Every day the old water carrier passed the study hall with his pails. Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov ("Master of the Good Name") often stood outside the front door and talked with his disciples.
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The following story was told by Rabbi
Israel Spira, the Rebbe of Bluzhov, who witnessed it in the Janowska Concentration Camp
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Rabbi Mendel Futerfass spent several years of his life in a Soviet labor camp. He later related that one of the ways that he kept his sanity was to constantly engage his mind in the Chassidic practice...
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A man once came to the Chassidic master Rabbi Yerachmiel of Pshischa with his tale of woe:
"Rebbe, I am a tailor. Over the years, I have earned quite a reputation for my expertise and the high quality of my work.
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Do you know where
Kano is? Look it up on the map of
West Africa. 1963. Fall. But who in that climate of eternal heat, on the border of the
Desert, knows whether it is fall or spring?
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The news passed swiftly through the city of
Chernigov, leaving shock and sorrow in its wake. Reb Yekutiel, a wealthy businessman and pillar of the community, had been arrested on charges of tax evasion and misappropriation of government funds.
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Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov once said to his disciples:
"There once lived two neighbors, a Torah scholar and an impoverished laborer. The scholar would wake before dawn, rush to the study hall and study for several hours...
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Rabbi Abba (the scribe of the Zohar) once sat at the gateway of the Town of
Lud. He saw a traveler sit down on a pile of rocks at the edge of a mountain overlooking a cliff. The man was exhausted for his journey and immediately fell asleep.
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The Gaon, Rav Moshe Chaim Lau, the Rav of Pietrokov,
Poland, stemmed from a line of 36 generations of Rabbanim. In 1942, the Nazis sent most of the Jews of Pietrokov to Treblinka.
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At the conclusion of every 16-hour work day in the hell called
Bergen-Belsen, the block commander liked to have some fun with his Jews.
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Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (who lived in the 2nd century CE in the
Holy Land) was possibly the holiest man that ever lived. Besides authoring the 'Zohar', being a master of the oral Torah and a miracle worker, he was one of the few Jews in history who spent every instant of his time learning Torah; no casual conversations, coffee breaks and certainly no vacations--only Torah.
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