Photo Credit: Jewish Press

By the grace of Hashem Yisborach, on Purim Katan 5749 (Sunday, February 19, 1989), we were able to present the Rebbe with the sefer.

When we gave the Rebbe the sefer, he was visibly happy – you saw the joy on his face. Upon receiving the sefer, the Rebbe exclaimed, “Der Sefer is shoyn fartik, m’ken shoyn lernen heint!” (“The sefer is ready. We can start learning from it today!”).


As the chassidim said, “There’s nothing greater than ‘az der Rebbe iz zufrieden’” (‘when the Rebbe is happy’). And indeed, the Rebbe’s happiness was evident to all. One of the sponsors, Reb Mendel Shemtov, was especially excited to see how happy the Rebbe was. He remarked, “When the Rebbe is happy, there’s nothing greater than that!”

The Rebbe turned to me and asked, “Du host mir geshribin az es zeinen doh tzehen sponsors, zeinen alleh doh?” (“You wrote to me that there are ten sponsors. Are they all here?”). Thankfully, they were all present, and the Rebbe gave a lot of brachos to everyone.

Inspecting the sefer, the Rebbe remarked, “Ich vil nit zuchen kein chesronos af’n sefer, ober aza sefer hot gedarft hob’n a bendel” (“I’m not looking for imperfections in the sefer, but such a sefer should have had a bookmark”). Although I noticed there was indeed a bookmark, I was not going to say that to the Rebbe when he had said there was none. But someone else present pointed out, “S’iz doh a bende.” (“There is a bookmark”). The Rebbe’s satisfaction was plain to see. “Ah! S’iz doh a bendel! Zol zein b’sha’ah tovah u’mutzlachas” (“Ah! There is a bookmark! May it be with good fortune and success”).

One individual, married for many years without children, had contacted me beforehand, recognizing that this was going to be an eis ratzon, a special and opportune time to receive a blessing, and requested that I ask the Rebbe for a bracha for children on his behalf. I did so, and the Rebbe said, “It will be soon.” That is indeed what happened.

Allow me to conclude with the following: In the year 5752, the Siyum HaRambam was on 28 Tishrei. It was a very nice siyum, and the Rebbe answered with a nice bracha on the report. After that the Rebbe wrote, “V’yamshich b’zeh u’v’simchoh u’v’tuv leivov” (“You should continue doing this, and with joy and gladness of heart”).

I must tell you that when I got this answer, I was almost trembling. What was the Rebbe saying? I wondered. Who would not continue with something that the Rebbe wants?

The year 5752 was a sensitive year, as we know now, in retrospect, the great sensitivity of the year. [That year the Rebbe suffered a serious stroke.] By the next Siyum HaRambam in the year 5753, after 27 Adar I 5752, I began to understand a little more what the Rebbe had meant. In the next two years, unfortunately, we understood even more about it. And with every passing year, we understand more and more the meaning of the Rebbe’s words, “V’yamshich b’zeh u’v’simcha u’v’tuv leivov.”

I must admit that the simcha and tuv leivov (joy and gladness of heart) do not come that easily, if at all. Nevertheless, the directive of the Rebbe is to continue our mission with joy and with gladness of heart that baruch Hashem we are zoche to do what the Rebbe wants.


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Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman is director of the Lubavitch Youth Organization. He can be reached at [email protected].