Stories Archive:
#616 - 666 (5770)

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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#668 (s5771-02 / 7 Tishrei 5771)

Late for Kol Nidrei

Nopbody could understand why Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev was delaying to begin the Yom Kippur Evening prayers.

Connection: Seasonal - Yom Kippur)

#667 (s5771-01 / Erev Rosh Hashana 5771)

Two Parables for Prosperity

The Modzitcher Rebbe rebuffed a chassid seeking advice on his parnassah, saying, "I don't occupy myself with the frivolities of this world." Immediately after this, another chassid entered the Rebbe's room and spoke to the Rebbe for a full two hours - about his parnassah.

Connection: Seasonal - Rosh Hashana)

#666 (s5770-51 / 21 Elul 5770)

Jacob & Ivan; Israel & Peter

Many visitors had come to spend the Days of Judgment in the nearness of the saintly Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev.

Connection: Seasonal - Saturday night starts the Selichot prayers before Rosh Hashana (for Ashkenazic Jews; the Sephardim have been saying for three weeks already, since 2 Elul)

#665 (s5770-50 / 14 Elul 5770)

The Pesky Beggar

"If you feel you have no needs," the Baal Shem Tov said, "perhaps you will listen to a story I have. But you must listen attentively."

Connection: Seasonal - Shabbat 18 Elul is the 312th anniversary of the birth of the Baal Shem Tov, and the 286th annioversary of his revelation of the Chasidic movement.

#664 (s5770-49 / 7 Elul 5770)

From Lubavitch To Warsaw

Once, a very distraught woman made an arduous one-week journey to Lubavitch because someone told her that the Rebbe Reshab could help her.

Connection: Weekly Reading - documents of divorce

#663 (s5770-48 / 30 Menachem-Av 5770)

Himalayan Rescue

On a daring rescue mission in the Himalayas, Dror-Moshe Shaul succeeded in utilizing skills he gained as an Israel Army paramedic.

Connection: Weekly Reading - To prevent 21:1(inspired by D. Kahn, England)

#662 (s5770-47 / 23 Menachem-Av 5770)

The Enticing Platter

Reb Shmuel Munkes pranced about, pouring l'chaim and serving food, with the bowl of roasted lung snug and elusive under his arm, deftly side-stepping all attempts to free it from his grasp.

Connection: Weekly reading - eating kosher

#661 (s5770-46 / 16 Menachem-Av 5770)

The Broken Letter

It is known that Rabbi Moshe of Peshevarsk wrote every word of tefilin in holiness and purity, so every existing pair is considered extremely valuable.

Connection: Weekly reading (this week and last) -- tefilin

#660 (s5770-45 / 10 Menachem-Av 5770)

From Fire to Ice

Despite her husband's attitude, whenever business took him away for an extended period, she would go to visit Rebbe Meir of Primishlan.

Connections (2): Shabbat reading (Mincha) -- verse 7:14; Seasonal - Shabbat Nachamu

#659 (s5770-44 / 2 Menachem-Av 5770)

Will Power to Live

Rabbi Benzion Halberstam of Bobov was regularly provided by his followers with Havana cigars to smoke.

Connections (2): Weekly reading -- verse 4:15; Seasonal - 69th yahrzeit

#658 (s5770-43 / 24 Tammuz 5770)

Power of Prayer

When Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu first became a dayan (an official rabbinical court judge) in Be'er Sheva, in 1957 at age 28, his was the only rabbinical court between Eilat and Be'er Sheva.

Connection: the end of the thirty-day mourning period for Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu on 25 Tammuz (Wednesday, July 7).

#657 (s5770-42 / 17 Tammuz 5770)

Handle with Care

On his deathbed, the Ohr HaChaim whispered to his wife: "Do not fear, I will not allow you to starve."

Connection: Seasonal: 267th yahrzeit

#656 (s5770-41 / 10 Tammuz 5770)

Transcending Conflict

The Rebbe Rayatz replied to Rabbi Menachem Porush, "For 'Porush' there are many peirushim [interpretaions]; which one are you?"

Connection: Seasonal: 83rd anniversary of miraculous liberation.

#655 (s5770-40 / 3 Tammuz 5770)

Takes Two to Deal

The Lubavitcher Rebbe answered, "How do you know that you are closer to G-d than they? Maybe they are closer than you! Who can know what is inside the soul of a Jew?"

Connection: 16th Yartzeit

#654 (s5770-39 / 26 Sivan 5770)

Tar Boy

The following day the Baal Shem Tov came to the same spot in the forest, and they proceeded to the young man's home. A tantalizing aroma greeted them.

Connection: Weekly Reading -- See the commentaries about the opposite influences of the wives of Korach and On ben Pelet. (Also, we missed having a Besht story for Shavuot, as is traditional.)

#653 (s5770-38 / 19 Sivan 5770)

Fringe Rewards

The soldier was quite surprised when the Rabbi called upon him for the most important aliyah to the Torah.

Connection: Weekly Reading -- the end (tsitsit)

#652 (s5770-37 / 12 Sivan 5770)

A Matter of Taste

Rabbi Shlomo of Karlin was expected at the home of Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi. But the visit gave rise to a dispute between the Rebbe's wife and their daughter, Freyda.

Connections (2): Weekly Reading -- the manna contained all tastes; Seasonal - 197th yahrzeit

#651 (s5770-36 / 4 Sivan 5770)

With Only a Single Page

"Let me know when it will be," Rabbi Moshe Feinstein instructed. "I wish to take part in this joyous occasion!"

Connection: Seasonal - Shavuot, learning Torah

#650 (s5770-35 / 27 Iyar 5770)

Aliyah Funds

"Your idea does not appeal to me at all," Rabbi Meir of Primishlan said emphatically.

Connection: 160th Yartzeit

#649 (s5770-34 / 20 Iyar 5770)

A Blessing Through the Volcano

Within the chaos, one young Jew merits a smile of grace from the Creator of the World, and a miraculous series of events begins to unfold.

Connection: Current Events

#648 (s5770-33 / 13 Iyar 5770)

The Suddenly Inaccessible Shortcut

Only when they heard the faint sound of the Shabbat siren in the village of Meron, heralding the arrival of Queen Shabbat, did they realize that they had to return to their hostel immediately.

Connection: Seasonal - Lag b'Omer / Meron

#647 (s5770-32 / 6 Iyar 5770)

Medical Corps

"Don't be concerned," the Koznitzer Magid assured them;"it was surely not an evil spirit or sorcerer."

Connections (2): Seasonal - Iyar: Month of Healing, and Weekly Reading -- Acharei Mot

#646 (s5770-31 / 29 Nissan 5770)

A New Cousin for Seder

"I must not let a minor matter such as his severe stench repel me from the great mitzvah of hospitality," Rabbi Lezer of Reishe thought to himslef. "But what about my wife?"

Connections (2): Seasonal - Passover, and Weekly Reading -- skin disease

#645 (s5770-30 / 23 Nissan 5770)

Perils of Pita and Pesach

Salah Taamari was one of the prisoners in the Israeli detention camp, Ansar; he was a senior PLO terrorist, much admired by his henchmen.

Connections (2): Seasonal - Passover, and Weekly Reading -- eating kosher

#644 (s5770-29 / 14 Nissan 5770)

Pesach in a Siberian Labor Camp

The prison officer said to R. Eliezer Naness: "You are doing yourself a grave disservice by having the matzot. There is talk already that you are demoralizing the other prisoners. You know that there are plenty of ways of eliminating undesirable elements here. ...Your bones will never be found."

Connection: Seasonal -- Passover Festival

#643 (s5770-28 / 8 Nissan 5770)

Earning the Prize

The young man determinedly maneuvering forward explained: "I want to get a dollar as soon as possible [from the Lubavitcher Rebbe] so I can go on line again and get another one."

Connection: Seasonal -- 11 Nissan: Lubavitcher Rebbe's birthday

#642 (s5770-27 / 1 Nissan 5770)

In Place of a Temple Offering

"Leave out my 'Rebbe' and your 'Rebbe' and come with me," excalimed Rabbi Moshe-Leib of Sassov.

Connection: Weekly Reading -- the offerings

#641 (s5770-26 / 23 Adar 5770)

Something In The Air

I decided to drive to a nearby city, one with, unlike Tsfat, eating establishments that would be open despite it being the Sabbath.

Connection: Weekly Reading -- Shabbat (34:21)

#640 (s5770-25 / 16 Adar 5770)

The Purim Code

Rabbi Michoel-Dov Wessmandl asked me, "Did I ever tell you how many letters there are in the Book of Esther?"

Connections (2): Seasonal -- the festival of Purim; Weekly Reading (30:23)

#639 (s5770-24 / 9 Adar 5770)

Purim Treats from Heaven

Everyone was waiting for their beloved Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev to lead the Purim prayers, but he was not there.

Connection: Seasonal -- the festival of Purim

#638 (s5770-23 / 2 Adar 5770)

Saturday Afternoon Soccer

The Polish-born father said to his Israel-born son, "The Rebbe "Beis Yisrael" of Ger is here, let us go to him to receive shalom."

Connection: 33rd Yahrzeit

#637 (s5770-22 / 25 Shevat 5770)

Preparing for a Message from Beyond

Rabbi Yaakov Landau, subsequently the chief rabbi of Benei Brak for half a century(!), was a chasid of the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Rebbe ReShab

Connection: 24th Yahrzeit

#636 (s5770-21 / 18 Shevat 5770) GO TO expanded version #1157

We Don't Ask Twice

Whenever they had a question, they would ask Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson, wife of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

Connection: 22nd Yahrzeit

#635 (s5770-20 / 12 Shevat 5770)

A Stunning Fruit Basket

The stranger set down a gigantic basket bulging with choice fruits in front of Rabbi Yosef Meir of Spink.

Connection: Seasonal -- the festival of Tu B'Shvat

#634 (s5770-19 / 4 Shevat 5770)


The elderly cleaning lady who worked for Rabbi Yisrael Abuhatzeira - "Baba Sali" even knew his holy grandfather, Rebbe Yaakov.

Connection: 26th Yahrzeit

#633 (s5770-18 / 26 Tevet 5770)

Change of Heart

"Are you giving this money wholeheartedly?" asked Rabbi Yaakov-Yisrael of Cherkass. "If not, I can't accept it."

Connection: Weekly Reading (tenuous)

#632 (s5770-17 / 19 Tevet 5770)

From Moses to Moses

The medical writings of Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, known as the RaMBaM or Maimonides, influenced medical practice throughout the world for centuries.

Connection: 806th Yahrzeit

#631 (s5770-16 / 12 Tevet 5770)

With a Few Drops of Vodka

Some Jews confronted Rabbi Yisrael of Ruzhin. "We pray the morning prayer at first opportunity, daybreak. But the chasidim pray after the statutory time."

Connection: ?

#630 (s5770-15 / 5 Tevet 5770)

The Rebbe that Banged on the Table

On Thursday, the townspeople asked Rabbi Yechezkel of Shinova whether he planned to stay with them over Shabbat, but he avoided answering.

Connection: 110th Yartzeit

#629 (s5770-14 / 28 Kislev 5770)

The Ninth Flame

"I will never forget the last Chanuka in the barracks. In those last weeks before the liberation, the Nazis were particularly unpredictable and cruel."

Connection: Seasonal - The festival of Chanukah

#628 (s5770-13 / 21 Kislev 5770)

Honoring a Broken Bottle

The guest in Bagdad was awed by the plush richness around him; the thick Persian rugs, gold inlayed dishes and beautifully decorated walls.

Connections - 2: The festival of Chanukah that begins this Shabbat, and a direct quote from the Weekly Reading, Vayeshev.

#627 (s5770-12 / 14 Kislev 5770)

Echoes of Abraham

"After terrorists murdered our spiritual guides, Rabbi Gabi and Rivky Holtzberg, one year ago, I left my position as Director of the ICU Medical Center at British Kennedy in Mumbai, India."

Connection: Weekly Reading (last week) - Rivka takes her father's idols

#626 (s5770-11 / 7 Kislev 5770)

The Rabbi with the Torn Coat

Rabbi Naftali of Rophshitz asked the young man to lead him to his father's tailor's shop.

Connection: Weekly Reading - the engagement process 

#625 (s5770-10 / 30 Mar-Cheshvan 5770)

The Last Straws

The Chassidim looked at the Baal Shem Tov, but he seemed unmoved by the children's cries.

Connection: Weekly Reading - Gen. 26:12 

#624 (s5770-09 / 23 Mar-Cheshvan 5770)

Hebron Purim

When Spain expelled all of its Jews during the Inquisition, a group of exiles went to settle in Hebron.

Connection: Weekly Reading - Jewish ownership of Machpela Cave in Hebron  

#623 (s5770-08 / 16 Mar-Cheshvan 5770)

The Non-bleeding Challah

Rabbi Yitzchak of Kalisch kept an open house for travelers. Once, a gentile man entered and asked for piece of bread.

Connection: Weekly Reading - Jewish hospitality  

#622 (s5770-07 / 9 Mar-Cheshvan 5770)

An Old-Time Delicacy

"Many years ago in Vienna, I ordered a bottle of mead from a nearby Jewish inn. It was the most delicious mead I ever tasted."

Connection: Weekly Reading - 2weeks!) - Circumcision this week, and the unending bottle in the Haftorah of Vayera next week.  

#621 (s5770-06 / 2 Mar-Cheshvan 5770)

Praying for Freddy

The Driver asked the Professor if he could get him a ticket to enter the "Ohel" around the burial place of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

Connection: Weekly Reading (2) - caring for animals and immersion in water for purification     

#620 (s5770-05 / 25 Tishrei 5770)

Honeymoon Meal Ingredients

The wife of the Baal HaTanya was willing to prepare the entire Friday night meal, but there was no fish available, and Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev had a custom to always eat fish at a festive meal.

Connection: the 200th yahrzeit of the great Berditchever, "defender of the Jewish people"     

#619 (s5770-04 / 18 Tishrei 5770)

A Simchat Torah Dance for Zaleski

Our local New Jersey Reform rabbi organized a trip to Brooklyn for the holiday of Simchat Torah with the Bobover Rebbe.

Connection: Seasonal - The festival of Simchat Torah     

#618 (s5770-03 / 11 Tishrei 5770)

The Etrog Business

He sought a very special etrog for his Rebbe, Rabbi Avraham of Chechnow, but the only one he could find had been designated for the "Toras Emes" of Lublin.

Connection: Seasonal - The festival of Sukkot     

#617(s5770-02 / 4 Tishrei 5770)

An Inspired Substitution

Rabbi Yechezkel Landau, "the Noda BiYehudah," was on friendly terms with the Baal Shem Tov, but did not believe in him as a holy man.

Connection: Weekly Reading -- Haftorah verse      (Word Count: 419 + 167)

#616 (s5770-01 / Eruv Rosh Hashana 5770)

Blessed Eating

The Tzemach Tzedek once invited a non religious doctor to spend Shabbat with him.

Connection: Holiday and birth date        (Word Count: 343 + 95)

#654 (s5770-39 / 26 Sivan 5770)

With Only a Single Page

Watching his newly-observant son poring over his Talmud, the father was very impressed. (Rabbi Moshe Feinstein)

Connection: Seasonal - Pirkei Avot

Archived Stories (click on the desired year):
Stories Archive:
#101-153 (5760)
Stories Archive:
#154-204 (5761)
Stories Archive:
#205-#254 (5762)
Stories Archive:
#255-309 (5763)
Stories Archive:
#310-357 (5764)
Stories Archive:
#358-#411 (5765)
Stories Archive:
#412-461 (5766)
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#462-511 (5767)
Stories Archive:
#512-566 (5768)
Stories Archive:
#567-615 (5769)
Stories Archive:
#616-666 (5770)
Stories Archive:
#667-721 (5771)
Stories Archive:
#722-771 (5772)
Stories Archive:
#772-822 (5773)
Stories Archive:
#823-877 (5774)
Stories Archive:
#878-928 (5775)
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#929-983 (5776)
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#984-1031 (5777)
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#1032-1082 (5778)
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#1138 - 1188 (5780)
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#1189 - 1239 (5781)
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#1240-1293 (5782)
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