Stories Archive:
#512-565 (5768)

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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#565 (s5768-55 / 23 Elul 5768)

A Rebbe's Work Tools

When Rabbi Sar-Sholom of Belz traveled to the wedding of his son, he was stopped at the Russian border.

#564 (s5768-54 / 16 Elul 5768)

"L'Chayim" -- "To Life!"

From the minute Feivel first heard about the Baal Shem Tov he longed to see him. For years he saved and scrimped until finally....

#563 (s5768-53 / 9 Elul 5768)

The Chasidic Party Planner

The Tzemach Tzedek in Lubavitch had a relative living in Vitebsk, a businessman who had suffered a series of misfortunes.

#562 (s5768-52 / 2 Elul 5768)

The Innocent Tattletale Teacher

His employer did not like the idea of his "rabbi" going to another "rabbi" and leaving at this time.

#561(s5768-51 / 25 Menachem-Av 5768)

The Father of Orphans

Many men in Israel call Rabbi Eliezer Zusia Portugal, the Skulener Rebbe, "father-in-law," even though he had no daughters.

#560 (s5768-50 / 18 Menachem-Av 5768)

Brick by Brick

One cold winter afternoon in Tsfat, the Ridvas arrived in shul for mincha earlier than usual.

#559 (s5768-49 / 11 Menachem-Av 5768)

The Odor of Subtle Theft

A wealthy chassid came with a fine set of tableware as a gift for his rebbe, Rabbi Shmuel of Karov.

#558 (s5768-48 / 4 Menachem-Av 5768)

The Vanishing Rebbe

On every afternoon preceding a Biblical holiday, the Kalever Rebbe would disappear for many hours; no one knew where he went.

#557 (s5768-47 / 26 Tammuz 5768)

Reining the Speedy Horse

With tears in his eyes, one of his followers told Rabbi Shenuer Zalman that his teenage son had begun to turn away from the way of Torah.

#556 (s5768-46 / 19 Tammuz 5768)

The Secret Sage

When the Shtefaneshter Rebbe finished studying, he carefully replaced the books, leaving no indication that they had been used.

#555 (s5768-45 / 12 Tammuz 5768)

The Prisoner with Unshakeable Principles

The Rebbe Rayatz replied in Yiddish: "Even those who arrest others may rest assured that their turn too will come."

#554 (s5768-44 / 5 Tammuz 5768)

Rain in Morocco in the Summer?

Baba Sali told them to dig a new mikveh according to the superior specifications which he outlined for them.

#553 (s5768-43 / 28 Sivan 5768)

The Body Switcher

The rabbi suggested that I write a letter to the Lubavitcher Rebbe. I told my friend: "Do me a favor; get this rabbi out of my sight."

#552 (s5768-42 / 21 Sivan 5768)

When Caught in the Middle

The Yismach Moshe said he was aware of three past incarnations of his soul, including once among the Jews who were redeemed from Egypt.

#551 (s5768-41 / 14 Sivan 5768)

White on the Inside

He was relieved that Rabbi Yehoshua of Belz did not try to dissuade him from marrying the gentile girl, and only requested that he wear a simple garment.

#550 (s5768-40 / 8 Sivan 5768)

Is G-d in the Details?

Two merchants, with two diferent approaches, asked Rabbi Araham Mordchai of Sadigora for his opinion about investing in wheat futures.

#549 (s5768-39 / 29 Iyar 5768)

Expensive Advice

Said Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev to the melamed: "I will give you three pieces of advice. But for each, you must pay well.

#548 (s5768-38 / 22 Iyar 5768)

The Impossible Defense

Remember the circus car with the seemingly infinite number of clowns pouring out of it? Here is the Jewish version.

#547 (s5768-37 / 15 Iyar 5768)

The Tall Elder in the White Robe

One Lag B'Omer, the holy Ari and his disciples ere dancing enthusiastically with the multitudes at Meron.

#546 (s5768-36 / 8 Iyar 5768)

Triple Yield

The Jewish Agency official, caught up in the enthusiasm of Rabbi Mendelson of Komemiyut, authorized the planting of an orchard in the moshav.

#545 (s5768-35 / 1 Iyar 5768)

Sniffing the Best

The Rebbe Maharash, when he entered the synagogue of Rabbi Sholom of Belz, did his best to remain incognito.

#544 (s5768-34 / 24 Nissan 5768)

Safed Liberation Day

During the War of Independence, Rabbi Avraham Zeide Heller donned his Sabbath clothes before joining in the defence.

#543 (s5768-33 / 17 Nissan 5768)

Sorbonne Kindnesses

"How is your great Rabbi M. M. Schneerson?" asked the non-Jew. "I know him very well."

#542 (s5768-32 / 10 Nissan 5768)

A Valuable Slap on the Cheek

The father of the Bnei Yissaschar was an itinerant tutor; he would head home with his hard-earned money before each Festival.

#541 (s5768-31 / 3 Nissan 5768)

The International Funeral Procession

Before his passing, the Ohev Yisrael of Apta cried out to heaven in bitter protest over the length of the exile.

#540 (s5768-30 / 25 Adar II 5768)

The Extra Yeshiva Student

The Rebbe Rashab suggested to let the first floor of his house be used as the dormitory of the yeshiva.

#539 (s5768-29 / 18 Adar II 5768)

A Martyr of Magnitude

Doron Mahareta was rejected when he first applied for admittance to Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav in Jerusalem.

story #538b/123 (s5768-28 / 11 Adar II 5768)

The Onion Plot

“Exactly the opportunity I’ve been waiting for!” exclaimed Reb Naftali of Rofshitz, one of the leading disciples of the Seer of Lublin.

story #538 (s5768-27 / 4 Adar II 5768)

Ultimate Justice

Although the courts found the Jewish man not guilty, he could not bearthe guilt that he killed an old man, even accidently. He wrote to the sage, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, of Bnei Brak for advice.

story #537 (s5768-26 / 27 Adar I 5768)

The Flashy Fundraiser

"Until now," said the villager to Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin, "I thought the money I gave went directly to supporting the yeshiva and its students."

story #536 (s5768-25 / 20 Adar I 5768)

Suburban Miracle Minyans

Starring Ascent's own Rabbi "Big Mo" on the road in the snow.

story #535 (s5768-24 / 13 Adar I 5768)

Trustworthy Testimony

One Friday, the Baal Shem Tov arrived for Shabbat to a certain town, unannounced and unexpected.

story #534 (s5768-23 / 6 Adar I 5768)

Necessary Pilgrimages

"Why are you becoming so involved? I shall go to the Maggid of Chernobyl to tell him directly what I think!"

story #533 (s5768-22 / 29 Shevat 5768)

Quality Milk

The villager took some of his furniture and his cow, sold them, and gave the Baal Shem Tov the money.

story #532 (s5768-21 / 22 Shevat 5768)

The Laws and The Reincarnations

The Maggid of Mezritch asked the Baal Shem Tov to explain the Zohar passage that the opening verse, "these are the laws" refers to "the mystery of reincarnation."

story #531 (s5768-20 / 15 Shevat 5768)

Honoring One's Mother

A student of Rabbi Simcha Bunim of Peshischa, was attending his rebbe's lecture when he suddenly felt strong hunger pangs.

story #530 (s5768-19 / 8 Shevat 5768)

A Rabbinical Ruling for Peace

A few weeks before my uncle's wedding in Israel, the war between America and Iraq broke out. He went to ask the Lubavitcher Rebbe for his blessing.

story #529 (s5768-18 / 1 Shevat 5768)

Downloading from the Primary Source

A man troubled by a strange dream came to seek the advice of Rebbe Zusya of Anipoli.

story #528 (s5768-17 / 23 Tevet -- expanded and enhanced from #215, six years ago)

The 'New Year's Day Earthquake in Tsfat

In the deadly earthquake of 24 Tevet 5597 (January 1, 1837), 5,000 people in Safed lost their lives. In the Bat Ayin shul of the Avritcher Rebbe, as elsewhere, panic set in, and the congregants began to bolt for the outdoors.

story #527 (s5768-16 / 16 Tevet 5768)

A Fish With A Mission

Baba Sali arranged a large feast in Marrakesh for the yahrzeit of his holy grandfather on 20 Tevet.

story #526 (s5768-15 / 9 Tevet 5768)

The Apple Angel

August, 1942. Piotrkow, Poland. The sky was gloomy that morning as we waited anxiously....My greatest fear was that our family would be separated.

story #525 (s5768-14 / 2 Tevet 5768)

Distant Jews

The elderly Catholic woman said to us, "You should visit my cousin Tony who lives in Wexford, Ireland. He is married to a Jewish woman and they have three lovely children."

story #524 (s5768-13 / 24 Kislev 5768)

Worth Even More (a story for Chanukah)

His unit was assigned to secure the town and search for any hidden Nazis.

story #523 (s5768-12 / 17 Kislev 5768)

To Be or Not To Be?

One Shabbat, The Maggid of Mezritch surprised his chasidim by altering the style of his weekly mystical discourse and engaging in a Talmudic debate.

story #522 (s5768-11 / 10 Kislev 5768)

Fear and Light at "the Great Wedding"

Rabbi Shneur Zalman told his son, Rabbi Dovber of Lubavitch, to go and greet Rabbi Levi Yitzchok. Rabbi Dovber blanched and said, "Father, you know how the tzadik is upset with me."

story #521(s5768-10 / 3 Kislev 5768)

The Different Identities of Hershel

The father handed a gold coin to the Apter Rebbe as payment for his adjudication of the engagement dispute.

story #520 (s5768-09 / 25 Cheshvan 5768)

A Peck of Peppers

Even before the Sabbatical Year.

story #519 (s5768-08 / 18 Cheshvan 5768)

Firing and Hiring

After 1880, when he was appointed chief rabbinical judge and head of the main yeshivah in Hebron, Rabbi Chaim Chizkiyahu Medini became famous as one of the most brilliant Sephardic rabbis of his generation.

story #518 (s5768-07 / 11 Cheshvan 5768)

Tent of Abraham in the Tower of Light

"Rabbi Yitzchak-Dovid Grossman's first words to us came as a thundering shock."

story #517 (s5768-06 / 4 Cheshvan 5768)

Career Hinges

Said the Lubavitcher Rebbe to the Important Politican: Be like a Professional Athlete.

story #516 (s5768-05 / 28 Tishrei 5768)

Five Years on an Artic Icebreaker

The holy rebbe Rabbi Yisrael of Ruzhin encouraged the journey to India.

story #515 (s5768-04 / 21 Tishrei 5768)

"By Your Blood You Shall Live"

From the 1930s until he passed away after Sukkot in 1995 at nearly 100 years of age, the Ribnitzer Rebbe fasted on all days when it is permitted to do so under Jewish law.

story #514 (s5768-03 / 14 Tishrei 5768)

Discovered With a Lulav

"Let's walk to Starrett City to offer Jews there to shake our lulav-esrog sets. It's only a few miles."

story #513 (s5768-02 / 7 Tishrei 5768)

Tzadik of the Roosters

Before Rabbi Yosef Saragosi passed away, he left instructions to be buried on the spot where Elijah the Prophet had revealed himself to him, in the village of Ein Zeitim.

story #512 (s5768-01 / Erev Rosh Hashanah 5768)

Final Blow

During the voyage of Rabbi Elazer Rokeach to the holy land, a fierce storm broke out at sea on the first night of Rosh Hashanah.

Archived Stories (click on the desired year):
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#101-153 (5760)
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#512-566 (5768)
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#567-615 (5769)
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#667-721 (5771)
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