Lost in Thought

By Rabbi Dovid Markel


Reb Binyomen Kletzker was a great chossid of two Chabad Rebbe’s—the founder of Chabad Chassidism, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi and his son Rabbi Dovber, commonly referred to as the Mittler Rebbe.

He was known for his brilliance in Chassidus and for his ability to become completely absorbed in deep thought. The following is a story that illustrates his character[1].

Once, as he was returning home from the synagogue he became engrossed in thought. As he was coming home from prayers he was carrying with him his talis and tefillin that Jewish men pray with. Lost in thought, he placed his talis and tefillin on a nearby wagon and placed one leg on the axel.

When the owner of the wagon returned, he drove away leaving Reb Binyomen’s leg suspended in midair[2]. While Reb Binyomen eventually lowered his leg, he was completely oblivious to the entire episode.

Reb Binyomen stood there for many hours completely engrossed in thought and unaware of the happenings around him. Only when it was time for the afternoon prayers did Reb Binyomen awaken from his reverie and rush back to the synagogue to pray.

What is awesome about this story is that while it expresses the deep meditative thought that Reb Binyomen was able to enter into, it also expresses the tremendous fear of Heaven of Reb Binyomen. For while completely oblivious to the world around and unaware of everything, he nevertheless felt when the time for prayer arrived.

[1] Reshimos, 180

[2] The owner of the wagon was a non-Jewish peddler. When he came to another street to sell his wares a Jew noticed the talis and tefillin and returned them to their rightful owner.

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