Steady Hands

Steady Hands An elderly Jew with a large black Yarmulke once appeared at the Chabad counter in Ben Gurion Airport in Israel. When he was asked if he would like a cup of coffee gratis, he answered that he would, but only if it was full to the brim.

The perplexed chasidim standing behind the counter did as he said; they filled the cup, with his constant encouragement, to the point that the slightest quiver would cause it to spill.  Then to their amazement the old fellow lifted the cup without spilling a drop and drank it.

When he finished he smiled proudly and said, "I did that to show you how great your Rebbe is!"

"I'm not a Chabad chasid," he explained "My name is Rabbi Baker and years ago I was the Rabbi of a large Shul in New York City. We had a mikva for women and everything.  But then, like so many Shuls in the U.S.A, the older people either died or moved away and the neighborhood filled with gentiles. The board of directors of the Shul began hinting that they would like to sell out and make a nice profit, but I strongly opposed it. 

"First of all, it is forbidden to sell a Synagogue and, not only that, men kept coming to Shul and women kept using the mikva.  Furthermore, an interesting thing was happening.  The lady that was in charge of the mikva told me that almost every evening the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Shneerson, would call her up, ask her how she was feeling and encourage her work.

"This continued for several months. Then, one evening while I was in the middle teaching a class in Talmud in the Shul, she burst into the room and shouted almost hysterically that someone had put a large lock on the mikva door.

"I understood that it must have been the directors coming but I didn't know what to do.  I am not the strongest of people and I held myself to be an honorable Rabbi.. certainly not one to go fighting battles.

"Well, I don't know how I did it but I ran to my car, somehow found a metal saw (to this day I don't know how it got there) ran to the lock and began sawing away in public.  A bunch of people even stopped to look but I didn't care. About a half hour later the door was open and the women were able to enter.

"The next day the mikva lady told me that the Rebbe called her the previous night after the incident, and when she told him what I had done, he said, ‘Blessed be the hands that sawed off that lock.’

"That is what I wanted to show you," the elderly Rabbi concluded. "Today I am over ninety one years old, yet you see that my hands are steady as a youth's. Clearly it is because of the Rebbe’s blessing."

Connections: 1) Weekly Reading – 1&11-12; 2) Yud Shvat – when the Rebbe officially assumed leadership of Chabad in 5711 (1951).

Biographical note:
Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe (11 Nissan 1902 - 3 Tammuz 1994), became the seventh Rebbe of the Chabad dynasty after his father-in-law, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, passed away in Brooklyn on 10 Shvat 1950. He is widely acknowledged as the greatest Jewish leader of the second half of the 20th century. Although a dominant scholar in both the revealed and hidden aspects of Torah and fluent in many languages and scientific subjects, the Rebbe is best known for his extraordinary love and concern for every Jew on the planet. His emissaries around the globe dedicated to strengthening Judaism number in the thousands. Hundreds of volumes of his teachings have been printed, as well as dozens of English renditions.

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