Firen di Kinder tzu der Chupa: It was a Yud Shvat farbrengen, 1961- תשכא and the Yeshiva was then in quite a difficult financial situation. During the farbrengen Rabbi Kramer asked the Rebbe for a blessing for an improvement in the finances. The Rebbe responded: ir mit ayer vaib zolen derleben firen di kinder tzu der chupa – ‘you and your wife should live to see your children to the Chupa’. What a puzzling blessing. Rabbi Kramer and his wife were both still young, and their children were small, so Rabbi Kramer repeated his request again for a blessing for the Yeshiva. The Rebbe then stated: yetzt is ‘vahanocha lamedinos asah’ – ‘we’re not dealing with community matters now’ (a quote from Megilas Esther 2-18), and again gave the blessing to him and his wife.
That summer, Rabbi Kramer began to feel unwell and visited the doctor. When the doctor found out that Rabbi Kramer also suffered abdominal pain, even though this was not the reason for his visit, he was extremely concerned that he had the symptoms of a most serious illness and rushed him to the hospital for X-rays. He then required immediate surgery and with the Rebbe’s advice and blessings the worst case scenario that the doctors feared did not eventuate and he recovered very well. Rabbi Kramer then understood very well the ‘nes’ that occurred when he went to the doctor just feeling unwell causing the whole chain reaction of the surgery and recovery. The Rebbe had the foresight to give him this special blessing at the farbrengen which was the priority for him at that time in order to come through this difficult time of illness.
The Rebbe Doesn’t Joke: Mr. NF got married late, and very much wanted a son, a ben zochor. He went to the Rebbe for a bracha and the Rebbe told him “a nomen nochen shver.” He got confused and replied “mein shver lebt doch!” Later on his friends explained to him that he had misunderstood – the Rebbe was referring to the Friediker Rebbe, not his father-in-law! His wife gave birth to a girl, and he felt that he had abused the Rebbe’s bracha and felt guilty. He continued and often asked the Rebbe for a bracha for a boy. Purim 5718, at the famous farbrengen when the Rebbe farbrengened from 8.30pm till 5.30am, Rabbi Kramer and NF were both by the farbrengen, and NF once again asked for a bracha for a ben zachar.
The Rebbe asked Rabbi Kramer how much does the donation would be to be listed as a ‘governor’ of the Yeshiva. Rabbi Kramer responded 100 dollars. The Rebbe then said that NF should give ten times as much. The next day in a yechidus NF asked the Rebbe if the Rebbe actually meant it. The Rebbe said: What’s the question, I told you. NF explained that maybe it had been a bit of a joke as it had been Purim the day before. The Rebbe answered: I never made a joke in my life. NF then followed the Rebbe’s instructions and paid the full money which went towards the new building. Soon after the groundbreaking for the new building, NF’s’s wife became pregnant and she gave birth to a boy.
Otwock 1931: The Rebbe farbrenged simchas beis hashoeva – during Succos in Poland in Otwock, 1931 – 5692. It was a very long farbrengen, and it’s now printed in reshimos. Later in the US, the Rebbe asked Rabbi Leib Kramer if he remembered anything from that farbrengen. Rabbi Kramer answered by quoting the possuk that the Rebbe said at the farbreingen ‘harimoisi bochur me’om’ (Tehillim pey tes: possuk chof) that the Rebbe explained that bochur in gematriya –numerical value- is yirah.
“Remez Fun Shver”: It is well known that lichatchila – at first – the Rebbe refused to take on the nesius – leadership – and one of the things the Rebbe claimed was that he didn’t see any ‘remez fun shver’- hint from father in law. So Rabbi Kramer responded that in the last yud alef Nissan that the Frierdiker Rebbe and the Rebbe were in almo hodein – together in this world, the Friediker Rebbe said a Sicha – discourse- which was an unusual thing for the Frierdiker Rebbe to do on yud alef Nissan, the Rebbe’s birthday. Furthermore, the Sichos would usually be printed the following year. For example, the Sichos that the Frierdiker Rebbe said on Pesach 1948, would be printed the following Pesach, in 1949. In this case, the Frierdiker Rebbe insisted that the Sicha he said that yud alef Nissan (1949) should be printed right away for that Pesach. Rabbi Kramer used that as a remez – hint – that on that last year the Frierdiker Rebbe was showing a special Hiskashrus to the Rebbe indicating that the Rebbe should accept the Nesius.
The Shirt: Rabbi Kramer was zoche – had the great merit to be at the tahara (purification before the funeral) of the Frierdiker Rebbe. Even though there were older chassidim there, lepoel –in actual fact- Rabbi Kramer was the one who guided the others and explained to them all what they needed to do. The following has been added by the Kramer family: Those that were at the Tahara were given a piece of the Rebbe’s shirt. The Frierdiker Rebbe had also once given Rabbi Kramer a towel to keep, and Rabbi Kramer had both items safely put away. He would take the towel with him when he was in hospital at times feeling that extra protection and closeness to his departed Rebbe and mentor. After Rabbi Kramer’s passing, Mrs. Kramer expertly sewed a beautiful pearl enhanced badeken veil containing the shirt within it which has since been worn by many Kallos on their wedding day.
Rabbi Sholom Ber Chaikin grew up in Montreal, the son of Rabbi Meir Chaim Chaikin, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Tomchei Temimim. Growing up with Rabbi Kramer, he heard many of these stories from him directly. Rabbi Chaikin has been on Shlichus as the the Rav of the Chabad Kehila in Cleveland, Ohio, for over 30 years.