When the young Chabad rabbis arrived in Minnesota, they wanted to get a minyan together to recite the whole Tehilim once a month, on the Shabbat before the first of each month, as is the Chabad custom.
There were two old Jewish brothers living in Minnesota who were active in the community, and so the Rabbis asked them to join the minyan.
And so they asked them, “would you mind coming to shul early once a month and say they whole Tehilim with us?”
“Just once a month?” they asked, “Why not every week?”
“Its our custom to say Tehilim just once a month,” the rabbis answered.
“You see,” said the one of the brothers, a man named Yehuda, “my brother and i say the whole Tehilim every Shabbat! My brother and i were in a concentration camp. When the Russians came and liberated the camp, they told us we were free to go home. But we had nowhere to go, there was no more ‘home’. All we could do was stand there, with no home, no food, nothing. Suddenly, a polish woman come to us and handed us a fresh loaf of bread. And so, in gratitude to God for sending us the bread, my brother and i decided we would say the whole Tehilim every week!”
How do people who spent years in a concentration camp get overwhelmed with gratitude to God?? How can anyone be that good??
In truth, that is how they survived, both in body and spirit. They saw purpose, they saw meaning in life.
They survived because they did not focus on the “me,” They didn’t concern themselves with “What about me!” or “Why me??” or “look whats happening to me!” They remembered that this is God’s world, running by God’s plan, even though they didn’t understand it.
They remembered that our needs are not real, what is real is God and his needs.