far or close?

Friday, 11 September, 2015 - 7:03 am


Dear Friends,


The Prime Minister of the State of Israel once sat in the Oval Room in the White House, in a meeting with the President of the United States of America.

On the table, he saw an ancient-looking red telephone and asked, “What is this telephone?”

The President answered: “With this telephone, I can make a direct phone-call to G-d. If you want, I can let you use it, but take into account that it’s an international phone call; every minute costs $100,000, so please keep it short.”

After a while, the President returned the visit and came to Jerusalem, and he sees in the Prime Minister’s office a telephone very similar to the one he had on his desk in the Oval Room.

To his question about it, the Prime Minister answered: “Yes, I have such a telephone too, but here calling is cheaper, because from here in Jerusalem it’s a local call.”


Many Jews came every year to the Rebbe to ask for a blessing or advice, especially as the High Holy Days were approaching. People of all types and backgrounds would go by the Rebbe, even for a few seconds, to receive a blessing for the New Year.

I read once about one Jew who brought a relative who had come from very far away, and said to the Rebbe: “Rebbe, this Jew came here from very far away especially to receive the Rebbe’s Beracha (blessing).”

The Rebbe looked at him, smiling lovingly and then uttered a sentence that is the foundation of the Rebbe’s work and of the activities of the Chabad Movement from Alaska to Katmandu, every day, every hour: “A Jew is never coming from afar; a Jew is always close.”

If anywhere and all year round a Jew is always close and not far away, so certainly this is so on Rosh Hashana, and especially when he or she is in Shul. When we come to pray, we must come with the knowledge that we are not far away. The soul that is within us always retains its holiness; it’s always close. If only we take away the walls and the peels that we have encased it in, we will discover this pure truth – that we are indeed close, very close.

And if we have a fleeting thought that this is not so, we must remember that the Lubavitcher Rebbe thinks otherwise. He sees how close we all are, because “A Jew is never coming from afar; a Jew is always close.”


Ktiva Vechatima Tova, for a good, sweet year,


Shabbat Shalom,


Zalmen Wishedski

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