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The Letter on the Floor

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Rabbi Yosef Weinberg enjoyed a close working relationship with the Lubavitcher Rebbe for more than forty years, from when the Rebbe assumed the leadership of Chabad-Lubavitch in 1951. The Rebbe devoted many hours each week to reviewing and commenting on the weekly Tanya lessons that Rabbi Weinberg broadcast over the radio, and advised Rabbi Weinberg on his multi-faceted activities on behalf of the Lubavitcher Yeshivah and his other communal work.

Rabbi Weinberg tells of one incident that, to him, expresses the Rebbe’s boundless commitment to the welfare of his people. “I once had an extremely urgent matter to convey to the Rebbe,” recalls Rabbi Weinberg, “but it was late at night, and the Rebbe’s secretariat was already closed. I noticed that the light in the Rebbe’s room was on, so I did something that I would never have dared to do had the matter not been so urgent: I slipped a letter under the Rebbe’s door.

“It was several minutes before I realized the implications of what I had done: the Rebbe would have to bend down to pick up my letter from the floor! How could I possibly have done such a thing! But the deed was done, and there was nothing I could now do to prevent its consequences.

“On the next occasion that I was received by the Rebbe in yechidut (private audience), I said to him that I had done something that I deeply regretted and I hoped that the Rebbe would forgive me. I then profusely apologized for having caused the Rebbe to bend down in order to pick up my letter.

“When I finished speaking, the Rebbe looked straight at me and said: ‘But that is my job—to bend down in order to help another Jew.’”

Adapted from the teachings of the Rebbe by Yanki Tauber

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