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  • Rabbi Mordechai Lipskier

David's teacher for a day

Gimmel Tammuz

About five months ago, Rabbi Mendy Deitsch of Chabad of Chandler, AZ, received a message from a Jewish woman asking to meet. She was a teacher in a secular elementary school where her student David spoke very highly of the Rabbi and the Chabad Center. Being the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, she was intrigued and inspired to visit the Center. Of course, Mendy invited her for that Shabbos, then Purim, and then Pesach, but the meeting never materialized. Last week, she and her husband finally came to the Friday night Shabbos meal honoring the Rebbe on Gimmel Tammuz. After the meal, her husband, an Apache Native American—braided hair, leather boots, buckles, and all—struck up a conversation with Rabbi Mendy. “I didn’t understand any of the prayers or the songs, but on a soul level, I feel very deeply touched.” They talked about the Apache culture and his pride in belonging to the tribe. Almost as an afterthought, he casually mentioned that his mother had recently had a stroke and right before she passed away she had told him that her mother’s mother was Jewish. Imagine his shock when Rabbi Mendy excitedly told him that he’s not a pure Apache as he had thought, but rather, a pure Jew! It’s certainly no coincidence that a celebration in honor of the Rebbe should facilitate such a discovery. The Rebbe’s entire life was dedicated to reaching every Jew no matter how far they’ve strayed.  But there’s another layer to the story.

Gimmel Tammuz also marks the day on which the Frierdiker Rebbe was miraculously released from Soviet prison. While in prison, he recalled an incident from his youth when his father had explained to him that everything that happens in this world is by Divine Providence and is part of Hashem’s Plan. “It was this understanding and awareness,” he later wrote, “that empowered me to overcome the abuse and torture in prison.” The concept of hashgachah pratis, that nothing happens by chance, and that nothing is insignificant in the scheme of Hashem’s Plan, is a fundamental part of Chassidus. As they were talking, Rabbi Mendy asked the wife, “So, for how long have you been teaching David?” Surprised, the woman said, “Oh, I’m actually not his teacher. I just substituted in his class for one day.” One day, one passionate David, brought about a life-altering meeting of neshamos. This was surely not a coincidence. In this week’s chapter of Pirkei Avos (5:6) we read that Hashem created ten things during bein hashmashos, the split second before Shabbos. Why did Hashem create things at the last moment, and why do we need to know this? To teach us the value of a G-dly moment.1 If we have an opportunity to do something good, we should never underestimate its value, no matter how short or insignificant it seems. It takes a moment to hit the switch on a nuclear bomb R”l, and it takes just a moment to choose the winning numbers of a lottery ticket. Brief moments do change lives forever. One good deed, which bonds us with Hashem, can have an infinite impact on our life and on someone else’s. And who knows, it may be the very act that will tip the scale and bring Moshiach for the entire world. Gut Shabbos, Rabbi Mordechai Lipskier [1] See Likutei Sichos vol. 5 pg. 24.


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The Moshe Group Moshe and Rivky Majeski