Monday, May 07, 2007
How the Riminover became a Chassid
It happened once that R. Menachem Mendel begged before G-d to help him attain a higher spiritual level, and in a dream, the Rif instructed him to go to Lizhensk to the Rebbe Reb Elimelech, where he would merit his spiritual desire [see, however, an alternative story below].
Among his disciples were such outstanding Chassidic leaders as Rebbe Naftali of Ropshitz and Rebbe Tzvi Elimelech of Dinov [the Bnei Yissaschar] and, of course, Rebbe Tzvi Hersh M’shareis of Riminov.
The following is a modified transcription of a story that Reb Shlomo Carlebach told one Rosh Chodesh:
Sometime ago, I had the privilege to say Hallel on Rosh Chodesh in a prison - a heavy prison. Nebich, [oy, "how unfortunate"] there were young Jewish people, young chevra 22 and 23 [years old] - a lifetime! So here I tell them about Hallel, I look at their faces – nebich! How can I ask them to say Hallel? So I told them this story, I heard it from the heiliger (holy) Bobover (Rebbe). You know, there are a lot of versions of why the parents of Rebbe Menachem Mendel of Riminov had the privilege of having such a holy son. And this is one version:
Chassidim of the Rebbe Reb Elimelech were on their way to Lizhensk. They passed by a broken house in a village, where they saw a little boy of nine [years old] standing on a broken balcony and mamash [really] dancing like crazy. So they asked him, "Why are you dancing?"
"I’m dancing because I haven't eaten in three days."
"You haven't eaten in three days, and you’re dancing?"
He said, "I'll tell you the truth, I was standing here, I'm nine years old, and I was so angry at G-d. Gevalt was I angry. I said, 'Master of the World, I’m only nine years old. How many aveiros, how many mistakes could I have made in my life? Do I deserve not to eat for three days?' Then suddenly I realized, it's true, G-d hasn't fed me yet for three days, but Baruch Hashem [thank G-d] I have a father, I have a mother, I have a brother and a sister. It’s true our house is not so big, and it's broken - but it’s still a little house. Suddenly it occurred to me - I never thank G-d for what I [do] have. So [that's why] I’m dancing!"
The Chassidim walked in to (talk to) the parents and said, "Do you know what kind of son you have?? What kind of gevaldig neshama [lofty soul]? Are you sending him to cheder [school]?"
They said, "We’re too poor to send him to cheder."
The Chassidim said, “Such a great soul. Please let us take him to our Rebbe, Reb Elimelech."
Reb Shlomo continued: So I told this to our brothers in prison. "I’m sure you have many reasons to be angry at G-d, and I have no excuses for Him. I wish - I bless you to come out fast. But maybe in the meantime, let’s just dance and thank Him for what we have!!!"