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!"

Iyar 5771 - May 2011

Rabbi Ceitlin

Rabbi Aaron Eliezer Ceitlin was a member of the fourth Kevutzah (group) of Shluchim to spend two years as the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s emissaries to the Yeshivah Gedolah in Melbourne. Today, he serves as a Shliach in Tzfat (Safed - Israel), and is the director of several Chabad-Lubavitch institutions. Rabbi Ceitlin is a highly regarded and inspirational speaker. At a recent Farbrengen at the Rabbinical College, Rabbi Ceitlin related the following: 

Rabbi Yitzchok Meir Hertz is the current Rosh Yeshivah (dean of studies) at the Chabad Yeshivah in London, England. Rabbi Hertz hails from a family of Gerer Chassidim, but as a young Yeshivah student, he became attracted to Chabad and enrolled in the central Chabad-Lubavitch Yeshivah, in Brooklyn.

After some time, he entered his first Yechidus (private audience) with the Rebbe. During the Yechidus, the Rebbe suggested two undertakings for him to finish within a year; to study the entire Talmud Bavli, and to collaborate with several others in indexing the prolific writings of the Tzemach Tzedek, the third Lubavitcher Rebbe.

For several days after the Yechidus, Rabbi Hertz was in a state of confusion. The Rebbe had just given him two formidable and daunting assignments, and he could not fathom how he could possibly complete them in the course of only one year. Finally, he went to seek counsel with the elderly and wise Rabbi Shmuel Levitin, who was the students’ Mashpia (spiritual advisor).

Rabbi Levitin listened attentively to Rabbi Hertz, and after hearing what the problem was, he chuckled. He then responded with the following anecdote: “There was once a man who purchased a fancy hat. He excitedly put it on in the morning, and on his way out the door took one last admiring look in the mirror. Upon gazing at his reflection, the thought crossed his mind that he would look even more flattering if he tipped his hat at a different angle. But the man was still unsatisfied; he was a bit apprehensive of the slightly different look. So he adjusted the hat a little this way, and then the other way. And so it went, until the man realized that he wasted the entire morning in front of the mirror, accomplishing nothing. The world did not see him, nor his hat, because he was so worried about the way the world would view him and his hat!”

Rabbi Levitin concluded with a smile, “You need to finish the Talmud and the Tzemach Tzedek's index within a year? Well, then just do it! Don’t waste your time thinking about how it could possibly be done, because then it won’t get done! Just begin, forge ahead little by little, and then it will get done!”

And indeed, it was done.  

The lesson: At times, we find ourselves face to face with a task that appears daunting. The correct approach is not to confront the entire task at once, but rather, to tackle it bit by bit, without despairing. Just do it! This is what L’Chatchiler Ariber* is all about!

* This is the Yiddish term for the Rebbe Maharash's famed adage on dealing with challenges: "The world says, 'If you can't crawl under an obstacle, try to climb over,' but I say, 'At the outset, climb over!

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