By Dovid Zaklikowski for COLlive and Hasidic Archives
The Rebbe’s audiences, in the 1950’s, would last sometimes to the wee hours of the morning. Several students would regularly remain there until the Rebbe left. Some to interrogate those who had the audiences if they had an interesting experience, then there were those who wanted to be there if an aide needed assistance, and others to escort the Rebbe home.
One night, the Rebbe was violently coughing during the audiences. It was so loud that it was heard through the walls. It reverberated through the silence of the hallway, and brought shivers down the spines of those there.
Several of the students approached the Rebbe’s aide, and suggested that he give the Rebbe a hot tea. He said he never did that before, for at the time, there was nowhere to make a hot drink in the building. If the Rebbe would have a drink, it would be from a thermos that was prepared at the Rebbe’s home. But he thought it was a good idea to bring a hot drink.
Someone went to bring one, and the aide asked the next one in line to wait a few minutes, and he brought the tea into the Rebbe. A half a minute later, he emerged, and told the next one in line to go in for their audience.
The students were not happy, and approached the aide, asking him what happened. He responded that the Rebbe told him, “Do you really think that I am going to allow people to sit and wait for me, and I am going to sit and drink tea.”
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