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Thursday
Jun202013

WHAT CAUSES DOUBTS IN EMUNA?

If a child questions the parent on every little thing he does or says, as is so common here in America, it could be quite disastrous. * A compilation of Chassidic stories written by R’ Chaim Ashkenazi a”h.

EMUNA IN HASHEM

THE FIRST THING IS EMUNA

Chassidim explain the words we say in the davening, “Ein K’Elokeinu … Mi K’Elokeinu”: why do we first say there is no one like our G-d and then ask who is like our G-d?

The reason is that after we have the foundation of our emuna straight, that there is nobody like our G-d, only then can we try and understand who is like our G-d, i.e. ask questions.

WHERE DO DOUBTS COME FROM?

A Chassid brought his son-in-law to the Tzemach Tzedek and complained that the son-in-law’s emuna was weak and he had questions about Hashem.

The Tzemach Tzedek spoke to him and explained everything to him. Then he said, “When one drinks gentile milk, one has questions in emuna.”

WHEN THE REBBE SEES

Someone asked the Tzemach Tzedek how he could believe in G-d when he doesn’t see Him.

The Tzemach Tzedek asked him: Do you believe there is a czar?

Yes, said the man.

Did you ever see him? asked the Tzemach Tzedek.

No, said the man.

So how can you believe there is a czar? asked the Rebbe.

My brother saw him and he told me, said the man. And it’s not like the belief in the existence of G-d, since I didn’t see Him and my brother never saw Him.

The Rebbe said: Believe me. I see Him.

THOUGHTS UNDER THE TALLIS

A Chassid once meditated on the greatness of G-d, how He is Sovev Kol Almin (transcends all worlds) and is Memalei Kol Almin (immanent within all worlds). Then a doubt crept into his mind – who said this was really so?

Another Chassid who was standing nearby lifted his tallis and said, “Feh, feh!”

A JEW HAS NO QUESTIONS

A gentile who wanted to convert went to the Maharal of Prague. After the Maharal told him to thoroughly learn the principles of our faith, he told him he had to have himself circumcised and then he had to immerse in a mikva.

When the goy heard the conversion process, he asked: I made such great efforts in my studies and I had a bris mila. What purpose is there in immersing in a mikva?

The Maharal said: After you immerse, a few weeks later, we will make a party to mark your entering the Jewish people. At the party, remind me of your question and I’ll answer it.

When the party took place, the Maharal waited for the convert to ask his question, but he wasn’t forthcoming. The Maharal said to him: You had a question you wanted to ask …

The convert said: Now I no longer have the question.

HIDDUR MITZVA AND MESIRUS NEFESH

PAINFUL CONCERN

The Rebbe Rashab suffered terribly from toothaches, but did not want to have fillings put in because he was concerned about the fillings absorbing chametz, which would create a problem on Pesach. He once went with Rebbetzin Shterna Sarah to Hungary where he was going to meet Rabbi Akiva Sofer.

The Rebbetzin asked R’ Sofer to speak to the Rebbe about his stringency and tell him there was no halachic reason for it, because it was only a distant concern.

Rav Sofer said this to the Rebbe, who replied: Believe me; this distant concern causes me more pain than a toothache.

HIDDUR MITZVA

The Rebbe Rashab was known to follow many stringencies on Pesach, such as wiping the spoon each time after putting it into his mouth. They asked him: It says “lo yi’uneh l’tzaddik kol avven!” (No harm-sin will occur to a tzaddik).

He said: That verse was not said regarding a hiddur mitzva.

IMMERSING IN ICE

R’ Mendel Futerfas once fell into a frozen river when he was in Siberia and was miraculously saved. When they took him out they saw he was laughing.

He explained that he was happy since he had finally immersed after a long time in which he could not immerse due to the cold and ice.

I’M GOING RIGHT BACK

R’ Yisroel Neveler (Levin) was once arrested because he was unwilling to send his children to public school in Russia. When he was released and went home, he saw one of his daughters leaving the house with a briefcase. He asked her where she was going and she said, “To school. If I don’t show up, they would arrest you again.”

R’ Yisroel immediately took the little bundle he had with him when he returned from prison and said: “I am going back to prison – the main thing being that you do not have to go to school.”

P’NIMIUS AND CHITZONIUS

INNER GARMENTS

A person collecting tz’daka entered the Rebbe’s home and saw the Rebbe sitting and learning without wearing his outer garment.

The man said: They taught me that you must learn with fear and trepidation and this is why you need to wear an outer garment.

The Rebbe replied: I was taught that the main thing is what is under the garment.

MAN OR HORSE?

R’ Yisroel Ruzhin told his attendants not to allow anyone to enter his room without letting him know ahead of time and obtaining his permission.

A famous wealthy person once appeared at R’ Yisroel’s court, who had apparently given a gift to the attendant so he would allow him in to see the Rebbe immediately. The attendant let him in, without informing the Rebbe ahead of time.

Afterward, R’ Yisroel was annoyed and said: When I am told in advance, I prepare myself so I can see the man in him. Since this man entered without prior notice, I did not have adequate time to prepare and he looked like a horse to me.

THE REBBE DID NOT NOTICE THE TASTE

The Rebbe Rashab was once in Italy with two Chassidim: R’ Avrohom Bobroisker and R’ Koppel Zeligson. R’ Avrohom was extremely humble (he was exceedingly battul in the presence of the Rebbe), while R’ Koppel was a very expansive personality.

Their host served them a new fruit that they had never seen before, and the Rebbe and the Chassidim said the SheHechiyanu bracha and began eating it. It tasted terrible and they could barely eat enough to fulfill the obligation of having recited the bracha.

The Rebbe, however, sat and ate it. It was apparent that he was not thinking about what he ate but about loftier matters.

The Rebbe suddenly sensed that the Chassidim were not eating and he asked them why they had stopped – was there a question or problem with the fruit?

R’ Avrohom, who was battul like the dust of the earth, did not dare to respond, but R’ Koppel said the fruit had no halachic problem, “but we just can’t eat it.”

When the Rebbe heard this, he took another little bit of the fruit, tasted it, and said: Yes, as you said, it’s not edible.

And he did not eat any more of it.

SH’LO LISHMA

Someone once told the Rebbe that he had stopped davening because he felt that it was only superficial. The Rebbe replied: Regarding Torah study and mitzvos it says, “from doing it not for the sake of Heaven, you will come to doing it for the sake of Heaven.” Start davening superficially and you will eventually begin to do it with a p’nimius.

 

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