we shouldn’t get confused

Friday, 29 September, 2017 - 4:20 am


During the 1980’s the relationship between the Satmar chassidim and Chabad was not good. There were quarrels and disagreements, and it was most unpleasant. A young Satmar woman from Jerusalem had developed cancer and had come to America for treatment. She knew that the Lubavitcher Rebbe sees people on Sundays, blesses them and gives them a dollar for tzedaka. She also knew that, come what may, she was not going to miss the opportunity to receive a bracha that she should recover.

The woman was staying with her sister in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the Satmar stronghold, and in a quiet moment, when they were alone, she asked her sister to take her on Sunday to Crown Heights, a ten-minute drive from Williamsburg. But there was a problem: the sister was married to a very important Satmar chassid, and she knew that her husband would be hurt and even get angry if she goes to the Lubavitcher Rebbe to receive a bracha. But the Jerusalem woman wouldn’t give in. “I came especially from Israel. I am sick, I have young children. The Rebbe blesses, and his blessings help. You must come with me.”

“I’m willing to come with you,” said the sister from Williamsburg, “but on the condition that we won’t tell my husband anything. He will be very hurt and angry if he will know that I went with you.”

They stood together with hundreds of women in the line to the Rebbe. When they reached him, the Jerusalem woman said, “I am sick with cancer, and request a blessing for a complete recovery.” The Rebbe looked at her, heard her, and gave her a dollar for tzedaka, but instead of blessing her with a complete recovery, he blessed her with his regular bracha: “bracha and hatzlacha (success)”. And then, when her sister from Williamsburg came before him, the Rebbe gave her a dollar and wished her “a complete recovery”.

“We came for nothing,” said the American sister. Not only did I go against the will of my husband, but the Rebbe didn’t understand and didn’t hear. He gave you a blessing of ‘bracha and hatzlacha’ and I was told I should have a complete recovery.”

When the chassid came home in the evening, his wife told him immediately what had happened to her that day. She asked that he not be angry, but forgive her and understand that she wasn’t able to withstand her sister’s pressure. She also told him what happened at the Rebbe’s house – that he had confused her and her sister.

The man, who was a serious person, paled immediately and said, “Come, get into the car. We’re going to the hospital. You shouldn’t have gone to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, but if you went already, you should know one thing: the Lubavitcher Rebbe never gets confused! If he told you ‘Have a complete recovery’, that means that you are ill!” they went, and indeed it was discovered that a disease was developing and they had arrived there in time to stop it from spreading. The sister from Israel, as you’ve probably guessed already, was completely well, as if there had never been any disease.

Dear friends,

There are moments of truth in life, moments when one shouldn’t get confused, but rather look straight ahead and do what has to be done. That chassid from Williamsburg knew that despite everything he thinks or wants, there are moments of truth – and when the Rebbe “got confused” and wished his wife a complete recovery, he understood that he must rush her to the hospital. We too have to remember these moments of truth, and when the sun is setting, and the Heavenly gates are about to be shut, when Hashem is holding the seal in his hand, one mustn’t miss that moment!

I pray and wish everyone a year of good health and pleasure, a good livelihood and serenity, a year of complete, real Redemption.


Gmar Chatima Tova,


Rabbi Zalmen Wishedski

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