Those who merited to speak privately with the Rebbe always left with deeper insight and appreciation of his influence. The Avner Institute presents a Yechidus between the Rebbe and a scientist in the midst of research – a prominent rabbi on a covert Russian mission.
Mrs. Yonina Fallenberg relates:
My father, Arye Weinreb, was a respected professor of physics at Hebrew University, in Jerusalem. In 5731 (1970-1971) he spent his sabbatical year in the United States, together with his family Through the influence of an acquaintance, he managed to arrange a yechidus, private audience, with the Rebbe.
The Rebbe greeted him warmly. During the course of their audience, he asked my father questions regarding his work and research. My father, assuming the Rebbe was only being polite, answered in generalities.
But the Rebbe persisted. Still, my father answered in generalities.
Finally, my father felt compelled to explain in greater detail about the nature of his work.
The Rebbe listened thoughtfully, then said, “May I recommend that you take a look at a particular scientific publication.” He gave the title. “I believe this will be most helpful to your research.”
(My father remembered the title. When later he returned to the university, he looked it up. To his astonishment the journal included a highly relevant article, which he read to his great benefit.)
As they continued to talk, it came my father’s turn to ask a question.
“I see how constantly busy is the Rebbe. What exactly is he trying to achieve? What is the Rebbe’s objective?”
The Rebbe replied, “When a Jew dons tefillin in the morning, the tefillin leave a physical mark on his arm. Even after quite a while, since he wore the tefillin, a physical mark remains on his body.”
The Rebbe took an expansive breath. “This is what I seek to achieve spiritually. When a Jew donned tefillin in the morning, the mark it left should be noticeable on him even in the evening, long after he has worn it. The mark should be visible and proclaim – this is a Jew who performed the mitzvah of tefillin this morning!”
My father, a Torah-observant Jew, maintained a set schedule for Torah study. However, he told the Rebbe, “My scientific work takes away from my time for Torah study. Therefore, I am considering leaving my work for this reason.”
The Rebbe sternly rejected this idea. “You must continue your involvement in your work. May the Al-mighty grant that the matters should resolve themselves such that you may integrate your scientific work with your Torah studies.”
It should be noted that the Sichat Hashavua (weekly discourse) from the week of Bereishis 5751 featured a short interview with him, and he is quoted there as saying: “I am not a Chassid, but I cannot recall a man who impressed me as much as the Rebbe. At the end of the conversation, the Rebbe smiled and said to me: ‘Go out and tell everyone that science isn’t sacred.’”
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