Thursday, March 1, 2012

Purim, thanks to the misnagdim

(I had posted this a few years ago, but good to hear it again!)
In the times of the Alter Rebbe there was a wedding (mazal tov!) between a Lubavitcher family and a Misnagdishe family. You can imagine the bitterness in the air. The wedding was around the time of Purim, and there was a custom to have a badchan, a joker, entertain the crowd.
First the misnagdim sent up a comedian.
Afterwards, R' Shmuel Munkes went forward from the Lubavitcher side, as a badchan. He said that the whole story of Purim only came about because of the misnagdim. Why? Because at Achashverosh's party, the Lubavitchers were sitting in a corner, with lots of mashke, and were farbrenging. They were having a jolly time. The misnagdim of Shushan, however, were sitting at their table, arms crossed, looking quite bored and sad. Achashverosh saw that this group wasn't enjoying his party, so he tried to cheer them up, and asked them, "Hey, wanna see my wife?"

At this point Shmuel Munkes jumped down from where he had been speaking, and ran away as fast as he could, before the misnagdim at this wedding could get their hands on him.
Later, the Alter Rebbe called R' Shmuel Munkes into his room, for he had heard of the incident. The Alter Rebbe demanded an explanation of this huge chillul shem Lubavitch (well, Chabad. They hadn't moved to Lubavitch yet...).
R' Shmuel Munkes answered, "If you had heard them making fun of your Rebbe the way I heard them talking about mine, you would have done the same!"