"In the middle of the fourth Hakofo the Rebbe didn't feel well and became very pale. The Rebbe asked me to bring his chair closer and sat down caressing his heart."
Rosh Chodesh Kislev marks the day that the Rebbe left 770 and went home after suffering a severe heart attack on Simchas Torah. In honor of this day, I would like to present part of a diary one of the Rebbe's secretaries wrote describing how they realized the Rebbe has the heart attack. Special thanks to Efraim Levine.
The Heart Attack
The Heart Attack
"In the middle of the fourth Hakofo the Rebbe didn't feel well and became very pale. The Rebbe asked me to bring his chair closer and sat down caressing his heart. I immediately asked that the doctors who were there to come over but the Rebbe did not let them check him. Meanwhile they brought the Rebbe water but he didn't want to drink it saying that he had not yet made Kiddush.
In the interim between the fifth and sixth Hakofo the Rebbe sat down but during the fifth and sixth Hakofos themselves he stood leaning on his "stender."
The doctor asked the Rebbe if he feels pain around his heart and the Rebbe answered, yes. The doctor asked "does the pain feel like a hammer pounding or like needles pricking? The Rebbe replied "like needles pricking.
I am Not Going To The Hospital
"The Rebbe went out of his room and entered the Succa, but sat down immediately and his face turned yellow from pain. The doctor told the Rebbetzin that such pain comes from a heart attack. A few minutes passed and the Rebbe stood up and made Kiddush. He washed and ate only a "kezayis challa", a small piece of fish and meat. Afterwards, he “bentched” and went back to his room.
When he entered his room he said to me: "Now the doctors can do what ever they want." Meanwhile, a bed was brought down from upstairs and the Rebbe is resting on the bed. The doctors examined the Rebbe and unanimously said that the Rebbe must go to the hospital immediately because to remain here is a matter of life or death. The Rebbe responded by saying that under no circumstances will he go to the hospital.
In the meantime several heart specialists arrived in the Rebbe's room and they also said that the Rebbe must go to the hospital. But the Rebbe told me: "Tell them that I will not budge from 770 and if something has to happen let it happen in 770…"
I won't be there
I won't be there
Towards the evening the Rebbe told me that there certainly will be a farbrengen Simchas Torah as every year, therefore, I should go downstairs in middle of the farbrengen and give over in my name: "Even though now there is a vacant spot this only prepares the way to enable this space to be filled even more than before. As with a syringe first one has to create a vacuum only that can the syringe be later filled. G-d's intention behind his self-concealment is for the sake of future self-revelation." Tell this to Reb Yoel and ask him to expound it at length according to Chassidus."
When I informed the Rebbe that I gave over his words and that Reb Yoel was now elaborating on it to the crowd, he told me: Take the cup of wine that I made Kiddush over it and the bottle of wine – give it to Rabbi Mentlik, and after Birchas Hamazon and the Maariv services he should distribute it among the participants. And tell them that after Maariv there will be another announcement!
Copyright © Menachem Kirschenbaum 2007