DECIDING VOICE IN THE HEAVENLY COURT
October 9, 2016
Menachem Ziegelboim in #1041, Shlichus Stories, Sukkos, Tishrei

PART I

The two bachurim knocked at the heavy wooden door. They had been told that a Jew lived here, which is why they were going to try and offer their “wares” – a bracha on the dalet minim.

They could hear footsteps inside and a moment later the door was opened. Facing them was a young hippie, tall, with hair down his back, and a body full of tattoos. He gave them a questioning look.

“Are you Jewish?” they asked.

Something in the man’s eyes softened and he nodded.

“Would you like to do the mitzva of lulav?” they asked, nodding in the direction of the four minim they held.

To their great surprise, he said he had already done the mitzva that day and he even showed them how he did it.

When he saw how they were shocked into silence he chuckled and said, “Do you know the Lubavitcher Rebbe?” When they said they had come on his behalf, he opened the door widely and invited them in.

“Come in and I will tell you something interesting about the Rebbe,” he said. They were curious to hear and eagerly sat down.

PART II

“I’ve been living the hippie life for many years, with no responsibilities and no structure. I do whatever I feel like doing. Being Jewish was not significant to me. That is, not until everything suddenly changed.

“Not long ago, I became very sick. The doctor ordered me immediately hospitalized. My condition deteriorated and I was unconscious for weeks. The doctors despaired.

“One day, I opened my eyes and to the surprise of my family and the doctors I regained consciousness and slowly began to recover. The doctors considered this a medical miracle but they were unaware of something that nobody knew about but me.


“It was on one of the days when I was still unconscious, but although I wasn’t conscious, some of my senses worked. Subconsciously I felt that I was getting worse and my body was no longer able to overcome the medical problems.

“Then, at a critical point, I felt myself being held and taken, against my will, to some unknown place. They put me down and I found myself facing a row of rabbis. Behind them sat a large crowd and looking around I saw I was on trial. I did not know before whom I was standing nor why.

“I heard the judges discussing my case and whether to restore me to the living or to take me from this world. After a while they decided to take my soul. One of them declared that I had lost my chance.

“Before I could digest this or react, someone in the crowd got up. He looked noble and had a white beard on his glowing face. He addressed the judges and said, ‘If he is restored to life, I will take responsibility for his soul.’

“The judges looked at the prosecutor and defense attorney and after some time they agreed: If the Lubavitcher Rebbe takes this soul under his charge, he could be relied upon.

“That’s when I opened my eyes and began my recovery. I eventually recovered completely, but due to all kinds of things going on, I forgot about what I saw in the dream. Now and then the images came to mind but I regarded them as hallucinations that I had because of my illness.

“Some months went by and one day I bought a newspaper. As I looked through it, I noticed an ad with a message about doing mitzvos. There was a picture of an Orthodox rabbi on top.

“I looked at it and nearly moved on but he looked familiar to me. I couldn’t figure out from where I knew that face. I had a strong feeling that I knew him personally but I knew that I had never met a rabbi, certainly not someone who looked ultra-Orthodox. I wracked my brain and then I remembered.

“It was that rabbi, the one who sat in the crowd of distinguished people, who told the judges that he took responsibility for my soul! The dream came back to me and the more I thought about it, the more obvious it was to me that he was the man in the ad.

“On the side of the page was an address and a phone number. I called the number and told my story briefly to the person who answered. He asked me for my phone number and said he would get back to me soon with a response.

“An hour or so later, he called me back and said he was the secretary of that rabbi and he told me that the rabbi wanted to see me right away.

“I set off immediately for the rabbi’s office. When I entered his room, I recoiled. I could clearly see that he was the man. It was no hallucination; it had really happened. But I still did not know how to relate what I had seen to the real world.

“Before I could introduce myself, I heard the Rebbe’s soft voice in heavily accented English say, ‘Indeed, I took responsibility for your soul, but you need to cooperate. Are you ready?’

“I couldn’t say a word. I swallowed my saliva in fear and nodded my agreement.

“I had no further illusions. I knew I was living through something real over which I had no say or control.

“I looked at his face again and I could see that my response pleased him. The rabbi continued talking and invited me to come every week. Every week he would give me a certain mitzva to do that week. Since then, I go once a week to 770 and get another mitzva to do.

“When I went last week, the rabbi told me that during the week of Sukkos I should do the mitzva of netilas lulav every day. The secretary told me where to buy it and how to do the mitzva.”

PART III

The bachurim sat with him for quite some time, astounded by the man’s story. Their curiosity turned to amazement and joy over being Chassidim of the Rebbe.

When Chassidim rejoice, especially during Z’man Simchaseinu, they break into spirited dance. The bachurim got up and together with the hippie they danced in jubilation.

Article originally appeared on Beis Moshiach Magazine (http://beismoshiachmagazine.org/).
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