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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!"

Iyar 5771 - May 2011

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Rabbi Mendel Lipskar is Executive Director of Chabad of South Africa. He also serves as Rabbi of the Shul at Hyde Park in Johannesburg, and is a charismatic globetrotting orator who inspires audiences with passion and purpose. At an Achdus (unity) gathering attended by students of Yeshivah Gedolah, Rabbi Lipskar shared the following:

One time, during a Yechidus (private audience) that I attended with the Rebbe, I handed the Rebbe a note with a detailed report of my most recent activities in South Africa. As the Rebbe read the note, I noticed something unusual. Normally, the Rebbe sat leaning forward in his chair. But now, as the Rebbe sat reading my letter, he gradually began leaning back in his chair. Eventually, the Rebbe looked up, and whilst leaning back in his chair, he exclaimed, “Nu, what shall I say? I am happy (with the report)!”

When I heard these incredibly warm words, the hint of a smile began forming on my face.

In an instant, the Rebbe leaned forward in his chair, and he forcefully said to me: “How is it that a Yungerman is happy with his achievements, [the Mishnah states that] one who has one hundred coins wants two hundred coins!”

The Yechidus continued for about another ten minutes, but I was in such a daze that I do not remember any of it. All I remember is how the Rebbe expressed his gratitude in such an incredibly warm way, and at the same time, how he forcefully expressed his tremendous frustration that there was so much more left to do.

The lesson: It is important that our achievements be recognized, but at the same time, we must remain focussed on the tasks that remain before us.

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