Stories Archive:
#412-461 (5766)

Original translations/adaptations by Yrachmiel Tilles - co-founder of Ascent of Safed, creator of  Ascent's seminars,  editor of Ascent Quarterly, director of Kabbala Online and maintainer of this internet site and its e-mail lists.
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story #461 (s5766-51 / 27 Elul 5766)

Potatoes and Strings

While his grandfather the Baal HaTanya prayed, the Tzemech Tzedek played with his toy tefilin.

story #460 (s5766-50 / 20 Elul 5766)

The Weight of a Curl

Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev saw a young woman sitting alone, her hair modestly covered.

story #459 (s5766-49 / 13 Elul 5766)


With his spiritual vision, the Baal Shem Tov saw heavenly light streaming out from a tiny village shul.

story #458 (s5766-48 / 6 Elul 5766)

Pursued by Kindness

They would have to bring the family back to Tsfat and spend the rest of the war in a bomb shelter

story #457 (s5766-47 / 29 Av 5766)

How to Be in Exile

"Either for three years you will be ill and bedridden, or you will wander as a vagabond," said Rabbi Meir of Premishlan.

story #456 (s5766-46 / 22 Av 5766)

A Bit of Good Milk

Rabbi Naftali of Ropshitz walked into his kitchen and complained, " "Don't I deserve a bit of milk?"

story #455 (s5766-45 / 15 Av 5766)

The Happy Mother of Sons

As she started to get onto a bus, a woman in front of her turned around, attacked her and viciously beat her.

story #454 (s5766-44 / 7 Av 5766)

During the Previous War in Lebanon

During the closing days of Israel's 1982 war in Lebanon, I was one of a small group who got permission from the army to enter Beirut to cheer up the soldiers.

story #453 (s5766-43 / 1 Av 5766)

The Holy Ari of Safed

story #452 (s5766-41 / 15 Tamuz 5766)

Three Week Libyan Meat Sausages

During the three weeks, Jews from Tripoli eat meat sausages (margaz).

story #451 (s5766-41 / 15 Tamuz 5766)

A Good Environment for Torah Study

The Ohr Hachayim would sit engrossed in Torah study until his last coin was spent, and only then engage in his expert craft.

story #450 (s5766-40 / 9 Tamuz 5766)

The Wonder Horse

The huge millstone on the outskirts of 19th century Jerusalem was turned by the steady and patient treading of a horse.

story #449 (s5766-39 / 2 Tamuz 5766)

First Class to Tokyo

When he asked the Lubavitcher Rebbe to bestow on him a blessing for a good livelihood, the Rebbe's surprise answer was: "Go to Japan."

story #448 (s5766-38 / 25 Sivan 5766)

The Bed of Spices

When the Baal Shem Tov arrived, the doors of the study house were locked.

story #447 (s5766-37 / 18 Sivan 5766)

The Right Challah

He told Rabbi Mordechai of Lechovitch how Rabbi Leib Sarahs changed one slice for another.

story #446 (s5766-36 / 11 Sivan 5766)

A Memory Beverage

Rabbi Yosef Karo cautioned Rabbi Moshe Alsheich: "Your student Chaim Vital is remarkable. Be exceptionally careful."

story #445 (s5766-35 / 4 Sivan 5766)

The Orphans' Missing Mitzvah

At the circumcision of a baby who was already orphaned from both of his parents, Rebbe Yehoshua of Belz told this story about Rebbe Yaakov Yitzchak of Pshischa.

story #444 (s5766-34 / 26 Iyar 5766)


The calm, holy face of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev appeared at the window of the carriage

story #443 (s5766-33 / 17 Iyar 5766)

Twenty-Eight Gallons of Grape Juice

Caught up in the holy spirit of the day, we began to recount the power of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai.

story #442 (s5766-32 / 12 Iyar 5766) See the expanded version. #468

Speak Up

"Why did you not mention this until now?" asked the Seer of Lublin.

story #441 (s5766-31 / 5 Iyar 5766)

A Telegram From the Rebbe on Israeli Independence Day

The Lubavitcher Rebbe was characteristically succinct; the telegram contained but a single sentence.

story #440 (s5766-30 / 28 Nisan 5766)

A Visit to Paris

"Since only I among us speak French, I will speak," announced Rabbi Shmuel of Lubavitch.

story #439 (s5766-29 / 19 Nisan 5766)

Surprise Respect

When the holy ARI stood up to honor the teenaged boy, Rabbi Chaim Vital gaped in astonishment.

story #438 (s5766-28 / 12 Nisan 5766)

Bitter Heals

"I shall ask the Divrei Chaim what I should do about the eating of maror," said the scholar with the lung disease.

story #437 (s5766-27 / 7 Nisan 5766)

The Winning Interpretation

Rabbi Mordechai of Nadvorna asked him to convey his regards and a few words to Rabbi Zvi Hirsch of Liska.

story #436 (s5766-26/ 29 Adar 5766)

The Compromise Cure

Her husband told the Rebbe Rashab that the Tzemech Tzedek instructed her to wash her head in hot water.

story #435 (s5766-25/ 22 Adar 5766)

The Stuffed Lion and the Half Suit

Filled with wonder and appreciation, he urged Rabbi Moshe Leib of Sassov to visit Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk.

story #434 (s5766-24/ 15 Adar 5766)

Bad Example

"I, not being a tzaddik," announced Rabbi Meir Yechiel of Ostrovtze, "must as far as possible abstain from food."

story #433 (s5766-23/ 8 Adar 5766)

The Child Singer and His Friends

That Purim, Torah flowed from the lips of the Baal Shem Tov like water gushing from a pure stream.

story #432 (s5766-22/ 1 Adar 5766)

Fresh Chinese Challah

In Beijing, China, "a regular weekend" means only fifty or sixty guests for Shabbat meals.

story #431 (s5766-21/ 24 Shevat 5766)

The Previous Incarnation of the Baal Shem Tov

Rabbi Adam Baal Shem revealed to the Baal Shem Tov that his holy soul had previously lived in Tsfat (Safed).

story #430 (s5766-20/ 17 Shevat 5766)

Suing the Almighty

The Shpoler Zeide instructed his family to commemorate 19 Shvat throughout the generations.

story #429 (s5766-19/ 10 Shevat 5766)

Jumping the Line

"You can try to do mitzvot the same as the Lubavitcher Rebbe!" said Rabbi Yosef-Yitchak Shneersohn.

story #428 (s5766-18/ 3 Shevat 5766)

Shopping for Success

"Are you so sure my prayer will be effective?" asked Baba Sali.

story #427 (s5766-17/ 25 Tevet 5766)

More Enlightened than the Enlightenment

When Rabbi Shneur-Zalman of Chabad was young, he studied geometry and astronomy.

story #426 (s5766-16/ 18 Tevet 5766)

Only Pharaoh

Rabbi Simchah-Bunem of Pshischa spent some time in Germany, accompanied by his son.

story #425 (s5766-15/ 10 Tevet 5766)

The Knife

"Rebbe," she whispered to Rabbi Israel Spira, the Rebbe of Bluzhov, "do you have a knife?"

story #424 (s5766-14/ 4 Tevet 5766)

A Miracle for Tsfat

In it was a bottle of vodka, fifty $1 bills, and a note in the Lubavitcher Rebbe's handwriting.

story #423 (s5766-13/ 27 Kislev 5766)

Chanukah in the American Revolution

General George Washington and the menorah of inspiration.

story #422 (s5766-12/ 19 Kislev 5766)

The Missing Rabbi

For years Rabbi Zusha had been honored with lighting the shamash candle of the Maggid of Mezritch.

story #421 (s5766-11/ 13 Kislev 5766)

Telephone from Heaven

He recalled the festive meal which was prepared every Yud-tet Kislev in his grandfather's little shul.

story #420 (s5766-10/ 6 Kislev 5766)

The Revolutionary Rebbe

Incensed by the response of Rabbi Dovber of Lubavitch, the nephew carried out his threat.

story #419 (s5766-09/ 28 Cheshvan 5766)

The Iron Necklace

One night Dina had a dream that she was standing at the gate of the Cave of Machpelah.

story#418b/109 (s5766-08/ 20 Cheshvan 5766)  


The Rebbe, Rabbi Sholom DovBer Schneersohn, was muttering, as if he were talking to himself, but in Russian!

story #418 (s5766-07/ 14 Cheshvan 5766)

The Mitzvah of Escorting

The well-to-do business man who had come to consult with Rabbi Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev had dedicated a substantial amount of money and time to hosting guests.

story #417 (s5766-06/ 7 Cheshvan 5766)

The Mafia Godfather and the Yeshiva

Rabbi Aharon Kotler did not speak English, so it was Mr. Irving Bunim who explained to the Mafia godfather.

story #416 (s5766-05/ 30 Tishrei 5766)

A Prophet and a King

The townsfolk of Nikolsburg disapproved of the seemingly odd behavior of their rabbi, R. Shmuel-Shmelke Horowitz, and decided to dismiss him

story #415 (s5766-04/ 24 Tishrei 5766)

An Epic Beginning

The Baal Shem Tov presents the Maggid with a revelation and a role-reversal.

story #414 (s5766-03/ 14 Tishrei 5766)

A Bit of Kabbalah

Only in the sukkah of Rabbi Gershon of Kitov, no rain was falling.

story #413 (s5766-02/ 8 Tishrei 5766)

Suspending a Yom Kippur Prayer

"A subtle twinge of apprehension settled into my stomach, competing with the cheesecake for my attention and my gastric enzymes. My nervous system is alerting me that Yom Kippur is right around the corner."

story #412 (s5766-02/ 3 Tishrei 5766)


His father the Rebbe was in favor of the match, but his grandmother, Rebbetzin Rivka Shneersohn, had other plans.

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