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The surging crowd pressed close to the table at which Rabbi Sholom DovBer of Lubavitch was seated. It was Simchat Torah of 1919, the Rebbe was farbrenging, and everyone wished to hear the Rebbe's words. Soon the table, no longer able to bear the mounting pressure, collapsed.

Not wishing to disturb the Rebbe's talk, the chassidim carefully lifted the splintered table piece by piece, and passed it hand over hand out of the room. Only when he concluded his talk did the Rebbe notice what had happened and exclaimed in surprise: "Where is the table?"

"I will tell you a story" he said. "Rabbi Levi Yitzchok of Barditchov had concluded his study of shchita and was preparing to slaughter his first hen. He took the bird in his left hand, and diligently prepared it for the shechting. In his right he held the chalef. With great concentration and ecstasy, he recited the blessing over the mitzvah which he was privileged to observe for the very first time. In the meantime, the hen decided that, under the circumstances, it was high time she ran for her life...

"The Barditchover concluded the blessing and exclaimed (the Rebbe quoted in Polish-accented Yiddish): "'Vi is di hin? Where is the hen...?'"

Dancing Quietly

During the early morning hours on Simchas Torah, an elderly chassid walked over to a group of young men who had taken a brief recess from the continuous dancing in "770".

"Tired, eh?" he commented with a smile. There was no need for an answer; their red faces, limp hands, and drenched clothes said it all.

"Let me tell about one Simchas Torah night in the late 1940s right here in "770", while the Previous Rebbe was alive. The Rebbe Shlita - we used to call him by his initials, 'the RaMaSh'- was dancing all night, from 10 p.m. till 7 a.m., as he always did on Simchas Torah. None of us, not even the most energetic, could keep up with him.

"At one point, one of the Previous Rebbe's household attendants came down to the shul. Although the Previous Rebbe's quarters were on the third floor of "770", he was worried that the noise of the singing and dancing might disturb the Previous Rebbe's rest.

"Someone approached the Rebbe Shlita and whispered the attendant's message into his ear. In response, the Rebbe removed his shoes, and continued to dance barefoot all night long, singing a melody softly and saying, 'Sha...sha...sha,' instead of the words."


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