Stories of Tzadikim / 36 A Game of "Rebbe-Chassid"
Hold on to Shabbos with
Stories of Tzadikim
With Rav Yussie Zakutinsky
A gut voch everybody, I’ll tell you a maaseh. You know, kids have games that they play with each other. Honestly this is a little bit before my time, but kids would play cowboys and Indians or cops and robbers things like that.
So there’s a maaseh about what young tzadikim would play. The 5th Lubavitcher Rebbe was the Rebbe Rasham, Rav Shalom Dov Ber. He had a brother Reb Zalman Aharon. This is a maaseh, Reb Zalmen Aharon was a year or 2 older than the Rebbe Rashab and this is when they were 5 or 6 years old.
What do kids in that age, with those neshamos play, they’re not playing cops and robbers they’re playing Rebeh Chassid. One would pretend to be the Rebbeh and the other would pretend to be the Chassid coming for yechidus. I guess it’s a rainy day. They have nothing else to do and they say let’s play Rebbeh Chassid.
Zalmen Aharon tells Rav shalom Dov Ber you be the Rebbe and I’ll be the chassid. Reb Shalom Dov Ber says I can’t pretend to be the Rebbe, there’s only one Rebbe, the grandfather, the tzemach tzedek. I can’t even allow myself to pretend. You be the Rebbe, I be the chassid. So Reb Zalman Aharon pretends to be the Rebbe and Rav Shalom Dov Ber is the chassid.
There’s many reasons to come to a rebbe, by Chabad you came for yechidus for one of 2 things. Either something in Haskalah, in Torah that you’re struggling with, a question in learning or about yiddishkeit. Or something in Avodah, in your personal Avodas Hashem, a yetzer hara that you need chizuk in.
Rav shalom Dov Ber starts preparing for the yechidus, going to the mikva, putting on the gartel, saying Tehillim. He comes into the Rebbe, and the Rebbeh asks nu, what’s the inyan of this yechidus? The rebbe Rashab says one inyan in Haskalah and one inyan in Avodah. So what’s the inyan in Haskalah? The Rebbe Rashab says What is a yid? Reb Zalman Aharon is pretending to stroke his beard, what is a yid. You know what a yid is? A yid is fire. The Rashab said, so if a yid is fire, why don’t I get burned when I touch you? Because a fire can’t burn fire.
And what about the inyan in Avodah? The Rashab says the inyan, him as a 5 year old, is working on. And Reb Zalman Aharon begins to give him hadracha in Avodas Hashem. The Rashab says, you’re not playing right, we have to stop. But why what’s the problem? This is how Rebbe Chassid works. No no, when a Rebbe hears that a yid is struggling you have to give a krechts. Then you can give an eitzah. You have to practice and then we can play again.
It’s an unbelievable maaseh. Not just to see what these kids were doing but that when a yid comes to you and talks about things in their life, in their avodas Hashem, the first response is to krechts. To feel the person’s pain, then you can give eitzah. The first and often the biggest inyan is to give a krechts.