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Never Enough

Friday, 30 January, 2015 - 1:43 pm

My great-grandfather, Reb Yochanan Gordon, came to the US in the 1930s. At the time it was quite difficult for a Shabbos observant Jew to keep a job. They would often get told on Friday, “If you don’t come in tomorrow, don’t bother coming in on Monday.” So he got involved in managing an Interest Free Loan Fund called Gemach Shomer Shabbos. The purpose of the fund was to help these Sabbath observant families make it through the rough times. Once a year he would submit a report of the fund’s activities to the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, who would give him blessings and encouragement. After the Previous Rebbe’s passing (on this day - Shevat 10) in 1950 he began submitting the reports to the Rebbe. When he walked out of the Rebbe’s room after submitting the first report he good-naturedly commented to the Chassidim “this Rebbe is going to make us work hard.” The Rebbe’s reaction to the report beyond the blessings and encouragement was “Why is there money in the bank? It could have been used to help more people.”

This approach defined the Rebbe’s attitude to achievements and success. He was always quoting the Talmudic statement, “One who has 100 now wants 200. One who has 200 now wants 400.” The Rebbe’s encouragements and compliments were always accompanied by a cautioning against being satisfied with status quo. This was true in his interactions with anyone in any walk of life. While the Chassidim certainly hears this from the Rebbe most often, others who sought the Rebbe’s blessing and advice were also encouraged in a similar manner.

In this video clip – - the Rebbe is informed by the board members of the UJA-Federation of NY that they have allocated $250,000.00 to Chabad schools. He replies with a smile, “You expect me to be satisfied by this?” To which they reply, “If you were satisfied we would be worried.” Then the Rebbe responds with an even broader smile, “You have nothing to be worried about.”

Bottom line – there is always more that can be done and we need to buckle down and do it!

Mazel Tov to Joel Brown and the whole family upon the marriage of Ruth and Shaya. Only Simchas and good occasions always!

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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