"Saturday Night, Full Moon"
Table of Contents

Part A. Kabbalists of 16 th -17th Century Tzefat and Jerusalem

1 Revealed on a Forehead

How the extraordinary sixteenth century kabbalist, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, the “holy Ari” of Tzefat, could tell everything about a person by gazing at his forehead! And how reluctant he was to divulge such gleanings.

2 In Defense of Elijah

Did you know that the world-famous kabbalists and rabbinic authorities in 16 th century Tzefat all deferred to Rabbi Moshe Alsheich as the master of scriptural interpretation? And that he once defended the honor of Elijah the Prophet at great personal expense? And that the two are causally connected?

3 A Delicious Offering

Can there possibly be Show-Bread offerings 1500 years after the destruction of the Holy Temple? And the Al-mighty Himself consumes them? The h oly Ari’s dread pronouncement to another 16th century Tzefat rabbi’s fatal words.

4 The Umbrella Parade

“You Jews better do something to end this life-threatening draught or I will expel every last one of you from Jerusalem,” said the Turkish ruler to Rabbi Moshe Galante II.

Part B. Chasidic Masters: 1 st three generations 1734-1815

5 Happy Birthday!

How the key to financial salvation for a Jewish man in crushing debt can be simply to listen to his wife’s advice. And how the Baal Shem Tov was able to help people in mysterious, uncanny ways, even when they didn’t believe in his holiness and powers.

6 Beyond Space

How can it be that even though he lived in Mezritch, he never once went to visit “the Great Maggid ! And how can it be that one can be south and north at the same time!

7 Popular Names

Why did the Baal Shem Tov not give them the blessing they so desperately sought? What happens to a childless couple after 120? Why take them to a distant village and quiz the children?

8 The Forest and the Rose

A mysterious journey of the mysterious tzadik, Leib Sarah’s. The discovery of a special soul in an orphan boy goat herder. The liberation of sparks from the holy Temple in the first Kaliver Rebbe’s song.

9 To See the Rebbe’s Face

The Rebbe screams for extra light in the Study Hall; the chasid of Rabbi Menachem-Mendel of Vitebsk gets lost in the forest; the secret shining house and the master record books.

10 “Enough Already!”

How the major supporter of Rebbe Nachum of Chernobyl turned into his biggest enemy. How his son and successor, Rebbe Mottel of Chernobyl , showed no sympathy for his servant suffering terribly from psoriasis. How the two are connected.

11 Double Treatment

A great scholar learns that when one is seriously ill, he should 1) listen to his mother; 2) follow completely the advice of both holy brothers: the Rebbes Elimelech and Zusha.

12 Beginner's Luck

Why did it have to be that the obvious decision Rabbi Levi Yitzchak would have to issue in his very first court case in Berdichev would make him an object of derision in his new city? A three-generation saga.

13 Special Delivery

Wherein is revealed the secret that one of the few things better than receiving good news is receiving that good news quickly, and how love becomes transmuted into blessing.

14 Crossroad Puzzle

The puzzling travel decisions of the Seer of Lublin; the Shabbat host who had no food; the secretive boy in the forest.

15 What You See is What You Get

What advice could the Apter Rebbe possibly give to a Jew who with one glance could detect another Jew’s most intimate secrets and hidden sins?

16 The Joker’s Shabbat

What happens when a 24/7 comedian suddenly turns serious. What happens when one’s weekday lifestyle is in conflict with one’s Shabbat persona. How the Be’er Mayim Chaim acquired an unexpected disciple.

Part C. Chasidic Masters: the 2 nd hundred years 1820-1920

17 Forty Days and Forty Nights

A perplexed Kabbalist; Rebbe Yisrael of Rhyzhin and his team of white horses; why Elijah the Prophet never showed up.

18 Yaakov the Innocent

Trouble in Heaven because he only forgave two years’ rent! The Tzemek Tzedek to his Chasidim: “Choose between Gehinom (Purgatory) and reincarnation!”

19 The Onion Plot

Can there possibly be Shabbos without' ‘ eiyr-un-tzibl’ (mixture of chopped eggs and onions)? Would Rabbi Naftali of Rophshitz succeed in finding a solution? How could such a coarse Gentile peasant gain access to the private room of the Seer of Lublin?

20 An All-Purpose Kaddish

A plucky widow in Pressburg, five unmarried orphan daughters, a mysterious benefactor, a fainting bank manager, a frightening dream.

21 The Most Desirable Apples

How to discern an excellent quality apple. Hands-on help from the Divrei Chaim of Sanz.

22 The Farmer Method

What happened when rabbis in Jerusalem decreed an extra fast day but didn’t send word to the country folk, including a farmer who can’t keep straight what to pray each day.

23 A Surgical Procedure

Do you want to know what the Belzer Rebbe thought about while on the operating table? Andhat caused the surgeon’s face to turn frost white then beet red.

24 Silence Speaks

Why did Rabbi Ysrael of Vizhnitz go uninvited into the home of the Reform Jew? Why did he sitt here in silence? Why did the bank manager follow the Rebbe home? Who didn’t sleep that night?

25 “Him–-Not Him”

How an old-fashioned yeshiva student amazed the professors in Petersburg, and how the professors surprised the Jewish prodigy, and how the Rebbe Reshab was more knowledgeable than all of them.

Part D. 20th Century: Chasidic Masters and other Jewish Heroes world-wide

26 A Soul’s Scream

A thrilling escape from a Concentration Camp. But how could it be that a non-religious Jew with a non-Jewish father had more honed Jewish instinct than the most religious of the other escapees?

27 Silence Speaks

Living in fear in the Warsaw Ghetto. A little Jewish girl braves the streets. Arrest-Salvation-Deal Breaker.

28 A Reserved Chair

Why did the Rebbe Rayatz want him to make the long subway ride from the Bronx to Brooklyn again so soon? And if he likes the synagogue, why care about its caretaker? And how can a synagogue be a butcher shop?

29 Rotten Seeds

The unexpected scarcity of seed for the year after the Sabbath of the Land. The unexpected result of the unexpected scarcity. The unexpected judicial decision of Rabbi Benyamin Mendelson .

30 The Tenth Man

A most remarkable aerogram from the Lubavitcher Rebbe. The Moshav, the spring and the factory; the plane, the bus and the taxi. But what’s in those sugar cubes?

31 Don’t Be Surprised

What and why the translator for the Nadvorna Rebbe of Tzefat refused to translate. How going against his advice turned out to be complying. Why there was no reason to be surprised.

32 Slaps of Love

A life-changing tour of Jerusalem. How Rabbi Moshe Weber dealt with a Jewish man who wanted to marry a non-Jewish woman, and how they met again in Pittsburgh.

33 Tied Up

A dream about the Lubavitcher Rebbe and neckties. Do Chasidim wear them? If not, why not? If yes, what kind? The opinion of a fierce Jewish lawyer.