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Wednesday
Mar252015

GENTLE PERSUASION

R’ Shmuel Gruzman, shliach to Moshava Migdal which is near Teveria, related:

Those who live in Eretz Yisroel are used to the phenomenon of yeshiva bachurim who did not learn in Tomchei T’mimim, touring Eretz Yisroel. Teveria and its environs are frequently visited by them.

A group of bachurim once came to our area on one of these tours. They stood outside the shul, debating whether to go in or not. Why was this even a discussion? The sight of children wearing Yechi yarmulkes is what frightened them. Loyal to their rosh yeshiva in Yerushalayim, they refrained from entering a Chabad shul when they noticed “messianic” affiliations.

The bachurim asked my children (the ones with the problematic yarmulkes) to call me to come out. After giving them a typical warm Lubavitch greeting, I heard why they didn’t come in. They had clear instructions from their rosh yeshiva that it was preferable to daven outside than to enter a Meshichist shul.

I reassured them and invited them in. Their apprehensions slowly dissipated. I promised them that they wouldn’t see a single Yechi sign on the walls (though I didn’t tell them that Yechi is on the cover of the Torah scroll).

When they saw I was being honest with them and other than the yarmulkes on the little children there were no other signs, they were more relaxed but they still wondered whether they were transgressing an explicit order from their rosh yeshiva and were doing something terrible.

I suggested they call the rav of Teveria, R’ Avrohom Auerbach, who is very much accepted by their group too, so they would not remain in doubt. They finally decided that it seemed to be okay to go in and they did so and even sat down.

As we spoke, they questioned me about the Rebbe, asking why he wasn’t more involved with other g’dolim known in the Litvishe world and had no connection with them.

As they sat with me they noticed a video player and video recordings. They asked to watch a video of the Rebbe. We chose one called “Abir HaRo’im,” a video that is a compilation of meetings the Rebbe had with rabbanim and Jewish figures from all groups.

The encounters passed by on the screen, one after the other, before their astonished eyes. Hey, there’s R’ Simcha Elberg with the Rebbe. You could see the respect he had standing before the Rebbe, and there is rosh yeshiva so-and-so bringing a book he just published to the Rebbe.

One rav after another passed by, and rosh yeshiva after rosh yeshiva, running the gamut of Torah Jewry. They all brought “bikkurim” to the “faithful shepherd” with awe and love. The bachurim watched this and were amazed.

After seeing numerous people they knew of visiting the Rebbe, they saw Rabbi Moshe Wolfson, a very respected person in the Litvishe world, the mashgiach in Yeshiva Torah Vodaas in Brooklyn. He would regularly go to the Rebbe for dollars.

The bachurim were astounded. They suddenly realized that everything they had been “fed” over the years wasn’t true at all! The Rebbe was the leader of the Jewish people! They saw it with their own eyes, it wasn’t hearsay, it wasn’t like I had to work to convince them. What they saw was the truth and seeing the truth they felt they had been fooled by those who had taught them.

The bachurim remained in our area for a week in the course of which they came to the shul many times. I have no doubt that they returned to their yeshivos with a message of truth. This is the way, without arguing, just with Ahavas Yisroel and focusing on the facts. When you show the truth in a pleasant way, it is effective!

***

Another story goes like this. In Boro Park I met someone and since I look like a Lubavitcher and Lubavitch was in the media headlines at that time, he wanted to know about my level of belief in the Rebbe as Moshiach. I confessed quite proudly that I belonged to those who believe the Rebbe is Moshiach and I’m not ashamed to say so.

“Fine,” he said. “You think you know your Rebbe? You and your fellow Chassidim don’t know your Rebbe at all! I’ll explain …

“I grew up in Crown Heights, not among Lubavitchers. My oldest daughter married a Litvishe fellow. A reasonable amount of time passed and they still hadn’t been blessed with children. They started looking into various things that would help them but it was all in vain.

“Seeing the years go by without good news, I suggested a daring idea to my son-in-law, that he go to the Rebbe for dollars on Sunday and ask for a bracha.

“My son-in-law was not interested. In fact, he was shocked by the very suggestion and adamantly refused.

“Another year went by and it hurt me to see them in this situation and I wanted to help. I urged my son-in-law to go to the Rebbe but he did not want to hurt his reputation. I understood him but the matter was too important to consider his prestige and honor, so I suggested that he go quietly, without telling anyone.

“The couple finally agreed to go to 770 on a Sunday. My son-in-law passed by the Rebbe and did not ask for anything, but his wife, my daughter, asked for a bracha. The Rebbe gave a dollar for her, a dollar for him, and another dollar ‘for the child.’

“Another year passed in which nothing happened. My daughter wanted to go back to the Rebbe and ask for another bracha. She asked her husband to go again and wasn’t prepared for his angry reaction: No way! He had been persuaded to go once and nothing had resulted so he had no interest whatsoever in going again. Furthermore, he wanted to give her the dollar he had gotten a year before from the Rebbe and which he had kept all this time. He had no need for a dollar from the Lubavitcher Rebbe!

“My daughter felt otherwise and the next Sunday she went to the Rebbe for another dollar and a bracha. She believed that in the merit of the Rebbe her heart’s greatest desire would be granted. Another dollar could only bring additional bracha and hasten the fulfillment of the bracha.

“The line was moving along and in another minute she would be standing before the Rebbe. All the unpleasantness with her husband and his views were forgotten as she stood there.

“The Rebbe listened to her request and gave her a dollar. Then he held out another dollar and said: This is for your husband; keep it with you. The Rebbe then gave her a third dollar and said: This is for zera shel kayama, in addition to the first one.

“She had no time to think and found herself pushed along. Now you see how you don’t know who your Rebbe is, but we in our family merited a miracle and open prophecy.”

R’ Gruzman concluded his story:

This is not the first miracle story that readers of Beis Moshiach are reading and you probably guessed that the woman gave birth to twins.

The conclusion: Ashreinu that we merited to be the children and mekusharim of the Rebbe MH”M and may we merit to give him nachas, with achdus and love, and merit the immediate hisgalus.

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