by Rabbi Sholom Avtzon

Weekly Story: To Which Part Are You Part Of?

The following is a story/thought that I heard last week in one of the many farbrengens that was going on in conjunction to the Kimus Hashluchim.

As is known, after the Frierdiker Rebbe left Russia, he first settled in Riga, Latvia and some years later resettled in Poland. The following happened when he was in Latvia.

Two chassidim from the same town were able to travel to visit him in Latvia. When the first one was in his room for a yechidus. After answering the persons questions and giving him a brocha for success,the Rebbe began questioning about the .level of Jewish observance.

the person answered, Boruch Hashem, we have a minyan, which is well attended and there is a shiur chassidus in the morning before davennin. the majority of the Jews in the city are not chassidim, however, they are eager to hear a thought of Chassidus. There is alot of work to be done, but we are making progress.

hearing this, the frierdiker Rebbe, took a few rubles and gave it to the chossid and asked him to let him be part oh this wonderful work.

When he came out of the Yechidus room, he met his friend and related that he received a few dollars because of what he said to the Rebbe. the friend replied, You whitewashed the truth, if you would have said the truth, the Rebbe would have given you much more.

sure enough, the same thing repeated when he entered the Rebbe’s room for his yechidus. After answering his questions, the Rebbe asked him about what is happening in their city.

The person relied, Our city is not similar to the chassidishe towns in Russa, in fact the people that want to run away from that lifestyle, are the individuals that settle in our city and environs. We have museums, and operas and bars etc. it is not a good raise a chassidishe child. Yes there is a mimyan, but it is visited by only a small part of the community.

The Rebbe thanked him for his report, however, for whatever reason didn’t give the second person any thing. No money, no nothing!

The person was surprised and verbalized his astonishment to the Rebbe. He said, “How come when my friend painted a rosy picture, the Rebbe gave him money. But when I told the Rebbe the truth, the Rebbe didn’t give me anything?”

The Frierdiker Rebbe replied, Do you think i needed you to inform me about what is happening in your city? I know exactly what is happening in your city as well as the many other cities in Russia. However i want to know where are you? To which part of the city are you part of?

Saying this the shliach paused for a moment to let the message seep in.

Yes there is a kinus going on, tremendous positive things are happening in Lubavitch. However, there maybe some things that can have improvment. The question is Where is your focus and to which part of Lubavitch are you connected to?

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  • Odessa

    I heard this as 2 people from Odessa and the rebbe said “Which Odessa do you live in?” they also tell it about r’ yisroel salanter

  • surprised if it's Odessa

    bec, I believe there were many thriving shuls in Odessa?.

    Anyone know details?

  • #1

    #1 Yes it was odessa.

    #2 The fact that this story is repeated in ‘their’ names isn’t surprising at all. They don’t have any of their own.

    #3 this is a beautiful story on its own with a valuable lesson, no need to add the last 3 lines as it can have a negative connotation.