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A Farbrengen is a Chassidic gathering in which the participants inspire each other to lead an exemplary Jewish life. In the spirit of true Ahavas Yisroel (love for one’s fellow Jew), the participants encourage each other to study Torah diligently, to fulfil Mitzvos in the best possible manner, to improve one’s character-traits, and to spread Judaism to others. These messages are all shared through a unique blend of Torah explanations, stories and Chassidic melodies; at times poignant and at times exuberant. No wonder that "What a Hasidic farbrengen can achieve, even the angel Michoel cannot achieve!"

Adar Rishon 5771 - February 2011

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Rabbi Areyah Kaltmann is an alumnus of the Rabbinical College of Australia & New Zealand, and the director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Columbus, Ohio. At a recent Farbrengen at the Rabbinical College, Rabbi Kaltmann related the following:

Columbus is host to the Ohio State University – one of the largest universities in the world, with a student population of approximately 60,000 students. One night during my first year in Columbus, I delivered dinner to a student who was sick. After spending some time with the student, I began my return walk home via High Street – in an area which was not especially safe after dark. As I walked, I became aware of two muscular guys in the distance, who eyed me at first, but then began advancing. My pace – and pulse – quickened, but I knew that there was no escape. Soon enough, these two giants closed in on me, with the inevitable question, “Yo, are you Jewish?” I closed my eyes as I said, “I am a Rabbi”. Their response: “Well, we are Jewish too; our names are Dave Gadner and Jay Sultzer! This is no place for a Rabbi to be walking at night! It is quite dangerous, so we will walk you home.” It wasn’t too long before Dave and Jay began laying Tefillin, attending Friday night Minyan at the Chabad House, and even making the tenth man for Shabbos morning Minyan – no small feat in a college town.

Jay eventually completed university, moved, and settled into a successful career as a lawyer. Through it all, he made sure to keep his connection to Yiddishkeit alive. When his mother was diagnosed with cancer, he spent the entire night davening and crying at the Ohel. The next day, the cancer was gone; the doctors were mystified!

Being a shy person by nature, Jay found it difficult to find his partner in life. One night, he went to the Ohel, and spent the entire night davening. The very next evening, he attended a function, where he met Ruby. Ruby needed a ride home after the event, and Jay just happened to live in the same suburb, so he offered her a ride. Before long, they got to talking, and eventually Jay told Ruby that he needed to make a small detour through Queens. Ruby was willing, but became alarmed when Jay pulled up at a cemetery – at 1:00 in the morning. Jay explained in his quite manner, “Ruby, I davened last night at the Ohel that I should meet you, and now I have come back to the Ohel, to say thank you!” Today, Ruby and Jay are happily married.

The lesson: Chassidus speaks of every Jew’s “Pintele Yid” (Jewish spark). In our every encounter with a fellow Jew, we must constantly remember that no matter his or her external appearance or extent of adherence and affiliation, the core of every Jew is ablaze with the love of Hashem and His Torah. 

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