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Mar 11, 2013

The airplane seat that was almost worth $18,000

This little news item made the rounds yesterday to much wonderment...

A Chabadnik flying from Israel to New York found himself sitting next to the Spinka Rebbe. Shortly after takeoff, people from all around the plane started coming over to get a bracha from the Rebbe, to ask advice or just to have a few words.. Some hassidim asked the Chabadnik if he would be willing to switch seats, while some even offered to pay him to switch seats!

The Chabadnik came up with an idea to auction off his seat to the highest bidder. The bidding got as high as 18,000 dollars for the seat next to the Spinka Rebbe, when the Chabadnik changed his mind and canceled the auction. He decided he wanted to remain in his seat next to the Rebbe..

Some were criticizing the incident, spending so much money to sit next to the Rebbe, but I do not see anything wrong with it. I don't know that the guy would have gotten his money - I doubt these hassidim were carrying so much cash on them, and once the flight is over how is he going to guarantee that he gets the money wired to him or transferred? But if he was willing to trust the winning bidder, what do I care how someone private spends his own hard-earned money? I would not have bid $18k on that seat, nor would I have been able to, but if that guy can afford to pay so much for something he so dearly wanted, more power to him. Are there ways he could use such money in a better way than on a specific airplane seat? Perhaps, but that is his business, not mine.

On the other hand, if I had been in the seat of the Chabadnik and they had been offering me such sums of money for the switch, I would have taken it. He was probably being driven crazy, with all the people coming over the entire flight and crowding around the seat to speak to the Rebbe. And, he could not watch his in-flight movie. And he could not sneak the non-"special kosher" roll or bagel with the Rebbe sitting right next to him, nor would he likely have felt comfortable sleeping or reading a book. Plus I would not have had what to talk to the Rebbe about beyond asking him for a bracha..

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  1. and what about the rebbe? could he watch his movie with that chabbadnik staring at his every move?

  2. good point! but no matter who sits next to him he is stuck. he is in that situation no matter where he goes...

  3. Did you forget the Rebbe was in prison? Money laundering. Would you have asked him for a bracha? Maybe YOU would give him a bracha that he should do teshuva shleima.

  4. nobody needs my brachas.. I have got no protexia with Him...

    I know there is more than one Spinka Rebbe (like in many hassiduyot), and I dont know that this is that same one.

  5. The Rebbe was teaching to haredim like win without work. Maybe taught money laundering.

    1. What would be a suitable brand of detergent for money laundering, please?


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