Natan Yellin-Mor (Friedman)
There are all kinds of stories out there about the Rebbe. Some are nice, some are very nice and some are just, like "wow!" But even the "wow!" stories; how often does a story move you like never before? How often does it give you such a kitzel that it gives you no rest? How often does it tell you never to give up and never to lose hope? Here is one such story. You might say that there are two elements to this story, and that the point is not only what set the Rebbe apart, but also how a Jew must never lose hope.
Gershon Jacobson was the editor of the Yiddish-language "Algemeiner Journal" from its inception until his passing in 2005. There was a columnist in that newspaper by the name of Natan Yellin-Mor.(Friedman) Mr. Yellin-Mor was an extremely talented writer who write in both Yiddish and Hebrew, in the Algemeiner he wrote Yiddish, of course. He was a Yelid Grodno who was a member of Lechi during the Pre-State days, but switched ideological sides after the War of Independence, and even more so after the Six-Day War, when he became a sort of champion of Arab Rights. This was way before it became popular to look at Israel as occupiers. He would espouse his anti-Religious views in the Algemeiner every week, thanks to Gershon, who was a very liberal man when it came to publishing ideas and opinions. Reading his articles left you boiling mad, guaranteed. (I guess doing things for ratings is not a new concept, after all...)
in 5737 Natan Yellin-Mor came to see Gershon on the second day of Rosh Hashonoh. (Please don't ask me if he drove or walked, or if he wore a yarmulke.) Gershon took the opportunity to explain to his guest about was what about to happen later that day at 770, when the Rebbe would wash before Shkiah, farbreng, speak divrei torah, bentsh, daven Maariv, make Havdoloh and distribute Kos Shel Brocheh. Gershon told him to accompany him to KSB and take the opportunity to meet the Rebbe. Natan thought that idea was preposterous; "Gershon, he said, the Rebbe knows what my opinions are, and his opinions are the complete opposite of mine, he'll throw me out of his shul if I come and see him!" "Nonsense, said Gershon, the Rebbe is a Gentleman and would never do that to you. Of course he has very specific opinions, but he speaks gently and will be very happy to meet you. You'll be happy you met him." The two arrive at KS"B; GJ gets wine and then introduces NY-M, telling the Rebbe "dos iz Natan Yellin-Mor."
Yellin-Mor though that this was it, the Rebbe would throw him out shul, but to his surprise the Rebbe raised both his hands and exclaimed (I'm paraphrasing here) "Mr. Natan Yellin-Mor, far mir iz a greyser koved az ihr zent gekummen af ah bazuch tzu mir in shul. Ihr zent a gevaldig'e shrayber, ven ich bakum di tzeitung mitvoch ovent iz di ershte zach lein ich ayer artikel. Ich bet mechilleh fun der redakter, noch far zayn artikel. Ich bentsh aych az ihr zolt oysnutzen ayere talenten tzu lange gezunte yohren." NYM almost fainted right then and there. He stood there, unable to get a word out, until he stammered, "Ihr leint meine artiklen!?" Ich farshtey nit, ihr zent maskim mit vos ich shrayb?! The Rebbe smiled and said, "If I would read only what I agree with I'd have very little to read... I read lots of things, including your articles." NYM was confused; "If you don't agree with what I write why do you bless me to continue writing,?!" he asked. "One day you'll yet write the truth," the Rebbe said, "for now continue writing. Every person gets talent from G-d that he needs to utilize to its fullest, and I'd like to see you utilize that talent in the future even more than you had done until now."
to be continued...