WHO IS THE LEADER OF THE GENERATION?
June 28, 2016
Nosson Avrohom in #1027, Dollars, Miracle Story

A dollar that the Rebbe gave for the birth of a child amazingly and miraculously reached that child, who was then a rabbinical student on shlichus in Miami, Florida. The Rebbe inquires about a childs studies and surprisingly asks him an [un[expected question three times. And why did the Rebbe mention the name of a bachur in the middle of a farbrengen after he didnt get an answer to his question? Three stories from the chassid, Rabbi Berel Pachter.

Translated by Michoel Leib Dobry

A few years ago, Rabbi Berel Pachter and his wife Naama made a difficult decision: They would give up the many dollars they had received over the years from the Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach, and distribute them to those in need of a bracha and personal salvation. As a result, the Pachters have collected numerous moving stories, some of which have been publicized in recent years in the Beis Moshiach Magazine, about chassidim and shluchim who had been waiting years to become parents. It was the receipt of those dollars that brought them the bracha for children.

No one familiar with the mashpia Rabbi Pachter and his wife is surprised by this noble action. Yet, every chassid knows how hard it is to part from such cherished items received directly from the holy hand of the Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach.

Rabbi Pachter is known throughout France as a warmhearted chassid, connected to the Rebbe with all his heart and soul, and living with the constant anticipation for the imminent Redemption. We met him recently for an in-depth conversation and heard several fascinating stories from him, three of which we bring you here. The first story began at the dollars distribution that took place on the 7th of Teves 5752, and reached its conclusion more than twenty years later, in 5773.

THE DOLLAR FINDS ITS PLACE

“One evening during the first years after Gimmel Tammuz, my wife and I sat together and decided that it wasn’t right to keep the dozens of dollars from the Rebbe in our possession, while many others desperately wanted to receive a dollar as a segula for a bracha. It had been several years since we had last seen the Rebbe, and there were many chassidim and other Jews who had never been privileged to receive a dollar from the Rebbe’s holy hand. Such people were longing for these precious tokens of a holy blessing and there was no reason that they should have to wait while we had many of these dollars in safekeeping.

“We put this plan into action and began giving the dollars to those who needed them. Anyone who turned to us or whom we saw could use the bracha, we gave him a dollar from the Rebbe with a joyful heart. When we started hearing numerous stories about children who were born in the merit of these dollars given to people waiting for many long years, we knew that we had done the right thing.

“Then, some of our older children came to us and asked, ‘Why should we be deprived? If you give out all the dollars, what will be left for us?’ Realizing that they were right, we informed them that we would put aside one dollar for each of the children, to be given to them as a keepsake on the proper occasion.

“When our first-born son, Menachem Mendel, reached the age of twenty-one, he went on shlichus to Miami, Florida. Before he went to the airport, my wife gave him a dollar from the Rebbe, received on the seventh of Teves 5752.

“The person who had received this dollar from the Rebbe’s hand was my mother-in-law, Mrs. Aliza Eliav. She had come together with her husband, Rabbi Aharon Eliav, to see us in France two weeks before the birth of our son Menachem Mendel. On the way from their home in Argentina, they made a stopover in New York to visit Beis Chayeinu.

“When my mother-in-law passed by the Rebbe for dollars and requested a bracha for her daughter, my wife, leading up to the birth, the Rebbe replied: ‘An easy birth,’ and gave her a dollar. My mother-in-law was already on her way out, when the Rebbe called her back and said, ‘L’zera chaya v’kayama’ (for healthy and viable children). My mother-in-law had been in 770 on many occasions, had been privileged to have numerous private audiences with the Rebbe, receive his answers, and was quite familiar with the manner of his brachos. So she was surprised by this unusual response and wrote it word for word on the dollar. When she arrived in France a few days later, she gave the dollar to my wife. Needless to say, we were all very pleased by the answer.

“On the 22nd of Teves, my wife gave birth to our first-born son, and we gave him the name Menachem Mendel.

“Many years passed, twenty-one to be exact, and our son grew up to be a chassidishe Tamim, ready to join his friends on shlichus in Miami, Florida. My wife decided that this was the appropriate time to give him the dollar received just prior to his birth.

“Our son was very happy to have this bracha, and set out on his shlichus with an uplifting feeling of great encouragement.

“A few months later, I received an unexpected telephone call from one of the Rebbe’s shluchim in Miami, Rabbi Yehoshua Rubenstein. This shliach knew my wife’s family very well, as his parents and my in-laws were neighbors. The two families developed a very deep friendship between them over the years. After exchanging a few pleasantries, Rabbi Rubenstein asked if he could read me something, asking if the words were familiar to me. He then read the following line: ‘7th of Teves. For the daughter Naama, easy birth. Healthy and viable children.’ I hear this sentence and gasp in amazement. These are the words that were written on the dollar that my mother-in-law had received. Just a few months earlier, we had given the dollar to our son. I immediately realized that the shliach had this dollar.

“‘How did it reach you?’ I asked him. At first, I thought that perhaps my son had come to his Chabad House and was staying there. However, his answer totally surprised me. He told me that he had gone to the nearby gas station to fill up his tank, and the attendant had given him the dollar as change. The only ‘Naama’ he knew was my wife, and since the two of them had grown up together, he decided to call me. The shliach didn’t even know that my son was in Miami on shlichus, not far from where he was.

“I wasted no time and immediately called my son. He checked his wallet and discovered that the dollar was missing… He said that just a few days earlier, he had been riding on public transportation in Miami, and he apparently had given the dollar to the driver by mistake to pay his fare. When I told him where the dollar was, we were both equally thunderstruck.

“A single dollar bill floating around Miami, the largest metropolitan area in the southeastern United States with a population of five and a-half million people, together with billions of other dollars, and it made its way straight into the hands of Rabbi Rubinstein, who was closely acquainted with our family.

“Even if this dollar would have come to another Chabad chassid or another shliach, there still would be virtually no chance that it would return to us, as he wouldn’t have the slightest idea to whom it belonged.

“However, this is only the first part of the story; the rest is even more surprising.

“Over the years, my wife and I asked ourselves why our first-born son had been privileged to receive such an unusual bracha.

“At the end of that year, 5773, we received a shidduch suggestion for our son – Feige Green from Kfar Chabad. Rabbi Rubenstein brought the dollar to my son at the airport terminal, just before he boarded his flight to Eretz Yisroel.

“To our great joy, the shidduch proved successful, and a date was set for the wedding.

“One day, as our son looked at the dollar in his possession, he suddenly rose from his place in a very excited state. The date of the seventh of Teves – the day when the dollar was given – was the birthday of his kalla, who was born exactly a year after the Rebbe had given it to his grandmother…”

THE REBBE
ASKED THREE TIMES

As mentioned previously, Rabbi Pachter is a chassid who believes with all his heart that the Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach, is chai v’kayam. When we spoke with him about this, he told us about his first yechidus with the Rebbe. He was six years old at the time when his family came to the Rebbe for Chof Av 5730. According to Rabbi Pachter, this yechidus laid the groundwork for his emuna and his path in life.

“This was a few months after the dedication of Moshiach’s Seifer Torah on Yud Shvat, and there was still a feeling of deep excitement in the air. We had a most exciting visit to Beis Chayeinu and participated regularly in the farbrengens. Shortly thereafter, a private audience with the Rebbe was arranged for my father, Rabbi Pinchas HaKohen Pachter, one of the first shluchim in France, and I was honored to accompany him. As we prepared to go in for the yechidus, my father spoke with me on the subject of the leader of the generation. I was still a young boy, and my father explained to me in simple terms that in each generation G-d made certain that there would be a leader through whom all material and spiritual blessings flowed to the Jewish People. For the generation in the desert, there was Moshe Rabbeinu, and in our generation, we are privileged to have the Rebbe lead Am Yisroel until the True and Complete Redemption.

“After this brief lecture on the topic of the nasi ha’dor, the two of us entered the Rebbe’s room. The Rebbe spoke with my father about shlichus matters for about twenty minutes. I didn’t understand a word they were saying, as my Yiddish was still rather weak in those days. Then, the Rebbe turned toward me and asked if I was learning during my stay in 770. My father told the Rebbe that he had arranged for one of the bachurim on k’vutza, Shlomo Chaim Feldman, from Kfar Chabad, to study with me each day.

“‘What are you learning?’ the Rebbe asked me in Yiddish. I replied in French that I was learning Chumash.

“‘In which Chumash are you learning?’ the Rebbe inquired further, and I answered that I was studying the weekly Torah portion.

“Then the Rebbe surprised me and asked who the leader of the generation was in those times.

“‘Moshe Rabbeinu was the leader of the generation and Aharon HaKohen was the Kohen Gadol,’ I replied.

“The Rebbe appeared satisfied with my answer and he then asked: ‘And who is the leader of the generation today?’

“I didn’t hesitate for a moment. This was the very subject my father had taught me before we went in for yechidus, and I answered in French, ‘You are…’ As a child, it was quite clear to me that my father had updated the Rebbe on what we had discussed before we entered.

“The Rebbe smiled broadly in response to my answer and then asked again: ‘Who is the leader of the generation today?’ I again replied: ‘You are.’ The Rebbe gave me a smile that I’ll never forget for as long as I live and then asked a third time: ‘Who is the leader of the generation today?’ This time, however, I remained silent. The truth is that I was very embarrassed. I simply thought that since the Rebbe was apparently not satisfied with my answer or I had answered incorrectly, he continued to ask the question again and again. It’s interesting to note that the Rebbe kept smiling the whole time.

“At the conclusion of the yechidus, the Rebbe gave me a siddur as a gift and blessed me to have success in my studies and give much nachas to my parents. This was the only yechidus with the Rebbe I ever had.

“Several years later, in 5741, I was already a full-fledged bachur at Yeshivas Tomchei T’mimim in Lod. That Tishrei, a relatively high number of students traveled to 770 for Shnas Hakhel. Before we left, the mashpia Rabbi Chaim Ashkenazi, of blessed memory, led a lengthy farbrengen with us. One of the main things he emphasized repeatedly was that a chassid’s first yechidus with the Rebbe establishes how he will perceive his shlichus and Avodas Hashem during the course of his life.

“At the end of the farbrengen, I went up to Rabbi Ashkenazi and told him about my first yechidus when I was six years old. I then asked him what conclusions I should draw from that experience. He listened most attentively and then told me that the main point of my life must revolve around hiskashrus to the Rebbe.

“When I finished my studies in yeshiva k’tana, I went to learn at the central yeshiva in Kfar Chabad and told R’ Mendel Futerfas about that yechidus. Rabbi Futerfas conveyed the same message to me, only in a different way. According to R’ Mendel, I should spend my whole life making certain to respond to the Rebbe’s question properly.

“R’ Mendel then added a most important point. He claimed that the day would come when I would have to answer the Rebbe a third time on the question of who today is the leader of the generation.

“Yet, due to our many transgressions, the day of Gimmel Tammuz 5754 came. As a result, many chassidim were beside themselves from the doubled and redoubled spiritual darkness that engulfed them, and even I felt confused and bewildered during those difficult times. Then, I remembered the words of R’ Mendel: The day would come when I would have to answer the Rebbe a third time on the question of who today is the leader of the generation. This recollection brought me to my senses. In spite of all the physical and spiritual concealment, there can ch”v be no doubt: The Rebbe is the leader of the generation, the Moshiach of the generation. Ever since then, I have tried to live according to this point with even greater fortitude and thereby revive my immediate and distant surroundings.”

WHEN THE REBBE SURPRISINGLY MENTIONED MY NAME AT A FARBRENGEN

Rabbi Pachter had one more amazing story that demonstrates how nothing is concealed from the Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach.

“In 5746, I made plans to go out on Merkaz Shlichus to the city of Lille, located in northern France, together with my friend Michael Dahan. A short time earlier, his brother, Rabbi Eliyahu Dahan, went there to serve on shlichus, and we traveled to Lille to assist him and bolster his activities.

“During this time, a conference was due to take place in Lille for Jewish intellectuals. Among the invited participants was Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, then-managing director of the International Monetary Fund. Our plan was to take part in the conference, hold a siyum there on one of the volumes of Rambam’s Mishneh Torah, and use the opportunity to pay tribute to the Rambam’s work and his greatness. We wanted to show how intellectuality and deep thought is no contradiction to pious observance of Torah and mitzvos.

“Together with the city’s shliach, we made serious preparations for a most impressive event, investing a considerable amount of time and thought.

“Since my friend Michael Dahan considered it critical to receive a bottle of mashke from the Rebbe before departing on this shlichus, he remained in 770 for Shabbos. He would join me in Lille on Sunday, while I set out for France before Shabbos. At the end of the farbrengen that Shabbos, Michael passed before the Rebbe and announced that he was leaving on shlichus to Lille, France immediately after Shabbos, with plans to hold a Rambam siyum for Jewish intellectuals.

“The Rebbe gave him a bottle of mashke and asked him: ‘Who’s traveling with you?’ Michael thought that the Rebbe was asking who was joining him on the flight and replied: ‘No one.’ The Rebbe acted as if he didn’t hear the answer, and then asked again: ‘Who’s traveling with you?’ At this point, he was so confused and excited that he didn’t respond and planned to descend from the platform. The Rebbe then turned around toward his secretary, Rabbi Leibel Groner, and when he gestured with his fingers, he inquired, ‘Pachter is traveling with him, isn’t he?’

“When I met with Michael upon my arrival in Lille, he told me about what he experienced at the end of the farbrengen. I was overcome. Neither I nor Michael had written anything to the Rebbe about our expected journey. How did the Rebbe know that I was joining him?

“I was privileged that the Rebbe mentioned my name, and I considered this the greatest possible bracha for this shlichus.

“Many years have passed since then and I had virtually forgotten the whole incident. Then, a few months ago, Rabbi Dahan told this story at a farbrengen. As a result, people came to me to hear more about how it all happened.

“We are privileged that we have a Rebbe,” Rabbi Berel Pachter says in conclusion. “We are privileged to be Chassidim, and we now cry out: We want to see our King with our very eyes at the True and Complete Redemption, immediately, now, mamash.”

 

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