By COLlive reporter
The French-born Mashpia Rabbi Michael Tayeb is known for energetically leading chassidic farbrengens during which he inspires participants of all walks of life – from the frum to the non-observant.
During these gatherings, Rabbi Tayeb can typically be seen holding the crowd spellbound with explanations of deeps concept of Torah and Chassidus, peppered with stories, anecdotes and niggunim.
But, in his weekly column in the Kfar Chabad magazine, he announced a serious change that he recently implemented.
“I have lowered the amount of drinking L’chaim substantially during farbrengens,” wrote Rabbi Tayeb, who serves as Mashpia at Yeshivas Oholei Tmimim in Kfar Chabad, Israel, where he lives.
Rabbi Tayeb admits that in the past he often said L’chaim every few minutes. In fact, the book that collected his remarks at farbrengens is titled “Lechaim Velivracha.” His column in Kfar Chabad magazine is named “L’Chaim, Chassidim.”
The decision follows a health condition that Rabbi Tayeb suffered a few months ago during a visit to New York with a group of Chassidim. “I was hospitalized with very high blood pressure,” he says, noting that it was “literally, life-threatening.”
Lowering the volume of alcohol intake was one of the “drastic and essential changes I have made in my lifestyle,” he says. Leading farbrengens with saying little L’chaim, “has also demanded of me tremendous mental strength,” he acknowledges.
“In a way, after drinking a lot of L’chaim, it is not you who is farbrenging, but the ‘L’chaim’ that is… It may be more attractive, but it is also less real,” he explained.
As an alternative, Rabbi Tayeb says he spends more time learning, based on the Rebbe‘s words that in this generation, once can become inspired (‘drunk’) from the “wine of Torah” and the wealth of Chassidus teachings.
“The investment in learning Chassidus and internal work with the goal to change the innermost parts of a person will take us to a way better place than the bottle – which can only take us to bed and headaches,” he said.
“After a few hours of sichos and maamarim, davening and mivtzoim, there probably won’t be a need for an abundance of mashke. It is more difficult, but more real and more internal and has a greater effect” – both on the Mashpia and the participants of the farbrengen.