Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Merit of Melaveh Malkah

Received by email from a friend

Sunday, Cheshvan 16th, is the yahrtzeit of Rabbi Shlomo ben Naftali Carlebach, z"l.

I remembered this while eating Melava Malkah, and thought I should share it, since it is Reb Shlomo's yahrtzeit. I always enjoyed Reb Shlomo's stories, but there was one that that really had an effect on me. I was in a friend’s car in the Catskills over fifteen years ago, and he was playing a Shlomo Carlebach Melaveh Malkah album. On it he told the following story:

Someone came to a certain Rebbe (the recording was unclear so I couldn’t make out the name) and said his friend was deported to Siberia. He asked if the Rebbe could get a yeshu'a for his friend. The Rebbe said, "If you’re friend will do whatever I tell him, he will be able to get out of Siberia." The man said, "Of course."

Soon enough, the friend was released from Siberia and came to the Rebbe. He asked what he could do to express his gratitude. The Rebbe told him, “Wash for Melaveh Malkah every Motza'ei Shabbos.” He said, “That’s all?" The Rebbe said, “Yes. I promised Dovid HaMelech that you would wash for his meal of Melaveh Malkah, and that’s how you got out of Siberia!”

When I heard this, I thought to myself that if washing for Melaveh Malkah can save someone from Siberia, imagine how many smaller things it can do? Of course, there are many reasons to wash, but this is what got me to wash for Melava Malkah. Since then or shortly after, I have washed for Melaveh Malkah every single Motza'ei Shabbos--except for one time eight years ago, when I felt so sick that I had to go straight into bed on Motza'ei Shabbos and didn't wake up until the next morning.

If anyone doesn’t keep this custom this yet, I would encourage them to start. There are many good reasons to do so besides this story. Because of Shlomo Carlebach, I have been washing for Melaveh Malkah so many years now. May this be still another source of merit for his neshamah.

UPDATE: Mordechai Schiller informs us that the rebbe was the "Heilige Shinover." Reb Shlomo finished the story by saying that Dovid Hamelech looks at everyone with Moshiach's eyes. Everything little thing a Jew does is precious. Then he added a brochah: "When you look at yourself, expect the most. But when you look at others, see every little thing as precious..."

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