Saturday, October 16, 2010
See Part I Here
Yellin-Mor was dumbfounded. He said Goodbye to the Rebbe and the Rebbe responded in kind. Then he hears them calling him back. The Rebbe wants to see him again, they say. Gershon Jacobson was perplexed. Confused. Embarrassed, perhaps. Here he brings this "anti" reporter, ah Yelid Grodno who attacks Torah and Yiddishkeit every week, and the Rebbe only bentshes him, as if none of this happened. When Yellin-Mor comes back the Rebbe asks him "Now I have a question for you: What happens in your personal life as far as Torah and Mitzvos are concerned?"
NYM: "Ah Yid tracht."
Rebbe: If you'd be 17 years old then thinking would be a great thing, but you're not. You've passed your 70th birthday. It's time to stop thinking and take action. How much longer will you delay doing something?
Yellin-Mor, when remembering the story a while later, said that he was thinking to himself at the time; "what do I tell the Rebbe, that I despise his religion? that isn't very polite. Do I tell him that I keep Torah and Mitzvos? That'd be a lie, and I don't lie. So I told the Rebbe the following: It's like the story with RLY of Berditshev." Without batting an eyelash the Rebbe responded "That story was what he said about another Yid, you're saying it about yourself." Yellin-Mor quietly said goodbye and left. Upon arriving back to the Jacobson's home he told them how surprised he was that the Rebbe knew which story he was referring to. "There are countless stories of RLYB, but the Rebbe knew which one I meant. I was talking about the time that RYLB saw a Yid smoking on Yom Kipper and asked him if he knew it was YK today. The Yid answered affirmatively. "Maybe you don't realize that smoking is prohibited on YK?" Again, he said he knew. RL"Y lifted up his holy eyes to heaven and exclaimed: "RS"O, look at your children, they won't lie on YomKipper, even if they smoke B'Farhesya!" The Rebbe answered me that the story there is RLY being melamed zchus on another Yid, the Yid didn't say it on himself..." We had freedom of choice and we CAN make our own choices, but we also have the choice to change and begin to keep Torah and Mitzvos.
There was no doubt that the encounter had shaken Yellin-Mor to the core, but that was not evident in his writings. Yet. Gershon knew what the Rebbe had accomplished when meeting with people, but even he began to think that maybe the Rebbe couldn't crack a nut like Natan. In 5740 the phone rang in GJ's office. It was NYM on the line. Sadly he was calling from the hospital. They had found "yenne machleh" and there was nothing they could do about it; he had only months to live. He called to "say goodbye and to thank Gershon for giving him the opportunity to publish his thoughts in his newspaper, despite it not being easy and us being on opposite sides of the spectrum." Natan wanted Gershon to come visit him at the Hospital, since he had something to give him. It was an envelope. He asked Gershon that he open it only after NYM's death. Gershon was quite surprised about this strange request and asked him about it. "You're not getting all mystical on me, now are you? You don't even believe in life after death!" But Natan was adamant and Gershon promised not to open it until his passing. "It was a pleasure working with you," Natan said. And with that they departed company, never to see each other again.
3rd and final part coming soon!