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Thursday, October 29, 2020 - 11 Cheshvan 5781
 
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Email CANDLE LIGHTING
5:37 PM in New Brunswick, NJ
Shabbat Ends 6:37 PM
Friday, 30 Oct 2020
Parashat 
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Living Large
Rabbi Benzion Grossman related the following story:

“I am disappointed with the Lubavitcher Rebbe,” said the taxi driver to me on the way from Boro Park to the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s main synagogue at 770 Eastern Parkway. He drove quickly at my request, since I wanted to pray Minchah, afternoon services, with the Rebbe at 3:15 P.M. En route, I had asked the Israeli driver whether he had ever visited the Rebbe, and this was his response. I was taken aback.

I asked him what he meant and he told me:

“When I lived in Eretz Yisroel, I worked in renovations in Bat Yam. The economy wasn’t great and for a long time I had a hard time making it until the end of the month on what I earned. Friends suggested that I go to the US, saying I would surely find a good job there.

“I went to New York with high expectations. I had a hard time finding profitable work until I took a job with a contractor, a Bobover Chassid who lived in Boro Park.

“I became a regular visitor to the homes of Chassidishe people in Boro Park and nearby neighborhoods in the course of my work on their homes. I was very interested in the way of life of religious people. It was a whole new world for me.

“I found the homes of Rabbanim and Admurim even more fascinating because I always imagined their homes to be simple, but I found out that they lived very extravagantly. They had beautiful homes and drove new cars.

“My manager liked my work and whenever work needed to be done in the homes of Rabbanim, I was the man he sent to do the job. I would write descriptions of what I saw in these homes to my family and friends in Bat Yam.

“One day, the contractor told me that in a few days I would have to fix the windows in the home of the Lubavitcher Rebbe in Crown Heights. I looked forward to the visit. I imagined I would see expensive wall-to-wall carpets, new, modern furniture and so on. After all, he wasn’t an ordinary rabbi but the Rebbe of all the Jewish people! I had seen the work of his Chassidim in Bat Yam and other places in Eretz Yisroel.

“On the appointed day, at the appointed time, I knocked at the door and a Chassid ushered me in. He showed me what needed fixing. I followed him but wasn’t listening to what he said; my attention was glued to the old tapestries on the walls and the furniture that looked many decades old. The shock left me dumbfounded. I had expected a veritable palace and this house was modest in the extreme.

“On the one hand, I was disappointed, but on the other hand, I couldn’t help but conclude that the Lubavitcher Rebbe is greater than all other rabbinic figures that I knew, as evidenced by the fact that he lived simply and in such modest fashion.

“During the days that I spent working on the windows, I expected to meet the Rebbe, at least once. However, since I finished my work in the afternoon, I did not see the Rebbe who arrived home in the evening and once again, I was disappointed.”

I heard this story from the taxi driver and felt I must bring him to see the Rebbe. I explained to him that the Rebbe would soon be praying Mincha and it was a good opportunity to see him. He agreed to accompany me, at which point we realized we had been so engrossed in conversation that he had taken a wrong turn.

We arrived at 770 at 4:00 P.M. I told the driver that the Rebbe had surely finished praying and was in his room. I saw that he was disappointed that he had missed seeing the Rebbe yet again.

I wanted to pay him, but I only had big bills. I got out of the taxi to get change and saw a group of yeshivah students standing near 770. They were saying how late it was and the Rebbe had still not come down for Minchah.

“I went back to the taxi and took the driver into the shul. A few moments later the Rebbe came in for Mincha. At the end of davening, the driver said, ‘When the Rebbe entered the shul, he gave me a special look, as though to say – I know you wanted to see me so I waited especially for you!’”

 

 


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