Devar Torah - Miketz

Friday, 14 December, 2012 - 10:18 am

A Good Fabrengen is the Fuel of a Chosid
By Rabbi Shimon Raichik

There is a vital need to refresh, reinvigorate and reinstate the positive approach of the fabrengens of the early chassidim. This is the subject of a letter from the Previous Rebbe (v.9 page 246). He writes that fabrengens of the past were filled with true inner content. There was no place for emotional outbursts. All of the participants were surrounded by an atmosphere filled with the spirit of true sincerity.

As the fabrengen progressed some would speak about a certain behavior of the Rebbe, while others would describe the davening of the Rebbe that they had merited to hear. Many spoke about an experience they had in a yechidus, while others would be thinking about a yechidus which they were not allowed to share. During these precious moments, each person found them removed in their thoughts beyond time and space. They would envision themselves standing many years before in the room of the Rebbe, staring at his majestic appearance, trembling from the holiness, together with an inner sense of wondrous delight, listening to every single word of the Yechidus. These were not just passing memories; rather moments from the past very much lived in the present. They relived these moments and through them became aroused to the point that they would, all at once burst out spontaneously and simultaneously into a niggun full of heartfelt meaning. It was often a niggun of longing, of pouring out of the soul, and of supplication all at the same moment.

How pleasant it was to hear the stories of the lives of these chassidim which described the ways of chassidus during these fabrengens. The niggunim and dancing that came through all of this evaporated any distance in time. Everyone felt that at this very moment they were standing with the Rebbe in his room. This was the format of the fabrengens of chassidim of the past. The Previous Rebbe said that this is his intention in calling for public fabrengens. The fabrengens should be done in this fashion. These fabrengens should take place on Shabbos Mevarchim. By carrying out the fabrengens appropriate to the proper intention it will be good for them in both physical and spiritual health.

Some think that in order to have a good fabrengen you need to take a lot of mashke. The Previous Rebbe writes (v. 4 page 284) that R. Hillel Paritcher would relate that when R. Aisik from Homil was in his 80’s, his eyes began to hurt and the doctor forbade him from drinking mashke. Generally R Aisik would take mashke saying that this was the way of the original chassidim. Now, in his 80’s they would pour a cup of mashke and he would take a sip and then place it in front of him and say; “looking at it can’t hurt”. The Previous Rebbe commented by saying that the lack of mashke doesn’t need to diminish in any way the essence of a good fabrengen, which is a source and way of life in internalizing a feeling in the life of the Torah and mitzvos.

Today, when we attend a fabrengen, we don’t go just to show our allegiance to the cause. We go to put ourselves into it. We go to connect to someone who was there by the Rebbe as he retells what it was like. The feelings of what happened when the Rebbe gave Chanukah gelt, or what the Rebbe said after the Yom Kippur War in 1973 when he began the mivtza of Channuka. We go to hear about Channuka in 1978 after the heart attack or by Zos Chanukah. We get drawn into it; it’s not just a story. A fabrengen is not a speech or a sermon or a lecture. We need to sing the niggunim, make l’chaim, relive, refresh and participate. By taking part we are drawn in and taken along, and this is why it is so important.

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