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Anecdoe Abou My Faer
By Boruch Jacobson
 
When I worked in the newspaper I once gave an article to my father to edit. He called me into his office and explained to me that when I write I should try not to preach. Instead of writing you "must" do this or you "need" to do that, say you "should." People will accept a gentle suggestion much faster then if you preach ("predick" in Yiddish).

* * *
One day after the publication of the newspaper, Dr. Manfred Lehmann of blessed memory called to complain about a few mistakes that crept into his article. As a new editor with little experience in how to deal with disgruntled writers who threaten never to write again, I went to my father for help. "be humorous," my father said. Tell him "az a shreiber shtarbt foon drook feleren neet foon hartz feleren!" A writer dies from publication problems and not from heart problems!
***
One night at about 2 am I heard my father typing away on his typewriter down in the basement. This was not so uncommon, since I was a child I was accustomed to seeing my father typing at every hour of the day or night. But when my father finished, I heard him dialing the phone and reading his editorial. I was very curious, whoever else works in the middle of the night, besides my father?

I waited until my father hung up the phone and eagerly asked whom he had just called so late at night?
My father smiled and explained that he just finished reading his column to his artist Zalman Kleiman who would sketch a cartoon to illustrate my father's opinion in a humorous or thought provoking way.
*          *          *
Every few months my father would receive a special phone call, sometimes late at night. The secretary of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Chaim Mordechai Isaac Hodakov a"h, would tell my father that the Rebbe asked me if it would be possible for you to reserve space in the newspaper for a letter that the Rebbe would be writing addressed to all of world Jewry.
When the letter would arrive my father would joyously read it and reread the letter and then he would create an exciting headline to honor the Rebbe's message. It was these opportunities that were my father's greatest joy, the entire newspaper and all its challenges were all a stepping stone for the Rebbe's letter, he often told me.
* * *
I once asked my father why he leaves the main headline on the front page of the newspaper blank until the last moment before going to press?
My father showed me a big smile and said: I always hope that I would have the "scoop" of all generations and report that Moshiach has arrived!
* * *
In 1976 my family went on vacation to Miami. Just then my father's newspaper was burned down by a group of hoodlems who were not happy with one of my father's articles. My father's response was to give out an even nicer newspaper with pictures of the damage and then he wrote that there is an "old folk's tale" that "noch a fire vert men reich!" after a fire you become rich!
The Rebbe's secretary Rabbi Chadakov called my father and told him that the Rebbe wants to see him. My father immediately took the next flight back to New York.
When my father came into the Rebbe's room the Rebbe told my father that I've read what you wrote that there's an "old folks tale" that after a fire you get rich. So I want you to know that it's not an old folks tale it is "m'pee kedoshei elyon" in the name of the Baal Shem Tov and it is printed in Derech Mitzvosecha.
If it's not much of a bother I would ask you to print a correction and may the blessing be fulfilled in every sense of the term "rich."
* * *
When my father would talk about money and real estate and the ambition that some people have to acquire a lot of money and a lot of possessions, he would always say that his richness is his family his children and grandchildren. In life, he would say there is nothing more valuable than your family.
* * *
When my father talked about his parents it was always with a lot of emotion he would often say my parents didn't have the opportunity to see me or my brothers get married nor did they see any of their grandchildren and great grandchildren. I have been blessed to marry off all of my children to beautiful loving people and on top of that I was privileged to see grandchildren from all my kids. I know that my parents are proud from on high.
* * *
When my father would peel us (the kids) an orange he would always ask: "Tzoonemen?" should I take apart the pieces of orange.
* * *
My father wouldn't cry often but when he did it would shower. One of those times was by Kol Nidrei and another time was by Maftir Yonah at Mincha of Yom Kippur. Year after year I would watch as my father would listen to the Rebbe read the Haftorah about Yonah and how he tries to run away from His responsibility that G-d had placed upon him.

Finally, one year I built up the guts and asked my father why do you cry so hard by Maftir Yonah? My father waited a moment and then answered: The Rebbe is the Yonah of our generation but he never tries to run away from his responsibilities to lead and inspire a world that is dark and rebellious.

Later when I grew up and stood closer to the Rebbe as he said the Maftir about Yonah, a familiar cry was heard but this time it was the Rebbe crying.
*          *          *
In a private audience that my father had with the Rebbe, the Rebbe said among other things, that in America there are three months missing. Cheshvan: There is no "cheshbon," accountability. Teves: nobody does anybody "teives," favors. Iyar: There is no "eer" a respectful expression that replaces "you" when we address an elderly person, a rabbi and the like.
* * *
One late evening we finished working about 12 am, we left the building of 404 Park Avenue South and descended into the subway. Frankly, I was scared and when we got onto the train I said to my father you are not scared? There is nobody on this train... My father said we "are" on this train and there is nothing to fear but Hashem.
* * *
One late Wednesday afternoon in the middle of the hoo-ha of making the paper, the type-setters were busy setting the lead. The artists were busy pasting the pages, the advertising department was busy placing their last orders before the final deadline, the proofreaders were busy checking the copy, in short, the place was like a birthing delivery room. Suddenly in the midst of all the commotion, my father takes my hand and says come with me. Where are we going? I asked, you will soon see, he said. We went downstairs and strolled down the street, nice and slow for a block or two until we reached a shoemaker, we both sat down and got our shoes shined. I was very surprised but very relaxed.

On our way back to the office my father told me that this is how to relax when we find ourselves in the eye of the storm.
* * *  
My father was once delayed in the airport for about six hours. While everybody was upset, angry, anxious and running wild, my father sat calmly and read his newspapers, clipping pertinent items that he would need for his work. When he finished all the material in his bag. He pulled out an envelope with manuscripts and began to edit them without even noticing that the hours were running by.
* * *
May my father's efforts over the years to inspire the world against all odds bring his soul peace and harmony, and may he be a representative for all of us to beseech that G-d should bring all of klal Yisroel all blessings and especially my father's dream to have the scoop that Moshiach is Here.
Posted on June 1, 2005
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