One of the Rebbe‘s first activities on American shores was a public farbrengen on Sukkos for non-chassidishe yeshiva bochurim. At one such farbrengen, before the nesius, the Rebbe explained to them the meaning of a minhag.
Traveling to the Rebbe, spending time in 770, has always been a cornerstone in the ruchniusdike life of a chossid. In one exchange, the Rebbe explained how this can also affect one’s livelihood.
“Luach Kolel Chabad,” published for the first time almost 100 years ago, is republished every year with relevant updates. The need for such a luach, the Rebbe explained, was to address shailos – or to inform that there is a shaila to begin with.
When American author Herman Wouk became involved in publishing a Chumash in braille for the visually impaired, the Rebbe was pleased but not satisfied, and he suggested a different sefer.
As a seminary student, Mrs. Esther (Chitrik) Piekarsky was mentoring high school girls and felt afraid of the responsibility. During yechidus, the Rebbe told her why it was good that she was afraid.
To utilize the month of teshuva properly, the Rebbe instructed the yeshiva staff to inspire their students with an extra seder of avoda’dike maamarim and by telling stories of how chassidim conducted themselves during this special month.
When twelve-year-old Yaakov Hertzog from London, UK, said that he learned about the “King in the field,” the Rebbe asked him if he ever met him. The Rebbe then told him where he could meet the King.
As a bochur, Reb Zalman Gopin, today the Kfar Chabad mashpia, was in a dilemma about regulating his mood. The Rebbe showed him how he could utilize whatever mood he was in to serve Hashem.
One Chof Av before the nesius, the Rebbe prepared to serve as chazan, when he noticed a bochur who had yahrtzeit on that day. What the Rebbe proceeded to do taught Reb Leibel Dubov a great lesson in ahavas Yisroel.
As a bochur, Rabbi Sholom Blank, approached the Rebbe to receive a bottle of mashke and extended his left hand. A nearby chossid told him to use his right hand instead, but the Rebbe knew better.
When Naftali Deutsch of Los Angeles asked in yechidus how to share Yiddishkeit with people of different backgrounds, the Rebbe advised him to take into account the audience’s mindset. As an example, the Rebbe explained how to describe Olam Haba.
As 16-year-old Charles Ramat was exiting yechidus, the Rebbe asked him to keep him informed on the situation of his terminally ill mother. Angry, he asked if the Rebbe really meant it.
When a rov questioned the point of convincing congregants to buy kosher when their kitchens were treif, the Rebbe explained that it was the first step: helping them realize that kosher food tastes good too.
When Stamford shliach, Rabbi Yisroel Deren, told the Rebbe that he was afraid to take on a hachlata since he may not follow through, the Rebbe had special advice for him.
When Reb Elya Gross shared the difficulties he was facing in fundraising for the Rebbe’s activities, the Rebbe told him to envision a scene that would help him prevail.
When R’ Shlomo Peppenheim took over a leadership position at the Eidah Hachareidis in Yerushalayim after his father passed away, it proved too difficult and he was ready to give it up. It was the Rebbe who convinced him to continue.
When Reb Mordechai Shachna Zirkind told the Rebbe that he wanted his son, Simcha, to remain at home so he could observe kibbud av va’eim, the Rebbe had a novel suggestion for him.
After a lengthy discussion on the challenges facing El Al Airlines, the Rebbe told North American director, “In order for the flights to stay safe, and in order for El Al to succeed, El Al must observe Shabbos.”
When the honorary president of Chabad of Binghamton University asked the Rebbe for a bracha to “succeed in implementing the Rebbe’s plans,” the Rebbe noted that the plans are not his own.
When Harav She’ar Yashuv Cohen, Chief Rabbi of Chaifa, passed by the Rebbe to receive a dollar at the end of a farbrengen, the Rebbe shared with him an ‘overlooked fact’ and the lesson it provides.