Stories Archive:
#722 - 772 (5772)

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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#772 (s5772-51 / 23 Elul 5772)

The Prayerbook of Screams

Written on cigarette paper in a Siberian prisoner-of-war camp

Connection: Seasonal: Rosh Hashana 5773

#771 (s5772-50 / 15 Elul 5772

After Thirty-Three Years of Childlessness

The Ba'al Shem Tov's disciple was deeply upset at the bitter lot of the couple

Connection: Seasonal: 314th anniversary of Baal Shem Tov's birth.

#770 (s5772-49 / 9 Elul 5772)

Conflicting Prophecies

The Chassid and his wife decided that he would go to beseech the Shpoler Zeide once more. This time, no matter what, he would not take 'no' for an answer.

Connection: Seasonal - 221st yahrzeit of Rabbi Pinchas of Koretz.

#769 (s5772-48 / 2 Elul 5772)

"To Him Shall You Hearken...And It Will Go Well For You"

The four brothers came to say Kaddish for their father, then confided in me that they had a fifth brother who the doctors estimated had 6-8 months left to live.

Connection: Weekly reading - verses 18:15 and 19:13 play a significant role in the story.

#768 (s5772-47 / 25 Menachem-Av 5772)

Studying Talmud in English

Although he was in an advanced stage of liver cancer, he participated in the daily study every day in an exceptionally upbeat manner, armed with his ArtScroll Gemara.

Connection: Seasonal - The Talmud Completion ceremony in MetLife Stadium, NJ, on August 1, attended by 93,000 people!

#767 (s5772-46 / 18 Menachem-Av 5772)

One Mezuza -- Two Souls

They warned her that a Jewish student living alone in a French town with a mezuzah on her doorpost is taking a big risk.

Connection: Weekly reading - the mitzvah of mezuzah: Deut. 11:20(+21).

#766 (s5772-45 / 11 Menachem-Av 5772)

Every Moment is Precious

In his youth, Rabbi Shalom of Belz had the habit of smoking a pipe excessively, particularly while learning in the beit hamidrash.

Connection: Weekly Torah - "Guard yourself very carefully" (4:9, and again, 4:15).

#765 (s5772-44 / 4 Menachem-Av 5772)

The Eighth Plague Again

The students of the Holy Ari of Tsfat became very frightened and asked: "Rebbe, for what has this severe punishment been decreed? What sin have the residents of Safed committed?"

Connection: Seasonal - the upcoming 440th yahrzeit of the Arizal

#764 (s5772-43 / 27 Tammuz 5772)

Saved by a Match

On the eve of the trial, the nervous defendant went to the Bobover Rebbe, Rabbi Bentzion Halberstam, for a blessing. The Rebbe added some very strange instructions.

Connection: Seasonal - the upcoming 61st yahrzeit of the Bobover Rebbe.

#763 (s5772-42 / 20 Tammuz 5772)

Account of a Spirit Possession

"Go quickly and call the wise Rabbi Shmuel Vital,for he can remove me from within her body."

Connection: Seasonal - the date of the episode (as recorded in the final paragraph)

#762 (s5772-41 / 12 Tammuz 5772)

Magnetic Attraction

When the Rebbe Rashab was finished sorting the Kherson archive, he sent it to his son, the Rebbe Rayatz, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Shneersohn.

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

#761 (s5772-40 / 5 Tammuz 5772)

Death-March Water

Rabbi Yekusiel-Yehuda Halberstram, Rebbe of Sanz/Klausenberg, was part of a work force of 3,000 Jews that the Germans took from the death camp Birkinau in 1944 to clean the ruins of the Warsaw Ghetto.

Connection: Seasonal - The 18th yahrzeit of the Klausenburg/Sanz Rebbe, on Erev Shabbat

#760 (s5772-39 / 29 Sivan 5772)

Four Days in Brussels

"During my flights and business exhibits there's plenty of free time, and I take advantage of it for the Tefilin Campaign of the Lubavitcher Rebbe."

Connection: Seasonal - The 18th yahrzeit of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, M. M. Schneerson, on Shabbat

#759 (s5772-38 / 22 Sivan 5772)

An Angry Prophecy

"A genuine chasidic rebbe is like a master diamond cutter....Such was the Minchas Elazar."

Connection: Weekly Torah Reading - the verses at the end (Num. 15:37-41) about tzitzit that we recite each day as part of the Shma Yisrael prayer.

#758 (s5772-37 / 15 Sivan 5772)

Humility Personified

The Rebbe Chanoch-Henich of Alexander told of how Rabbi Abraham-Abish Frankfurter used to make the rounds of wealthy merchants who came to his city to conduct business, in order to solicit donations which he later distributed to the poor, widows and orphans

Connection: Weekly Torah Reading - Num. 12:3 (see also 11:29).

#757 (s5772-36 / 8 Sivan 5772)

Saturday Night Special

Rabbi Dovid-Moshe of Chortkov expounded to his chasidim how the merit of King David protects those who eat the "Melave Malka" meal.

Connection (among others): King David passed away on Shavuot.

#756 (s5772-35 / 1 Sivan 5772)

Thunder and Lightning

A few days before the festival of Shavuot, Rabbi Baruch of Medzibush went to pray at the resting place of his holy grandfather, the Baal Shem Tov.

#755 (s5772-34 / 23 Iyar 5772)

More than Eighty Thousand Welcoming Souls

"Deliver my message to Rebbe Yisrael of Ruzhin in Sadigora," stated Rebbe Meir of Premishlan, "and you will not need to give me that sum of redemption money."

Connection:Seasonal - The 162nd yahrzeit of Rebbe Meir of Premishlan

#754 (s5772-33 / 15 Iyar 5772)

Parting Gift

The LAG B'OMER "Departure" of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.

Connection:Seasonal - Lag b'Omer

#753 (s5772-32 / 8 Iyar 5772)

The Chief Doctor

(Magid of Mezritch) The Jews of Vilna heard that the king would be arriving in town, and his personal physician, who was a wayward Jew, would be accompanying him.

Connection:Seasonal - Iyar is the month of healing. Its four letters are an acronym for: "I, G-d, am your doctor."

#752 (s5772-31 / 2 Iyar 5772)

Three Times No

If the deal succeeded he would make millions. He hurried off to Lubavitch for the advice and blessing of the Rebbe Maharash.

Connection:Seasonal - the 178th anniversary of the birth of the Rebbe Maharash.

#751 (s5772-30 / 24 Nissan 5772)

Missed Opportunity

Rabbi Chaim Vital's reputation for greatness spread even to the non-Jews of The Land of Israel -- and this in itself sometimes caused him serious problems.

Connection:Seasonal - Saturday night is the yahrzeit of Rabbi Chaim Vital.

#750 (s5772-29 / 19 Nissan 5772)

Look in the Pot

Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchik forbade him to speak in any synagogue in the city.

Connection: Weekly reading - kosher

#749 (s5772-28 / 12 Nissan 5772)

Getting the Message

A rabbi who also lived in Chernobyl wanted nothing to do with the Chasidim. He even refused to pay R. Mottele, the Chernobler Rebbe, so much as a courteous visit.

Connection: Seasonal -- Passover

#748 (s5772-27 / 4 Nissan 5772)

Erasing the Past

One of the university students exclaimed in amazment and skepticism to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, "Does that mean the Rebbe never makes a mistake?"

Connection: Seasonal -- Yud-Alef Nissan this year (April 3, 2012) marks 110 years since the birth of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

#747 (s5772-26 / 25 Adar 5772)

Only to See

Although no longer observant at all, the wealthy businessman had a strong wish to see the holy Rebbe Reshab of Lubavitch.

Connection: Seasonal -- The 92nd yahrzeit of the Rebbe Reshab

#746 (s5772-25 / 18 Adar 5772)

Choking on a Sin

The chasid took his leave of the Rebbe R. Elimelech of Lizhensk in puzzlement-why did the rebbe choose to speak about milk and meat just as he was departing?

Connection: Seasonal -- The 225th yahrzeit of the Rebbe Elimelech

#745 (s5772-24 / 11 Adar 5772)

The Second Tefilin Connection

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein expressed great interest in what the Lubavitcher Rebbe had said about tefilin, but agreed to do it only if the Rebbe himself would select the proper scribe.

Connection: Seasonal -- The yahrzeit of Rabbi Feinstein is on Erev Purim

#744 (s5772-23 / 4 Adar 5772) (#226 repeated with a delightful, inspiring video link)

The Forest and the Rose

As the regular driver for the tzaddik, Reb Leib Sarah's, he had experience in these miraculous-seeming journeys, but this time he could barely believe the evidence of his eyes..

Connection: Seasonal (2) -- The yahrzeit of each of the two great rebbes in the story both fall this week.

#743 (s5772-22 / 28 Shvat 5772)

Napoleon's Red Velvet Robe

When Napoleon heard about the saintlliness and powers of prophetic vision of Rabbi Dovid of Lelov, he decided to visit him.

Connection: Weekly Reading - special high garments

#742 (s5772-21 / 21 Shvat 5772)

The Full Name

The Rebbe HaRayatz of Lubavitch blessed that the critically ill man should have a complete recovery and also suggested that he add to his name.

Connections (2): Seasonal - see Editor's Note at end; Weekly Torah - healing is discussed

#741 (s5772-20 / 13 Shvat 5772)

One Hundred Plus

The Roman Emperor Hadrian was not without a sense of humor, albeit a malicious one.

Connection: Seasonal - Tu B'Shvat

#740 (s5772-19 / 6 Shvat 5772)

Steady Hands

The elderly Jew said he would accept a cup of free coffee at the Chabad counter in the airport, but only if it would be full to the brim.

Connections: 1) Weekly Reading - 1&11-12; 2) Yud Shvat - when the Rebbe officially assumed leadership of Chabad in 5711 (1951).

#739 (s5772-18 / 28 Tevet 5772)

Very Fair Wages

The wife of the Rebbe Reb Zusya was accustomed to making do with very little, wearing the same old clothes year after year.

Connection: Seasonal - Yahrzeit of Reb Zusya

#738 (s5772-17 / 21 Tevet 5772)

Loyal Communist Comrades

Soon after his wife gave birth to their first child, a son, he said that he was suing for divorce. The reason: his wife had the baby circumcised!

Connection: Seasonal - Two dates that fall this week are mentioned in the story

#737 (s5772-16 / 14 Tevet 5772)

Tailor to the Rescue

Two brawny policemen barged into the home of Rabbi Hillel Paritcher to cut off his peyot.

Connection: Weekly Reading - One of the four ways we Jews merited the redemption from Egypt was adhering to Jewish appearance.

#736 (s5772-15 / 7 Tevet 5772)

A Soldier, a Survivor, and a Song

The nanny saved his life -- but also taught him to spit on the ground when a Jew walked by.

Connection: The Fast Day of the Tenth of Tevet (Thursday, Jan. 5) is when we say Kaddish for those Holocaust martyrs whose date of death is unknown.

#735 (s5772-14 / 30 Kislev 5772)

The Lubavitcher Rebbe and Zorba the Greek

"It's clear," the Lubavitcher Rebbe said to me," that you have taken good care of your mind and of your body. But what have you done to take care of your soul?"

Connection: Current events - the author of "Zorba the Greek" (!)

#734 (s5772-13 / 23 Kislev 5772)

The Chanuka Heirloom

The refugee boy dropped an ornate Chanuka menora that he had been holding tightly against his chest.

Connection: Seaonal - Chanukah

#733 (s5772-12 / 16 Kislev 5772)

Thanksgiving Feast, Chasidic style

That Shabbat was one of the most wonderful ever experienced by any group of chasidim of the Baal Tanya.

Connection: Seaonal - Yud-Tes Kislev celebration

#732 (s5772-11 / 9 Kislev 5772)

The Wrestling Rabbi

In Israel, Rabbi Raphael Halperin was one of those rare figures who established his bona fides in the Orthodox and non-Orthodox communities.

Connection: Weekly Torah - wrestling

#731 (s5772-10 / 2 Kislev 5772)

The Match in the Mirror

The bride-to-be of the Divrei Chaim wept bitter tears; her father attempted to conciliate her and to encourage her with reassuring ideas.

Connection: Weekly Torah - soulmates

#730 (s5772-09 / 24 Cheshvan 5772)

True Blindness

Rabbi Pinchas of Koretz warned his visitor that all the members of his family who looked at him were also in danger of losing their vision.

Connection: Weekly Torah - Gen. 27:1 with Rashi's explanation

#729 (s5772-08 / 17 Cheshvan 5772)

The Dreams of the Angel's Wife

After the passing of Avraham the Angel's first wife, his father, the Maggid of Mezritch, sought a second partner for him.

Connections: Weekly Torah (3) - Passing of Sarah, matchmaking negotiations for Yitzchak & Rivka, remarriage of Avraham

#728 (s5772-07 / 10 Cheshvan 5772)

A Unique Guest

The synagogue was quite an impressive structure considering its location in a part of England not known for Jewish communities. Unfortunately, it felt desolate and was nearly uninhabited.

Connection: Weekly Torah - Hospitality

#727 (s5772-06 / 3 Cheshvan 5772)

You Never Know

He went to the Mohel in Germany to finally be circumcised, but an extraordinary technical obstacle arose.

Connection: Weekly Torah - Circumcision

#726 (s5772-05 / 26 Tishrei 5772)

With All Your Might

"What can I do to add to the spiritual quality of life in this city?" asked the visiting tzadik, Rabbi Nachum of Chernobyl.

Connections (2): Weekly Torah - the flood waters were considered like a mikveh for the world; Seasonal -- 224th yahrzeit of the Chernobler.

#725 (s5772-04 / 19 Tishrei 5772)

Neither in Water nor Fire

The Lubavitcher Rebbe instituted that every year on Simchat Torah, hundreds of Chassidim would walk near and far to celebrate with Jews in synagogues in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan.

Connection: Seasonal - SIMCHAT TORAH

#724 (s5772-03 / 12 Tishrei 5772)

Cold Coffee

His mother ran directly to the Kozhnitzer Maggid and implored him to help.

Connection: Seasonal - Erev SUKKOT

#723 (s5772-02 / 5 Tishrei 5772)

A Yom Kippur Exchange

"There are two names here but you only brought two coins. You must either give me two more coins or delete one of the names," said Rebbe Levi Yitzchak of Berdichov firmly.

Connection: Seasonal - YOM KIPPUR

#722 (s5772-01 / Erev Rosh Hashana 5772)

Almost Too Clever

When Rabbi Simchah Bunem of Pshischah entered the rebbe's study, the Seer of Lublin taught him all the kabbalistic significances of blowing the shofar.

Connection: Seasonal - ROSH HASHANA

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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#1294-1344 (5783)
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