Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Drawing Others Closer

Rav Shlomo of Bobov, zt”l, recounted, “Our sages teach, 'גדולה לגימה שמקרבת הרחוקים'—‘Great is drink, for it draws those who are far closer.’ This was the way of the chassidim and anshei maaseh of every generation, to draw those distant closer through food and drink. They would gather together at a meal and bring them close to the Shechinah. This was the path followed by Avraham Avinu who would first serve food and when his guests thanked him he would say, ‘Did you eat from mine that you thank me? You ate from the food created by the Master of the Universe! Praise and thank the One who spoke and the world was created.”
The Beis Yisrael, zt”l, was very well known as a dynamic force for kiruv and mussar in his generation. He was especially effective working with people in the morning hours. He would invite people who were in his shul to join him for an early morning tea at his home. As they sat down the rebbe was often heard humming, in a low tone, the verse, "לחמו נתן מימיו נאמנים"—“His bread shall be given, his waters shall be sure.” Many chassidim would mentally supply the rest of the verse, "מלך ביפיו תחזינה עיניך"—“Your eyes shall see the king in his beauty.”
The rebbe used this time to fill those who visited with yiras shamayim. Some would get a “psak,” while others received chizuk. Yet others required only a penetrating look to inspire them to change. Over the years thousands spent this special time with the rebbe and all were elevated, each according to his level.
His tisch was also a place where many people attained inspiration. These included some of the most broken Holocaust survivors. Somehow, going and getting shirayim from the rebbe uplifted people who might have fallen into despair and gave them a new lease on life.
When these remarkable results of his daily tea and his tisch were brought to his attention, the rebbe’s answer was modest but short and to the point. “It’s not the tea time or the shirayim. It’s just that our sages said that הרחוקים" "גדולה לגימה שמקרבת.

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