Stories Archive:
#878-928 (5775)

As told by Yerachmiel Tilles,
The co-founder and first educational director of Ascent-of-Safed, originator and maintainer of this website, and managing editor of Kabbala Online.
He has hundreds of published stories to his credit, and many have been translated into other languages. He tells them live in Tsfat (Safed) nearly every week, at his home on Friday evenings and at Ascent on Saturday nights. To receive the Story by e-mail every Wednesday--sign up here!

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#928 (s5775-51 / 23 Elul 5775)

Precious Tefillin

The stewardess told him that once the doors of the plane closed, no one was allowed off the plane.He went to the pilot who simply restated the policy.

Connection: Seasonal--(Surprise! - you will easily figure it out when you read the story)


#927 (s5775-50 / 16 Elul 5775)

The Paralyzed Fingers

"During our stay," the Baal Shem Tov commanded the innkeeper, "you will have to lock all the windows and the doors to the inn. You must not open them for anyone, even an important person.

Connection: Seasonal--Wednesday is the 317th anniversary of the birth of the Baal Shem Tov (and the 270th of the Alter Rebbe of Chabad).


#926 (s5775-49 / 9 Elul 5775)

Suffering in Silence

Rabbi Moshe-Leib of Sassov claimed that he learned from a robber how to cope with the sufferings of the long Jewish exile.

Connection: Weekly Reading-a positive lesson from lashes.


#925 (s5775-48 / 2 Elul 5775)

Defying the Mayor

Rabbeinu Meir Abuchatzeira ("Baba Meir") instructed them to assemble all the Jews of the city that night in the local synagogue for the recitation of Selichot. The midnight hour was fast approaching.

Connection: seasonal - the Month of Elul - Elul 2 is when Jews of Sephardic tradition begin reciting the Selichot/Forgiveness prayers.


#924 (s5775-47 / 25 Menachem-Av 5775)

A Kosher Eight Hours Sleep

"The Lubavitcher Rebbe is smart. He's not like you - he didn't tell me to become religious, he only..."

Connection: Weekly Reading-some of the Laws of Keeping Kosher


#923 (s5775-46 / 18 Menachem-Av 5775)

Three Difficult Conditions

A home in Tel Aviv was purchased for Rabbi Aharon of Belz, but until it was ready he had to stay in Jerusalem, where a typical dwelling consisted of two rooms, with a bathroom shared by other tenants.

Connection: Seasonal--21 Menachem Av (Wed. night-Thurs.) is the 58th yahrzeit of Rabbi Aharon of Belz.


#922 (s5775-45 / 11 Menachem-Av 5775)

Reserving Residency in Heaven

"Woe is me! My entire life I have always maintained a state of awe of Heaven, and I have toiled only in Torah and I have eighty worthy students. Yet my accomplishments are only equal to those of a butcher?"

Connection: Weekly reading - "Honor Your father and mother" (Deut. 5:16)


#921 (s5775-44 / 3 Menachem-Av 5775)

Rebbe Rest Stop in Rosh Pina

The Lubavitcher Rebbe [Rabbi Yosef-Yitzchak Schneersohn] knocked on the door, introduced himself and asked if we were a Jewish family.

Connection: Seasonal -- This story took place on Hei (5) Av, yahrzeit of the Holy Ari of Tsfat.


#920 (s5775-43 / 26 Tammuz 5775)

Three Horses After Three Days

A principal military chieftan of the First Crusade heard rumors of the knowledge and wisdom of Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki.

Connection: Seasonal -- The 910th yahrzeit of Rashi coincides with this Shabbat.


#919 (s5775-42 / 19 Tammuz 5775)

The Shabbat of Missed Opportunity

As soon as Rabbi Aharon of Karlin the Great set his foot inside the door of his unknown host and hostess, he felt himself enveloped by an overwhelming sense of holiness,

Connection: 192nd Yahrzeit of Rebbe Shlomo of Karlin.


#918 (s5775-41 / 12 Tammuz 5775)

Endangering One's Own to Help Others

The non-chasidic scholar shouted: “The Torah is preserved only by one who gives his life for it! Is there someone else like the Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn of Lubavitch, who is willing to put everything on the line for no personal gain."

Connection: Seasonal - Yud-Beit (12th) Tammuz is the anniversary of the birthday (1880) and Liberation Day (in 1927) of the Rebbe Rayatz.


#917 (s5775-40 / 5 Tammuz 5775)

Two Orphans and their Wedding Presents

Each of the unexpected guests presented himself as a relative of one of the orphans. They were received with much joy, for no one knew that the couple had these relatives.

Connection: Weekly Reading-Num. 21:1-3 + commentaries (rescuing captives)


#916 (s5775-39 / 28 Sivan 5775)

The Rebbe and Science Fiction

"I was thrilled when the Lubavitcher Rebbe told me he'd written to Isaac Asimov and had gotten a reply."

Connection: Seasonal -- the 21st yahrzeit of the Lubavitcher Rebbe is on Shabbat, 3rd of Tammuz (2015: June 20)


#915 (s5775-38 / 21 Sivan 5775)

Once Mailed, Twice Delivered

He had a burning desire to settle in the Holy Land, so he traveled to Mezibuz to gain the Baal Shem Tov's blessing to do so.

Connection: Weekly Reading -- Love of The Land; not reaching The Land


#914 (s5775-37 / 14 Sivan 5775)

The Egg Minyan

Word of Reb Shmuel's prompt and ethical business spread, and soon he acquired his first weekly customer, the Rebbetzin of Skvere.

Connection: Weekly Reading -- Free food (the 'Manna') from Heaven


#913 (s5775-36 / 8 Sivan 5775)

The Life of an American Yeshiva Student in Jerusalem During the Six-Day War

Our Yeshiva was next to the border and we had a huge backyard; the IDF took over our yard, dug three huge foxholes and put three large mortar guns into them.

Connection: Seasonal -- Last week was Jerusalem Liberation Day


#912 (s5775-35 / 1 Sivan 5775)

Transmission through Towels

The Baal Shem Tov had passed away, and most of his disciples were drawn to the Maggid of Mezritch as his successor. Rabbi Yaakov Yosef Polnauer, the Baal HaToldos, found this puzzling.

Connection: Seasonal The festival of Shavuot, as well as being the yahrzeit of the Baal Shem Tov, was also the date, one year later, of the official transference of the mantle of leadership of the Chasidic movement to the Maggid of Mezritch.


#911 (s5775-34 / 22 Iyar 5775)

A Sabbatical Jew

His parents, who had lost all their relatives in the war, had given up on Torah and mitzvot. He left home at the age of 13 and literally lived on the streets.

Connections (2): 1-seasonal- This Jewish year, 5775, is a Sabbatical year for the Land of Israel--no planting, no cultivating, no harvesting, etc.
2-Weekly Reading (this week, outside of Israel; last week, in Israel), beginning: the Commandment of the Sabbatical Year.


#910 (s5775-33 / 15 Iyar 5775)

After Nine Miscarriages

I want to tell you about the miracle that happened to me, starting with Lag BaOmer 5764/2004, the first time I ever went to Meron on Lag b'Omer.

Connection: seasonal- Lag b'Omer is Wednesday night-Thursday, Iyar 18 (May 6-7)


#909 (s5775-32 / 8 Iyar 5775)

A Gift for King Moshiach

The Rabbi realized it wasn't by accident that he had twice dropped his pen; Heaven was preventing him from signing. He burst into bitter tears.

Connection: seasonal- Iyar 11 is the 178th yahrzeit of Rabbi Naftali of Ropshitz.


#908 (s5775-31 / 1 Iyar 5775)

Like [Grand] Father, Like Son

In 1912, on a train from Paris to Petersburg,. Rabbi Yosef-Yitzchak Scheersohn of Lubavich was approached by a well-dressed businessman

Connection: Seasonal--2 Iyar --Tiferet sh'b'Tiferet--is the 181st anniversary of the birth of the Rebbe Maharash.


#907 (s5775-30 / 24 Nisan 5775)

Psychology or Pottery?

""You are asking me what I think?" replied the Lubavitcher Rebbe. He smiled. "Well, of course you know what I think!"

Connection: ???


#906 (s5775-29 / 17 Nisan 5775)

The Blessing on Tofutti

"An opportunity came up to open a restaurant on Madison Avenue. I asked the LubavitcherRebbe if I should do it, and his answer was 'Be careful.'"

Connections: 1-Seasonal -- 113th anniversary of the birthday of the Lubavitcher Rebbe; 2-Weekly Reading -- "Shemini" contains a long section about Kashrut.


#905 (s5775-28 / 10 Nisan 5775)

A BronxBasement Seder

During the ‘intermediate days' of the Passover holiday, R. Azriel Wasserman noticed that two of the pupils, two little girls, kept falling asleep in class.

Connection: Seasonal -- Passover


#904 (s5775-27 / 3 Nisan 5775)

One Seder for All the Town

Word was brought to Rabbi Yehuda Assad of Szerdahely that a gang of robbers was preparing to attack the town, while all the Jews were sitting at their Seder tables.

Connection: Seasonal -- Passover


#903 (s5775-26 / 25 Adar 5775)

Customer Relations

"The next day I heard a rumor that those gentiles were after my life. I was terrified. In desperation I decided to go to the Rebbe Reshab in Lubavitch."

Connection: Seasonal -- 95th yahrzeit of the Rebbe Reshab


#902 (s5775-25 / 18 Adar 5775)

The Dangerous Cantor

The Rebbe Elimelech of Lizhensk was afraid that the extraordinary singing of the Cantor of the Baal Shem Tov would disrupt him from his holiness.

Connection: Seasonal -- 228th yahrzeit of the Rebbe Elimelech


#901 (s5775-24 / 11 Adar 5775)

A Difficult Question in Kabbalah

As they journeyed together to the Rebbe, Reb Shmuel Munkes revealed to the great scholar his own difficulties in understanding the Kabbalah.

Connection: Seasonal -- PURIM


#900 (s5775-23 / 4 Adar 5775)

The Pioneer Chasidic Artist, Part 2

The Lubavitcher Rebbe encouraged Chenoch "Feter Hendel" Lieberman to attend the exhibition, but to lodge in a different, nearby hotel.

Connection: Weekly Readings--"l'kvod u'l'tiferet"-"For honor and for beauty" (Ex. ch. 28:2)


#899 (s5775-22 / 27 Shevat 5775)

The Pioneer Chasidic Artist, Part 1

Chenoch "Feter Hendel" Lieberman was an artist who occupied an honored position behind the Lubavitcher Rebbe at prayers, celebrations and lectures.

Connection: Weekly Readings--this week's and next: the beauty of the various tapestries and priestly garments in the Mishkan and the Holy Temple (Ex. ch. 26-28)


#898 (s5775-21 / 20 Shevat 5775)

The Dog, the Fish and the Dream

Rabbi Nachman of Kosov had a relative named Rabbi Yudel of Chudnov who was also a follower of the Baal Shem Tov.

Connection: Weekly Reading--"These are the Judgments" ("These are the Kindnesses" /"These are the Reincarnations")


#897 (s5775-20 / 13 Shevat 5775)

A Shabbat in the Park

"Rose, my child, remember: G-d is watching over you every step of the way. Don't forget who you are!"

Connection: Weekly Reading--The Ten commandments. Do you know #4?


#896 (s5775-19 / 6 Shevat 5775)

Start Getting Rich!

His grandfather attributed his wealth to beginning every day by reading a small portion of a book by Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Riminov

Connection: Weekly Reading--The Manna/food from Heaven


#895 (s5775-18 / 28 Tevet 5775)

A Bar Mitzvah on the Way to Heaven

It was with great difficulty that the man put on the tefilin. He was in excruciating pain and to lift his arm and head was a tremendous struggle.

Connection: Weekly Reading--The first two of the four sections in the Torah where the mitzvah of tefilin is mentioned constitute the conclusion of Parshat "Bo".


#894 (s5775-17 / 21 Tevet 5775)

The Strongman of Shklov

Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Chabad decided to return home; his opponents plotted to throw stones at him as he departed.

Connection: Seasonal--202nd Yartzeit of the Alter Rebbe of chabad on 24 Tevet.


#893 (s5775-16 / 14 Tevet 5775)

Two Widows and the Potato Patch

In the winter of 1932, the Segalov family--including five small children and their pregnant mother--was put out onto the street, in the middle of a freezing snowstorm. .

Connection: Seasonal--the 8th anniversary of Bubbe Mariasha Segalov...at age 106!


#892 (s5775-15 / 7 Tevet 5775)

The Devoted Nazi with Three Jewish Grandsons

Even with their long peiyot, they didn't look Jewish with their stunning blond Aryan hair and shining blue eyes..

Connection: Seasonal--The Fast of the Tenth of Tevet (this Thursday) became the date to say Kaddish for those martyrs of the Holocaust (and all the others through the centuries) whose date of death is unknown.


#891 (s5775-14 / 1 Tevet 5775)

The Speediest of All

Rabbi Yehezkel of Shinova immersed in the Ari Mikveh several times a day, so he was quite efficient and quick getting undressed and dressed.

Connection: Seasonal--115th Yartzeit of the Divrei Yehezkel (son of the Divrei Chayim of Sanz) on 5 Tevet.


#890 (s5775-13 / 23 Kislev 5775)

The Ninth Flame

"Tonight we have performed a miracle greater than the miracle of Chanukah. We have lit a flame more powerful than the Chanukah lights."

Connection: Seasonal--CHANUKAH


#889 (s5775-12 / 16 Kislev 5775)

A Deathbed Deal

In the Heavenly Yeshiva, the Maggid of Mezritch whispered to the Baal Shem Tov, "My "Zalmanyu" [Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Chabad] is in trouble. We must do something.'

Connection: Seasonal--the chasidic festival Yud-Tes Kislev falls this year on Wed night-Thurs.(Dec. 10-11).


#888 (s5775-11 / 11 Kislev 5775)

A Helpful Detour

The chasid told the tzadik, R. Yechiel-Michel of Zlotchov, about his meeting with the wealthy merchant who had entrusted him to deliver the inheritance to the relative who could not be found..

Connection: The Weekly Reading--opens with messengers who were actually angels (according to the Maggid of Mezritch).


#887 (s5775-10 / 2 Kislev 5775)

Coming Back to Earth

The Rebbe, R. Yitzchak-Isaac of Zhidichov, asked his sons one Sunday morning why none of the business men who were their Shabbat guests still had not left.

Connection: Weekly Reading--"Yaakov halach l'darko" (32:2), a hint to involvement in the world.

#886 (s5775-09 / 24 Cheshvan 5775)

The Lubavitcher Rebbe and His Women Emissaries

The Rebbe responded that he prefers that I write myself rather than have my husband include me in his report.

Connection: This weekend, thousands of emissaries of the Lubavitcher Rebbe from all over the globe will gather in Brooklyn for their annual convention. (Males-the convention for the women takes place three months after.)


#885 (s5775-08 / 17 Cheshvan 5775)

The Emissary of Hebron

Rabbi Amram Ben Diwan was known for his miracles. His blessings always came to pass, and Jews would travel to urgently seek him from all the towns of Morocco.

Connection: Weekly Torah Reading--the beginning relates the Jews' legal acquisition of Machpela Cave in Hebron.

#884 (s5775-07 / 10 Cheshvan 5775)

Long-Time Guests

Reb Baruch-Mordechai of Warsaw had an open house. People came and went as they pleased, never asking permission, taking everything for granted.

Connection: The mitzvah of hospitality is an featured in this week's Torah reading, both at the beginning and near the end.

#883 (s5775-06 / 4 Cheshvan 5775)

A Mutually Beneficial Encounter

Rebbe Meir of Premishlan once wrote to the renowned scholar, Rabbi Shlomo Kluger of Brody, asking that they should meet.

Connection: Weekly Reading--[Gen. 14:18].

#882 (s5775-05 / 26 Tishrei 5775)

The Greeks vs. the Jews Again

In the days of the rioting there was nothing to do; it was life-threatening to leave his house.

Connection: Weekly Reading--The end covers the first 70 years of Patriarch Abraham's life, before he moved to the Holy Land at G-d's command.

#881 (s5775-04 / 19 Tishrei 5775)

A Lively Siberian Dance

"You are supposed to be working just as we are. At least sing for us one of your lively Jewish holiday tunes."

Connection: Seasonal--SIMCHAT TORAH

#880 (s5775-03 / 12 Tishrei 5775)

Engaging the Bungler

When his daughter reached marriageable age, he asked his rebbe, Rabbi Mottel of Chernobyl, to recommend a match for her.

Connection: Seasonal--SUKKOT

#879 (s5775-02 / 5 Tishrei 5775)

Bare-chested Neilah

"About two hours away there's a small village of Cantonists. They're the closest thing to Jews you'll find around here."

Connection: Seasonal--YOM KIPPUR

#878 (s5775-01 / 29 Elul 5774)

Just one blast!

The child threw a tantrum. He could not comprehend why his grandfather, the Minchat Eliezer of Munkatch, would not blow the shofar for him on Erev Rosh Hashana.

Connection: Seasonal--ROSH HASHANA
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