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Simchat Torah

 Thoughts & Essays Part 2

"My Lubavitch"

Every year, Reb Shlomo `the Yellow', the melamed of Nevel, would walk to Lubavitch to spend the Simchat Torah festival with his rebbe, Rabbi Sholom DovBer. Even in his later years when his strength had failed him, he refused to climb onto a wagon for even a minute; every step of the way was taken on his own two feet. "In my Lubavitch," Reb Shlomo maintained, "no horse will take part."

Once he said: "There will come a time when I shall stand before the heavenly court. What will I have to show for myself? What have I done with the years which have been granted me? We both know that the life of Reb Shmuel the melamed leaves much to be desired.

"But there is one thing that no one can take from me. My Lubavitch. Every year I came to the Rebbe. But imagine that when I present my Lubavitch before the heavenly court, along comes a horse claiming partnership; it was he, after all, who schlepped me to Lubavitch. The truth is, I can probably win my case against the horse, but I have no desire to have it out with a horse over my trips to the Rebbe. No horse will be involved in my Lubavitch!"

The Headless Etrog

One day, Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov said to his disciples:

"In a nearby village lives a Reb Dovid, a simple Jew who ekes out a scant living by the toil of his hands. But despite his poverty, Reb Dovid was determined to acquire a top quality etrog (citron) for the Sukos festival, in order to observe the mitzvah of lulav and etrog in the optimum manner. All year he scraped and saved, denying himself his most essential needs. He then made the long, wearisome trip to the city and returned with an etrog which the richest man in town could not match.

"Reb Dovid's wife was furious. With barely a crust of bread to put on the table, her husband goes and spends a small fortune on an etrog! In her rage and frustration she grabbed the etrog and bit off its tip, making it invalid for use on the festival.

"Reb Dovid held his peace. He saw the incident as a sign that he is unworthy of such a magnificent etrog. How presumptuous of me, he thought, to believe that a simple Jew such as myself could aspire to such an etrog...

"Never since the day that Abraham bound Isaac upon the altar," the Baal Shem Tov concluded his story, "has a man withstood a test with such integrity as Reb Dovid displayed in refusing to be angered."

The Order of The Sukkos Guests

There are two customs regarding the order of the Ushpizin (our ancestral guests whom we invite into our sukkot each evening).

Either, following a chronological sequence, Joseph is fourth -- immediately after his father, Jacob, and before Moses and Aaron. Or, based on a Kabalistic teachings, Joseph follows Moses and Aaron as the sixth guest.

Reb Yitzchak Aizik of Komarna once decided that he would like to reverse the usual order in which he invited the Ushpizin to the sukka on their respective nights.

This year he would like to adopt the other custom and invite Joseph before Moses. But he first sent his son, Reb Eliezer, to Reb Yitzchak Aizik of Zhidachov to ask for his opinion on the matter.

Replied the latter: "I am surprised that your father should propose this change. For last year we saw with our own eyes how Moses entered our sukka before Joseph!"

From Sipurei Chasidim
 Thoughts & Essays Part 2

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