at the Rebbe's table

Friday, 19 April, 2024 - 10:49 am

Reb Meishke Sara's, the son of the renowned Muma Sara Katsenelbogen, may his memory be a blessing, once wrote the following in his notes:

"Once, I entered the Rebbe's chamber, and while I was in the holy presence, the Rebbe mentioned among other things, 'They say that you are proficient in Shulchan Aruch (the Code of Jewish Law).' When I responded with a gesture of negation, the Rebbe said, 'They told me here at the table, and here at the table, one only speaks the truth.'

I won't delve into who Reb Meishke was, nor into the fact that being proficient in Shulchan Aruch in Soviet Russia was nothing trivial, certainly not about his famous mother, or even about his granddaughter, her husband, and their children who serve as emissaries of the Rebbe here in Basel.

I'll only speak about the mentioned anecdote, about the central and powerful, and in my opinion, chilling aspect of the Rebbe's words: 'Here by the table, one speaks only the truth.'

Today, the 11th of Nisan, is the Rebbe's birthday, which essentially means that for every chassid, there is also a birthday, the birthday of being a chassid is today. Much has been said about the Rebbe's greatness, about his genius, about his proficiency in the entire Torah, about the Shluchim worldwide, about the miracles that unfold, and also about his approach or viewpoint on life in general and Jewish life in particular.

Today, on the birthday of our being chassidim, I will attempt, with your permission, to express a few words as a chassid.

The Rebbe is our confidant.

Indeed, the Rebbe is the one who gains access to the most intimate places of our souls. A chassid who enters the Rebbe knew then and knows today as well, that 'Here by the table, one speaks only the truth.' Not only does a chassid know and knew, but from Reb Meishke Sara's story, it is clear that the Rebbe also knew and knows this. He is the one who knows his chassidim and his Shluchim best, he knows better than anyone else, and often better than they themselves, where they are being disingenuous and where they are authentic. He knew how to clearly say, 'Here by the table, one speaks only the truth.' And this is the essence of the chassid's longing. Here lies the essence of the yearning to travel to the Rebbe, to be with him, beside him, to feel close, to know that you are there, touching, present, because it may be the only place and moment in the world and in time where you are by the table where only the truth is spoken.

Yes, this is also the source of the fear of getting closer because you won't always want to be seen, to be seen by others, and if you get closer, you won't be able to hide, because 'Here by the table, one speaks only the truth.'

Oh, Rebbe.

Shabbat Shalom, A kosher and joyous Passover,



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