A pair of Lubavitcher Yungerleit knocked on the doors of Hollywood looking for Jews with which to bench on the Arba Minim. One of the gentlemen who answered was a man of enormous dimensions and long hair – a true hippie. Our friends offered him the opportunity to make a brocho. Yet he assured them that he already fulfilled the Mitzvoh that morning. Unfazed, the yungerleit emphasized to him the importance of the Mitzvah, the blessings it would bestow upon him personally, the protection it would offer Israel and its soldiers as well its benefits to the entire Jewish nation. But the gentleman insisted that he already made a brocho that day. The chasidim persisted as they continued to impress upon him the importance of the mitzvoh.
Finally, the gentleman told them,” I see you don’t believe me. Follow me inside and I’ll show you the set I made the Brocho on.”
Incredulous, the Chasidim followed him inside, and were awed to behold the beautiful set he showed them.
“Where did you get them from?” they demanded.
“The Lubavitcher Rebbe.”
“This we’ve got to hear.”
“I’m a retired boxer. One time I was teamed up against a black boxer.
“Now, one thing you’ve got to know about boxing. Not always the stronger or the superior boxer wins a tournament. You see, games are at times sponsored. And the sponsors occasionally indicate who they wish to win the match. At this particular game, I was notified that my opponent was to win.
“And so I competed poorly, ensuring my opponent victory. He apparently had it in for me, as he proceeded to beat pulp out of me as I lay defeated. Finally, Emergency services intervened and an ambulance transported me unconscious as good as dead to the hospital.
“In the meantime, I sensed my life ended and I stood before a tribunal of 3 Rabbis who’d now decide my fate, after reviewing my life. 2 quickly said that I wasted my entire life on nonsense and for me to continue living, therefore, serves no purpose.
“But the third Rabbi suggested that they give me one more chance, to which his colleagues readily agreed. I then opened my eyes to find darkness all around me. I felt my body drop. I later learnt that the nurse who carried me to the hospital morgue was stunned when she felt movement in my bag and in her great fear dropped the bag with me inside on the floor.
“After this near death experience, I quit boxing. I earned enough to retire in style. one night in early fall, as I flipped through the TV stations, my wife caught site of a venerated Rabbi addressing an audience of thousands of people in an unintelligible language. As soon as I saw the Rabbi, I swooned. When I got to, I explained my bewildered wife that he had the same face as the famous Rabbi I told her about who saved my life while I was taken away to the morgue.
“I called the number running across the bottom of the TV screen, demanding to speak to the Rabbi.”
Let me interrupt the narrator’s story momentarily to explain to you that these calls were fielded by a team of Bochrim who sat in the room of WLCC during each weekday farbrengen.
“I was told this was impossible. The Rebbe was addressing a large crowd. I could try the Rebbe’s secretariat on the morrow. Determined, I called the next morning and was informed that the Rebbe doesn’t take phone calls. I could write to him though. And write to him I did.
“Several days later, the secretariat called me back. The Rebbe received my letter and requested that I meet him in his office that same week. My return trip was already paid and booked. [Writer’s note: The narrator briefly repeated to his spellbound listeners what the Rebbe explained to him. Sorry I don’t remember this part.] As the yechidus concluded, the Rebbe said that as we’re approaching Sukkos, he’s handing me a set of 4 minim which he wants me to be sure to use daily throughout the festival.
“And that’s the story of these Arba minim.”