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An Important Mission

The following story was heard from a high-ranking military official and aide of Ariel Sharon.

Ariel Sharon used to visit the Lubavitcher Rebbe on occasion and would update him on the current situation in Israel. The Rebbe would listen and give his security assessments. During the yechidus, the Rebbe would give Sharon specific instructions as to how to proceed, and each time that he listened to the Rebbe’s advice, Sharon would see success.

At the end of each visit to the Rebbe, Ariel would return to his office and enthusiastically extol the Rebbe’s great military wisdom. I myself was not very receptive to his expressions of admiration. I naively thought that here was just another bearded rabbi, who happened to enjoy the theoretical aspects of military strategy and who occasionally gave useful advice. I considered his opinion to be as worthwhile, and please forgive me, as those of the dozens of strategists who filled Sharon’s office.

One time, Sharon suggested I join him on his visit to the Rebbe. I was happy for this opportunity, as I would finally be able to check out the Lubavitcher Rebbe for myself.

We took a flight to New York, and during the flight, Sharon regaled me with miracle stories of the Rebbe. However, all this was nothing compared to what I would soon see.

I had pictured a royal rabbinic court, but when we entered the Rebbe’s room, I immediately noticed the stark simplicity. There was an old desk, a few chairs, and a vast Torah library. On the desk were many Jewish books, and the Rebbe was looking into one of them.

The moment we walked into the room, the Rebbe got up, closed the book and smiled. His face shone. He motioned to us to sit down.

I sat down and was filled with an indescribable emotion that can only be inadequately defined as excitement. I was astonished by the infinite holiness that filled the modestly adorned room.

Sharon presented the Rebbe with some war maps. He spread these huge maps out on the desk, and the Rebbe examined them for a few minutes. I cannot tell you exactly how long it took. There were some moments of absolute silence, and then the Rebbe began to speak. He analyzed the situation in an amazing way. That took several minutes. Then he went on to practical instructions as he pointed at the map. He took a pen and made marks on the map.

The ideas I heard in that room were those of a seasoned strategist. I was stunned by his brilliant analysis. Professional strategists normally spend weeks preparing for discussions like these. That is when I realized that this man was a unique personality, one who is expert in all areas of life. My admiration for the Rebbe grew and saw how mistaken I had been about him.

While I was still marveling at his genius, the Rebbe turned his attention to me. I was sure the Rebbe would tell me to start putting on tefillin or to keep Shabbos. Yet to my amazement, as though reading my thoughts, he uttered one sentence. “You fill an important position. Continue to protect and defend the Jewish people.” 

I left that meeting with the Rebbe in wonder and admiration of the Rebbe’s astounding wisdom, but also for the Rebbe’s wise remark to me. I must tell you that in my position, I have sat with dozens of experts in the IDF, and I never met anyone like the Rebbe. He was a gift. Fortunate are those who follow his instructions and go in his ways.



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