Weekly Story: Brocha Endures

by Rabbi Sholom Avtzon

Two people contacted me that they heard the following story from a Mr. Chase, who grew up in Chicago, then moved to Toronto and now lives in Lakewood. 

The first person told me that he was told the story while both of them were waiting for a plane and the second person heard it on Simchas Torah in a shul that he went to for tahalucha.

I delayed posting it as I wanted to clarify some details but I couldn’t make contact with the family. But perhaps Mr. Chase said it to additional people and they can fill in with some additional details. 

As always your feedback is appreciated and thank you Reb Zalman and Reb Gershon for sharing this story with me. Once again I request of you to share your stories so that I can publicize them.

But before I write the story I would like to share one thought about Rosh  Chodesh Kislev that I heard last Shabbos.

The possuk says (Bereshis 24:3) Hashem the G-d of the heaven and earth. But four pesukim later Avrohom only said the G-d of the heaven.  

Rashi explains that now after Avrohom publicized the greatness of Hashem, He is accepted alao as the G-d of the Earth. However, before that Hashem was only accepted in the heaven but not by the people of the earth.

This is the Rebbe’s mandate to every Shliach and in fact to every chossid; we are to publicize the greatness of Hashem and the beauty of Torah and Mitzvos to the extent that everyone realizes that Hashem is the master of the entire world and universe. 

Now to the story.

When the Frierdiker Rebbe visited Chicago (I don’t know if this means in 1930 or 1942), my grandfather wanted to meet him and ask him some questions. However, the Rebbe’s gabbai said that was not a possibility. But my grandfather was determined to meet the Rebbe, so walked around the outside of the house. 

Seeing a fire escape ( on the back or side) he climbed up and seeing an open window he climbed in. To his shock he realized that he had just walked in to the Rebbe’s room. He noticed that the Rebbe was sitting at a desk, his hand on his forehead and was deep in thought. He froze and didn’t know what to do. 

After a few moments which felt like an eternity, the Rebbe noticed him and said you probably want to ask something, ask.

My grandfather asked three things, but I only remember two of them. 

My grandfather was quite a Talmid chocham and said, I came to the realization that I should put on Rabbeinu Tam’s tefillin, however, the problem is that my father A”H didn’t. So my question is is it disrespectful for me to put them on and thereby making a statement that my father did not fulfill this mitzvah properly!

The Rebbe replied, where your father is now he would agree that it is proper for you to put on Rabbeinu Tams.

Another question was concerning the family’s real estate. 

The family owns some real estate. One of the properties is a very large piece on the outskirts of the city.(I would like to know how many acres).

The question is that this property only has expenses and does not generate any income and my friends and some family members feel that we should sell it and cut our losses.

The Rebbe replied, in halacha there is a discussion if someone is charged a higher price than the item is worth can he have recouse and receive some money back. [ Anything over 1/6 over the real price is considered overcharging and has to be returned]. 

However,when it comes to land there is nothing considered overcharging. 

As mentioned above I don’t recall the third question and my grandfather thanked the Rebbe and walked out of the room. 

Coming home he informed the family that he asked the tzaddik of Lubavitch if he should sell that property and he understood from his reply that he shouldn’t.

Finishing off the story Mr. Chase said, that was the correct advice and the family really benefitted from it. As that parcel of land is now known as Skokie. When we sold off small parcels we made tremendous profits.

Rabbi Avtzon is a veteran mechanech and author of numerous books on the Rebbeiim and their chassidim. He can be contacted at avtzonbooks@gmail.com

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