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REB SHMUEL MUNKES VS THE HATERS

Updated: Jul 18, 2023

He spoke from his heart with love and sincerity, appealing to the inner spark of holiness within every Jew. * On HaYom Yom 4 Tammuz.

by Bing AI

Today's Hayom Yom¹ tells us that one single chassid or student who devotes his heart, mind and soul to Torah and to bolstering Torah, effects wonders in a large city, in all that city's affairs - in a manner that transcends the natural order, by the merit of our Patriarchs, "Fathers of the World."


This teaches us that every Jew has the power and the responsibility to make a positive impact on his or her surroundings, by studying and living according to the Torah. We should not underestimate our potential or our influence, but rather realize that we are connected to a higher source of blessing and guidance - our Rebbeim and our forefathers. By following their example and teachings, we can bring light and goodness to the world.


A Chassidic tale that illustrates this point is the story of Rabbi Shmuel Munkes, one of the disciples of the Alter Rebbe. He was once sent by his master to a town where many Jews had become estranged from Judaism and were following false ideologies. Rabbi Shmuel's mission was to inspire them to return to their roots and embrace their heritage.


Rabbi Shmuel arrived at the town on a Friday afternoon, dressed in his simple chassidic garb. He went straight to the marketplace, where he saw many Jews busy with their business, oblivious to the approaching Shabbat. He approached one of them and asked him: "Do you know what time it is?" The man looked at him with disdain and said: "It's time for you to get lost, you ignorant fool!"


Rabbi Shmuel did not get angry or offended. He simply moved on to another Jew and asked him the same question. The second Jew gave him a similar answer, as did the third and the fourth. Rabbi Shmuel kept asking until he had asked every Jew in the market. By then, it was almost sunset and time to light the Shabbat candles.


Rabbi Shmuel then climbed on a barrel and shouted: "Listen, my brothers and sisters! I have asked you all what time it is, and none of you could tell me. It is time to welcome the holy Shabbat, the queen of all days, the source of all blessings! It is time to stop your mundane pursuits and turn your hearts and minds to G-d! It is time to remember who you are and where you come from! It is time to repent and return to your Father in heaven!"


His words pierced through the hearts of the people, who suddenly realized how far they had strayed from their true selves. They felt a surge of remorse and longing for their ancestral faith. They quickly closed their shops and ran home to prepare for Shabbat. They lit candles, made kiddush, ate challah, sang songs, and listened to Rabbi Shmuel's teachings. They spent the entire Shabbat in joy and inspiration, reconnecting with their souls.


The next day, they all gathered in the synagogue and asked Rabbi Shmuel to stay with them and be their leader. He agreed, on condition that they would follow his instructions and study Torah diligently. He then established a yeshiva and a mikvah in the town, and taught them how to observe the mitzvot properly. Within a short time, the town was transformed into a bastion of Torah and chassidut.


This story shows us how Rabbi Shmuel Munkes fulfilled his mission with courage and wisdom. He did not give up or despair when he faced hostility and indifference. He did not compromise or dilute his message. He spoke from his heart with love and sincerity, appealing to the inner spark of holiness within every Jew. He used his devotion to Torah and his connection to his Rebbe as sources of strength and guidance. He effected wonders in a large city, by transcending the natural order.


We can learn from this example to be proud and confident of our identity as Jews and chassidim. We should not be intimidated or influenced by the trends or opinions of society. We should seek to share our knowledge and passion with others who may be distant or unaware of their heritage. We should trust that G-d will help us succeed in our mission, by merit of our Patriarchs, "Fathers of the World."

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