Wednesday, October 30, 2013

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Connect with a Chossid–Lachluchis

chossidMy children and I have spoken many times about stories of gedolim (Torah leaders – the righteous of the generation), and I have many books about such on my bookshelf.  While such stories are awesome and can be inspiring (inspiring to know that such special men and women exist, and that Hashem provides us such special souls in each generation), these stories rarely lead to lessons one can apply in one’s life or improvement in one’s divine service. 

This is simply because while one may consider such a person with reverence or awe, one can’t connect with them.  Few of us consider ourselves able to or even at our best aspire to learn Torah 20 hours a day, or give away everything of value every day to help the poor, or send ourselves off into exile to humble our egos and break our evil inclinations.

Too high, too extreme, too far away.  So what stories should we tell, what examples can we give our children to strive towards and relate to?

Lma’an Yishma’u brings this story this week, in which the Lubavitcher Rebbe addresses this exact problem…

Reb Pinye Korf recounted this episode in the name of the legendary mashpia Reb Abba Pliskin:   "In Iyar, 5723, I went in to the Rebbe and I asked, 'What is my role as the shamash (caretaker) of 770, the Rebbe's shul?' The Rebbe said the role is to ensure that people don't talk in shul during davening (prayer) and Krias HaTorah (reading of the Torah).

"The Rebbe then brought up a different issue. 'Reb Abba, the bochurim (young men) do not have enough lachluchis (warmth and sensitivity for chassidishe lifestyle)'

"I asked the Rebbe, 'What is lachluchis, and how can I give it to them?'

"The Rebbe replied, 'You should tell the bochurim stories of chassidim, who were chassidishe yidden (good chassidic Jews). I am specifically talking about stories of chassidim, and not of Rebbeim. When a bochur hears a story about a Rebbe, he may feel that it is too lofty for him and will not even attempt to emulate the story. When a story of a chossid is told, however, the bochurim can connect to it.'

"This is lachluchis."

1 comment:

  1. I learnt a lot from this Avihem shel Yisael series of incredible stories about Rav Mordechai Eliyah ztk"l. The awesome stories about the tzaddik were specifically edited in chapters with the outline of Mesilat Yesharim and I think the point was to bring something worthwhile other than just literally incredible miracles and wonders.


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