(collected from the diary and notes of my father-in-law the Rebbe Shlita)
When my father entered his thirteenth year he went in to my grandfather for yechidus and inquired: "How can one study Torah in such a way that it is really 'learned'?" He replied:
Scripture states explicitly, "You shall teach them to your children...."; the word for "you shall teach them" is translated by Rashi as meaning "incisive." The word "to your children" means that it should be clear and white. "You shall speak of them" means that you must draw this down into your own life. "When you dwell in your house" means the entire time that the soul remains descended within the body. "And when you walk on the road and when you lie down and when you rise up" means that the true essence of Torah will be understood when the dead are resurrected.
The Gemara says: "A person must always divide his time into three equal parts: one third devoted to Scripture..."; one third of the study time is to be spent on calling forth the love hidden within one's heart. "One third devoted to Mishnah..."; one third of the time is to be spent in changing one's habits. "One third devoted to Gemara..."; one third of the time is to be spent in finishing the vessel. Only then does one become a proper vessel.
Father said that he then resolved to learn through the Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim and those mitzvos that are connected with the body - such as washing the hands, etc. - until the study would affect the body such that these things would be done automatically, as one automatically bows when arriving at Modim. It was then that he became an ish; then, when he became bar mitzvah, his father blessed him to become an adam.
During the year 5667, Father [the Rebbe Rashab] was in Würtzburg, and I was there with him. When we went for our stroll he told me about a yechidus he had with his father in the year 5640. Those were bad times in general in our country; our fellow Jews were in a difficult situation, and there were pogroms (may this not happen to us or to any Jews). Grandfather traveled to Petersburg; he returned from Petersburg for 10 Kislev, and after 10 Kislev he left the country. Everyone thought he was traveling abroad for reasons of his health, but in fact he was traveling on matters of public affairs.
On the evening of 10 Kislev, Father went in for yechidus. Father then "lived" with this yechidus for many years afterward. During that yechidus his father told him: "Whenever there were difficulties regarding public affairs, my father would use Baal Shem Tov-like sight, hearing, and speech."
He explained it thusly: He [the Tzemach Tzedek] could see things hundreds of miles away. He could hear what was being said in Petersburg. And if he had to transmit some information [to someone far away] he would say it to himself and this would cause the other party to come to the same conclusion as what he had said here."
He also related: "During the year 5619, Father [the Tzemach Tzedek] had to travel to Petersburg on urgent public business. But the winter was very cold and harsh. Being unable to make the journey, he sent as his agent Reb Aharon Belinitzer, a man who possessed both sound intelligence and an iron will. He knew how to speak to government officials and was also a great Torah scholar."
Before he departed the Tzemach Tzedek instructed him that whenever there was debate about some matter, he should think deeply about it and come to a decision; then, he should remain firm in his opinion. The Rebbe Maharash said:
When I heard this, I thought to myself that since he was told to remain firm in his opinion, someone needs to keep an eye on him. But once - some time after the latter had departed - I was sitting and studying with my father. Right in the middle, Father remarked: "I pity Aharon. He is working very hard to resolve some matter of doubt, and he does not know how to proceed."
I didn't understand what he was talking about, because a letter from Reb Aharon had only recently arrived and it contained no mention of any doubts he might have. But a short while later Father continued: "Aharon possesses sound intelligence; he remains very firm in his opinion." Then I understood what Father had meant when he told him before his departure that he should remain firm in his opinion: he meant that he should aim to arrive at the same opinion as Father's opinion and desire.
At that same yechidus the Rebbe Maharash also told [the Rebbe Rashab]: "When the Mitteler Rebbe composed his seforim, he composed each sefer for a particular class of chassidim, except for Shaar HaYichud, Shaarei Orah, and Kuntres HaHispaalus, which are for all chassidim in general. Shaar HaYichud - besides containing intellectual discussion of what is known about seder hishtalshelus, it also opens the gates of the intellect to the rational contemplation of Chassidus. Shaarei Orah - [opens the gates to] understanding Chassidus. Kuntres HaHispaalus - opens the gates of avodah.
Afterwards (at the same yechidus) the Rebbe Maharash told him:
The Baal Shem Tov and the Maggid represented Kesser of Chassidus; the Alter Rebbe represented Chochmah of Chassidus; the Mitteler Rebbe represented Binah of Chassidus; my father represented Daas. Now Kesser is an intermediary, comprising both the lower aspects of what is above it and the higher aspects of what is below it. The higher aspects of what is below it include the foundation and source of Chochmah. Therefore the Alter Rebbe (representing Chochmah) remained in Mezritch.
After the yechidus ended, the Rebbe Maharash said: "Now we must travel to see Father (at the holy Ohel) and find out all the news."
Father remarked that he "lived" with this yechidus for many years afterwards. Yechidus was a sort of downpouring of ruach hakodesh, as is said concerning simchas beis hashoeivah: "From there they would draw down ruach hakodesh."
When the Rebbe Maharash was twelve years old, he had a scheduled time for his Torah study; after his study time he would occupy himself with copying maamarim and the like. Once, after finishing his study, he went in to his father to request a maamar to copy. His father asked him, "What sort of job is this for you? This could be done by..." (here he mentioned the stenographers by name).
He replied, "My mind is already exhausted from studying, and in fact I have already learned everything I was supposed to study." The Tzemach Tzedek then said:
When I was nine years old I had a regular lesson to study, and it was my grandfather's usual practice to test me on it. After the test he gave me some subject to study, but I was already exhausted from the previous lesson. Also, I wanted to get some air. Therefore, I postponed the study until later and I went outside. When Grandfather looked through the window and saw that I was outside he called me and asked why I was not studying the subject he had assigned me. I replied that my mind was already tired from the previous study. Grandfather then took his stick and laid it upon my shoulders, saying, "Here is Chochmah for you, here is Binah for you, here is something to make your heart receptive!"
In the same vein, there is the concept [in Chassidus] of "striking" with Chochmah (in the manner of the Supernal Power, which produces results). This is the meaning of the verse "Moshe spoke," which has a similar meaning to the verse "He will subjugate nations," which denotes "drawing down," i.e., speaking-subjugating is in the category of striking, and therefore it says here, "And G-d answered him."
Father once said to me:
You could say: that "I say this because I am his son." What one sees depends upon what sort of eyes one observes with. I swear by the Avodah that in my father's chamber even the air was refined. It was impossible there to think any inappropriate thought.
Grandfather replied to someone [in yechidus] that he should study Chassidus the way one studies Mishnayos. He should learn it a quarter hour each day, but this quarter hour should be spread out over the whole twenty-four hours:
A chassid must be a chassid during the whole twenty-four hours. He must walk in the street like a chassid. From the way he looks at things it should be apparent that he is a chassid. So too when eating - if it is a tasty dish, and he has to eat it, he must eat like a chassid. He must sleep like a chassid. If something happens that causes anger - a chassid never gets angry! A wisecrack - a chassid never utters wisecracks! Jokes - a chassid never tells jokes! Love for his fellow Jews must become engraved within him. This fifteen minutes of Chassidus - if he is unable to learn more - must be spread out over the entire day, in all his deeds. Today's chassidim make a pudding out of it - they blend together intellectual endeavor, understanding, and elucidation. The "chassid" is missing! I don't mean to say that there are no chassidim, only that things are far from the way they ought to be. Intellectual endeavor is not for everyone; it is only for those who have an aptitude for it. But everyone has an aptitude for avodah.
The chassid Reb Zalman Zlatopolski was one of the Rebbe Maharash's chassidim. The Rebbe Maharash would sometimes recite a chassidic maamar especially for him. Once during the year 5637 he recited for him the maamar he had said [in public] the previous Shabbos. During the year 5638 he recited a special maamar just for him; in that maamar he quoted the saying of the Sages, "Rabbi Eliezer would give a penny to a poor person, and after that he would pray." He explained it as follows:
"Prayer must be with vitality. And by giving a donation to a poor person before davening - and thus sustaining his life - this causes an a very large increase in the vitality of the prayer." He then gestured with his hand with an upward motion, indicating that it is exceedingly large.
When Reb Zalman returned to his home in Kremenchug and repeated this to the chassid Reb Chayim Dov Ber [Willensky], the latter adopted the habit of putting plum brandy and cake on the table every day. He would give this to the poor, and thus sustain their life. The Rebbe Maharash remarked about this: "Do you think that Reb Chayim Ber's intellectual achievements are the result of his studying the (Mitteler Rebbe's) seforim Shaarei Orah or Ateres Rosh? No, his intellectual achievements are the result of the cake he distributes before davening!"
On many occasions my father would go looking for a poor person before davening, so that he could give him something to eat.
Once, when Reb Eliyah Abeler visited my grandfather the Rebbe Maharash, he said to him, "Eliyah, I envy the ways in which you are put to the test by temptation."
Reb Eliyah was by nature a very clever person. He was tall and handsome in appearance and had no lack of material wealth. Thus, the temptations that put him to the test were very difficult for him - even more difficult than the avodah of birur in general.
Reb Eliyah told me about this incident thirty-eight years afterwards. He concluded by saying that he had never succumbed. He expected that upon his arrival in the next world they would whip him until nothing at all remained of him. But he would then demand to know what had become of the Rebbe's words. He expected no special reward [for resisting temptation]. With regard to material wealth, he already had no lack; and as for spiritual wealth, he did not anticipate receiving any. Indeed, he himself said that nothing at all would remain of him [even in the next world]. Despite all this, the Rebbe's words affected him to such an extent that he never succumbed to temptation.
At the Rebbe Maharash's [Rosh HaShanah services] they would blow forty-two quick blasts for the teruah; at the Alter Rebbe's services, they would blow sixty-three. The tekiah following the shevarim-teruah would be the same length as the shevarim-teruah and the previous tekiah combined.
The rav of Kremenchug was once present at the Rebbe Maharash's services when they blew the forty-two quick blasts. He did not understand the reason for it, and so he thought to himself that he would go in and ask the Rebbe what the reason for this was. But he told no one of this plan.
When he went in for yechidus the Rebbe Maharash said to him: "What do you think - machshavos zaros refers only to foolishness and nonsense? If you think about anything that you are not supposed to be concerned with, even if they are holy matters, this too constitutes machshavos zaros."
When he heard this, two streams of tears began running from his eyes - even though he was a p'nimi.
The year 5640 was a very difficult year, and there were many evil decrees [against the Jewish community in Russia]. The Rebbe Maharash was then in Petersburg and accomplished certain things. On his way home he spent 9 Kislev in Vitebsk where he observed the [Mitteler Rebbe's] yartzeit by reciting Kaddish. After the Minchah prayer he hired a coachman for the journey so that he would arrive in Lubavitch by nightfall. That evening the Rebbetzin held the festive celebration, and the following day the Rebbe [Maharash] held the celebration. He remarked: "'And it was evening, and it was morning, one day'; the connection of man with woman is reserved exclusively for the holy aspects thereof. Whoever understands will understand."
Several of Anash who were prestigious chassidim once happened to be visiting my grandfather the Rebbe Maharash. Among them there were also a few of his relatives who were imposing personages from Eretz Yisrael. One of these remarked, "The air of Eretz Yisrael imparts wisdom." To this Grandfather replied, "It is not so much that the air of Eretz Yisrael imparts wisdom, but that the air of the Diaspora imparts foolishness."
Reb Nachman Mariashin related that he had once been with the Rebbe Maharash during the Seder. Obviously, everyone sat there in awe and respect, and so the Haggadah was recited silently. But the Rebbe instructed them to recite it aloud. The Rebbe Maharash was observed to manifest Baal Shem Tov-like conduct during the Seders. It once happened that he requested everyone present to step outside, and he then remained alone for some time.
Reb Yosef Mordechai was a gabbai of the Rebbe Maharash. The Tzemach Tzedek had given him a blessing for long life, and he lived 103 years. When he was ninety-eight years old he could still dance on the roof of the large study hall like a young lad.
There was a certain chassid who was not on the highest level. He once heard a maamar from the Rebbe Maharash on the subject of avodah. He then went in for yechidus and asked him, "How does one begin to accomplish this; that is, what is the easiest way?"
The Rebbe replied: "It is the total dedication of oneself."
When he emerged from this yechidus and told the chassid Reb Zanvil about it, Reb Zanvil asked him why he had not asked the Rebbe what is to be done about "him." When the attendant Reb Leivik heard this conversation, he reported it to the Rebbe Maharash. Then, when Reb Zanvil went in [for yechidus] the Rebbe Maharash admonished him, saying that for him [Reb Zanvil] the appropriate way [to overcome the yetzer hora] was to "remind him of...." Reb Zanvil said that afterward not a single day passed that he did not remind himself of the Rebbe's words and weep about it. And though in his later years he no longer needed this suggestion in many things, he nevertheless continued weeping about it for the rest of his life.
Reb Yekusiel [Liepler] was one of the Alter Rebbe's chassidim. He once came to Lubavitch in his old age - after the Tzemach Tzedek passed away - and he sought to choose one of the Tzemach Tzedek's sons as his Rebbe. All of them met with his approval, but in the end he said to the Rebbe Maharash, "Until now, I addressed you as 'du'; Now, I address you as 'Rebbe.' Put on your hat, and say a chassidic maamar for me."
In the early days the younger chassidim would ask the elders to explain to them what they had heard in yechidus - not only the nuances of the exact wording, but also the general meaning of the subject. Once, during the year 5636, when the Rebbe Maharash delivered the maamar Mayim Rabbim, a certain chassid - who was among those educated by Chassidus - came for yechidus. The Rebbe Maharash told him that on weekdays he should daven while having in mind only the straightforward meaning of the words. But on Shabbos - and once in a great while at other times - he should think about the inner meaning of the prayers, even if it does not accord with the straightforward meaning of the words.
This chassid did not understand these instructions, and so he went to ask my father [the Rebbe Rashab], who was about fifteen years old at the time. He answered with an example [of inner meaning that is not in accord with the straightforward meaning of the words] with the following verse [recited during the prayers]:
"And Israel saw the Great Hand..." - when the Jews perceived the hashgachah pratis; "That G-d made upon Mitzrayim..." - against the limitations and boundaries (metzarim u'gevulim); "And the people saw G-d..." - they saw the revealed aspects of Havayah; "And they believed in G-d..." - the hidden aspects of Havayah; "And in His servant Moshe" - [they believed] in the subject of Supernal Daas.
When the Rebbe Maharash was still a child the chassidim were fond of teasing him. Once, when he was five or six years old, one of the chassidim teased him on Shabbos Bereishis. The Rebbe Maharash said to him: "Chassidim know what Shabbos Bereishis is, but misnagdim have no desire to know. This Shabbos has special favor."
The chassid asked him: "What is the difference between chassidim and misnagdim?"
The Rebbe Maharash replied: "A misnaged fears G-d, but a chassid loves G-d.
When the Rebbe Maharash's statement - that Shabbos Bereishis has special favor - was reported to the Tzemach Tzedek, he remarked:
"Favor" is is'arusa dile'eila. There are two levels of is'arusa dile'eila:
- when it follows [as a result of] is'arusa diletata;
- "special favor," which means is'arusa dile'eila as it stands on its own."
Chassidim then remarked that this is the way a Rebbe (meaning the Tzemach Tzedek
) learns essential truths from a Rebbe who is the son of a Rebbe. My father [the Rebbe Rashab] explained: "As great as my father [the Rebbe Maharash] was, at the age of five or six he had not yet developed his intellectual faculties."
The Rebbe Maharash had chassidim who were chassidic balebatim; they were not maskilim, nor were they the sort of ovdim who take seven hours to daven. They were simply chassidic balebatim, permeated [with Chassidus] and harnessed [to the Rebbe] like a horse to the wagon. Regarding such chassidim, my father [the Rebbe Rashab] would say taporu da placha.
The Rebbe Maharash demanded of these chassidim that they should think holy thoughts while walking in the street. One of them - a merchant - asked how this is possible. The Rebbe replied that if one can think machshavos zaros during Shemoneh Esrei, then one can think holy thoughts in the street. From that time on, this chassid never had any machshavos zaros while davening. But he did have holy thoughts in the street.
The Rebbe Maharash once remarked: "In truth, we could rid ourselves of the 'Tormenter of Israel.' But what can we do if the Jews prefer the bitter medicine? There are two kinds of medicine: when sweet medicine is given to a child, he wants more, because he has no understanding and does not perceive that he is sick. But when he is given bitter medicine, he at least knows that he is sick.
[The Rebbe Rayatz said]: I saw something today that reminded me of what my grandfather the Rebbe Maharash once said on Rosh HaShanah:
In Chassidus we sometimes find the expression yesh me'ayin and sometimes [the expression is] me'ayin liyesh. The difference between them is this: yesh me'ayin implies that the yesh was already in existence; by this we mean not the life-force that maintains its existence, but the life-force that causes it to exist in the first place. Me'ayin liyesh implies the beginning of its existence, that is the life-force that causes it to exist in the first place.
The Baal Shem Tov effected me'ayin liyesh - he once heard a certain person say to his companion, "G-d will certainly help." The Baal Shem Tov made a major issue of this, saying that when this simple person declared that the Holy One would certainly help, he thereby rescued tens and hundreds of thousands [of Jews] from evil decrees.
On Rosh HaShanah 5640 the Rebbe Maharash sent [his gabbai] Reb Leivik to the chassidim to say: "When [Chassidus] discusses the idea that the blowing of the shofar is like someone crying 'Father, Father!' the main thing is not the father but rather the one who cries." [The avodah of the chassidim on] that Rosh HaShanah was filled with turmoil.
The Rebbe Maharash said: "People think that receiving a pidyon is a difficult thing and that it is appropriate only for a great Rebbe. But the truth is that any Jew can do it by saying something in praise of the other person. But he must mean it in truth. On Rosh HaShanah hundreds of angels wait for one person to say something in praise of another, for they know that the Holy One desires the praises of Israel - not so much the prayers of tzaddikim as the praises of Israel."
The Rebbe Maharash said:
For what purpose does Atzilus need Chochmah of Atzilus? Clearly, there is a need for Chochmah of B'ya so that we can achieve some comprehension and knowledge of G-dliness. But Atzilus is Ein Sof, and by knowing Himself He knows [everything]..." Thus, "knowing Himself" includes the concept of Chochmah, and so for what purpose was it necessary to emanate Chochmah of Atzilus?
It was necessary in order that there could be a lower level of Chochmah; this lower Chochmah is Yichuda Tata'ah, while the higher Chochmah is Yichuda Ila'ah. Malchus of Atzilus is an intermediate stage needed to carry Chochmah of Atzilus down to B'ya. In other words: even though Malchus of Atzilus is located in Atzilus, it is nevertheless a source of B'ya. (Sometimes, however, this is explained in reverse fashion: even though Malchus of Atzilus is a source of B'ya, it is nevertheless located in Atzilus. Here, we are speaking in terms of Malchus being located in Atzilus but nevertheless a source of B'ya; it is the encompassing source of B'ya.)
The Rebbe Maharash said: "For truth, one has to pay a high price." Regarding this, we know a story about Reb Yekusiel Liepler, who was a simple person. He once entered the Alter Rebbe's chamber through the window and said: "Rebbe! Hack off my left side, I am unable to deal with it."
The Alter Rebbe replied: "It is written, 'and You give life to all of them.' He then radiated into him the ability to see G-dliness the way one normally sees physical things.
Sometimes, while walking in the street, this ability would shine into him and he would begin to dance, crying, "chassid prishal!" Rashdam related that [Reb Yekusiel] was once in Borisov and had to go to the post office. This ability shined into him, and he began to dance with the postal clerk.
The Rebbe Maharash had an attendant named Yosef Mordechai, who had already been an attendant in the Tzemach Tzedek's days. Once, Yosef Mordechai entered the sukkah in a state of anger. He had not finished venting his fury in the kitchen, and so he came into the sukkah still angry. Grandfather said: "Yosef Mordechai, you are indeed a person of importance, but one must have respect for the schach; the schach is not fond of anger."
Afterwards, Father explained what [Grandfather] had meant by this statement. One might think that since schach is a makkif, this makkif ought to be able to accommodate Gevurah too. Father posed this as a question, but then he refuted the question and came to a conclusion about it.
Why did the Rebbe Maharash call Yosef Mordechai a "person of importance?" The story behind it is as follows: The Tzemach Tzedek once instructed Yosef Mordechai to go to sleep in the sukkah. It was then very cold and there was a fierce wind blowing. Yosef Mordechai therefore said, "Rebbe! It's very cold." The Tzemach Tzedek replied: Amalek is cold; a Jew is warm. If you go to sleep in the sukkah you will have a long life." That was why the Rebbe Maharash said to him, "Yosef Mordechai, you are indeed a person of importance, but..."
During the Avodah service it was the custom of my grandfather the Maharash to daven in a separate room adjoining the beis hamedrash. A curtain hung over the partially open door. The procedure was that first the worshipers would prostrate themselves for Kor'im. Then, the chazan would begin chanting VeHaKohannim... At that point the Rebbe Maharash would enter the beis hamedrash, sit down on a chair, and assist the chazan. Sometimes he would sing along with him, and sometimes he would direct with his hand.
In Lubavitch there lived a person called Bere Avremkes - a stubborn and strong-willed individual. He used to say, "No matter what, I will not cry during Chazan Isser's Kor'im," and so he would daven in a different beis hamedrash. But one time he did come to the Rebbe Maharash's beis hamedrash during the Avodah service to hear Chazan Isser lead the Avodah, and he positioned himself near the sink. But when Chazan Isser began chanting VeHaKohannim... with great fervor, Bere Avremkes began to quiver and wail and he had to hold on to the sink so he would not fall down. My father [the Rebbe Rashab] then remarked: "This was caused not so much by Isser's chanting but more by my father's (the Maharash's) meditations." Father then gave an example of this:
It is known that whenever one recites the verse, "...the remembrance of Your abounding goodness" with the accompanying meditations, each person who stands around him within ten cubits recalls everything he ever did, as far as his memory serves him - even the memories of his earliest youth.
My father (the Maharash) had a chamber next to the beis hamedrash where he would receive visitors for yechidus. Father had different schedules for the Minchah prayer. There were periods when he would daven Minchah at the earliest time permitted, and there were periods when he would daven at the regular time. The Maharash once held a massive yechidus and many visitors came for the occasion. Among them was the chassid [...]. In the middle of the yechidus, the Maharash ordered a recess to daven Minchah - this was during a period when he usually davened Minchah at the regular time - and so they began to daven Minchah in the beis hamedrash adjoining the yechidus chamber.
Suddenly - while they were reciting Ashrei - everyone became nervous, and this chassid screamed aloud, "Evil One! Get away from me!" The reason for this was that each of them recalled everything he had ever done from his earliest days, and this chassid remembered some youthful indiscretion of his own. Everyone resolved in his mind to do teshuvah. And the reason for all this was that at that very moment the Rebbe Maharash was saying the verse [in the Ashrei passage] "...the remembrance of Your abounding goodness" with the accompanying meditations.
Father concluded: "The same thing happened here. It was due not so much to Isser's chanting VeHaKohannim as to Father's meditations; (nevertheless, the chanting was also needed)."
During the bris of the Rebbe Maharash the Tzemach Tzedek said of him that he had heard from his grandfather the Alter Rebbe that "Shmuel" means Shemo E-l [his name is G-d].
At the same time that my grandfather the Rebbe Maharash sent Rav Yaakov of Kopesk to become the rav in Moscow, he also sent a chassid from Polotzk to serve as mashpia. Later, when [the chassid Reb Zalman] Monevitz took his leave of my grandfather and received a blessing before moving to Moscow, Grandfather said to him: "A rav we already have there, and a mashpia we already have there. But we also need to have there a dyadke. No one can substitute for this, for a colonel can never be a dyadke."
He then sent the chassid Reb Zalman of Orsha to serve them as a dyadke. The latter was a delightful Jew. His davening was delightful and he possessed the best character traits. But he kept all this strictly to himself, without showing off for others. Chassidim called him a fastidious person, since he never ate meat that was not for a mitzvah.
Once, when the Rebbe Maharash was in Petersburg, one of his adherents went in and said to him: "It is very difficult to obtain strictly kosher meat here."
The Rebbe Maharash replied: "Who says that one needs to eat meat at all? It is written that an am ha'aretz is forbidden to eat meat. 'Forbidden' means 'constrained,' that is, an am ha'aretz is constrained so that he is compelled specifically to eat meat. But the fact is that one can do very well without eating meat that is not for a mitzvah."
My grandfather the Rebbe Maharash observed the yartzeit of his mother - Rebbetzin Chayah Mussia - on 8 Teves. He would also deliver short chassidic maamarim. After his sons were grown, he would do this especially for them. The subject of these maamarim was Malchus of Ein Sof.
As is known, my father's wedding took place at the home of my [maternal] grandfather in Avrutch. Before Father and Mother returned to Lubavitch from the wedding, my grandfather the Rebbe Maharash recited thirty-two chassidic maamarim from the day when [Father] was called up to the Torah reading [before the wedding] until after the week of sheva berachos. When [Father] returned home, Grandfather said to him: "I bring you regards from my father [the Tzemach Tzedek], my grandfather [the Mitteler Rebbe], and my great-grandfather [the Alter Rebbe], in the form of an understanding heart. For this reason he had delivered thirty-two maamarim, equivalent to "understanding heart."
In the home of my grandfather the Rebbe Maharash there were five doors between the room where they sat for the Seder and the outer door. He would send five different people to open these doors. Until the year 5631 the usual procedure was that on the first night the one he would send from among his children was my uncle Reb Zalman Aharon. After the year 5631  he would also send his son-in-law Reb Moshe Leib [Ginsburg]. On the second night he would send my father and my uncle Mendel.
Very recently I heard of a custom to stand up while reciting shefoch chamosecha. In Lubavitch this was not done. On the contrary - it once happened that one of the participants at Grandfather's Seder stood up for shefoch chamosecha. Grandfather said to him: "Excitement of the heart must also be in a composed manner."
My grandfather's custom [at the Seder] was as follows: first, his children would ask the [Four] Questions, and also two of the grandchildren, the sons of [my aunt] Devorah Leah. Afterwards, Grandfather himself would recite the Four Questions; he would begin with Tateh ich vel ba dir fregen di fier kashes. My father would do the same, but in later years he said this in an undertone.
The Rebbe Maharash had special niggunim for every occasion. Even when changing from his weekday clothing to his Shabbos attire, or from his Shabbos clothes to the weekday ones, there was a special niggun for each of these changes. The niggun had two stanzas. On Erev Shabbos he would go in to observe the Rebbetzin lighting the candles; this too was done with a niggun. My father did likewise: when he changed his silk hat for his round hat he did it with a niggun.
Most of the Rebbe Maharash's chassidim were simple balebatim - melamdim living in rural settlements. Once, one of these chassidim complained about himself to the Rebbe Maharash, saying that he was a devious person - whatever activity he was involved in, he did with devious and ulterior motives. Grandfather instructed him to fast for six hundred days, even including Rosh HaShanah and [Erev] Yom Kippur. The person was astounded by this. But the Rebbe Maharash said to him:
"What do you think - fasting means not eating between sunrise and sunset? That's merely dieting! Fasting is an avodah. Spend fifteen minutes each day thinking seriously about yourself, while you keep you mouth shut and do not speak. I don't mean thinking about Chassidus; I mean simply thinking about yourself."
Within two years' time this chassid had undergone a drastic change. When Father told me this story, he said: "Not only did his spiritual powers change, but in fact he became a completely different sort of person. If you had seen him you would have been amazed by the total change he had undergone."
The Rebbe [Rayatz] Shlita concluded: "In the Gemara there is a common expression: 'this teaches us....' And this story teaches us that everyone must spend fifteen minutes each day thinking about himself."
There was once a young man who was a "sitter" at the Rebbe Maharash's court. He was not a particularly great scholar, though he did possess an adequate intellect. He had some knowledge of Torah learning and was thoroughly versed in Likkutei Torah and the Mitteler Rebbe's Chassidus seforim. He would also study the maamarim of the Rebbe Maharash, etc. Before he left to go into business he went in to the Rebbe Maharash and asked, "What should I take with me when I leave?"
The Rebbe replied: "Take the following rule and keep it with you: Whenever you see some faults in another person, know that you have these same faults in yourself. The good features that you see in others you should adopt for yourself. Remember the Baal Shem Tov's view of hashgachah pratis: If G-d arranges things so that at a certain time you happen to meet a certain person, this happens for a specific purpose. Everyone must be a teacher so that others may learn from him. If one does not believe in this, he is a heretic (G-d forbid)."
The Rebbe [Rayatz] Shlita knew this young man personally; when this young scholar later came to Lubavitch, he said: "This advice saved my life, and it set me on my feet." He then went to visit the Ohel of the Rebbe Maharash and kissed the earth there.
My grandfather the Rebbe Maharash told my father in yechidus:
I never used to cry, for I never had any reason to cry. I was the youngest of the children, and whenever I was examined on my studies I always did very well. But [my older brother] Reb Baruch Shalom did cry often. My father the Tzemach Tzedek used to wish that he could have a broken heart like Rabash. This broken heart was because he had been very close to the Alter Rebbe, and the Alter Rebbe's passing had affected him greatly.
Once, on the first night of Shavuos, I went in to say "good Yom Tov" to my great-uncle Reb Chayim Avraham. I found him sitting with his hands covering his face and tears flowing from his eyes. I said to him, "Today is Yom Tov; why are you crying?" He replied, "This is why I am crying: I heard the following 'Torah' from my father (the Alter Rebbe):
[It is written,] "You shall count for yourselves from the day after the Shabbos...." [This means] the day after Shabbos must shine, and you will thereby "count fifty days"; this means that the fiftieth gate [of understanding] will light up and become perceptible. In fact, we count only forty-nine, but if the day after the Shabbos shines, then we reach the fiftieth gate.
"But he is unable to see this," said Reb Chayim Avraham (referring to himself).
Grandfather concluded: "My great-uncle Reb Chayim Avraham was then seventy-seven years old and was completely divorced from all worldly matters. And yet, on the night of Shavuos he wept for the revelation of the fiftieth gate. This impressed me."
My grandfather the Rebbe Maharash had a very long breath - when blowing the shofar he would sound seventy-two blasts for the teruah. But sometimes, when he said only a half verse of Tehillim with the musical notes, he had to hold his chest.
In the old days there was still no railroad in certain places, and so my grandfather the Maharash purchased a carriage in which to travel. There were four horses harnessed to it, and it cost several hundred rubles. The interior was draped with silk, and it had a bed, a table, and a place where seforim and notebooks were kept. Among them was a certain small notebook that I now have in my possession. In it Grandfather used to write the outline of the maamarim he delivered. In it were also written certain subjects that had been copied so that he could study them while on the road.
Grandfather used to go traveling, and he would also travel abroad. But he never stayed at a summer vacation resort.
I heard the following from Reb Zalman Neimark, Reb Zalman Zlatopolski, and Reb Leib of Nevil: All three of these chassidim came to my grandfather the Rebbe Maharash in Lubavitch on 20 Cheshvan 5633. Reb Leib had been there since Parshas Lech Lecha and had planned to depart from Lubavitch after Shabbos. On the evening of 20 Cheshvan Grandfather instructed Reb Leivik the attendant to tell Reb Pinchas Leib the attendant to summon the aforementioned Reb Z.N., Reb Z.Z., and Reb. L. Reb Leivik was very upset by this, and he said, "There are many other people who are supposed to enter for yechidus."
The Rebbe Maharash answered that he would not receive anyone at all [for yechidus] that day. When these three entered his chamber, my father was already present. Grandfather instructed him to light the six lamps, each of which held twelve candles. He then said: "Today is for me an occasion of joy - Rashab has completed studying the Six Orders of the Mishnah."
The usual custom among the children was to complete studying the Six Orders of Mishnah by heart when they reached the age of thirteen. But for a certain reason Father completed it when he reached the age of twelve. These three were completely unaware that one's birthday was an occasion for joy. Grandfather then continued:
"The Baal Shem Tov placed little emphasis on studying Mishnayos by heart; he was content if people could recite Tehillim by heart. The Maggid said that they should learn the song of HaAzinu by heart as well. But the Alter Rebbe emphasized that members of his family should learn Mishnayos by heart."
Grandfather then recited a maamar for them - the maamar is available in written form. The content of the maamar deals with the conclusion of the Mishnah, "Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi declared: 'In the future the Holy One....'" This is followed by the statement of Rabbi Shimon bar Chalafta. Now although Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi was a disciple of Rabbeinu HaKadosh, and some authorities consider him to be among the Sages of the Mishnah, he was nevertheless younger than Rabbi Shimon bar Chalafta. And so, the obvious question is, why is he mentioned before Rabbi Shimon bar Chalafta? The answer is that Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi's statement deals with things that will be revealed in the future. But by what means will we will merit this revelation? Rabbi Shimon's statement informs us that it will be through peace.
[In that maamar] he also discussed the subject of peace among the Heavenly Host [explaining that this refers to] the union of the G-dly soul with the Holy One, and [the subject of] peace among the Earthly Host [explaining that this refers to] the union of the animal soul with the G-dly soul.
After he finished the maamar, Grandfather said: "I will now tell you a few stories." He told the following:
The Alter Rebbe's son Reb Moshe was born in the month of Tammuz 5539; Reb Moshe was about eleven years older than the Tzemach Tzedek. The Alter Rebbe was very punctual with his time schedule. On the day that the bris was supposed to take place, all had finished davening by seven o'clock and were waiting for the bris. Several hours passed, then noon arrived, then afternoon, and the bris had not yet begun.
In the middle of the afternoon a man entered the beis hamedrash wearing white garments, a fur coat, a sack on his shoulder, and carrying a stick. During the month of Tammuz he was wearing a fur coat! When this man arrived, the Alter Rebbe emerged and said to him, "Shalom Aleichem Reb Betzalel!"
The bris then began; this Reb Betzalel was honored with carrying the child to the chair of Eliyahu. When the words "you shall live through your blood..." were recited, the Alter Rebbe instructed Reb Betzalel to give the child some of [the wine from] the cup to taste, as is customary.
After the bris people asked him, "Who are you?"
"I am a shepherd," he replied.
That evening the chassidim wished to question him further, but he disappeared. They asked the Alter Rebbe who he was, and he told them that for the past forty years he had indeed been a shepherd in a rural settlement near Shventzian. "He is thoroughly versed in the Babylonian Talmud, the Jerusalem Talmud, Rambam, Sifri, Sifra, and Tosefta. But the revelation of the light of his soul shines forth only through the Mishnayos that he recites by heart, for [the word] Mishnah has the same letters as neshamah."
After my grandfather finished this story he told them some stories about the Mitteler Rebbe, the Tzemach Tzedek, and himself. Then he said to them, "You can go now!"
After these three had departed, Father also wished to leave, but Grandfather said to him: "I want to reveal something to you; listen to this:
The Six Orders of the Mishnah conclude with Taharos. In order to achieve purity, the conclusion of Taharos is Uktzin. The final two Mishnayos deal with honey, beehives, and honeycombs.
Through Mishnayos we achieve purity. But even when we have already arrived at purity, we should realize that there still remains a stem; even good fruits have a stem. The lesson from this in avodah is found in the three chapters of Uktzin dealing with perfecting an object by means of thought. And even if we have already accomplished that avodah, there still remains the final Mishnah dealing with honeycomb. That is, after we have achieved purity, and even refined the stems, the situation becomes sweet as honey. Even then, one must realize that, "All leavening (sourdough) and all honey you shall not offer up..." This can never serve as a sacrifice.
A sour disposition and a sweet disposition are both undesirable. There is the sour person, who is constantly of sour disposition: sour by day and sour by night; sour on Shabbos, Yom Tov, and weekdays. There is also the sweet person, who is constantly of sweet disposition: sweet in the morning, at midday, and at night; sweet to himself and to others; on Shabbos, Yom Tov, and weekdays. We should therefore know that "all leavening and all honey" - a constantly sour disposition and a constantly sweet disposition - can never serve as a sacrifice.
Grandfather related that the Tzemach Tzedek would recite a maamar every Erev Rosh Hashanah, as well as words designed to arouse. On Erev Rosh Hashanah 5607-08 he recited a maamar dealing with three sayings that begin with the word "everything": "everything goes according to the conclusion"; "everything goes according to the thing that preserves it"; "everything goes according to the main thing." Then he said:
Today we must prepare ourselves to receive our Father and King. A father loves a pure heart; a king loves a pure levush. Copper becomes rusty; silver and gold do not become rusty, but they do become tarnished. "Copper" refers to a person's middos, and even good middos become rusty; much work is needed in order to polish [rusty middos]. "Silver and gold" refers to [the emotional attributes of] love and awe, which do not become rusty, but merely dirty; the dirt must be removed. This is what the avodah of Rosh HaShanah is about - to purify one's heart and levush.
Each person is accompanied by two angels. After Maariv on the evening of Rosh HaShanah these angels hear each person saying to his fellow Jew, with a pure heart, leshanah tovah tikasev veseichasem. Afterwards, they ascend on High and intercede favorably, arguing for and requesting a good and sweet year. This is because a father loves a pure heart and a king loves a pure levush. This causes G-d to accept the coronation. (The Tzemach Tzedek concluded: leshanah tovah tikasev veseichasem.)
The Rebbe Maharash concluded: "And it indeed turned out to be a joyful year." (The Rebbe [Rayatz] Shlita concluded: "May G-d help us.")
This was the first Rosh HaShanah after the bar mitzvah of my grandfather the Rebbe Maharash, and he perceived the delight felt on High because of the great noise in the little minyan room, the large hall, and the veranda, when each one blessed his fellow Jew for a good year. That Rosh HaShanah, which was the first Rosh HaShanah after his bar mitzvah, he was able to perceive the delight on High that resulted from this noise.
The Tzemach Tzedek took part in the Rabbinic Convention of 5603 (1843) in Petersburg. Ten years later - in 5613 (1853) - and again in 5618 (1858) they also invited him, but he did not go. They suggested that he should send one of his sons, and so Grandfather went. He was in Kiev at the time, attempting to persuade them to annul the decrees that would have dispossessed the Jews from certain territories. He met the Governor General and won him over. The Governor asked him whether he was the leader of the Jews; he replied that the leader was someone else, and he himself was his assistant.
[Grandfather] explained to him the greatness of an assistant, using Moshe and Yehoshua as an illustration: Yehoshua was Moshe's assistant. By this means he managed to win over the Governor. [The Governor] claimed, however, that he himself had no authority to annul the decree. But he would give him a letter addressed to [the officials in] Petersburg, in which he would state his opinion that the implementation of the decree should be delayed for ten or fifteen years.
Certain people became Grandfather's mortal enemies because of the way he pursued his public service affairs: i) he never consulted them and never took their opinions into account at all; ii) it was his practice to speak openly and clearly to the government officials, even though that might cause trouble for certain Jewish leaders.
In the year 5640 he made a trip abroad. He sent a message to Reb Yeshayah Berlin requesting that he come to see him together with a few young men.
Reb Yeshayah Berlin was then living in Velisz. Reb Yeshayah paid little attention to this summons and did not take it seriously, for he thought that it would be a repetition of what had once happened in Dvinsk. Being very busy at the time, he did not come himself, but sent [Reb Yaakov] Rashal instead. When Rashal arrived, Grandfather said to him: "It is good that you came. Buy yourself a first-class railroad ticket and travel along with me for a few stations."
When they boarded the train, he invited him to share his compartment, and so he sat next to him. Meanwhile, a certain young man entered that car carrying a satchel in the style that travelers carried in those days, and he sat down opposite my grandfather. Grandfather turned to him and said: "A Jew must not have the 'hands of Esav.' Give me what you have with you."
The young man then took a revolver out of his pocket and gave it to Grandfather, who threw it out the window. The Rebbe then said to Rashal: "You can return home now."
The story of Dvinsk mentioned above was as follows: About two years before the above incident the Rebbe Maharash passed through Dvinsk on his way abroad. Many of his opponents lived in Dvinsk and they persuaded a very large multitude to come to the station, hoping that some unpleasant incident might result. A large mob indeed did gather in the terminal building, and it became so crowded that windows and doors were broken.
Dvinsk was then under military rule, and so the general who commanded the local armory was informed of the events, and was asked what should be done.
"Arrest him!" he replied.
When an officer arrived at the station with some soldiers, he asked, Kto zdias Rabin?
Those who stood nearby became frightened and moved back. The Rebbe Maharash produced a document from his breast pocket and showed it to the officer. The officer then became frightened and stood before him as a servant before his master. The Rebbe said that he wished to write down his name and serial number. The officer's face immediately turned white as chalk, fearing that he might be punished. The end of the story was that the general who commanded the armory came personally to apologize.
The paper had been issued in Petersburg, ordering both the regular and the secret police to assist the Rebbe should the need arise.
The Rebbe once traveled to Paris, accompanied by the gabbaim Reb Leivik and Reb Pinchas Leib. Reb Moshe Monnessohn and Reb Yeshayah Berlin also came to Paris at the same time. When they arrived in Paris, Reb Yeshayah Berlin asked him, "Where are we going, Uncle?"
"To the Alexander Hotel," he replied. He then continued, "You are only a shmendrik - you don't know any French. I will speak with them."
When they arrived at the hotel he requested that they give him one of the best suites (with several rooms). They replied that it was available and would cost 200 francs. He then inquired whether they had a better suite, on the same floor as the casinos. They replied that a suite was available on that floor, but it would cost more. He took a three-room suite. Because of the expense, Berlin and Monnessohn stayed at a different hotel.
Several hours later Grandfather went in to the casino room where the gambling was going on. He sat down next to a young man who was playing cards and occasionally sipping wine from his glass. The Rebbe put his hand on the young man's shoulder saying to him, "Young man, it is forbidden to drink yayin nesech." He then said again, "Yayin nesech constricts the mind and the heart. You should rather behave like a Jew. Good night!"
The Rebbe then returned to his room in a highly emotional state. Reb Yeshayah Berlin remarked that he had never seen his uncle's emotions so aroused.
That hotel had no elevator. Therefore, if someone had to go up or down to a different floor, and it was difficult for him to do so, there were special chairs that could be used to carry the guests up or down the stairs. Grandfather was in such emotional agitation that he sat down in one of these chairs. The hotel porters immediately approached and lifted the chair in order to carry him. He then remembered that he was staying on the same floor and he said to them, "Pardon! I have made a mistake."
He then went to his room. A few hours later that same young man came and inquired where he could find the man who had spoken to him earlier. He entered the Rebbe's suite and remained there a long time. The next day, Grandfather left that place.
Grandfather later said that in the past few generations there had never been a soul as pure as that one, but that it had descended into the depths of the evil forces. That young man was the head of the K. family of France, a family of pious and religious people.
During the discussions that took place among the brothers after the Tzemach Tzedek's passing, my grandfather the Rebbe Maharash displayed a very broad knowledge of Torah, even in Nigleh. His brother Maharin asked him, "How did you get such a thorough knowledge of Nigleh? After all, you are still very young."
He replied, "You are older in your years. But I am older in Father's years."
The Tzemach Tzedek had nicknames for each of his sons: "my balebos... my scholar... my chassid... etc." But regarding my grandfather he would say, "All of these features are present in him."
After the Tzemach Tzedek passed away all his sons delivered chassidic maamarim. On a certain Shabbos eve my grandfather the Rebbe Maharash recited a maamar Az Yashir ... ali be'er... On Shabbos morning, Maharil said [the same maamar] but with some new remarks added. On Motzoei Shabbos the Maharash recited it again; Maharil did likewise on Sunday morning; Maharash on Sunday evening; Maharil on Monday morning; Maharash on Monday evening; Maharil on Tuesday morning; Maharash on Tuesday evening. Obviously, each of them added something new each time.
[After the Maharash's Tuesday evening maamar] Maharil went over to him and said, "This time it was Father who recited it. I have no wish to compete against Father."
I also heard this whole story from Reb Shmuel the stenographer, who related that he and his fellow stenographers were required to copy all the above maamarim. Since all the maamarim began with the same passage and dealt with the same subject, they had to add a note to each one, designating who had said the maamar. But [Reb Shmuel] alone was able to determine who had said each, by examining the style in which the subject and the biurim were presented.
During the years 5640-5641 there were pogroms against the Jews. Afterwards, the Rebbe Maharash remarked, "If people had listened to my advice, much Jewish blood could have been spared."
Furthermore, he told my father: "I really wanted to say to them that if not I would emigrate to Eretz Yisrael and take a hundred thousand families with me. I could have done it, too. But the Bilu campaigns were going on at that time, and I didn't want to add to their power."
He concluded: "Had they added the words be'or HaShem [to their slogan], I too would have emigrated.
Grandfather was born exactly one hundred years after the Baal Shem Tov revealed himself.
During the year 5618 Grandfather traveled abroad. The reason given was ostensibly because of his health. But the true reason was that he was traveling to attend to matters of public affairs. Reb Avremke the rav of Rudnia traveled with him to serve as his shochet. In fact, Grandfather knew how to do it himself, but that's how things were done. Another person (Reb Shmuel Brin) also went with them. He visited Italy and Germany on that trip. When he returned the Tzemach Tzedek asked him, "What is your opinion of the German Jews?"
The Maharash answered: "they are very handsome in appearance." The Rebbe [Rayatz] Shlita explained this remark:
There is a handsome shape, and a handsome appearance. Handsome shape refers to the size of the body's limbs in general, and to the size of each limb relative to others. The body can be divided into the regions of head, torso, legs. Now if the head were as long as the legs, or if the legs were as short as the head, the person would be deformed.
The main thing is the facial features - the facial features must be of the correct size: the nose, the mouth, the eyes, the ears, etc. must be in the correct relative proportions. Such a person possesses a handsome shape. On the other hand, handsome appearance of the face refers to the protrusion of the two cheeks.
When a German Jew gets up in the morning he will not drink his coffee before he first finishes davening. In their beis hamedrash a sign hangs on the wall listing the times of prayer. On weekdays the prayer is scheduled to last eighteen minutes. On Monday and Thursday - when the Torah is read - twenty-two minutes. A German Jew gives a tenth of his income to charity, but only when he is making money. All this constitutes handsome appearance.
On the other hand, a Russian Jew (or one from some other country) has neither handsome shape nor handsome appearance. But he does everything with vitality. When he begins davening he has no idea whether it will take him a half hour, an hour, or an hour and a quarter. He gives charity regardless of whether he is making money or not - either way, he gives charity.
On Hoshaanah Rabbah 5627 - when Father was [about to become] six years old - he, [his brothers] Reb Zalman Aharon and Reb Menachem Mendel, and his sisters Devorah Leah and Mussia entered the sukkah. Grandfather the Rebbe Maharash said to them: "Today marks exactly one hundred years since the Alter Rebbe first saw a vision of the Baal Shem Tov while awake [not in a dream]."
My father once asked his father what the [inner] meaning of Hakkafos is. He replied to him:
[The inner meaning is:] what we beg our Father for with bloody tears: "My tears were as bread to me; have mercy and break the yoke of the nations from our neck." Here, "nations" refers to the body and the animal soul. We dance joyfully with the Torah scrolls with an open head and an open heart, but deep, deep inside we are shedding bloody tears.
In the home of the Rebbe Maharash they would set out all the silver and gold utensils on the table. They usually would not close the door after reciting shefoch chamosecha. Occasionally they did close it, but they did not lock it.
My father repeated to me what his father the Rebbe Maharash had said about the Tzemach Tzedek: Even at the times when he was engrossed most deeply in [writing] the most profound subjects - both Chassidus and his responsa - he would pause in the middle in order to think about how he could do a favor for a Jew even at the other end of the world.
When [the chassid] Reb Zalman Monevitz moved to Moscow he took his tutor Reb Nassan of Polotzk with him. This Reb Nassan Polotzker came to visit the Rebbe Maharash and he then praised Reb Zalman highly, greatly exaggerating when praising his good character traits. The Rebbe Maharash said to him: "He is indeed a pupil, but not yours. On the contrary, you ought to learn from him. The hand-washing of Chassidus is to remove the fingernails."
A certain chassid once came [to the Rebbe Maharash]. He was a businessman, but he always kept a copy of Shaarei Orah and Shaar HaEmunah in his breast pocket, and had clear knowledge of their contents. When he went in for yechidus the Rebbe inquired what time he arose in the morning, what he did then, and what he did before davening. He replied that he studied Chassidus. He added that during the davening he also meditated on Chassidus, and after the davening he meditated on Chassidus. The Rebbe inquired about his Kerias Shema before retiring, and he replied that then he also meditated on Chassidus. He was a businessman, but most of his time was spent on Chassidus and davening.
Grandfather said: "All this pertains to thinking about G-dliness. But when do you think about yourself?"
At this, the chassid fainted. But Grandfather said to him: "I did not mean to cause you to faint! I meant for you to do what I demand of you."
He then summoned his attendant Reb Pinchas Leib who carried him outside, where they revived him. While the chassid was being removed from the room Grandfather sang the niggun of Moshcheini acharecha narutza. Pinchas Leib the attendant then brought in my father, and showed him how his father the Rebbe Maharash was singing the niggun of Moshcheini. Father once explained the reason why Grandfather sang the niggun of Moshcheini acharecha narutza at that time.
The Rebbe Maharash once told my father: "Today I was visited by two guests. From one of them I derived personal pleasure, but the second one caused me deep sorrow."
[The two guests were] Reb Eliyah from the settlement of Abele and Reb Eliezer the rav of Polotzk, author of the sefer Mishnas Eliezer. When Reb Eliyah Abeler went in for yechidus [the Rebbe] asked him, "What's new with you?"
Being a businessman and a simple individual, he merely replied, "Baruch HaShem!"
"How are you business affairs going?"
"Baruch HaShem! But Rebbe, I am deeply troubled by a fellow named Yosef who lives in our settlement. He has no success with anything. We pooled our contributions to buy him a horse and wagon so he could ride to town with a bit of merchandise. But some misfortune always befalls him: the axle breaks or the horse breaks a leg. Then, he is robbed. All sorts of bad luck befall him. Rebbe, what can I do to help him?" He then sighed and wept, saying, "Rebbe, give him a blessing."
The Rebbe Maharash answered him: "You can do much to help him. When one Jew is troubled because of his fellow Jew's pain and requests a blessing for him, he thereby removes all Heavenly accusations and wipes out all harsh judgments."
Grandfather produced a coin from his pocket and gave it to Reb Eliyah saying, "I wish to become your partner. May G-d help you so that you will be able to do a favor for a Jew, and may it be with success."
Reb Eliyah became frightened and said, "Rebbe, you wish to be a partner with me! Do you know who I am? I am after all only the coarse raw material described in Tanya, which cannot be refined except by breaking it."
The Rebbe [Rayatz] Shlita concluded: "Now is not the time to report what my Grandfather the Rebbe Maharash replied to him about this. But from him he derived personal pleasure."
Now when Reb Eliezer went in for yechidus the Rebbe asked him too, "What's new?"
He replied, "I have (thank G-d) a scheduled study session with young scholars who are learning very well; on Shabbos they prolong the davening after the minyan has finished; they study Chassidus, etc."
Grandfather then asked him, "What about their character traits?"
"As might be expected from young men of the wealthy class," he answered.
Grandfather replied: "It is their teacher's fault, not their own. The very first thing in teaching and guidance should be good character traits; rather than studying the text, they should study themselves."
He instructed him that upon returning home he should collect money to establish a free-loan fund, and each of the young scholars should contribute half of his wedding dowry. To this, he said to Grandfather, "I will be unable to persuade them to do such a thing."
Grandfather answered: "If I say so, they will be persuaded. Tell them that when they give, it is not their own money they are giving. And even if they don't give, they still will not have it. The next time you come here, bring me better news."
Regarding Reb Eliyah Abeler, Grandfather concluded: "Had I been willing to indulge my G-dly soul, I would have showered kisses on him."
Reb Peretz the melamed of Beshekovitch regularly traveled to Lubavitch for the festival of Shavuos. He was very poor, and extravagance was quite foreign to him. Grandfather would draw him close on account of his pedigree, for Reb Peretz's grandfather had been a very close adherent of the Tzemach Tzedek. On one of his visits for Shavuos Grandfather noticed him while he was still traveling on the road.
The gabbai Reb Leivik did not plan to admit him for yechidus, and in fact he himself never expected that he might be able to enter for yechidus, because a very large number of people were waiting their turn. Suddenly, Reb Leivik called Reb Peretz, informing him that the Rebbe Maharash himself had summoned him for yechidus. During this yechidus Reb Peretz confessed to the Rebbe that he was nothing but an empty vessel, filled with shame and disgrace. Grandfather replied to him that one needs to be able to realize such a thing. "Do you recite Tehillim with tears?" he continued.
"Yes," replied Reb Peretz.
Grandfather then said: "You should recite two chapters of Tehillim with tears every day of your life. But as far as receiving the Torah goes, that must be approached with joy."
Reb Peretz related that every Shavuos he would recall that yechidus and he would see the Rebbe [in a vision]. He would picture to himself the degree of descent and denigration the Rebbe had to undergo in order to come down to him from the upper Gan Eden to this world.
My father once went in to the Rebbe Maharash on Erev Shavuos for yechidus. He asked: "What is the proper avodah to prepare oneself on the night of Shavuos?" Grandfather replied:
At the giving of the Torah, three things were given: the revealed aspect of Torah, the hidden aspects of Torah, and the ability for avodah. The revealed aspect of Torah is possessed by everyone. The hidden aspects of Torah were also known to many. But the ability for avodah is given only to one who desires it. What sort of desire do I mean? I mean longings that are part of his essential being.
The Alter Rebbe says that it is written: "The hidden aspects of Torah are not to be transmitted except to one whose heart is inwardly apprehensive." It does not say that "they are not to be revealed to him," only that they "are not to be transmitted to him," which means transmitted from the essence of Ein Sof to the essence of his soul. This refers to the most mystic of mysteries. When one hears Torah teachings from a tzaddik in the upper Gan Eden, he can achieve some idea of what "the most mystic mysteries" means.
Father then said: "Father, bless me." He blessed him - by means of the powers of his own father the Tzemach Tzedek, the Alter Rebbe, the Baal Shem Tov - to achieve the powers of the very essence of his soul. After that, on that Shavuos night he felt no need to sleep. This occurred during Father's seventeenth year.
[The Rebbe Maharash] once instructed his son the Rebbe Rashab regarding a maamar of Shabbos that he had recited to him privately: [the Rashab] was to review it sixty times. [The Maharash] said, "By this means one may become familiar with the concept of an essential being, for then every subject becomes part of his essential being."
Generally, when his son the Rebbe Rashab would come to visit him - even not for a formal yechidus - he would be wearing his gartel. The time when he would go for yechidus was in the pre-dawn hours. During a yechidus early in the year 5635 he said to him (among his other remarks):
A person who is capable of comprehending the seder hishtalshelus - and fails to do so - cannot be considered a human being. At every moment and time one must know where his soul stands. It is a mitzvah and an obligation to know the seder hishtalshelus.
He gave certificates of semichah - written in his own handwriting - to three people, after he personally examined them: the geonim and chassidim Reb David Tzvi Chein, Reb Yaakov Mordechai Bespalov, and Reb Moshe Rosenbloom.
The Rebbe Rashab related: "On one of the occasions when I went in for yechidus I asked my father (the Rebbe Maharash) how I could achieve a certain objective in my personal avodah. He replied that [this can be achieved] through meditation with deep thought. I then said: 'It is difficult to reach such a level of thought.' He replied":
If the subject really matters to you then you can understand and comprehend it quite well. As proof of this, we find in the Torah numerous laws regarding women etc., and the legal claims that they may make [in a lawsuit]. Now the Sages of the Mishnah and Gemara and the Geonim - all of whom possess outstanding intellectual capabilities - discuss these claims. The Torah is a Torah of truth, and the fact is that a woman is not competent to think of such profound claims. The truth is, however, that when the subject is important to someone, then even if they are of weaker intellect they are capable of thinking of profound intellectual concepts.
- (Back to text) [Most of these sichos are actually about the Rebbe Maharash, rather than those authored by him. In the Hebrew edition, this collection of sichos is the second appendix; the first appendix is the "Conclusion of the Hemshech Yonasi BeChagvei HaSela - 5640." The original hemshech was first printed in Likkutei Torah Toras Shmuel Shaar Shemini. A subtitle of that conclusion indicates that it was "copied from a manuscript handwritten by the Rebbe Maharash Nshmoso Eden." In a footnote, the Rebbe writes, "I discovered this conclusion at a later date."]
- (Back to text) The sichos are presented in the order they were recorded [rather than the order in which they were recited]. I.e., those copied from the diary of 5701 appear before those recorded in the diary of 5702, etc.
- (Back to text) I.e., the Rebbe Rashab.
- (Back to text) [Devarim 6:7.]
- (Back to text) [A play on words: the Hebrew word for "you shall teach them" (Veshinantom) shares common root letters with the word for "sharp" or "incisive."]
- (Back to text) [The word for "to your sons" (Levanecha) shares common letters with the word for "white."]
- (Back to text) [Kiddushin 30a; Avodah Zarah 19b.]
- (Back to text) [The Hebrew word for "Scripture" (Mikra) has the same root as the word for "calling."]
- (Back to text) [The Hebrew word Mishnah has the same root as the word for "changing."]
- (Back to text) [The Aramaic word Gemara has the same root as the Hebrew word for "finishing."]
- (Back to text) [Lit., "Set Table"; the standard Code of Jewish Law compiled by R. Yosef Karo (1488-1575); or, a later version, compiled by the Alter Rebbe.]
- (Back to text) [Lit., "Path of Life"; the first section of the Shulchan Aruch, dealing with prayers, blessings, Shabbos, and the various festivals.]
- (Back to text) [Lit., "we give thanks"; a passage in the daily prayers (e.g., Siddur, p. 58); at the beginning and end of this passage, one bends the knees somewhat, and then bows by bending the waist. The Talmud (Yerushalmi, Berachos 2:4) tells of a Sage who, upon reaching Modim, would bow of his own accord.]
- (Back to text) [Ish and adam both mean "man." In chassidic usage, the term ish emphasizes man's heart and middos, while adam refers to a higher form of "man," emphasizing man's mind and intellect. See Likkutei Torah, Shir HaShirim 25a; HaYom Yom, entry for 4 Elul.]
- (Back to text) [I.e., the Rebbe Maharash.]
- (Back to text) [The celebration of the Mitteler Rebbe's exoneration and liberation from prison.]
- (Back to text) [I.e., the Tzemach Tzedek.]
- (Back to text) He served as the Tzemach Tzedek's secretary for matters of public affairs.
- (Back to text) [For he would not change his opinion even if it was wrong.]
- (Back to text) [Lit., "Gate of Unification."]
- (Back to text) [Lit., "Gates of Illumination"; chassidic essays on the festivals of Chanukah and Purim.]
- (Back to text) [Lit., "crown"; in Kabbalah, refers to the Divine Light as it exists on a plane higher than, and separate from, the sefiros, though viewed by some kabbalists as being the first of the sefiros.]
- (Back to text) [I.e., Ein Sof.]
- (Back to text) [I.e., Atzilus.]
- (Back to text) [Lit., "rejoicing at the water-drawing ceremony"; a joyful ceremony accompanied by singing and dancing in the Beis HaMikdash courtyard during the festival of Sukkos.]
- (Back to text) [Yerushalmi, Sukkah 5:1.]
- (Back to text) [I.e., the Alter Rebbe.]
- (Back to text) ["Moshe spoke, and G-d answered him aloud"; Shemos 19:19.]
- (Back to text) [Tehillim 47:4.]
- (Back to text) [A play on words; in these verses the Hebrew words for "spoke" and "subjugate" share common root letters, rcsh.]
- (Back to text) [Shemos, ibid.]
- (Back to text) [The above passage is translated without comment.]
- (Back to text) [Bava Basra 10a.]
- (Back to text) This was the usual gesture he used to indicate that something was exceedingly great.
- (Back to text) [See HaYom Yom, entry for 2 Kislev.]
- (Back to text) [Because of his personal characteristics and material wealth, the opportunity and the means to sin were more readily available to him than to ordinary people, and the temptations were greater. Thus, when he withstood the test, the achievement was greater. And this was what the Rebbe Maharash envied.]
- (Back to text) [Lit., "refinement"; the avodah of releasing the Divine sparks from the forces of evil inherent in Creation.]
- (Back to text) [The Rebbe had said that he envied him.]
- (Back to text) [Apparently "they" refers to someone other than the Rebbe Maharash, for he himself would blow 72 quick blasts for the teruah (infra, p. 76).]
- (Back to text) [These are far in excess of the minimum number required by law.]
- (Back to text) [A single plain extended blast.]
- (Back to text) [Three or more short blasts, followed by nine or more quick blasts.]
- (Back to text) [Again, far in excess of the minimum required length.]
- (Back to text) The chassid Reb Yitzchak Yoel Rephaelovitch.
- (Back to text) [Such as our case, where he contemplated questions about the number and length of the shofar blasts in the middle of the Rebbe Maharash's Rosh HaShanah services.]
- (Back to text) [Lit., "inwardly consistent person"; i.e., one not usually given to external gestures or manifestations of emotion (especially not external gestures that do not truly reflect internal feelings).]
- (Back to text) [See Links in the Chassidic Legacy, pp. 73-86.]
- (Back to text) [Lit., "Sanctification"; a prayer in Aramaic, recited by the chazan between sections of the public prayer service, and by mourners at the conclusion of the service (e.g., Siddur, p. 77).]
- (Back to text) There was already a railroad, but the schedule was not dependable.
- (Back to text) [I.e., Rebbetzin Rivkah, the Rebbe Maharash's wife.]
- (Back to text) [The festival of 10 Kislev, celebrating the Mitteler Rebbe's release from imprisonment.]
- (Back to text) [Bereishis 1:5.]
- (Back to text) [Translator's note: Since neither the Rebbe Rayatz nor the Rebbe saw fit to explain this passage, merely remarking that "Whoever understands will understand," we too will leave it at that.]
- (Back to text) [Quoting the Sages; Bava Basra 158b.]
- (Back to text) [Reb Yisrael Nachman HaKohen Mariashin of Dubravna was a chassid of the Tzemach Tzedek and the Rebbe Maharash. He later moved to Lubavitch where he became one of the gabbaim of the Rebbe Rashab. He was a great-grandson of Reb Yisrael Nachman Mariashas; see The Making of Chassidim, p. 119ff., Sichos In English, Brooklyn, 1996.]
- (Back to text) [See infra, p. 68.]
- (Back to text) I.e., the yetzer hora.
- (Back to text) [The advice given in the Gemara, Berachos 5a, that when dealing with the yetzer hora, if all else fails, one should remind himself of the day of his eventual death.]
- (Back to text) [In his old age his body grew weak, and the yetzer hora's power over him was diminished of its own accord.]
- (Back to text) [The familiar form of address in Yiddish; Reb Yekusiel was older than the Rebbe Maharash by more than 50 years!]
- (Back to text) [Shemos 14: 31; Siddur, p. 39, 164.]
- (Back to text) The Rebbe [Rayatz] explained this: If one fears G-d, he remains indifferent [to an understanding of G-dliness], but if one loves G-d, he wishes to know [all about Him].
- (Back to text) [I.e., favor bestowed from Above, not in response to some action in the lower world.]
- (Back to text) [I.e., the Rebbe Maharash's remark resulted from his inborn essential capabilities as a Rebbe, not from his intellectual endeavors. Nonetheless, the Tzemach Tzedek made a deeply intellectual comment about it.]
- (Back to text) [Lit., "intellectuals"; those chassidim whose primary chassidic focus is the study of Chassidus (not to be confused with members of the late 18th and 19th century Haskalah Movement, who were also called maskilim).]
- (Back to text) [Lit., "worshipers"; those chassidim whose primary chassidic focus is prayer and other forms of avodah.]
- (Back to text) [Russian:] "The axe was applied to the wood." [I.e., the main thing is the actual deed.]
- (Back to text) [When walking in the street, one is busy with worldly concerns, so how can one properly think holy thoughts at the same time?]
- (Back to text) [Lit., "Eighteen [blessings]"; the central feature of the prayer services, recited silently while standing; e.g., Siddur, p. 50ff.)]
- (Back to text) [Translator's note: In the original sichah, the Rebbe Rayatz uses the English word "Street." The Rebbe once explained that this refers to the lowest kind of street, the completely secular street; not the street called in the Holy Tongue rechov or shuk, nor even in the Yiddish jargon gass (which though a non-Jewish language in origin, has since been adopted as a Jewish language), but even the thoroughly non-Jewish "street."]
- (Back to text) [I.e., the yetzer hora.]
- (Back to text) [I.e., they wish to use their avodah to battle the yetzer hora rather than to be free to pursue their avodah unhindered by the yetzer hora.]
- (Back to text) [Lit., "existence from non-existence"; ex nihilo; creation out of nothing.]
- (Back to text) [Lit., "from non-existence to existence"; the same as the previous expression but in reverse order.]
- (Back to text) [The life-force that created it and brought it into existence was already there; yesh me'ayin maintains its continued existence thereafter.]
- (Back to text) [Yesh me'ayin puts the word yesh first, implying that there is already a yesh in existence. Me'ayin liyesh puts the word ayin first, implying that there is nothing existing beforehand.]
- (Back to text) [See Hemshech VeKachah 5637, Ch. 70; Sefer HaMaamarim 5696, p. 2.]
- (Back to text) [Lit., "redemption"; short for pidyon nefesh, lit., "redemption of the soul"; a written note, usually accompanied by a donation for charity, in which the writer petitions the Rebbe to intercede in prayer on behalf of himself and/or others named therein.]
- (Back to text) [These passages are translated without comment.]
- (Back to text) [See Rambam, Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah 2:8-10 for details of this concept.]
- (Back to text) [It was not the time for yechidus, and the attendants would not admit him. Since he was desperate for the Alter Rebbe's help, he climbed in through the window.]
- (Back to text) [I.e., the left chamber of the heart, where the yetzer hora dwells.]
- (Back to text) Reb Yekusiel had heard a maamar from the Alter Rebbe regarding the right chamber and the left chamber [of the heart], and that was why he said this.
- (Back to text) [Nechemiah 9:6; Siddur, p. 38, 64; i.e., G-d created and gives life to both chambers, and so one must work with the left chamber and not "hack it off."]
- (Back to text) [Russian: "A chassid has arrived!"]
- (Back to text) [Reb Shmuel Dov miBorisov; see Links in the Chassidic Legacy, pp. 93-103, 175-180.]
- (Back to text) [The Rebbe Rashab.]
- (Back to text) [Since a makkif has no internal connection with the thing it encompasses, the schach should be oblivious to the conduct of the people underneath it, including Yosef Mordechai's anger which stems from the middah of Gevurah in his soul.]
- (Back to text) [I.e., he explained why - though the schach is a makkif - it is nevertheless "not fond of anger."]
- (Back to text) The Tzemach Tzedek had two sukkos - one sukkah for his house and one sukkah in the courtyard. [Apparently, Yosef Mordechai was told to sleep in the sukkah in the courtyard, where the cold wind blew freely.]
- (Back to text) [See Tanchuma 491:9.]
- (Back to text) [He lived 103 years!]
- (Back to text) [Reb Yosef Mordechai had been promised long life specifically in the merit of the mitzvah of sukkah; the Rebbe Maharash was therefore hinting to him a warning that he should be very careful about how he behaved in the sukkah.]
- (Back to text) ["And when the Kohannim..."; chanted with a special, very solemn melody; Machzor, pp. 180, 181, 184.]
- (Back to text) [E.g., Siddur, p. 33; Tehillim 145:7]
- (Back to text) The Rebbe [Rayatz] Shlita described him as being like Reb Monia Monnessohn in miniature form - a wealthy individual who donated to charity according to his means, and a Torah scholar who regularly supported another Torah scholar with whom he had a daily study session; in short, a generous person.
- (Back to text) [He was speaking to himself.]
- (Back to text) [There is no equivalent English word. In Russian, dyadke is literally a familiar form of "uncle." In military usage, it refers to an old enlisted soldier or non-commissioned officer who has been through the ranks, and is familiar with, yet respected by, the younger soldiers. He is the one who introduces the newer recruits to military life and shows them what to do.]
- (Back to text) [A colonel is a high-ranking officer who issues commands to the staff. But he is not one of the men and is unable to lead them directly by himself. That is the function of the dyadke. Similarly, in a chassidic community, the official rav and mashpia are unable to interact in familiar fashion with ordinary balebatim. An older and respected balebos is needed to serve as a dyadke.]
- (Back to text) [Pesachim 49b.]
- (Back to text) [A play on words: the Hebrew word ruxt means both "forbidden" and "tied-down" or restrained.]
- (Back to text) [R. Yosef Yitzchak, Rebbe of Avrutch, brother of the Rebbe Maharash, and both uncle and father-in-law of the Rebbe Rashab.]
- (Back to text) [For various reasons (chiefly because of his poor health) the Rebbe Maharash remained in Lubavitch and did not attend the wedding.]
- (Back to text) [The numeric equivalent of the Hebrew word for "heart" (Lev) is 32.]
- (Back to text) I.e., after his daughter Devorah Leah was married.
- (Back to text) ["Behisyashvus"; this has the same root letters as the word for "sitting."]
- (Back to text) [The sons were]: Berke, who was six years older than I; and Aharon Yosef, who was about three or four years older. I was not yet old enough to be able to recite the Questions for my grandfather [at the last Pesach of the Rebbe Maharash's life (5642) the Rebbe Rayatz was not yet two years old].
- (Back to text) ["Father! I will ask of you the four questions." - the traditional Yiddish introduction to the Four Questions. He said these words even though his father the Tzemach Tzedek had already passed away.]
- (Back to text) [On Erev Shabbos and Yom Tov he would change his hat, putting on the special round fur hat called streimel. See Sefer HaSichos 5704, p. 95.]
- (Back to text) [Lit., "Collected Teachings"; a classic collection of chassidic discourses by the Alter Rebbe, collected and edited by the Tzemach Tzedek.]
- (Back to text) [According to the Baal Shem Tov's teaching, each chance meeting of two Jews is arranged by hashgachah pratis specifically so that one may learn from the other. Therefore, each person must be constantly aware that others are learning from him, and his conduct must conform to what he would wish to teach.]
- (Back to text) The Tzemach Tzedek called all his sons by the name 'Reb' with an abbreviation: Rabash [Reb Baruch Shalom]; Rayal [Reb Yehudah Leib]; Rashaz [Reb Schneur Zalman].
- (Back to text) The Alter Rebbe's teachings were categorized as derushim, maamarim, or "Torahs."
- (Back to text) [Vayikra 23:16.]
- (Back to text) [A play on words: the Hebrew words for "count" and "shine" share a common root (Samech-Peh-Reish).]
- (Back to text) [There are fifty gates of understanding; but even to Moshe, only 49 were revealed. Rosh HaShanah 21b; Nedarim 38a.]
- (Back to text) [Even though he had no physical shortage of breath, the Tehillim affected him so that a half verse was too much for his heart.]
- (Back to text) In the handwriting of Shmuel the stenographer.
- (Back to text) [The Rebbe Rashab's twelfth birthday.]
- (Back to text) As we all know, it was very difficult to get in to see my grandfather the Maharash for yechidus.
- (Back to text) [The gabbaim took much care in arranging the order in which people were admitted for yechidus. He was upset that the schedule would now have to be rearranged because these three were being admitted out of turn.]
- (Back to text) He called my father "Rashab," just as the Tzemach Tzedek had called him at his bris.
- (Back to text) [Devarim 32: 1-43.]
- (Back to text) [Uktzin 3:12.]
- (Back to text) ["In the future, the Holy One will give each and every tzaddik 310 worlds as an inheritance."]
- (Back to text) ["The Holy One found no vessel to contain a blessing for Israel other than Peace."]
- (Back to text) [Lit., "Our Holy Rabbi"; i.e., Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi, redactor of the Mishnah.]
- (Back to text) [More exactly, 10 years and 2 months.]
- (Back to text) [Lit., "peace upon you!": a traditional greeting.]
- (Back to text) [Siddur, p. 410; Yechezkel 16:6.]
- (Back to text) [Sifri: lit., "the books"; Sifra: lit., "the book" (Aramaic.); compilations of Halachah and its derivation, based on the books of Bamidbar, Devarim and the book of Vayikra, respectively, compiled during the third century.]
- (Back to text) [Lit., "the addendum" (Aramaic); a compilation of Talmudic legal statements not formally codified in the Mishnah.]
- (Back to text) [(Mishnah and Neshama ("soul") have the same letters.]
- (Back to text) [Laws dealing with ritual purity.]
- (Back to text) [Lit., "stems"; laws dealing with transference of impurity when contact is made only with the stem or handle, and not with the food itself.]
- (Back to text) [I.e., even at the very end of the laws of Purity we still must deal with the stem, which is a pointy object that can cause injury. The Hebrew word Uktzin can also mean "stingers."]
- (Back to text) [Vayikra 2:11.]
- (Back to text) [Toras Menachem 5710, p. 115.]
- (Back to text) [The Rebbe comments (in Sefer HaSichos 5705, p. 1): "apparently this refers to love and awe of G-dliness."]
- (Back to text) [Taanis 11a.]
- (Back to text) ["May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year"; Siddur, p. 276; Machzor for Rosh HaShanah, p. 38.]
- (Back to text) Even there, several hundred people were praying.
- (Back to text) [Because of the large multitude present who could not fit inside the hall,] they had set up a tent in the courtyard where people could pray.
- (Back to text) As elucidated in Kabbalah, the ability to perceive things occurring on High before one's bar mitzvah is different from [the ability] after one's bar mitzvah.
- (Back to text) [A nephew of the Rebbe Maharash; his wife was Esther Chayah, a daughter of the Rebbe Maharash's sister, Rebbetzin Radah Freide. Esther Chayah's father, Reb Schneur, was a first cousin to the Rebbe Maharash, for his father was Reb Menachem Nachum, son of the Mitteler Rebbe and brother of the Rebbe Maharash's mother, Rebbetzin Chayah Mushka.]
- (Back to text) [He desired that these young men accompany him during his trip to deter anyone who might wish to harm him.]
- (Back to text) Both the Berlin family and the family of [Reb Yaakov] Rashal [of Riga] were then living in Velisz.
- (Back to text) [That incident is described below. Berlin thought that the Rebbe was merely concerned about some unpleasant incident his opponents might arrange, and not some real danger from mortal enemies.]
- (Back to text) [I.e., a Jew must not resort to violence. Cf. Bereishis 27:22.]
- (Back to text) [In Sefer HaSichos 5705, p. 28 it specifies that these opponents were Kapuster Chassidim.]
- (Back to text) [Russian: "Who is the Rebbe?"]
- (Back to text) This was one of the largest hotels, where kings, princes, etc. used to stay.
- (Back to text) [A Yiddish epithet, implying that Reb Yeshayah was rather unsophisticated.]
- (Back to text) [A possible explanation for this rebuke: Reb Yeshayah may have imagined himself to be a man of the world, while his uncle the Rebbe Maharash was occupied only with matters of Heaven and knew nothing of the secular world. Thus, he would be lost in a city like Paris unless Reb Yeshayah served as his guide. The Rebbe Maharash therefore informed his nephew that he was only a shmendrik, while the Rebbe himself spoke French and could manage quite well on his own.]
- (Back to text) [Based on their own merits, Maharin was older. But based on their father's merits, the Maharash was older, having been born in the Tzemach Tzedek's old age. This is a reference to two sons of the Gemara Sage Rav Chisda, who are always referred to as "sons of Rav Chisda" rather than by their proper names. To distinguish them they were called "Mar Yenuka (Mr. Young) son of Rav Chisda" and "Mar Kashisha (Mr. Old) son of Rav Chisda." Rashi (Kesubos 89b) offers the straightforward explanation that Mar Yenuka was the younger and Mar Kashisha was older. Tosafos (Bava Basra 7b) states that Mar Yenuka was older, but was called Yenuka because he was born in Rav Chisda's younger years; and Mar Kashisha was younger, but was called Kashisha because he was born in Rav Chisda's old age.]
- (Back to text) The government agents.
- (Back to text) I.e., if they did not improve their relations with the Jews.
- (Back to text) [uWkhc; an acronym for Beis Yaakov lechu ve'neilcha ("House of Yaakov, come let us go," Yeshayahu 2:5.); this was the slogan of an early Zionist movement of Jews who emigrated to Eretz Yisrael.]
- (Back to text) ["In the light of G-d"; the conclusion of the verse Beis Yaakov lechu ve'neilcha.]
- (Back to text) [See supra, p. 3, note 10.]
- (Back to text) [Avraham ben Gershon Ashkenazi.]
- (Back to text) The Tzemach Tzedek himself had never seen German Jews.
- (Back to text) [See Torah Or, maamar beginning HaLo Sedei; Toras Chayim, maamar beginning VeRachel Hayesa.]
- (Back to text) [The seventh day of Sukkos.]
- (Back to text) [Translator's note: there is apparently some error here, for Reb Menachem Mendel, youngest son of the Rebbe Maharash, was not born until 6 Adar 5627.]
- (Back to text) [Tehillim 42:4.]
- (Back to text) [I.e., externally it appears that our intellect and our emotions are totally involved in the joy of the dancing.]
- (Back to text) [For the Pesach Seder.]
- (Back to text) [This was to demonstrate that even when all the silver and gold utensils were on the table they were not afraid of thieves and relied on G-d to watch over them on the night of Pesach, which is called the "night of watching"; see Shemos 12:42; Alter Rebbe's Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 480:5.]
- (Back to text) [The hand-washing is the first avodah of a Jew in the morning. The first avodah of a chassid is to remove his fingernails, i.e., to avoid anything that will injure a fellow Jew, even by harsh speech. By exaggerating Reb Zalman's good features, Reb Nassan was indirectly hurting him, since this now called attention to the fact that Reb Zalman did not really live up to this exaggerated praise.]
- (Back to text) Who was at that time a lad of bar mitzvah age, or a little older.
- (Back to text) There was a period when the Rebbeim wished to turn the settlements into towns (because of the government decree forbidding Jews to live in the settlements) and so they turned Abele into a town.
- (Back to text) [Cf. Tanya, Part 1, Ch. 29.]
- (Back to text) [I.e., their character traits were not exactly the very finest.]
- (Back to text) [From whom the Rebbe had derived pleasure.]
- (Back to text) [I.e., the festival of Shavuos.]
- (Back to text) [To receive the Torah the next morning.]
- (Back to text) [Discussed in the maamar.]
- (Back to text) [Ordinarily, when one learns a subject, it is external to his essential being. Something new has been added to his store of knowledge, and so he knows something he did not know previously. But he himself has not changed in any essential way. However, by reviewing the maamar sixty times, the subjects discussed would now become part of the Rebbe Rashab's essential being.]
- (Back to text) [In the scheme of hishtalshelus.]
- (Back to text) [Cf. Tanya, Kuntres Acharon, p. 156b.]
- (Back to text) [So why do the great Sages discuss such claims made by women, if women are not capable of making such claims?]
- (Back to text) [If the woman is engaged in a lawsuit and needs a claim or an argument to advance her own case, she will manage to come up with arguments that are quite ingenious; HaYom Yom, entry for 9 Elul.]