at a levaya, 5751
Many of you have doubts about the veracity of the story I posted. Others say it was true but heavily embellished. A third group says it doesn't matter if it's true or not, their opinion of the Rebbe will NOT change. I realize you think I'm think I'm some kind of "propagandist/PR man" for Lubavitch. Not that I know why; it's not like I talk about Lubavitch all day, nor do I attack Lubavitch's adversaries non-stop. But don't let the facts get in the way of your decisions. Despite that, the point of the story was not to make you Lubavitchers. I realize that won't happen, nor do I want it to happen. With some of you, joining Lubavitch would be a disaster for me, so I'd rather you stay put, wherever you are. All I wanted to do was to give you a small window into what we "see" in the Rebbe, which many of you fail to understand, whether willingly or unwwillingly. This story is a prime example of what we see. It's an example of the selflessness of the Rebbe and of his life's mission, no matter who the person was and no matter how nasty he was all his life to frum Jews, including Lubavitch. Oongeshtopte fressers like some of you here see "Shooneh Uperish'nikkes being honored," We see the Rebbe saving neshomos, and literally shlepping them out of the She'ol Tachtis.
There were two ways to approach this man - Natan Yellin-Mor (Friedman) and his ideas. 1) ignore him or yell at him, which is what he expected to happen, presumably because that's what had happened to him in the past. 2) Realize that he's influential, and try and influence him so that we can influence others through him. The former is short-sighted; and despite the fact that we THINK that we're standing up for Kvod Shomayim, most of the time we're just defending our own honor. He disagrees with us, and with our way of life, so we dislike him and run him out of town. A wee bit of thought on the part of any man with half a brain will make you come to the conclusion that the latter is the correct way to deal with it. You might even say that the approach here was a two-pronged one; influence him and ratteve a Jewish soul, a soul (and eyes) that saw Reb Shimon and many of the greatest Torah minds of that era, (remember, he was from Grodno...) And try and bring many people back with him by realizing that he might share his new way of life with his readers, just as he would do when he loathed Torah and Yiddishkeit. The same way that people like Uri Zohar and Amnon Yitzhak and others are considered success stories; since they had a large following in their previous life and are influential ad haYom haZeh.
With the chossid Reb Ber'ke Chein, o"H
Then there's how these stories help us stay close, even after 16 years. And like we all know, Hiskashrus and Dveykus in Tzaddikim is crucial. It helps keeps us on the "up and up." It makes us feel warm all over. It brings us close to Hashem. It teaches us and our kids about G-d's presence on this world, which is why we have Tzaddikim doing wonders in the first place - to help Yidden and to show them Hisgalus Elokus in some form on this world. And it