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The message of Hasidism: To be a miracle in the life of someone else‏‏

הרב זלמן וישצקי
Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
Last night, I was starting to lose attention while listening to Rabbi Zalman Vishetsky during a Mitchadshot (women's renewal) workshop the moment he said: "I want to tell you a story about a miracle!". If you read me regularly you know that I am not inclined to tell miracle stories. But, nevertheless, here is the story that he told:
One night there was an earthquake in California. Everything moved, including the Chabad synagogue on the famed Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles, which shook from top to bottom. Chairs flew from where they stood, prayer books fell, everything was turned upside down.
At that moment, a single young man sat and learned alone in the synagogue. He saw what happened and decided to return everything to its proper place. He worked for many hours returning books to their shelves, cleaning and sweeping, putting everything back in order. When morning came, no one noticed that the earthquake had visited the synagogue. The morning minyan came as usual to pray Shacharit. All the buildings in the city were turned upside down and only their synagogue was spared. What a miracle.
The young man heard everyone talking about the great miracle and he initially wanted to tell them what he did all night long. But then he stopped himself and understood: They did encounter a miracle here, and it was me.
I think that there is a profound message in this story. This week we celebrate the 19th of Kislev, the day when the founder of the Chabad Hasidic movement was released from a czarist prison in 1798. It was a day when, in essence, Hasidism as a whole left prison. The story of the young man, in fact, encapsulates the message of Hasidism: We can be the miracle in the life of someone else; we must be the miracle in the life of someone else. We don't have to say much. It can all happen behind the scenes. But we must take responsibility and take action in the world. To look at our child, at our spouse, or at someone whom we met by chance, and to believe that we can be a miracle in their life.


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