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A Change of Clothes

And Moses spoke to G-d, saying: "Let the Lord, G-d of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the people… so that the congregation of G-d shall not be as sheep that have no shepherd"(27:1517)

Why does Moses address the Almighty as the "G-d of the spirits of all flesh?" So said Moses to G-d: "Master of the universe! You know the soul of each and every individual, You know that no two are alike. Appoint for them a leader who can relate to each and every one of them in accordance with his individual spirit."

- Rashi's commentary

Evening had fallen, and Rabbi Shmuel of Lubavitch was receiving those who came to seek his counsel in yechidus, the private meeting of souls between rebbe and chassid. Scarcely an hour had passed, and already the Rebbe was exhausted; he called a break and asked for a fresh change of clothes.

The Rebbe's secretary emerged from the room carrying the clothes which the Rebbe had removed. They were drenched in sweat. "Master of the universe," muttered the secretary, "why does he exert himself so?! Every hour he needs a new change of clothes. Why does the Rebbe sweat so much?"

The Rebbe's door opened, and Rabbi Shmuel stood in the doorway. "Go home," he said to his secretary. "You have not the slightest understanding of my work. I will continue to pay your salary, but I no longer desire your services.

"Don't you understand? In the past hour twenty people came to see me. Each of them poured out his soul to me and asked for my assistance in curing it of its spiritual ills. To relate to each one's dilemma, I have to see it through their eyes. So I must divest myself of my own personality and circumstances and clothe myself in theirs. Then, in order to answer them, I must re-assume my own persona - otherwise, why would they come to consult with me?

"Did you ever attempt to change your clothes forty times an hour? If such physical dressing and undressing would exhaust you and bathe you in sweat, can you imagine what it involves to do so in the mental, emotional and spiritual sense?"

 

 


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