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He left with a secret smile on his face, as he thought: “At last I have succeeded in discrediting Rav Naftali. He will be totally drunk this evening at the Yom Kippur services and the chassidim will witness this with their own eyes.”

The misnaged arrived at the shul early so that he might witness the fall of his opponent.


To his amazement and consternation, Rav Naftali ascended the pulpit and began to lead the services in a clear and steady voice. He said the Kol Nidrei, led the Maariv service and said tehillim, verse by verse, with the congregation. When he reached the verse that read: “With this I have known that You desire me, for You have not allowed my enemies to triumph over me,” he turned around and – searching the congregants — looked directly at the misnaged and said the verse.

The man was crushed by the silent rebuke given him by Rav Naftali. He realized that he had done a terrible thing, and he felt the need to sincerely apologize to the great rebbe.

After the services, he approached the rav with a shameful face and begged his forgiveness. He then asked him: “Rebbe, please tell me this. How was it possible for you, after drinking so much wine, to stand firmly on your feet and to pray with such clarity and fervor?” Rav Naftali smiled and replied: “In the Talmud (Bava Basra 10) we find: ‘Wine weakens great fear.’ This is true when that fear is the fear of man. But the fear and awe that man possesses for the Holy One, Blessed Be He, especially on the holy day of Yom Kippur, weakens even the strongest wine.”

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