In the graveyard there's no hope! You're looking for the hopeless? Go to the graveyard."

Now Farbes was really desperate. Would he be doomed to a life of misery? Was there no way he could give money?

Suddenly it occurred to him... He would take the man's advice! He would go to the graveyard and put his money there.

He knew it was a long shot, and it wasn't exactly giving charity either. But at least it was giving! And certainly the money wouldn't fall into the wrong hands.

So that very night at midnight he took a sack of money and a shovel, stealthily snuck into the local cemetery, picked a grave at random, dug a hole, threw the money in, covered it up, and left as secretively as he entered.

As soon as he got home he felt better. It was as though a stone had been lifted from his heart. It didn't make any sense, but what did he care? Finally he was happy. It worked!

A year or two passed and Farbes almost forgot the graveyard incident. But then, as fate would have it, his wheel of fortune took a spin for the worse. Business just wasn't the same as it used to be. He made some bad decisions; small losses brought bigger ones. He was plagued with setback after setback until five years later he was actually approaching bankruptcy and desperately needed some available cash.

Suddenly he remembered the buried money.

It was his last hope. That night he once again furtively crept into the same graveyard carrying the same shovel and sack, found the grave where he had buried the money, and began digging as quietly and quickly as possible in the eerie dim moonlight. A cold wind shook his bones as it whistled through the trees — he would really be glad to get out of here. Here, in another minute he would be...

"Hands up!" boomed a voice behind him. "Put 'em up and keep 'em up! Police!"

Farbes' knees began shaking and he almost fell over from fright. "Now turn around slowly," the voice boomed again.

He turned to see a huge gun pointed at him with a policeman behind it. "Robbing the dead, ehhh? How low can you get! Pheh!" said the policeman as he handcuffed poor Farbes.

He tried to explain but he was trembling so uncontrollably all he could say was "No... B-b-but.. I just..." In minutes he was on his way to jail.

A week later he was standing before the judge, a broken man. What once was a wealthy businessman was now a penniless, dingy criminal fresh from a fetid prison cell. The only comfort he had were the words of that man on the junk heap years ago: "As long as I'm on the ground and the ground isn't on me I have hope..."

The officer was testifying.

"Your honor, I caught him red handed. He was digging with a shovel, digging in the graveyard trying to steal from the dead. He even brought that bag into which to put the gold teeth and things."

"What do you have to say for yourself Mr. Farbes?" The Judge turned to him.

"Your honor, it's not so. You see, years ago I buried some money there because I was looking for someone who had no hope. That is, I had to give charity because a Rabbi told me to and I was looking for someone.." Farbes looked at the Judge to see what he was saying was making sense.

"Yes, continue," said the Judge.

"No! No!" Farbes continued. "Well, I met this man who was covered with boils in a junk yard, and he told me to go to the graveyard. So I went there and buried the money and now I need it back again."

"Do you believe that?!" exclaimed the policeman in amazement. "Excuse me your honor, but that is the most crazy, confused lie I've ever heard!"

"Yes, I believe him," said the Judge emphatically. "This man is telling the truth. Release him, he's innocent."

"What, your honor?" said the policeman not believing his ears.

"I said release him. Release him immediately, please."

Back on the street, a bewildered Mr. Farbes struggled to get his bearings. Amidst his joy at his unexpected freedom, something was nagging him at the very rear of his brain. That judge, where had he seen him before? He knew that face from somewhere...


The Priest & Tzedkah 
 
A very talented Chabad Rabbi by the name of Rabbi Shochet, once received an invitation from an organization in Buffalo, New York to speak before a crowd of intellectuals, among which would be many priests and soon-to-be priests, on the topic of charity.
 
But he had his reservations about speaking to such a crowd and was in a dilemma. On one hand he wanted to educate people and speak but on the other hand he wanted to avoid interfaith debates, so he called the office of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi M. Shneeorson, and requested from one of his secretaries to ask The Rebbe’s advice. 
 
The answer came immediately, The Rebbe said that Rabbi Shochet should accept the offer but he should take care to end his lecture with the story of the ‘Rich Miser of Krakow’.
 
Although the Rebbe’s insistence on that particular story seemed a bit unusual, Rabbi Shochet threw himself into the task and when the date arrived he flew to Buffalo and gave a fascinating two hour-long speech describing the unique Torah approach to giving charity. He explained that ‘Tzadaka’ (Charity) derives from the word ‘Tzedik’ ‘Justice’ implying money is not our own, rather it is G‑d’s and charity is nothing more than passing it on to those who justly deserve it.  But as he finished and the crowd was about to applaud he held his hands up for silence and announced that he wanted to finish with the story of the Miser of Krakow as the Lubavitcher Rebbe had requested.
 
“Once in the city of Krakow almost four hundred years ago lived a rich Jew named Yisroel. No one really knew his last name and no one even cared, because the ‘Yisroel’ was an intolerable miser. He lived in a large, plush home that seemed to invite the poor to ask for help, but if ever an unsuspecting money collector would knock on his door he would receive an abrupt ‘No money!’ and a door slammed in his face.
 
“Now, although it is forbidden to call people derogatory names, this old man was so stingy that eventually everyone began calling him ‘Yisroel Goy’ (‘Goy’ lit. Gentile) saying that only a non-Jew could be so callous to Jews. But it didn’t help and unfortunately the name stuck.
 
“So it continued for many years and everyone almost completely forgot about the old skinflint, until one day the burial society (Chevre Kadisha) received a message from him to come to his bedside. He was dying.
 
“‘Here is two thousand dollars,’ He announced to them in almost a whisper. “You’re not going to get another penny from me so don’t ask. I want you to bury me in a good spot, not near the fence or the garbage dump, and write on my tombstone: ‘Yisroel Goy’’. He then said the ‘Shma Yisroel’ prayer, closed his eyes and passed away.
 
“No one knew exactly how old he was, maybe ninety, maybe more, but one thing for sure; no one wept at his funeral, in fact almost no one attended, and they also didn’t bury him exactly where he wanted. But they did write what he wanted on his tombstone: ‘YISROEL GOY’. And that was the end of a sad, unfortunate episode in the history of Krakow.
 
“Or so they thought.
 
“One cold afternoon, about one week later, the Rabbi of the city, Rabbi Yom-Tov Lipman Heller (author of ‘Tosfos Yom Tov’ on Mishna) heard a knock on his door and opened it to see some fifty hungry faces greeting him with pleading eyes. ‘Yes, can I help you?’ he asked incredulously, ‘Who are you? Where are you all from?’
 
“‘We are from here, from Krakow.’ One of them cried out, ‘and we are hungry, we haven’t eaten anything all day.’ ‘For two days!’ Someone else yelled out.
 
“The Rabbi didn’t understand what was going on but he invited them all in, found them all places to sit and while his wife was preparing something for them to eat, he heard the following story.
 
“It seems that these paupers had been going to the grocery store every day for as long as they could remember, taking what they needed, they only had to sign, and that was it. But since yesterday the grocery owner refused to give them anything, so they were all hungry. 
 
“‘Very strange’ thought the Rabbi to himself. ‘So many hungry people! And all from here, Krakow! Could it be that they are lying? I must get to the bottom of this.’
 
“He waited for them to finish eating, told them to come to his home again tomorrow morning, put on his overcoat, told his wife that he would return shortly and walked out the door in the direction to the home of the town treasurer. From far away he could see that there was a crowd of people gathered at his door as well and as he approached he could hear the treasurer trying to make some sense of the chaos that was prevailing. ‘Oy!! Am I glad you are here!’ The treasurer shouted out when he saw the Rav. ‘Look inside, my house is filled too, there must be three hundred people here, and this is the second shift, a big group just left!!’
 
“‘I know, the Rabbi answered, they came to me also, different people that is, but hungry and all of them say that they are from Krakow. I simply don’t understand it.’
 
“After everyone had been fed and the treasurer distributed some money for tomorrow’s meals, both he and the Rav walked to the house of the Grocery store owner. “‘Sure,’ he answered, ‘I used to give everyone food. They would sign and I’d give the bill at the end of each week to that old rich guy that just died, the one they called Yisroel Goy. I mean, it’s been going on for, I’d say forty years, maybe more, even before I owned the store. I mean he was my best customer that old man. But what… he kept warning me not to tell anyone, even my wife. Every time he would pay he said if he heard that people knew he was paying, he’d stop. I don’t know why he didn’t want me to tell.
 
“’Did you see at his funeral? It was terrible; he almost didn’t have a minyan (ten people)! I guess he only cared about those poor people. But now that he’s not around well, what can I do? I can’t give food for free! I mean I have a wife and family too. Maybe I can give something, but he used to give thousands each week! I can’t give thousands like him. I hope that’s not the reason that you came to my house. I’m sure willing to help, but what can I do?’
 
“When the Rav and the treasurer heard these words they looked at each other and began weeping. They had made a terrible error in judgment. The Rav declared a day of fasting and repentance for the entire Jewish quarter next day. 
 
 
“The word spread like wildfire and everyone gathered at the Shul to say Psalms, they realized that they had made a big mistake. After several hours the Rav stood at the podium and announced that they were all going to the graveyard.
 
“It was a strange site to see so many people walking somberly like a funeral with no coffin. But they all poured into the graveyard and gathered around Yisroel Goy’s grave. For some reason the tombstone was covered with a large cloth but everyone’s attention focused on the Rabbi as he stepped from the crowd, stood at the foot of the grave, back to the crowd, and began to speak to Yisroel Goy.
 
“‘Yisroel, Yisroel! We’ve come here today to say we are sorry.’ He paused; the silence was broken by some muffled weeping from the crowd. ‘I know you don’t need our apologies but we are sorry! We’re sorry that we were so cruel, crueler than we accused you of being. And we’re sorry that no one was your friend and that no one really cared.’ Now the cries were louder, almost everyone was sobbing. The Rav waited for silence, dried his eyes and continued.
 
“‘I know you wanted the words ‘Yisroel Goy’ written on your tombstone. Well I’ve done something that I hope you won’t mind …last night I had the stonecutter add a word’. With this, the Rav pulled away the cloth to reveal that the inscription now read:
 
‘YISROEL GOY… KADOSH’   (Israel, a Holy Nation.)”
 
Rav Shochet had finished his lecture and the crowd showed their satisfaction with rounds of applause. After he had finished shaking hands and was making his way out the door one of the young men studying for the priesthood approached him and asked if it was possible to speak to him alone.
 
There was something strangely sincere in the young man’s eyes and Rav Shochet set an appointment for the next afternoon in his hotel room. The young man appeared on time and after sitting down requested that the Rabbi repeat the story he told, and then when he finished, requested an explanation on several points. He listened deeply to the answers, hey shook hands and parted.
 
Years later Rav Shochet, on a visit to Israel, was praying at the Kotel (Wailing Wall in Jerusalem) when a young, religious, bearded Jew approached him and shook his hand warmly. “Do you recognize me?” he asked, “I am the priest that visited you years ago in your hotel room.” 
 
Rav Shochet stared at him and was so astounded he couldn’t speak. “Yes,’ the young man continued ‘you don’t know what that story you told about the miser did to me. You see, my mother was Jewish but she didn’t tell me. She kept it a secret. She escaped to America from Poland in the war and there she married a devout Catholic. You see, it wasn’t so easy being a Jew in those times. Just before she died she told me that story, the same story you told, and added that we are related to that holy generous Jew that supported hundreds of people anonymously in Krakow hundreds of years ago.” But I pushed that episode out of my memory. Rabbi, your story woke something that was sleeping in my soul and now I’ve returned to my self.
 
Rabbi Shochet now understood why the Lubavitcher Rebbe insisted on that particular story.
 
Finding Oneself Can 
Be Painfully Wonderful
 
About 250 years ago in the Ukraine, Jewish education was a big problem.  Gentiles had the option, which they often took, to leave their children unlettered but not the Jews! That a Jewish child could be illiterate and unable to approach the wonderful, holy Torah was inconceivable!

In fact, education was so ingrained in the Jewish soul that even non-observant parents, which began to be more and more common, often hired Torah teachers for their children.

One such Jew lived in a small village. He was well-off financially and personally considered himself to be far above the antiquated Torah and it's commandments but for some reason, that he himself couldn't figure out, he wanted his children to learn Judaism.

The teacher he hired happened to be a young married Chassid, Yaakov, who had to leave his wife and three children far away to come to teach in this village with an agreement that he could travel home twice a year; Tishre and Nissan, for the holidays.

But as the month of Tishrei approached his boss started to have regrets. True he didn't have much patience for Judaism the rest of the year but Rosh HaShanna and Yom Kippur were different!  He was sick of the old farmer that usually led the prayers in the town and wanted Yaakov to stay in the village and lead the prayers on the High Holy Days.  But an agreement is an agreement and in any case he couldn't stop Yaakov from seeing his family.

But he was surprised to hear that Yaakov had no intention of going home. Rather he said that he was going to Liozne see his Rebbe, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Laidi the (first) Rebbe of Chabad.

His boss couldn't figure out why Yaakov would want to go see a Rebbe when He was a rebbe himself! Everyone in the village called him 'Rebbe Yaakov'.  What did he need a Rebbe for?

Yaakov even tried to explain it to him; something about the Moses of each generation and a general soul, but he didn't understand a word. Yaakov seemed to be a normal, intelligent young man. Why would he forego a visit to his family to see some Moses?

Yaakov didn't give up. He tried again and again to explain but his boss was too seeped in the mundane for anything to penetrate.  Until finally Yaakov just said, 'Listen, if you want to know what a Rebbe is, then why don't you just come to Liozne with me.  It will be an adventure!"

It was all too spiritual for the boss and at first he refused. But
after several days of hearing Yaakov ramble on, his curiosity got the best of him and he took up the invitation.

Yaakov was especially glad not only because it might awaken his boss' Jewish soul but also because he wouldn't have to walk for five days; his boss had a horse and wagon.

When they arrived in Liozne his boss was surprised to see hundreds, maybe thousands of Chassidim that seemed to know and respect Yaakov and that were friendly to him as well. They shook his hand warmly, spoke openly and in general the atmosphere was happy and positive.

He accompanied Yaakov to the place where they were staying but that night he saw that Yaakov, instead of just falling exhausted into bed as he did, seemed to be preparing for something. He was looking in his Siddur (prayer book) praying and swaying back and forth with such concentration that his boss had to interrupt and ask him why.

Yaakov explained that tomorrow after the morning after prayer, would be his turn to enter for 'Yechidus', (a private audience), with the Rebbe and he is thinking about it.

His boss didn't understand a word but the next day they woke early and when Yaakov went to stand in line for Yechidut his boss also stood there for a while and then went back to the room to eat.

When he finished he returned to look for Yaakov and when he didn't see him, decided to stand in line for 'Yechidus' himself.  He wasn't aware that each of the Chassidim there had been preparing intensely sometimes for years for this moment that they would be with the Rebbe, in fact he had never been aware of anything spiritual his entire life.

Finally he was next! The Rebbe's door opened and the Chassid who had been in before him came out. The Chassid had obviously been crying but he wiped his eyes, grabbed another Chassid and began singing and dancing.

The boss entered, closed the door behind him and there he
was...standing before the Rebbe. The room was quiet and very solemn but besides that he didn't really see anything special. So he just stood there. After all, he thought to himself, he had put a lot of time and effort to come here, now the Rebbe has to do something.

The Rebbe looked up at him and said, 'Nu?' (usually Chassidim give the Rebbe a note with their name and request or question but he gave nothing.)

'What, Nu?' Yaakov's boss couldn't figure what the Rebbe wanted.

"What nu?" The Rebbe asked rhetorically.

"I will tell you. Sometimes it could be that a Jew who doesn't learn Torah and doesn't care much about the commandments can come to do sins. For instance…" and the Rebbe proceeded to list, one at a time, all the sins that the Yaakov's boss had done in the last few years.

The boss couldn't believe his ears! At first he was startled, how could he know!? But then he realized what happened; it was Yaakov!  He must have told the Rebbe all this!! Why, that snake!!

As soon as the Rebbe finished he turned, walked out the door and began looking for the culprit; the informer!!

By the time he found Yaakov he was burning mad. He grabbed him and began yelling. 'How could you stab me in the back?!  I've treated you well and even brought you here… and you told the Rebbe my sins!!? Why I'm going to..."  but he saw that Yaakov was bewildered.

"What? Me? I would never! G‑d forbid! What, I told your sins to the Rebbe? Why, how could I know if you did sins?? How could I possibly know? Just think! And even if I did, I wouldn't tell the Rebbe! G‑d forbid! That is loshon hara (slander).

"Well, if it wasn't you then who could it be!!" his boss sputtered. "It was you all right! You can forget about working by me again!  You're lucky I don't punch you. Just keep away from me from now on!" And he turned in anger and stormed away.

But after a few minutes it dawned on him that what Yaakov said made sense. But on the other hand, how did the Rebbe know? Why did he tell him? What did he want? It was too confusing. He decided to leave.

Meanwhile Yaakov stood in line again to the Rebbe, told him what happened, how now was out of a job and asked him to help.

So a few moments later Yaakov's boss, who was in his room packing his suitcase, heard a knock on his door, opened up and saw a Chassid saying that the Rebbe wants to see him.

In a few minutes Yaakov's boss was back in the Rebbe's room listening to the Rebbe explain that not only had Yaakov never told him anything but in fact all he said was that it's possible for one to do sins not that anyone actually did them.  And even if someone did do all those sins they could easily be corrected.

For the first time in his life Yaakov's boss didn't feel like a boss and he didn't like the feeling… but he sensed it was the truth. Suddenly he noticed the Rebbe.  This man obviously cared about him and wanted him to be a Jew. He had been fooling himself and the Rebbe was peeling off his foolishness.

His eyes began to fill with tears as the Rebbe told him that from now he would have to change his attitude to G‑d and the Torah and learn to act and think differently.

Yaakov's boss left the room a humbled man as though the Rebbe turned on a light that showed him that his life had been in the shadows; a complete bluff. He remained in Liozne, became a genuine Baal Tshuva (a returness to Judaism) and came home a happy Jew.