Do You Ask the Rebbe Your Real-Life Questions? 

The Rebbe is known to many as an address to turn to when we need help in life, be it in business, health, shidduchim. Let’s remember that the Rebbe’s field of expertise is Yiddishkeit and chinuch.

By Rabbi Mordechai Lipskier

In the spring of 5716 (1956), a woman wrote a letter to the Rebbe asking his opinion on whether she and her husband should take their children on a trip by boat to Eretz Yisroel.[1]

The Rebbe responded that he was surprised by the question since, to the best of his knowledge, doctors advised against taking babies on long trips, especially where there are drastic changes in climate and in the water. This is especially so in your case, the Rebbe wrote, where the climate in your city is excellent and steady, which is not the case in the place you’re considering visiting.

The Rebbe then added:

A lumber merchant from California once traveled to New York to ask my father-in-law, the Frierdiker Rebbe, for business advice. After giving his advice, the Frierdiker Rebbe proceeded to ask this man about the education of his children and to give him specific instructions. The merchant listened but gave all sorts of excuses for why the Rebbe’s ideas couldn’t work for him and his family.

The Frierdiker Rebbe turned to the man and said: In matters concerning the business of lumber I am far from an expert. Yet, you traveled cross-country to seek my advice, which you plan to follow. With regards to matters of chinuch—an area in which my father and grandfather were experts, an area to which I, too, have dedicated my entire life—you would agree that I am an expert. Yet, not only don’t you ask my advice, but when I offer it to you, explaining why this is good for you both spiritually and also materially, you have absolutely no intention of taking my advice, and you look for diplomatic ways of turning it down.

The Rebbe finishes this story and concludes the letter: The lesson is self-understood. Wishing you good news in all the matters we have discussed.

Apparently, the Rebbe had previously given this woman advice in a matter of Yiddishkeit which she had diplomatically rejected but she had now come to ask the Rebbe’s advice on matters of health and travel!

The Rebbe is known to many as an address to turn to when we need help in life, be it in business, health, shidduchim, or anything else. Let’s remember that the Rebbe’s field of expertise is Yiddishkeit and chinuch. It follows, then, that we should most certainly comb through his words for advice on these matters and actually follow through!

[1] Igros Kodesh vol. 13, pg. 195. See also Likutei Sichos vol. 17, pg. 527.

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