give the Rebbe a gift

Friday, 15 April, 2016 - 6:45 am

Dear Friends,

About two months ago my wife and I had an anniversary – may we celebrate many more in good health! At the Kiddush after davening in the Chabad House, one of the participants raised his L’chaim cup and wished us, in the name of all those present ‘Mazel Tov.’ It was a happy and moving occasion, but nothing prepared me for the surprise that came a moment later.

A man approached me quietly and said, “I also get a Mazel Tov.” “Mazel Tov,” I said immediately, and then asked him: “For what?”

“Do you remember that you recommended that I buy the book Rebbe, by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin? Well, I’m reading it avidly. Last Shabbat I read there a story about a Jew, whom the Rebbe asked in a personal meeting: ‘Can I ask you to do me a personal favor?’ The Jew answered, ‘Of course, Rebbe. For you I’ll do anything!’

“’The Rebbe said to him: ‘in that case, I would appreciate it if you would devote 15 minutes of your time every day to me.’

“’What should I do for you in those 15 minutes?’ he asked.

“’Put on Tefillin,’ answered the Rebbe. ‘That would be your personal present to me.’”


“A nice story,” I said to the man, “but I still don’t understand why you merit a Mazel Tov.”

“Well,” he said, “I read the story, as mentioned, last Shabbat, and I thought: Wait a minute, I too can do a personal favor to the Rebbe. I also want to give the Lubavitcher Rebbe a present. So I should get a Mazel Tov, because this week was the first week in my life in which I put on Tefillin every day.”

“Mazel Tov!!” I responded excitedly, tears coming to my eyes.

Since then, every week on Friday I receive a text message: “This week too!”


This coming Tuesday, the 11th of Nissan, we will note the Rebbe’s birthday. I thought it would be a good idea to learn from my friend – perhaps this is the right time to ask myself whether I too am willing to give the Rebbe a gift. It doesn’t have to be something big; perhaps, like in the original story, I can give him 15 minutes – only 15 minutes – of my day and spend them doing something positive that I haven’t done till now.


Would you like to join me?

Shabbat Shalom,


Rabbi Zalmen Wishedski

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