Weekly Story: How Do You Feel?
by Rabbi Sholom Avtzon
One day last week, I stopped by Reb Sholom Hecht sheyichye, and asked him if he would share with me a vort (saying) that he heard from the Rebbe. Knowing Reb Sholom’s reluctance to be in the spotlight, I shared with him the incident that I posted last week about the professor’s question and the Rebbe’s answers.
He then shared with me the following:
In one of my numerous encounters with the Rebbe, I asked; “Vee filt der Rebbe – How is the Rebbe feeling?”
The Rebbe replied, “I was taught by my father in law, the Rebbe, ‘Az a Yid tur zich nisht fillen zich- That a Jew is not allowed to feel themself.”
I understood that the Rebbe was informing me that my wording of this question was inappropriate, not that my question itself was not appropriate, so I rephrased the question and asked, “Vos macht der Rebbe – How is the Rebbe’s doing [in his health]?”
To this the Rebbe responded, with an answer.
I asked Reb Sholom, did the Rebbe reply Boruch Hashem, and he replied. I said the Rebbe responded, without allowing any further discussion as to when this occurred etc.
Reb Sholom then asked me, “Do you understand what the Rebbe informed me?”
I replied this is not a thought that can be comprehended in one moment, it is something that one has to contemplate on for a while, and it is a saying that comes after a thoughtful farbrengen.
But he prodded and said, nevertheless, what is your understanding?
After some contemplation, I replied, Next week is Shavuos and the aseres hadibros begin with the words, ANOCHI, which means I am Hashem. Chassidus teaches us that Hashem is the only true entity, the only “I” so who are you to feel. Saying I feel, is tantamount to saying I am an entity also. Calling attention to oneself is not the way of Chassidus.
Reb Sholom nodded in agreement and said, that is how it was explained to me
Over the past Shabbos, I discussed this vort with some chaverim (friends) and one of them added or replied, after the petira of the Rebbretzin; Dr. Weiss, who by then served as the Rebbe’s physician, asked the Rebbe, How is the Rebbe feeling?
The Rebbe replied, Being that I don’t feel anything, that is a sign that I am healthy. He explained, a person only feels one of their limbs when it is weak and perhaps sick. One does not feel a healthy limb or organ.
So accordingly the meaning of this vort of the Frierdiker Rebbe would mean, that a Jew shouldn’t feel anything physically, as that is a sign of sickness.
May we all be healthy, feeling no pain and be completely humble before Hashem’s omnipresent.
I was asked by numerous people if I found out the third proof to last weeks’ discussion, while others wrote that perhaps it was that Hashem guarantees that when the Jewish people would be oleh regel (make the pilgrimage to the Beis Hamikdash) three times a year, no one will desire your land, and it and your possessions will be safe when you return. Once again no Human being would make such a promise for generations to come.
I replied, while this proof is mentioned in seforim, I cannot say with any sense of certainty that the Rebbe mentioned that proof, so I refrained from writing it.
Rabbi Avtzon is a veteran machanech and author of numerous books. He is available to farbreng in your community and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.