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With Heart
and Soul


ADAR I 5776
ISSUE 41 (118)
ADAR I 5776 ISSUE 41 (118)
04 Escalating Joy

06 Farbrengen for all Time


12 Full Alignment

14 Smicha

About the Cover:

18 With Heart and Soul

As we present the first installment of a two-part series
on the chazzara and hanocha process throughout the Chassidus Reaches
generations, our cover features a scene of chazzara in 770, the Outside
Motzei Shabbos 8 Tishrei 5736, and a scene of the team
of manichim at work transcribing the Rebbes words. The

38 The Momentous Gathering

background image features various kesovim and bichlach
of Chassidus.
Levi Freidin via JEM 141531-193601 INSIGHTS IN HAKHEL

One of the accomplishments brought about by the It is particularly now that we are reminded of just
Baal Shem Tov with Toras haChassidus, is the emphasis how vital it is to remain steadfast in our hiskashrus to the
on serving Hashem joyfully, with simcha. Rebbe, his Torah, and his ways.
The Rebbe asks in a maamar: How can one bring And as the Rebbe teaches us, Hiskashrus to the Rebbe
himself to serve Hashem with joy, even if he has no is first and foremost through studying his Torah.
pleasure in the Torah and mitzvos he fulfills? In this issue, we have included a comprehensive
The answer, says the Rebbe, is by maintaining overview on the process of how the Torah of the Rabbeim
hiskashrus to tzaddikim, and especially to the nessiim, the was reviewed, transcribed, and preserved throughout
leaders of the Jewish people. the generationsthe process of chazzara and hanacha.
With hiskashrus to the tzaddikim and leaders of each It is the first in a two-part series. Towards the end of this
generation, the Rebbe decalres, and for us specifically, installment, we will learn how the Rebbe played an active
hiskashrus to the [Frierdiker] Rebbe, my father-in-law role in the review and transcription of the Frierdiker
we can abolish all the concealment () , Rebbes sichos, and how he worked to gather older
abolish the galus, and the [Frierdiker] Rebbe will lead us transcriptions as well.
to the geulah ()" " It is our hope that this will encourage our readers to
In this month of Adar Rishon, we mark Chof-Zayin understand and appreciate the importance of studying
Adar, the day the Rebbe had a stroke, doubling and the Rebbes Torah meticulously, and how this is an
redoubling the darkness of galus. indispensable lifeline in our lives as Chassidim.

40 Retaining Chassidus


55 Without any Fear


58 Whats left

60 Miracle at Midnight

62 Moments Before

66 Letters to the Editor

A Chassidisher Derher Magazine is a publication geared
toward Bochurim, published and copyrighted by
Vaad Talmidei Hatmimim Haolomi. All articles in this publication
are original content by the staff of A Chassidisher Derher.

Vaad Talmidei Photo Credits Rabbi Michoel Goldman

Alongside this overview and all the other
Hatmimim Jewish Educational Media Rabbi Moshe Goldman
regular columns, we have also included a Rabbi Tzvi Altein Gordon Family Rabbi Binyomin Gordon
description of events surrounding the final Editors Library of Agudas Chasidei Rabbi Levi Gordon
Rabbi Eliezer Zalmanov
farbrengen on Shabbos parshas Vayakhel, Chabad
Rabbi Mendel Gourarie
Rabbi Moshe Zaklikovsky Kehot Publication Society
5752, just two days before Chof-Zayin Adar. Rabbi Levi Greisman
Advisory Committee Rabbi Moshe Klein
Rabbi Sholom Dovber Levine
And as the Rebbe concludes the Rabbi Mendel Alperowitz Pinny Lew
Rabbi Shmuel Lubecki
Rabbi Dovid Olidort
farbrengen: with each of us implementing Raskin Family Archives
Rabbi Aharon Leib Raskin
Design Vaad Hanochos BLahak
the avodah of Vayakhel in our own lives Rabbi Mendy Weg Rabbi Michoel Seligson
Special Thanks to
[see farbrengen for greater detail], we will Printed by Rabbi Elkanah Shmotkin
Rabbi Chaim Shaul Brook Rabbi Levi Treitel
bring about the ultimate Vayakhelthe The Print House
Rabbi Yechiel Cagen
ingathering of all the Jewish people in Eretz
Reproduction of any portion of this Magazine is not permissible without express permission
Yisroel, with the Rebbe at our lead! from the copyright holders, unless for the use of brief quotations in reviews and similar venues.

Submit your questions and comments:

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A Chassidisher Derher is honored to feature unique and historic photos from Jewish
Educational Medias Living Archive photo collection. The Living Archive is a project to
preserve, and provide access to the video, audio, and photographic recordings of the
Rebbe. These photos are copyright by JEM and are available at
This month we celebrate the When suggesting that a focus be put But there is no mention at all
yom tov of Purim Katan. In on Purim throughout the preceding regarding Purim.
month, one often gets an apathetic In light of the above, is it really
addition to all its own virtues,
response. After all, is there a source in appropriate for us to establish a new
Purim Katan also marks thirty
Torah or halacha for such a concept? minhag without any precedence?
days before the real Purim in Granted, in a leap year Purim Katan Indeed, it is worth noting that
Adar II. The Rebbe calls on us to occurs thirty days before Purim, thus Yidden have invariably been extremely
utilize this month preparing a injecting the following month with a cautious about instituting new
shturemdike Purim. Purimdike feeling, but is there really a customs or rituals. With all the many
message behind the amount of days in commitments that we are already
between? struggling with, wouldnt it be wiser to
In fact, an argument can be made to focus on our pre-existing obligations
the contrary: without adding new ones to the list?
In the beginning of Hilchos In truth however, we dont need
Pesach, the Alter Rebbe writes: In to rush to search for any citations or
the times of the Beis Hamikdash, the sources when obvious logic will do, by
Chachamim instituted a practice of introducing a simple premise.
darshanim lecturing about the laws The simple fact is, that however
of the upcoming yom tov thirty days great the shturem surrounding Purim
beforehand. I.e. from the Fourteenth has been in the past, there is always
of Adar one should begin to darshan room for it to grow. It is fair to say that
on the laws of Pesach, from the Fifth Purim last year saw some wonderful
of Iyar the laws of Shavuos, and on the accomplishmentseven more than in
Fourteenth of Elul we begin to study previous yearsand it was certainly
about Sukkos.

4 ADAR I 5776

' " '
' '"
" " " "

a worthy effort, relative to what came spirit of Purim throughout the thirty to speak, it says to announcea
before. days beforehand. Indeed, when one is stronger, more emphatic term.
But much of that can be attributed constantly made aware of the greatness It is obvious what this means for us:
to the accomplishments of those of the upcoming yom tov during that We all know what our shortcomings
that have come before us. Like in the period, he can be sure that his actions are. [The Rebbe smiled and added:]
parable of the dwarf standing on the and achievements will match and As I know concerning myself, and
shoulders of a giant, our small and reflect his increase in excitement. presumably others also feel the same.
otherwise insignificant contribution, In case that answer is not Last year for whatever reason, there
augmented and magnified by those satisfactory; in case one insists on a was no shturem about Purim for the
upon whom we stand, can go further Torah-based source, this idea is in fact month preceding it.
than ifand in this case, whenthe containedexplicitlyin a Mishnah With all this being said, it is
giant was alone. in Maseches Shekalim. important that the efforts that go into
Nevertheless, upon reflection one On the First of Adar, they would this Purim be exponentially greater
will realize, that even with the limited begin announcing about the Shekalim. than what has been done up until
power that each of us yields, we are Why on the first? in order to ensure that now. The suggestion being: The month
still able to do more than what was everyone brings it on time, before Rosh leading up to Purim should be full
achieved in the past, even compared to Chodesh Nissan. of tumult and shturem regarding the
the not insignificant accomplishments Evidently, the Torah takes into specialness of the yom tov, beginning
of last year. account the tendencies of human today on Purim Katan.
Consequently, we must ensure that nature. Namely, when individuals Certainly, by raising awareness
whatever we aim for this year, it should both those who are eager and those about these ideas in a heartfelt
be of incomparably greater magnitude who procrastinatehave something manner, it will have its desired effect in
to what preceded it. to achieve, a bit time, in this case creating an unprecedented passion and
Therefore, the suggestion is to begin thirty days, serves to help get it done. excitement in this regard.
to involve and excite ourselves with the Note that the Mishnah doesnt say (Based on sichas Purim Katan, 5746)

ADAR I 5776


", , " '",
" " " " " "

" " '

Farbrengen for All Time


INTRO after Purim Katan, when the Rebbe distributed the

maamar Veata Tetzaveh,1 that lchaim and music
It was a very unique month. On one hand the
were arranged in 770, and the bochurim danced.
Rebbe said a sicha almost every night, with the topic
When Rabbi Shmuel Butman submitted a report on
inevitably leading back to a demand to increase in
the dancing to the Rebbe, the Rebbe answered: It
simcha by leaps and bounds. The Rebbe highlighted
should be ongoing and increasing. I will mention it
that because it is a leap year and there are sixty
at the tziyon.
days in Adar, it means that we can nullify all bad
Another point the Rebbe stressed was the fact
things with the joy of Adar, just as food can be batel
that every Yid has to be strong and healthy in the
bshishim. And the Rebbes demand for joy increased
practical, physical sense. During Adar, the mazel of
as each day passed.
Yidden is strong, and in a year of two Adars it will
The Rebbes constant insistence to add joy and
become a realitythat every single Yid must be
true expressions of happiness led Chassidim to
healthy and strong physically, and even wealthy!
begin dancing one night in 770. It was the night

6 ADAR I 5776
The amount of dollars the Rebbe distributed was The effect of the tragedy was extremely
also extraordinary, giving dollars almost every night devastating. The next Thursday, when shiva ended,
following maariv or a sicha. the Rebbe spoke about the incident. The Rebbe
But on the other hand it was a very difficult began by saying,We will talk about a topic that is
time. On the second day of Adar I there was a timely, even though we arent opening with a bracha
tragedy in Crown Heights. A young mother, Mrs. as we usually do, and continued to speak about the
Pesha Leah Lapine was brutally murdered al amazing merit one must have to fulfill the mitzvah
kiddush Hashem. Shockwaves spread through the of kiddush Hashem. But, the Rebbe continued, we
community. Thousands streamed to the Friday demand that Moshiach must come! A day passes,
funeral, Chassidim alongside ( )local African- and another day; a week and another week; over
Americans; reporters and camera crews came to 1900 years and Moshiach has not yet arrived!2
document the event. You could feel the Rebbes pain and anguish!
The funeral was to pass 770 and a short time In days and weeks that followed it became
before the aron arrived, news came out that the clear that the Rebbe was visiting the Ohel much
Rebbe would be joining the funeral. The Rebbe more frequently than usual. The Rebbes regular
came out of 770 and followed the hearse down practice had been to visit twice a month, Erev Rosh
Eastern Parkway and part of Kingston Avenue. Chodesh and on the 15th. Later, the Rebbe visited
Then he waited until the procession continued out every Sunday and Thursday (even later it moved to
of sight. Monday and Thursday). The only time the Rebbe



ADAR I 5776
visited the Ohel day after day for an extended After returning from the Ohel, the Rebbe asked
period, was during the seforim court case, and it was if the group from France had arrived.
obviously because of the case. At Lecha Dodi during Kabbolas Shabbos the
But suddenly, this month, the Rebbe visited the chazzan sang upbeat niggunim and the Rebbe
Ohel almost every day. strongly encouraged the singing, especially at the
The Chassidim watched in wonder. Something end.
was happening that no one could understand.
Constantly urging for more simcha, delivering more SHABBOS MORNING
sichos, giving out more dollars, visiting the Ohel This Shabbos was a Shabbos Mevarchim, so the
more often; it seemed as if the Rebbe was working Rebbe came down for Tehillim before shachris.
to counterbalance something. After a short break, the Rebbe came back down
for shachris. There was a lot of singing during
The effect of the tragedy davening. For Hoaderes Vehoemunah the French
was extremely devastating. March was sung. Not only did the Rebbe urge
on the singing by banging on the shtender, but
The next Thursday, when
even once it ended he continued encouraging for
shiva ended, the Rebbe another two rounds of the niggun. During kedusha
spoke about the incident. the chazzan sang Mimkomach to the tune of
Lechatchila Ariber, and the Rebbe encouraged the
SHABBOS VAYAKHEL, 25 ADAR I niggun, motioning to repeat the middle stanza.
For Shabbos, a few different groups of guests This week was Shabbos Shekalim so there were
arrived. Two groups came from France, led by their two Torahs on the bima. When the Rebbe went to
shluchim. Rabbi Mendel Raskin brought a group of the bima for maftir, he kissed the first Torah on the
children from Montreal, and another group came way up.
from Pittsburgh. Before the blessing of the new month, the
Friday began with a surprise. After shacharis, Rebbe turned around, pulled the tallis behind his
instead of the usual announcement with the time ear, and faced the chazzan on the bima, to hear the
for mincha, the gabbai announced that mincha announcement for the time of the molad. This was
will be When we are ready, which usually meant unusual.
When the Rebbe returns from the Ohel.
Before going to mikveh, the Rebbe gave the THE FARBRENGEN
siddur to two chassanim who were waiting in Gan As the Rebbe walked into the shul, the crowd
Eden Hatachton3. After returning from mikveh and sang Es Kumt Shoin Di Geula, as they usually did at
on the way to the Ohel, the Rebbe gave the siddur to the start of the Shabbos farbrengen during recent
a third chosson, gave him a bracha, and handed to months.
him, his family, and the mazkirim present, coins for At the farbrengen, the Rebbe spoke very loudly,
tzedakah. and those present recall that one could clearly hear
The Rebbe returned from the Ohel less than 40 the Rebbe even at a distance away.
minutes before licht bentchen. Mincha took place in (This stood out because ordinarily it was hard
the upstairs zal, a few minutes after licht bentchen, to hear the Rebbe during the Shabbos farbrengens
which was at 5:26 pm. of those years. With no microphone, and as much
Signs were posted on the walls of 770 as the large crowdpacked into the benches of
announcing the mivtza hakholas kehilos, to 770tried to remain quiet, there was always some
take place over Shabbos, in connection with background noise. In earlier years, the Rebbe would
the parsha, which speaks of VayakhelMoshe project his voice over this noise. In these later years,
gathering the Yidden. The mivtza was planned for the Chassidim tried to squeeze in as close to the
the neighborhoods near Crown Heights, where Rebbe as possible, to try and hear the Rebbes softer
Chassidim would go to share words of Chassidus spoken tone.)
and inspire the listeners. The signs listed the shuls The farbrengen was also exceptionally rich
and those responsible to speak at each shul. in content, with the Rebbe offering lengthy and

8 ADAR I 5776
detailed explanations on a
wide variety of subjects.
The first sicha was very
long, over 50 minutes,
and focused on the fact
that Vayakhel is usually
joined with Pekudei, but
this year it is separate.
The lesson is that we
need to focus on bringing
Yidden together
vayakhel; which leads to
the ultimate vayakhel
the coming of Moshiach,
when all Yidden will be
gathered to Eretz Yisroel.
In that sicha the Rebbe
also mentioned that
none of the Rabbeim
the Baal Shem Tov, the
Maggid, the Alter Rebbe,
the Mitteler Rebbe, the
Tzemach Tzedek, the
Rebbe Maharash, or
the Rebbe Rashab
moved to or even visited
Eretz Yisrael. Even the
Frierdiker Rebbe, who
did visit, only did so
because he was unable to
visit the Ohalim of the
Rebbes in Lubavitch and
Rostov at the time.
The sicha was
filled with many other
important points and
lessons in avodas
Hashem, touching upon a LEVI FREIDIN via JEM 221528

number of topics:
The need to feel as one
with each and every Yid
in the spirit of true ahavas
Yisrael. When influencing
the conduct of another For this reason, we recite Hareini Mekabel each
Yid, it must be done in a peaceful manner. This is morning before davening; to unify ourselves with
also the reason why the possuk, when speaking of others in a manner of ahavas Yisroel.
machtzis hashekel, uses the term half of a 20 geira While on this topic, the Rebbe also spoke
shekel coin and not just 10 geira; for each Yid at length of the meaning of Modeh Ani, recited
only reaches completion when joining up with immediately upon awakening even before Hareini
another, totalling the full 20 geira. mekabel.

ADAR I 5776

In the tradition of singing the niggun of the After the sichos, those who brought mashke came
Rebbes kappitul at the beginning of the farbrengen, to get lchaim from the Rebbe.
the Chassidim sang Shuva and the Rebbe strongly Fourteen bottles were lined up on the Rebbes
encouraged the singing. At the repeating stanza, the table, each marking an event during the upcoming
Rebbe first encouraged the guests, who were sitting week or weeks. For each one, the Rebbe took his
to his left, and then to the general crowd; first with becher, poured a little into the bottle, poured back
just his right hand, and then waving both arms, into the cup, and poured lchaim to the person
leading the singing very strongly. receiving the bottle. Some of those who got bottles:
In the second sicha, the Rebbe drew a lesson Reb Dovid Karpov, for a farbrengen in Moscow.
from Shabbos Shekalim, that one should give Reb Sholom Duchman, for a hachnosas sefer Torah
tzedakah without calculations, and this should be in Florida. Reb Hillel Pevzner (with his son Yosef
done in a manner where it is as if one is giving away Yitzchak and a guest from France) for a farbrengen
from within his very self. in the Mosdos Sinai school in France. Reb Moshiach
The niggun afterwards was Vayehi Bimei Chudaitov for farbrengens in Russian cities. Reb
Achashverosh. Avrohom Meizlish for a farbrengen in Beit Sefer
In the third sicha the Rebbe invited those who Lmelacha, Kfar Chabad. Reb Tzvi Steinmetz, for
brought mashke to be distributed to come up and a farbrengen for the descendants of the Tosfos
receive the bottles. Their coming up signifies Yom Tov. Reb Fitche Itkin, for Pittsburgh. Reb
aliya, an elevation from below upward, and is Menachem Gerlitzky, for the siyumim on Rambam.
connected to simcha. Two bochurim, M. Heber and A. Evri for the

10 ADAR I 5776
bochurim going on shlichus to Morocco. Reb For the first time ever, several hours into
Shmuel Plotkin for a farbrengen in Berditchev. the distribution, the Rebbe asked how long the
After giving out the mashke, the Rebbe began remaining line was, providing a small clue that not
HoRav Levi Yitzchoks hakafos niggun and strongly all was well. The distribution of dollars continued
encouraged the singing. until 7:30 p.m.
The Rebbe concluded the farbrengen by speaking The next day, Monday, 27 Adar I, the Rebbe
again for a few minutes about Parshas Shekalim and went to the Ohel, as he usually would on a Monday.
the importance of increasing in tzedakah. While the Rebbe was at the Ohel, davening and
Mincha immediately followed the farbrengen. pleading for Klal Yisroel, reading the thousands
The Moshiach sefer Torah was used, and the Rebbe of letters and panim that arrived at his door with
was called up for shlishi. requests for brochos and yeshuos, the Rebbe had a
At the end of davening the Lapine children said stroke, to the shock and distress of all the Jewish
kaddish. In the middle of kaddish the Rebbe turned nation.
towards them and watched them until the end. While we can never know why the Rebbe
That night, after Shabbos, the bochurim danced, encouraged certain activities or behaved in a certain
as they did the last few nights. way, the month of Adar I 5752 stands out as a time
Also that night, the summary of the farbrengen that was disconcertingly different from the Rebbes
which was usually printed immediately after regular schedule. All those nights of surprise sichos
Shabbos, was edited by the Rebbe before (which with time were no longer perceived as
publication. This was highly unusual. This means surprising), the many distributions of dollars, the
that as soon as Shabbos ended the editors of Kuntres Purim Katan distributed with lekach and
the summary made a chazarah, transcribed the dollars; all of these incidents seemed to implicate
summary, submitted it to the Rebbe, who in turn that the Rebbe was pouring more and more hashpaa
edited it and returned itall in the course of a few to the Chassidim.
hours! The Rebbes unusual demand for simcha, a
simcha that would drown out all negative things,
suddenly took on new meaning. The need for every
Due to the many groups Yid to have strong health, the unrelenting call for
that joined the line and the the geulah and an end to all tragedy, and all of this
unusually large crowds, with a real sense of urgency; it now bears clearer
dollars extended for over
Chof-Zayin Adar I marked the beginning of the
five hours! doubled and redoubled dark golus; a time that we do
not see the Rebbe in his full glory, as we should.
For the short meantime, we hold steadfast in
ROEH NEEMAN the path that the Rebbe set for us, guided by the
The following day, Sunday, 26 Adar I, the Rebbe principles he spoke of in all these sichos. And as the
davened mincha in Gan Eden Hatachton at about Rebbe teaches in the maamar Veata Tetzave, it is
1:50 p.m. This was a custom the Rebbe started on our connection with the roeh neeman, the faithful
Sundays this winter4 because the line to receive shepherd of our time, that gives us the necessary
dollars could stretch for many hours, into the early capability to carry through with our avodah in the
winter night. Two chassanim were present at mincha darkest times of golus.
to receive the siddur. Until we will ultimately see the day when the
The Rebbe began distributing dollars later than Rebbe will return in his full strength, and lead us
usual that Sunday. Due to the many groups that out of golus, may it be bekarov Mamash!
joined the line and the unusually large crowds,
1. See detailed story in The Timeless Maamor, Derher 16 (93),
dollars extended for over five hours! Many
Adar I 5774
interesting incidents occurred during that days
2. Sichos Kodesh 5752, vol 1, pg 730.
dollars (see Derher Issue 29 page 30 for a selection 3. See more about this in Behind the Picture in this magazine.
of those encounters). 4. See Behind the Picture Derher issue 21 (98), Tammuz 5774

ADAR I 5776
Ksav Yad

This ksav yad kodesh was written in response to parents requesting the Rebbes bracha for their
son, who suffered from schizophrenia. The Rebbe explains why specifically the mitzvah of putting
on tefillin (by the patient as well as his relatives) will help their son get his life back in order.

The original letter was written on 13 Kislev, 5732. Printed in Igros Kodesh vol. 27 p. 279.

ADAR I 5776
[In response to the request for a bracha:] Be meticulous about laying
tefillin both the one in need of the bracha, [as well as] his parents, etc. .' ,
The connection [to the current predicament] is easily understood (based
" ,
on [Hashems] conduct which is also understandableof measure for
measure [that things are orchestrated from above parallel ones conduct on
earth]): "

"" ( ' )
The symptom of schizophrenia (despite what the cause may be)is a
) (
conflict between the actual reality (of the environment) around the patient,
" "
and the way he sees and perceives things in his mind.
)1 : .
Hence: 1) He obtains (emotional feelings in line with this mindset) (
anxiety, fear that someone wishes to harm him, etc. 2) Occasionally, , ,)
he experiences [irrational] feelings of opposite extremes: [going] from ) 2 .'
unreasonable fear to an unreasonable exuberance, etc.; [which is a result of :
a] fragmented personality and outlook, etc. ,'
[The remedy for this issue is the mitzvah of] Tefillin:
Part of the obligation of this mitzvah, and its virtue, is to subordinate ) () (
ones heart (emotions) and mind (intellect) to the True G-d, about whom it ' : ,
is written, I am Hashem, who does not change. This automatically causes :
harmony between ones intellect, emotions, and the reality [around him], etc. .'
I will mention this at the Ohel. . "

ADAR I 5776

Guidance from the Rebbe
" '

", - " '"
" " " " "

More than just a certificate

Familiar in all of Torah animates and creates it. Thus, smicha. The Rogatchover explained, I
In this sicha, the Rebbe charges all they will be able to ascend see that overall, youre a G-d-fearing
bochurim wishing to become rabbis with the natural boundaries of this individual, and therefore, if youre
numerous requirements, in addition to world and reach the level of asked a question in Yoreh Deah to
the rudimentary knowledge needed to Shem Havaye, which is beyond which you do not know the answer,
pass the test. nature. you will certainly tell the questioner
2. Being that the goal of smicha to wait until you have looked into it,
I will give practical advice to is for the individual to be able or you will ask someone else (or youll
the bochurim who will soon receive to make halachic rulings in write to a more knowledgeable rav).
smicha. Firstly, they must know the day-to-day matters, it is not However, should a question
dinim wellnot just suffice with enough to study the material arise in middle of krias haTorah, for
merely receiving a diploma. Also, they necessary for the smicha test. example, with the gabbai and the
must realize that one who receives Rather, they must also possess entire congregation present, you might
smicha becomes a baal habos (master) a general familiarity with end up answering without knowing
over the world. Torah, so that no matter the the true depth of the halacha, since
In order to bring this about in a question, the subject matter leaving the Torah on the bima until
practical manner: will be familiar to them. you can finish looking it up would
1. They must study Chassidus, A young man once came to the be disrespectful (and you certainly
which will affect that Fear of Rogatchover Gaon to receive smicha. wouldnt be able to write to rabbanim
Heaven is his treasure. They Instead of giving him the typical and wait for their answer). In
will come to the recognition test in Yoreh Deah, the Rogatchover addition, it is embarrassing to you-
that the entire worlds surprised him by instructing him to the rav. The solution, concluded the
existence is nothing more study the laws of krias haTorah, and Rogatchover, is to first study hilchos
than the G-dly life-force that only afterwards would he give him krias haTorah.

14 ADAR I 5776
THEY SHOULD STUDY - IN DEPTH - AT is mandatory for all students. They
study, as you write, primarily Yoreh
LEAST FIVE TO TEN SUGYOS IN SHAS. THEY Deah, with only two hours a day spent
Were all the students intending
FIVE MASECHTOS IN SHAS. to become rabbis, and were they
all in possession of a fundamental
This also applies to already smicha isnt done properly, it is the knowledge of Gemara, such a seder
ordained rabbis; they should endeavor responsibility of the ones ordaining, would perhaps be appropriate.
to acquire a general knowledge of the and if a student is exiled, his teacher However, if one of the two conditions
entire Torah. is exiled as well. So it should be is missing, the time spent learning
At the very least, they should ensured that the smicha is proper, and Gemara should perhaps be increased,
studyin depthfive to ten sugyos that the one ordinating can say see and they should study the masechtos
(topics) in Shas (ideally sugyos from the produce that I have grown.1 that contain more practical halacha.
all over Shas

Though obviously they must be
so that their knowledge Sedorim in Halacha
familiar with the masechtos being
will be more encompassing.) They In this letter to Reb Nissan Nemenov,
studied in the other yeshivos.
should also study legirsa three to five the mashpia of Yeshivas Tomchei
...Regarding your question about
masechtos in Shas (Gemara, Rashi, and Temimim in Brunoy, France, the Rebbe
learning Yoreh Deah, I answered in
some Tosafos). Obviously I dont mean explains when, and to what extent,
general above, and I would add that
the small masechtos, such as Maseches bochurim should study advanced
in order to receive smicha one must
Gerim, or the like. halacha.
know a minimum of several sugyos in
It should be addedand Shas as well as several inyonim in Shas.
Regarding what you wrote about
emphasizedthat this applies to the Regarding the study of Yoreh Deah
the study of Yoreh Deah in yeshiva, it
ones ordaining smicha. For if the itself, you are no doubt aware that with
seems from your letter that this subject


ADAR I 5776
the decreased time available for study before Pesach, or at least no later than Shulchan Aruch, or at least two
these days, less time is spent learning Shavuos. sections of itYoreh Deah and Even
the commentary Pri Megadim and The same applies to the laymen Haezer.
others.2 who are capable of this. It is very Nowadays, the seder is that one
appropriate that they too become begins by studying Kitzur Shulchan
Prerequisite proficient in applied halacha, and may Aruch, followed by Baer Heitev,
In this sicha, on 24 Teves 5712, the this bring them blessings. then Shulchan Aruch with the
Rebbe explains his public directive that This minhag is a public directive commentaries of Taz and Shach. And
every man should receive smicha before () one must get smicha only afterwards, if one has time, he
marriage. before marriage. studies parts of Tur and Beis Yosef.
The reason for this is because quite So, my intention is that everyone
Now is a good time to discuss the
often, various uncertainties in halacha should receive at least this type of
subject of talmidim who still need to
arise at home, and you cant go every smicha, in order to be familiar with
receive smicha.
few minutes to ask a rav (' proper conduct [in day-to-day Jewish
To the bochurim that were spoken
) . Therefore life], which requires proficiency in
to regarding studying for smicha, this
there needs to be a rav in the house. Orach Chayim, Yoreh Deah, as well
is not a theoretical speech, rather my
On these same lines, I add that as some knowledge of Even Haezer.
intentions are practical.
everyone who wishes to create a At the very least, [everyone should
And even the bochurim who were
binyan adei ad (an everlasting be proficient in] the two former
not spoken to about this, if they are
home)and this applies to married sections, which are necessary in
capable of it, they too should take
men as wellshould receive smicha. order to be familiar with [day-to-day
this upon themselves. Beginning
This is certainly within the abilities Jewish] conduct, not to transgress the
tonight or tomorrow, they should get
of everyone, especially according to numerous halachos, for example in
to work () in
todays standards. Hilchos Shabbos, (as the Alter Rebbe
keeping to the regular sedarim, in
In the past, in order to receive writes in Iggeres HaKodesh), and the
nigleh and Chassidus, which they must
smicha, one had to be a great scholar, like.
attendand complete the smicha
proficient in Tur as well as the entire

16 ADAR I 5776
It should be emphasized that The Rebbe: Do they
[for married men] the actual signed learn Pri Megadim?
diploma ( ) attesting to Rabbi Shapiro: Pri
the smicha of the recipient is not so Megadim as well as
important, as long as he is capable Chavos Daas.
of receiving such a diploma. If one The Rebbe: It is said
deserves the diploma, then the that the author of the
document itself is irrelevant. In the Pri Megadim had a
words of Chazal: If it is capable of connection with the Baal
being kneaded, it doesnt need to Shem Tov.
actually be kneaded.3 Rabbi Shapiro: I heard
However, bochurim must indeed that he had a connection
receive their smicha diploma, for with the Maggid of for at least another year or a year and-
with it, it will be known that they Mezritch and received a bracha from a-half. He should also study Gemara
have completed their obligation (to him legirsah in the evenings, with the
study all the applicable halachos). The Rebbe: I am very happy to hear emphasis being on quantityas much
It would even be best for them to that smicha is being studied in your as possible.
be tested by someone with strict kollel.7 The Rebbe added that the
smicha requirement, for that Frierdiker Rebbe very much wanted
would demonstrate that they have that we should be learned ('
appropriately completed (the study of ) . The Rebbe encouraged
the halachos).4 THE FRIERDIKER Reb Yoel to be diligent, and also to

Smicha for Kollel Yungeleit

REBBE "WANTED learn Chassidus in depth. The Rebbe
said that when it comes to Chassidus,
On 16 Teves 5738, after mincha, the VERY MUCH THAT learning in depth is important, but
Naroler Rav, Reb Chaim Meir Yechiel
Shapiro, paid a visit to the Rebbe. The
WE SHOULD BE when it comes to davening, whats
most important is to bring oneself
study of halacha for smicha featured LEARNED. (' to practical avodah. At the end of
prominently in their discussion, excerpts
of which are presented here. ) the yechidus, the Rebbe blessed Reb
Yoel that the brachos of the Frierdiker
Rebbe to him should be fulfilled, and
The Rebbe: Is Shulchan Aruch
that he should merit that the goals
studied in the kollel? ' of the Frierdiker Rebbe should be
Rabbi Shapiro: I have instituted Reb Yoel Kahan relates that he achieved through him.8
that each Shabbos night, the Alter asked the Rebbe in yechidus (in
Rebbes Shulchan Aruch is studied. 5710), Since the Frierdiker Rebbe 1. Toras Menachem vol. 6 p. 70
The Rebbe: (smiling) This is would instruct bochurim over the 2. Igros Kodesh vol. 7 p. 102
bribery to me. My intent was to ask age of twenty to study Yoreh Deah 3. A Mincha offering is only acceptable
whether Shulchan Aruch is studied in in the afternoons, should I also do if it contains less than 60 esronim of flour,
the kollel that you founded, because rendering it able to be kneaded. However,
so? The Rebbe responded that he once it is theoretically able to be kneaded, its
according to the information I have, should speak in learning with Reb acceptable even if it isnt actually kneaded.
there is a lack of rabbanim in Eretz Mordechai Mentlick, and after a few Here, too, being theoretically capable of
Yisrael. days - after the Rebbe will speak with receiving smichaby having the requisite
Rabbi Shapiro: The kollel is based knowledgeis sufficient.
Reb Mordechai - the Rebbe will tell
upon studying to become a rav. Many 4. Toras Menachem vol. 4 p. 259
him what to learn.
of the members have already received 5. Ordination to rule regarding kashrus,
Reb Yoel did so, and in the Shabbos, and the like.
smicha. following yechidus, the Rebbe 6. Ordination to be a dayan, a judge in Beis
The Rebbe: Did they receive both instructed him not to study Yoreh Din.
yoreh-yoreh5 and yadin-yadin6? Deah yet; rather, he should study 7. Siach Sarfei Kodesh p. 477
Rabbi Shapiro: Yes, but the primary Gemara in depthmeaning with the 8. Yemei Bereishis p. 158
focus is yoreh-yoreh. Rishonim up until Shulchan Aruch

ADAR I 5776

18 ADAR I 5776
In preparation for this article, we
were greatly assisted by transcripts of
conversations with Mrs. Esther Goldman
", and "Rabbi Yisroel Gordon,
which were conducted by Jewish Educational
Medias My Encounter with the Rebbe
project. We extend special thanks to Rabbi
Yechiel Cagen and the My Encounter team
for making these transcripts available for our
We would also like to thank the following
individuals for sharing their personal
memories of Reb Yochanan: Mrs. Yocheved
Baitelman, Rabbi Aharon Cousin, Mrs.
Rishe Deitsch, Rabbi Yossi Goldman,
Rabbi Mendel Gordon, Rabbi Meir Harlig,
Rabbi Yosef Katzman, Rabbi Moshe Klein
and Rabbi Shlomo Zarchi.
Photos: JEM, Gordon Family,
Rabbi Moshe Klein

When the news came to

the Frierdiker Rebbe that the Rebbe
and Rebbetzin would be arriving on
Chof-Ches Sivan 5701 in the United
States, the Frierdiker Rebbe said that
di gutte freint should be notified.
When the mazkir asked who the good
friends are, the Frierdiker Rebbe
answered Yochanan Gordon.

Reb Yochanan, who served as the

gabbai of 770 for many years, was a
Chossid par excellence; he harbored
a deep and enduring love for the
Rabbeim, and he was a constant
dugma chaya of someone who would
go to any length to bring the Rabbeim
nachas ruach. Those who knew him
recall a person that lived and breathed
hiskashrus to the Rebbe and a
complete and total devotion to his will,
which he carried out with dedication
' and gusto.
"" " '" In the following article, we attempt
" " ' " to take a glimpse into the life of this
" unique Chossid, from whom we can
" ' learn so much.

ADAR I 5776
behind the yungeleit during those
events, lest the Rebbe see them; and
if the Rebbe Rashab would somehow
happen to glance at them, they would
immediately run to conceal themselves
from fear of his holiness.



Becoming a Shochet
In 5677 ()", after a number
of years in the yeshiva in Lubavitch
and Schedrin, Reb Yochanan married
Zishe, the daughter of Reb Nissan
Klovnov (a cousin of Reb Chatsheh
Feigin). On their wedding day, which
was also Shushan Purim, the news
Dokshitz would often join the Gordon familys
seudos Shabbos, and together they went
arrived that a revolution against the
despised Czar had broken out, and the
Reb Yochanan Gordon, or as to learn in Lubavitch.
celebration took on a whole new life.
some remember him, Reb Yochanan Yochanans years spent in Lubavitch
After their wedding, the couple
Dokshitzer, was born on 23 Iyar made a deep impression on him;
moved back to Dokshitz, and Reb
5654 ()", in the chassidishe town developing his personality and
Yochanan learned shechita from Reb
of Dokshitz, Belarus, to his parents molding him into the beloved Chossid
Bentzion Chanowitz, who was the
Reb Yisroel and Esther. Generations and dedicated soldier of the Rabbeim
shochet in nearby Glubakeh. A few
earlier, Esthers grandfather had been that he remained for the rest of his life.
short years later, his father, Reb Yisroel
sent to Dokshitz by the Mitteler Rebbe The bochurim in Lubavitch would
passed away. The community wanted
to serve there as the town shochet, merit to hear a maamar from the
to appoint Reb Yochanan to take his
and the prestigious position was Rebbe Rashab every Friday night. Reb
fathers position, but he hesitated;
later passed down from father-in-law Yochanan recalled that a complaint
he was afraid to take such heavy
to son-in-law until it reached Reb was once lodged against the bochurim,
responsibilities upon himself.
Yisroel, and then after him to Reb that some of them were seen dozing
The rov in Dokshitz at the time
Yochanan. off during the sometimes lengthy
was Reb Leib Sheinin, a tomim from
Dokshitz, a town with a population maamarim. When the complaint was
Lubavitch about whomit was said
of around two thousand Yidden, brought before the Rebbe Rashab, he
the Rebbe Rashab had declared that he
was inhabited predominantly by replied; Sleeping at Har Sinai is also
was a beinoni of the Tanya. (According
Chassidim. Five or six shuls were something special.
to a different version, the Rebbe
maintained in the small town, and Aside for the weekly maamarim,
Rashab had said that establishing the
all besides for one followed nusach the Rebbe Rashab would farbreng on
entire yeshiva had been worth it just
Chabad. select few occasions, such as Yud-
for him.)
As a child, Reb Yochanan Tes Kislev and Simchas Torah. Reb
When Reb Leib heard that he had
developed a close friendship with a Yochanan related that the relationship
refused to take the position, he asked
talmid in the yeshiva of Dokshitz by between the Rebbe and the bochurim
Reb Yochanan for the reason; Reb
the name of Peretz Motchkin, who was such that they would hide
Yochanan answered him that he is

20 ADAR I 5776
The Memuneh
Rabbi Yisroel Gordon, Reb Yochanans son, relates: father had three matzos that were shmurah mishaas
When my father was in Lubavitch as a teenager, ketzirah!
about seventeen or eighteen years old, they would have He asked my father how he had obtained them, and
a seder on Pesach together with the entire yeshiva, my father answered that ah memuneh git zich an eitzah,
including the younger bochurim learning in the shiurim. when you are in charge of the bochurim you find a way
The older bochurim would be appointed as memunim of getting three of the better matzos. The Frierdiker
to oversee the tables of younger bochurim, and on Rebbe was a bit upset at him for doing this, and he told
that Pesach my father was taking charge of a table of him that tomorrow he wouldnt be allowed to eat lunch.
bochurim that were thirteen or fourteen years old. Of course my father was terribly embarrassed
Before the seder was to begin, the Frierdiker Rebbe, and ashamed; here he is taking care of the younger
who was then the menahel of the Yeshiva, came in to see bochurim, and in the process he is disciplined in front
how it was set up. When he came to my fathers table, he of them and told that he cant have lunch the next day.
picked up the matzah cover to see what was under it. The next morning, after davening, they benched Hallel,
Now, there are two types of matzah; there is matzah davened mussaf, and everyone went to eat. My father
shmurah mishaas ketzirah, which is watched carefully went to the taichele, the small river that served as the
from the time of the harvesting, and there is matzah mikveh, laundry, and swimming pool, and sat down
shmurah mishaas techinah, which is only watched from there to relax. He wasnt there for more than ten or
the time it is milled and made into flour. The majority of fifteen minutes when two of his friends, later well-
the matzah in Lubavitch of those days was only shmurah known chassidim Peretz Motchkin and Shlomo Chaim
mishaas techinah, and when the Frierdiker Rebbe picked Kesselman, came running and calling him by his name,
up the matzah cover he was surprised to see that my saying that the Frierdiker Rebbe wants him to come
have seudas Yom Tov.

afraid that he might make mistakes. Nissan was gifted with prolific
Reb Leib Sheinin looked at him and writing talents (later in his life, he
said: merited to document the stories of
Whom should I appoint the Rebbes childhood as he heard
someone that is not afraid to make them from Rebbetzin Chana). As in
mistakes? many Jewish towns, there was a lively
Over the next ten years, Reb relationship between the Chassidim
Yochanan served faithfully as the and misnagdim, and young Nissan
towns shochet. During that time, three would utilize his talents to write
children were born to him and his posters against Rabbi Galinkin, the
wife: Nissan, Sholom Ber, and Esther. towns misnagdisher rov, and in support
of Reb Leib Sheinin. One morning,


ADAR I 5776
The chazan for Tehillim was my father,

Hecher Fun Zinen Reb Yochanan and he recited it with a

lot of emotion and tears.
When the Nazis arrived in Dokshitz, they collected all of the Yidden The next year, the first anniversary
of the town, and herded them all into the shul, where Reb Leib Sheinin Yud-Beis Tammuz fell out on Shabbos.
was still in the middle of davening shacharis (it was already the early The custom in Dokshitz, unlike
afternoon). Once they were sure that all of the Yidden were inside, they shuls of today, was that kiddushim
locked the doors and set the building on fire. were made in private homes; but this
The entire shul erupted in a panic; people began scaling walls, and Shabbos a kiddush was held in shul.
screams and growing wails of terror were heard from all directions. In the Reb Leib Sheinin and my fatherthe
midst of all this mayhem, Reb Leib Sheinin turned to his congregation two individuals that had learnt in
and asked them to be quiet and hear what he had to say. Lubavitchwere so happy that they
He told them that just as in the Beis Hamikdash, the korbanos had to were dancing on the tables. The simcha
be brought together with the proper thoughts and intention, so to when was so great, its intensity equal to the
Yidden themselves are offering themselves as korbanos to the Aibershter, sadness of the year before
they must be sure to keep their minds and hearts pure so that they will be
a befitting sacrifice.
With that, Reb Leibstill wearing his tallis and tefillinbegan to sing
The Rebbe's Chasunah
the Simchas Torah niggun, and the entire crowd packed into the burning In 5688 ()", the news spread
shul joined in. When the Nazis realized what was going on, they were that the Frierdiker Rebbe had left
incensed. They broke into the shul and brutally murdered Reb Leib. Russia and was now living in Riga,
A number of Yidden managed to survive the burning inferno by Latvia. Eager to see the Rebbe, whom
digging a tunnel through the shuls cellar. They remained there until the he had not seen for many years, Reb
fire cooled off, after which they escaped and joined the partisans in the Yochanan borrowed money, and as
forests fighting the Nazis. One of these men later arrived in the United Tishrei 5689 ( )"came around,
States, and visited Reb Yochanan in his sukkah, where he related to him he traveled to the Rebbe for Rosh
the tragic events that brought about the end of Yiddishe Dokshitz. Upon Hashanah. While there, he davened
finishing his description, he sighed, At the end, Reb Leib iz arup fun
zinenReb Leib lost his mind.
Reb Yochanan argued; Er iz nit arup fun zinen, er iz geven hecher fun
zinenwhat he did was not because he lost his mind; his actions were
limailah mitaam vodaas.

when Rabbi Galinkin woke up, he saw I heard from my older brothers,
the town covered in posters, and was that in our little town Dokshitz, the
overheard muttering, Oy, Yochanans rov, Reb Leib Sheinin, announced a
son is already up. bittul melachathat means no work
can be done. All stores needed to be

Yud-Beis Tammuz closed, and everyone assembled in the

largest shul to recite Tehillim together.
in Dokshitz
Rabbi Yisroel Gordon relates:
The Frierdiker Rebbe was arrested
on 15 Sivan 5687 ()", and when
the news hit the Jewish communities
throughout Russia, Belarus, Ukraine,
Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, they
were gripped with intense worry and THE INVITATION TO THE REBBE AND REBBETZINS

22 ADAR I 5776
at the amud for shacharis of Rosh A short while after he arrived back Yochanan had just gone into debt to
Hashanah, served as the baal koreh, in Dokshitz, he received an invitation pay for his Rosh Hashanah trip, and he
and he basked in the presence of the to a wedding: the Frierdiker Rebbe had didnt think he would be able to afford
Frierdiker Rebbe, just as he had done sent him an invitation for the chasunah a whole new journey. In addition to
by the Rebbe Rashab years earlier. of the Rebbe and Rebbetzin which the financial aspect, Reb Yochanan was
would be taking place in Poland. Reb suffering from a tonsil infection, with
a virus and a high fever, to the extent
that he could not even leave his bed.
The date of the wedding was drawing
closer and closer, and he didnt think
he would be able to make it.
While he was deliberating his
predicament, Reb Leib Sheinin came
to visit him. Being that Reb Leib was
no man of means, Reb Yochanan had
assumed that he would not be making
the trip either. To his surprise, Reb
Leib told him that he was going, and
he expressed surprise when he heard
that Reb Yochanan wasnt planning to
go as well.
At the chasunah of the Rebbes
daughter to the Rebbes cousin, Reb
Leib reasoned, all of the Rabbeim,
from the Baal Shem Tov and on, will
certainly be present1. When all of
the Rabbeim come, I should stay at
5709. There now was no doubt left in Reb
Yochanans mind that he must attend
AND WHAT I SAW AND HEARD AND FELT the wedding. Reb Yochanan gathered
WHEN I WAS AT THE CHASUNAH, I HOPE WILL some strength and went out to borrow
REMAIN WITH ME FOREVER... some more money. When he returned
home, his wife made sure that he slept,
drank tea, and took aspirin. After a

Tanya Ba'al Peh few days his fever went down a bit and
he was able to set out on the journey
During the period following Tishrei 5691 ()", Reb Yochanans son to Warsaw. Throughout the trip, his
Sholom Ber, who was a young child at the time, saw his father practicing fellow Chassidim were dancing and
a poem. He overheard him reciting, Onesh hamar al monea bar, vegodel singing with excitement, while he was
haschar kmaamar razal. Curious to know what this means, he asked his sick with fever. When they arrived
father to teach the poem. His father seemed surprised. in Warsaw, someone mentioned
What poem are you talking about? he asked. to the Frierdiker Rebbe that Reb
Onesh hamar, etc. Sholom Ber answered. Yochanan was ill. But thankfully, he
Amused, his father explained to him that he was reciting the hakdama soon recovered and was able to fully
to Tanya, which speaks of the great merit it is to teach other Yidden participate in the simcha.
whatever you know. He was reciting it because the Frierdiker Rebbe had For the rest of his life, Reb
spoken3 during that Tishrei in praise of learning words of Torah by heart. Yochanan would speak about the
People recall how also in his later years, Reb Yochanan would always celebration and unbounded joy that
be chazzering words of Torah while walking the streets. took place during that week and the
great zechus he had to attend the

ADAR I 5776

Rebbes chasunah. He would often The above is what Reb Yochanan poignant wish: I hope that what I
reminisce about how the Frierdiker recounted. Other eyewitnesses would saw and heard and felt when I was
Rebbe, in a spirit of elation, had put add that Reb Yochanan himself slipped at the chasunah, will remain with me
a towel over his shoulder and walked away when he saw the Frierdiker forever.2
around pouring mashke for all of the Rebbe coming, as he could not bear Rabbi Yisroel Gordon relates:
assembled, blessing each person with the thought of the Rebbe serving him. When I was younger my father
whatever he needed. He knew exactly Years later, Reb Yochanan wrote would often tell me how he knows
who needed a blessing for a shidduch to the Frierdiker Rebbe about his the Frierdiker Rebbes children, from
for his child, for parnassah, or for own deliberations at the time and when they lived in Lubavitch as little
good health, and he doled out brachos Reb Leib Sheinins encouragement. girls; and he knows the Frierdiker
accordingly. He concluded the letter with a Rebbes mother, Rebbetzin Shterna
Sarah; and he knew the Frierdiker
Rebbes grandmother, Rebbetzin
Rivka, wife of the Rebbe Maharash. He
would tell me how special they were.
And then he would tell me about
the new son-in-law, who years later
became the Rebbe; this man, he said,
is something very special. He is a great
scholar in nigleh and in Chassidus,
kabbalah; whatever you want, he is
the master of it. He is a young man,
and yet he knows uhn a shiur, without
any limit. He knows everything and
he does it all very, very quietly as if
he is a plain person. He doesnt like to
publicize things; the way he dresses

24 ADAR I 5776
and the way he walks, the way he talks
to people, it is all in a very humble and
friendly way.

Dangerous Birth
When Reb Yochanans wife became
pregnant in her forties, the couple
was worried about the fate of the
child, being that she had previously
miscarried a few times. She therefore
traveled to nearby Vilna, where there
was a hospital that could deal with
the issue. The expectant mother was
examined, and the doctor said that wouldnt have to remain in Europe
due to her situation, she should come on his own. He resisted from making
to be admitted into the hospital when the trip, however, for he had heard
she is in her seventh or eighth month. that his nieces and nephews in the
Otherwise, she and the baby will be in United States were not able to learn in YOCHANAN CONGRATULATING HIM ON RECEIVING
serious jeopardy. good Jewish educational institutions, HIS US CITIZENSHIP.

Upon arriving home, she shared let alone chassidishe ones, and that
and the people that come there cool
the worrying news with her husband. was not something he was about to
off of their Torah and mitzvosthe
He immediately called the Frierdiker compromise for his family.
Frierdiker Rebbe replied by promising
Rebbe from the one telephone existing When the Frierdiker Rebbe visited
him that his children will remain
in Dokshitz to find out what to do. the United States in 5689 ()",
ehrliche Yidden. Reb Yochanan was
The answer that he received was that Reb Yochanans brothers came for a
still hesitant. I want my children
she should remain home and that the yechidus, and the Frierdiker Rebbe
to grow up as Chassidim, he said.
mother and the child will be healthy. asked them why their brother
The Frierdiker Rebbe answered that
Sure enough, she gave birth to a Yochanan had not joined them and
they will grow up as Chassidim. Reb
healthy baby boy whom they called made the journey to America.
Yochanan still held back, saying that
Yisroelafter Reb Yochanans father The brothers explained to the
he wanted his children to be able to
who later grew to become the Rebbes Frierdiker Rebbe that Reb Yochanan
learn in the Rebbes yeshivos, which
shliach in Worcester, Massachusetts, does not want to come due to the
were nonexistent in the United States,
and later in Morristown, New Jersey. sad state of Jewish education in di
and the Frierdiker Rebbe told him that
goldene medina. The Frierdiker Rebbe
his children will do so.
told them that he will instruct Reb
Moving to America Yochanan to go.
Armed with the blessing of the
Frierdiker Rebbe, Reb Yochanan set
When Reb Yochanan was a young When Reb Yochanan visited the
out for the United States; first traveling
man, his older three brothers had Frierdiker Rebbe in Tishrei 5691
there by himself, during Chanukah
moved to America, while he remained ()", the Frierdiker Rebbe told
5692 ()", and then joined by
behind in Dokshitz to care for his him to his surprise that he should
his family two years later, on Chai
aging parents. When his mother and move to the United States. When he
Elul 5694 ()". Rabbi Sholom Ber
then his father had passed on, his told the Frierdiker Rebbe that he had
Gordon ah later described the scene
brothers encouraged him to make heard that America is eretz ocheles
when his father, Reb Yochanan, left
the move with his family, so that he yoshvehait consumes its inhabitants
Dokshitz: All the people from the
town escorted him, and the town Jews
SURE TO THE REBBES WORD, HIS CHILDREN cried like children, as they watched


Sure to the Rebbes word, his
EVEN MERITED TO LEARN IN THE REBBES children all followed in his path, and
ADAR I 5776
his sons even merited to learn in the opened upon arrival in the United Each night, on his way home from
Rebbes yeshivos. Nissan, the oldest, States. work, he would stop off at a shul in
learned in Tomchei Temimim in Life in America was difficult. Reb Brownsville, where he would teach Ein
Europe, and the rest of them merited Yochanan worked long hours as a Yaakov to the Yidden gathered there.
to learn in the newly established shochet, but his hard life did not deter In addition to his shiurim to men,
yeshiva that the Frierdiker Rebbe him from doing a Chossids work. in 5698 ( )Reb Yochanan was
appointed by the Frierdiker Rebbe as
one of the shloshes haroimthe three

A True Chossid shepherds to take responsibility for

the daughters of Chabad Chassidim.
Rabbi Yisroel Gordon relates: A new group was formed called Achos
On the first night of Rosh Hashanah during one of the early years Hatmimim, and the girls were given
in America, the Frierdiker Rebbe davened Maariv in the zal at 770 for a shiurim and experienced farbrengens
lengthy period of time, long after the minyan was over. with these Chassidim. This
Chassidim recited Tehillim in their places, and the sound of the organization was extremely precious
Rebbes davening, accompanied by intense sobbing, was carried through to the Frierdiker Rebbe, and he even
the zal. The cloth on the Rebbes shtender became entirely soaked with his asked4 to be notified of shiurim times.
holy tears, which came down without respite. Every Sunday, Reb Yochanan
After about three hours, the Frierdiker Rebbe finished his davening, would give a shiur to the girls that
wished everyone leshana tovah tikasev vesechasem, and went up to learned in Beis Yaakov, an after school
his apartment. One of the Chassidim, who was a bochur in Lubavitch, Talmud Torah at that time. They
hurried over to the Rebbes shtender and wiped his face with the cloth, would come from Williamsburg, Boro
explaining his actions by quoting the saying that - tears Park, and Bensonhurst on a weekly
wipe away aveiros.5 basis, to learn about Chassidus and
You are cleaning your aveiros with the Rebbes tears? my father the Rabbeim. Those who participated
reprimanded him sharply. You should be cleaning them with your own still remember vividly how much they
tears! enjoyed those classes.
Reb Yochanans hiskashrus was also expressed in his attitude to And in addition to all this, he also
yechidus. Reb Yochanan once bemoaned that yechidus with the Rebbe taught elderly Jews on a regular basis.
requires an appointment three months in advance. Going in for Yechidus Even in his old age, the Rebbe
is something that comes from an inner urge, and isnt simply a visit to the insisted that Reb Yochanan continue
Rebbes room. When a person has such a need, how can he push it off for giving the shiurim that he had started
three months? years earlier. When he complained to
the Rebbe that his ears were failing



26 ADAR I 5776
him and he could no longer hear the
questions that the attendees were
asking him, the Rebbe told him that
the important thing is that they should
be able to hear what he is saying, not
the other way around.
Very few Chassidim lived then in
the United States, and Reb Yochanans
children have nostalgic memories of
the chassidishe farbrengens that took
place in those years. Reb Yochanans
daughter, Esther Goldman ah, related:
With my fathers occupation as a
shochet, he would bring home livers
and miltzen (spleen), and all sorts of

JEM 103723
delicacies, which my mother would
prepare, and the Chassidim would
gather to farbreng. Rabbi Yisroel ALIYA.
Jacobson, Rabbi Eliyahu Simpson,
Rabbi Shlomo Aharon Kazarnovsky, The Frierdiker Lalter Lteshuvah, Lalter Lgeulah
immediate repentance brings
and Rabbi Avner Shifrin were some
of the Chassidim living in the area, Rebbe Arrives immediate redemption. The
campaign came as an answer to the
and these farbrengens would be very The close relationship with the
terrible tragedies that were befalling
special. Frierdiker Rebbe continued when the
the Yidden in Europe, which the
When there were only a few Frierdiker Rebbe arrived in the United
Frierdiker Rebbe called chevlei
Chassidim, we were all like one family. States on Tes Adar Sheini 5700 and
Moshiach, and now was the time for
The farbrengens in our house often throughout the years that followed.
Moshiach to come.
ended with crying, the niggunim were Mrs. Esther Goldman related:
Reb Yochanans hiskashrus to the
sung like real chassidishe niggunim. When we were notified that our
Frierdiker Rebbe was so powerful
It brought everyone into the frame of Rebbe would be coming to America,
that he cashed in his life insurance
mind that a Chossid should be in. my father was again sick with
policy, worth two thousand dollars
Reb Yochanan kept up his tonsillitis; he was burning with fever.
(a considerable amount of money
connection with the Frierdiker Rebbe, When we came and told him that
at the time), and gave all of it to the
who was in Europe, by means of the Rebbe is coming, he got up and
Frierdiker Rebbe to use it for the
letters. He would also send money started jumping up and down like a
campaign. His reasoning was simple;
to support the Frierdiker Rebbes small child. He was a very emotional
who needs life insurance, if Moshiach
activities. In fact, there are letters person and this was how he expressed
is about to come?
from Rebbetzin Shterna Sarah to Reb himself. He loved the Rebbe with all
This endearing faithfulness was
Yochanan thanking him for the money his heart and soul.
also evident in the trust and closeness
he had sent for the yeshiva in Otwock,
that the Frierdiker Rebbe showed him.
and asking him to encourage others to
give as well.
L'alter L'teshuvah On one occasion, the Frierdiker Rebbe
was farbrenging in his apartment
In 5702, the Frierdiker Rebbe
on the second floor of 770 and Reb
announced a campaign calling for
Yochanan stood next to him. Because
the crowd was pushing to get closer,
WHEN WE CAME AND TOLD HIM THAT THE Reb Yochanan began to fear that he
REBBE IS COMING, HE GOT UP AND STARTED was getting too close to the Frierdiker
JUMPING UP AND DOWN LIKE A SMALL CHILD; Rebbes personal space, and he began
HE LOVED THE REBBE WITH ALL HIS HEART to call out in worry. At that moment,

AND SOUL. the Frierdiker Rebbe turned to him

ADAR I 5776
and told him, Yochanan, You don't always filled with his happy and witty

Lubavitch make me uncomfortable".

Another expression of his closeness
presence, and the sharp comments
that always seemed to be on the tip of
ShebeLubavitch is seen in the fact that on several
occasions the Frierdiker Rebbe
his tongue. He would often use these
to bring a smile to the Rebbes face.
On 13 Nissan 5711, a few
chose Reb Yochanan to replace him On one occasion, Reb Yochanan
short weeks after the Rebbe
as chazan on the yahrtzeit of his saw that all of the bochurim standing
took on the nesius, the Rebbe
grandmother, Rebbetzin Rivkah, in the small zal were trying to look at
wrote a letter to Reb Yochanan,
and on the yahrtzeit of the Frierdiker the Rebbe, who had gone to the sink
expressing his nachas ruach for
Rebbes uncle, the Raza; on that at the end of the hallway to wash negel
the work he was doing.9
occasion, the Frierdiker Rebbe even vasser. He asked them loudly, What
I am observing your
noted it in his diary.6 do you think, that your coats will get
activities in a number of areas
stolen? The Rebbe returned to his
that the [Frierdiker] Rebbe
placed on your shoulders, and Gabbai in 770 room with a broad smile.
In addition to his duties as gabbai,
I take pleasure seeing that now In 5707, Reb Yochanan was he also served as the Rebbes baal koreh
too, you continue your good appointed to serve as the gabbai until 5715, when he felt that his voice
work in those areas. Surely you of 770, a position he held until his was weakening and he gave the job to
will add even more to your passing in 5729. As a result of this Reb Mottel Shusterman. Additionally,
efforts, and without a doubt, position, Reb Yochanan merited to he was also appointed to be the head
Hashem will provide you with be around the Rebbe quite often. In of Chevras Bikkur Cholim, which the
the necessary strength, for 5725, when the Rebbe davened at the Frierdiker Rebbe created (in 5704) as
Hashem does not demand from amud after the histalkus of his mother, one of the activities of Machne Israel,
an individual more than he is Rebbetzin Chana, Reb Yochanan never to care for the physical and spiritual
capable of. missed a tefillah. In general, 770 was needs of injured and ailing Yidden.
Later, the Rebbe continues
to extoll the great merit for
those that do the Rebbes V'zarach Hashemesh
work, especially regarding Early Shabbos morning, Reb
his activities as the gabbai in Yochanan would go to the mikveh,
the Shul of 770 (Lubavitch and on his way back home he would
shebeLubavitch), his stop off in 770 to make sure everything
involvement in maamad, and was ready for the davening later on.
maos chitim. The letter ends On Shabbos Yud Shevat 5710, Reb
with a bracha for his health, Yochanan was on his way to 770 when
and the health of his wife, and someone broke the terrible news to
that he should see chassidishe him, that the Frierdiker Rebbe was
nachas from all of his children nistalek. He continued on to 770,
and grandchildren. and at some point went back to his
house. Rabbi Shimon Goldman, Reb
Yochanans son-in-law relates:
On that Shabbos my wife and I
had come to visit and we were staying
by my in-laws. The house was on
Eastern Parkway, and from the living
room window it was possible to see
the people entering and exiting 770.
When my father-in-law returned, I
was standing by the window and I
saw from his facial expression that
something terrible had happened;

28 ADAR I 5776
even before he had entered the house. and implying that
His face was terrifying; he was white the Rebbe had been
as a ghost, he held his hands together refusing to take on the
and told us, Oy vey, oy vey, we have nesius, despite requests
lost our father. from the Chassidim
A regular person cannot added but there is
comprehend the feelings of a Chossid no one to ask for
at the histalkus of his Rebbe. Reb advice The Rebbe
Yochanan was completely broken. answered that he needs
The inner hiskashrus and profound to ask the Frierdiker
love he felt for the Frierdiker Rebbe, Rebbe, and the
caused the histalkus to break his heart Frierdiker Rebbe will period, one of Reb Yochanans sons,
and soul. Nevertheless, the Chassidim surely find a way to answer him. Sholom Ber went into the Rebbes
immediately looked toward the When Reb Yochanans children room together with one of his young
Rebbe for inspiration and guidance heard about what the Rebbe had said, children, and the Rebbe held out
and implored from him to accept the they entered the Rebbes room, and his hand towards the child, but the
nesius, but the Rebbe would dismiss disclosed what the doctors had seen. child refused to shake it. The Rebbe
their requests, instead saying with The Rebbe told them to go through responded, Oy gevald! the child
great emotion that the Frierdiker with the operation and gave his already doesnt want to shake my
Rebbe is still giving hashpoah. bracha. Sure enough it was successful hand...
After the levaya, Reb Yochanan told and she lived for several more years. In his position as gabbai of 770,
his son Sholom Ber that he is afraid When she passed away in 5717, the he merited, on the Shabbos after Yud
of an ayin hara. He had taken part Rebbe came to Reb Yochanans house Shvat 5711, to call the Rebbe up to the
in the tahara, and had been granted, to be menachem avel the family. Torah as Adoneinu Moreinu VRabeinu
by means of a raffle, the job of roshoi for maftir, the aliya customarily
kesem paz. During the tahara of the
Magid of Mezritch, the Alter Rebbe
Continual Hiskashrus reserved for the Rabbeim.
Chassidim recall how Reb
had received the same job, and had Immediately following the Yochanan would call up the Rebbe
worried about an ayin hara. Therefore, Frierdiker Rebbes histalkus, Reb every year on Simchas Torah for
Reb Yochanan said, he is terribly Yochanan accepted the Rebbe as his Chosson Bereishis, when he would say
worried and afraid. Rebbe, and was mekasher himself to the Frierdiker Rebbes name alongside
A short time later, Reb Yochanans the Rebbe with the same dedication the Rebbes. During those early years,
wife became very ill. His children and love that he had felt towards the Reb Yochanan would recite the nusach
hid the grim prognosis from their Frierdiker Rebbe. while crying with emotion. He even
father. One day he met the Rebbe, who Reb Yochanan immediately wrote down the names of the Rebbe
asked him how his wife was doing. stopped shaking the Rebbes hand, as and the Frierdiker Rebbe in his siddur,
Reb Yochanan told the Rebbe that Chassidim do not shake hands with so that he would not stumble over
the doctors want to do an operation, their Rebbe. During the same time them due to the intense emotions that
would well up inside of him during the
Since Reb Yochanan was a shochet,
he merited to shecht the Rebbes
kaparos chicken every year on Erev
Yom Kippur. However, that job came
with an additional obligation: The
Rebbe instructed that the one that
began the work on Erev Yom Kippur
in the morning should complete it,
and therefore the shochet should be
the one to administer malkos to the
Rebbe. As a Chossid, this part of the

ADAR I 5776
job was understandably very hard for which was considered a regular work After the histalkus of the Frierdiker
him to do, and each year he would be day. Rebbe, Reb Yochanan entered the
overwhelmed with intense anxiety for This situation led a number Rebbes room, and with his typical
hours beforehand. of concerned individuals to open chassidishe breitkeit, he asked the
a gemach called Gemilas Chesed Rebbe if he would allow the gemach

The Gemach Shomrei Shabbos, which would

lend out small sums of money to
to be under the Rebbes nesius, and
the Rebbe agreed (something that
The financial situation of most frumme Yidden that had fallen into the Rebbe almost never allowed
of the Yidden in the New York area hardships. Reb Yochanan was brought for existing mosdos). In addition,
during those early years in America in as a member of the committee the Rebbe continued the Frierdiker
left much to be desired. The country and eventually it became entirely his Rebbes tradition of annual donations,
was weighed down under the effect of responsibility. changing the amount each year
the Great Depression, which occurred The Frierdiker Rebbe would receive (perhaps so as to not create a
in 1929, and tremendous amounts a yearly report from Reb Yochanan chazakah). The Rebbe would also send
of people were left without work. about the work of the gemach, and he yearly letters to the melaveh malkah
This situation was all the worse for would also donate on a yearly basis, as that would be held in honor of the
immigrants, who did not speak the well as encourage him in yechidusen gemach.
language, and especially bad for those and letters about the good work that Alongside the encouragement, the
that insisted on keeping Shabbos, was being done. Rebbe constantly demanded from the






30 ADAR I 5776
REB YOCHANAN had complained to him that she is during farbrengens, where the Rebbe
WASN'T JUST A too weak to come deliver the money
herself, he took upon himself to
would lean back on his chair while
listening closely to the story. There
COLLECTOR OF go pick it up from her, the hassle were even occasions that the Rebbe
STORIES; HE WAS notwithstanding. himself corrected or added to the
ALSO A MASTER Reb Yochanans children protested story that was being told. After Reb
STORYTELLER, strongly. They said they would fill in Yochanans passing, this tradition was
WHO WITH HIS those few dollars, as long as he would continued each Parshas Mishpatim by
WIT AND SMILING desist from the journey, which they his son-in-law, Reb Shimon Goldman7,

COUNTENANCE reasoned, was very damaging to his

fragile health. But Reb Yochanan
who took over the gemach, and each
Shabbos Bereishis by the new gabbai,
WOULD BRING A would not give in. He told them Reb Shea Pinson.
SMILE TO THE FACES that he wasnt shlepping there for the Reb Yochanan was a treasure trove
OF ALL HIS LISTENERS money. He was going there because of of stories and vertlach of Chassidim
the forgotten old woman, who lived and Rabbeim of the previous
alone. generations, and he did not keep the
gemachs management to widen the You should see the look on her information to himself. Many of the
scope of their activities. Once, during face when I show up in her home, he stories that we know today about
that early period, the Rebbe asked told his children. Chassidim of old, Reb Hillel Paritcher
Reb Yochanan if there was any money and many others, were told over by
left in the account. Reb Yochanan
explained to the Rebbe that he always A Shtreimel Reb Yochanan who heard them in
Lubavitch from the mashpia Reb
leaves a small amount of money in and a Torah Shmuel Gronem Esterman.
case a donor needed his money back. In 5717, when the Rebbe
On two Shabbosim each year, Reb
The Rebbe was not satisfied with instructed Kovetz Lubavitch8 to send
Yochanan would stand up to make
this arrangement, and he told Reb out questionnaires for Chassidim
announcements during the Rebbes
Yochanan to lend out everything he to write about their memories
farbrengen. The first would be on
possibly could. about der alter heim, Reb Yochanan
Shabbos Bereishis, when the minhag
replied enthusiastically with much
is that the gabbai sells all of the
Exceptional Kindness mitzvos for the coming yearwho
information about Chassidic life in
Dokshitz and about the Chassidim
will pay for the ner lamaor, and all
The gemach was only one that lived there. The Rebbe asked that
of the other needs of the shul. Before
expression of Reb Yochanans unique the editors of the Kovetz send Reb
conducting the bids, the Rebbe would
sense of caring and sensitivity. The Yochanan additional forms so that he
instruct Reb Yochanan to stand up on
following episode gives us a glimpse would have enough space to write his
the table, don a shtreimel, and tell the
into his extraordinary chassidishe extensive memories and recollections.
crowd a chassidishe maise.
midos tovos. Reb Yochanan wasnt just a
Similarly, on Shabbos Parshas
One summer evening, when collector of stories; he was also a
Mishpatim, in which the Torah says
the temperature reached above master storyteller, who with his wit
Im kesef talveh es amiyou shall
ninety degrees, after he finished and smiling countenance would bring
lend money to my people, Reb
his backbreaking job at the shlacht- a smile to the faces of all his listeners.
Yochanan would stand up to invite
hoiz, Reb Yochanan took buses and On one memorable occasion,
all of the attendees to the gemachs
subways to an apartment building Reb Yochanan felt faint in the midst
melaveh malkah, that Motzaei Shabbos.
in Brownsville. There, he climbed of the Rebbes farbrengen, and had
Then too, after he would make his
a number of flights of stairs to the to be carried outside where, after a
announcement, he would put on a
apartment of an old woman, to pick up short rest, he came to his senses and
shtreimel, and delight the crowd with
two or three dollars that she had saved felt better. Not wanting the Rebbe to
a vertel.
up for maamad; the traditional fund worry about his condition, he stood
When Reb Yochanan would speak,
supporting the Rebbes household. in the foyer of 770 as the Rebbe
the pleasure on the Rebbes face was
This was a trip he would make was returning to his room. When
evident; it would be the only time,
periodically. Ever since the woman the Rebbe passed him, he looked at

ADAR I 5776
Reb Yochanan and gestured to him,
waiting to hear how he was doing. 1. It is interesting to note that a similar idea
was expressed by the Frierdiker Rebbe during
I was niftar from the world, the chasunah itself. See Sefer Hamaamarim
Reb Yochanan told the Rebbe. But Admur Rayatz 5689 ( )"p. 80.
Gehinom is closed on Shabbos, and 2. Mibeis Hagnozim p. 370.
Gan Eden didnt want to let me in. So 3. Sefer Hashichos Admur Rayatz 5691
here I am! ()", p. 168.
Upon hearing this report, the 4. Igros Kodesh Admur Rayatz, Vol 4, p. 399.
Rebbe entered his room with a broad 5. Quoted in Chassidus based on Zohar vol.
III 75b.
6. Mibeis Hagnozim p. 51.
In 5729, when Reb Yochanan got
7. See the farbrengen of Mishpatim 5752,
up to speak at the farbrengen, once
where the Rebbe calls up Rabbi Shimon
again, a shtreimel could not be found. Goldman to make the annual announcement
The Rebbe took the cloth napkin that and connects his name Shimon to the going
was covering the cake on the table, and up from golus to geulah which is emphasized
in the saying of Razal Reuvan veshimon salkin.
threw it to Reb Yochanan to wear on
Sefer Hashichos 5752, p. 372, footnote 103.
his head. As it turned out, that was his
8. See more about Kovetz Lubavitch in A
last time speaking at the farbrengen, Chassidisher Derher Issue 35 (112) - Elul 5775.
as that year, on 29 Menachem Av he 9. Igros Kodesh, Vol 4, p. 251.
departed from this world.

"May you merit to see"

In 5721, Rebbetzin Chana gave Reb Yochanan a donation for 770. Sending her a receipt letter,
he used the opportunity to give over two chassidishe stories. He wrote to her as follows:
Chassidim would tell over:
When the Baal Shem Tov organized the avodah of the Yidden according to times and occasions,
it was set that Erev Yom Kippur, during the time of mincha, was a time for teshuvah tataah, when
one makes a cheshbon hanefesh of all of his actions over the previous year. In order for this cheshbon
hanefesh to be a cheshbon tzedek, one needs peace and quiet in order that he should not be bothered.
The mispalelim in the beis medrash of the Baal Shem Tov wanted to stop the custom of plates
[for collecting tzedakah] on Erev Yom Kippur, because it disturbs their concentration. But when
they brought their idea to the Baal Shem Tov, he reprimanded them and said:
What do you thinkthat by banging your hand on your chest you will confuse the Satan
No! Rather by throwing coins into the plates, you will create noise that will confuse the Satan.
2. Once, during a farbrengen of the Frierdiker RebbeI think it was Yud Kislevone of the
ziknei anash by the name of Mr. Prodinsky was present, and he wished, while saying lchaim, that
Hashem should give yeshuossalvationsto klal Yisrael.
The Frierdiker Rebbe answered him that it should be one yeshua, and a correct one.
Reb Yochanan finishes off the letter with a wish from the depth of his heart:
May you merit to see your son, who is from the family of Dovid Hamelech, revealed as the
leader of klal Yisrael (and the goel Yisrael).

32 ADAR I 5776


" '

Reaches the
, :"
' , From the time of the Baal Shem Tov, it has been
, , our charge to bring Chassidus to the furthest reach
, possible. As Moshiach himself famously promised
)' ( . the Baal Shem Tovhe will arrive when the
wellsprings of Chassidus spread forth to chutza.
My father [the Rebbe Rashab] said: I am
Naturally then, our Rabbeim in each generation
certain that when a chassidisher Yid sits in a demanded that their Chassidim utilize every
beis midrash teaching or reciting a maamar opportunity to teach and spread Chassidus to other
of Chassidus to others, my forebears [the Yidden. Thus, the concept of "was born.
Rabbeim] are filled with joy; and their joy In our generation, the Rebbe encouraged
is adequate to provide that Chossid, and Chassidim to go out and speak words of Chassidus,
his children and childrens children, with taking account for every detail of this project. In
an abundance of blessing, materially and letters, sichos, and yechidus, the Rebbe explained
spiritually. the importance of each persons participation in
chazzoras dach and reviewed the reports in great
detail. In fact, the Rebbe only began publishing the
first entries of Likutei Sichos in order to give the
Chassidim material to give over in shuls!

Become an Onion!
After the Mitteler Rebbe settled in Lubavitch in
the year 5573 ()", he set up strict rules: each

ADAR I 5776
yungerman was allowed to remain in Lubavitch for should become like an onion, you must still repeat
no more than two (or at times, three) months, after Chassidus!
which he was required to travel home. On his trip, he Throughout the years, the Rebbe repeated this
would have to stop for a day or two in cities on his story often and explained the significance of the
route and recite Chassidusthe maamorim that he example the Mitteler Rebbe usedspecifically
heard in Lubavitchfor those communities.1 an onionto portray the feeling of yeshus. But
There is a famous story, repeated by the Rebbe the lesson was always the same: no matter what
on numerous occasions, about one of the Chassidim may become of you, a Chossid must always teach
of the Mitteler Rebbe, regarding the importance of Chassidus to others.2
teaching Chassidus publicly at all costs.
There was a certain Chossid of the Mitteler Rebbe The Rebbe is Within You
who had a good grasp on the maamarim he heard, The Frierdiker Rebbe was once asked: where is the
and was able to repeat words of Chassidus very best place for Chassidus to be taught; at ones private
well, leaving an ample impression on his audiences. home or in shul?
Noticing that his good performance brewed a sense In a lengthy letter, the Frierdiker Rebbe responded
of gaava within him, he approached the Mitteler that Chassidus must be taught in shul, in the most
Rebbe with a question: should he continue to teach public manner possible. We call the study of Torah
Chassidus even though it engendered this negative [ ; literally translated as] a business. Torah
trait? has to be treated like a business, he explained. A
The Mitteler Rebbe replied: good businessman acquires a store for himself at a
',[ Even if] you prime location, where the most traffic passes through.
He then devises a plan of how to attract the passersby

34 ADAR I 5776
to see his product; even those that did not intend to a tzaddik brought about by repeating his Torah, of
buy any goods. In this way, one out of every ten will which Chazal say that . When
come in and purchase from him. In a similar vein, repeating words of Chassidus, a spark of the neshama
Torah learning must be displayed in a public place of the Rebbe shines within you in a pnimius. This is
available for all; i.e. in the batei midrash and shuls accessible and applicable to each and every one who
The Frierdiker Rebbe then goes on to demand that chazzers Chassidus. No exceptions or limitations were
every one of anash get involved in Chassidus. Those put in place.
of anash that are rabbonim in communities must Imagine how great of a zechus this is! Considering
see themselves as shluchim of the Rabbeim to teach the great lengths to which a Chossid will go just
Chassidus. And all of anash must come and hear the to catch a glimpse of the Rebbes holy face, we can
words of Chassidus, even those who feel they dont appreciate all the more so having the Rebbes neshama
understand it. The neshamos of the Rabbeim grace shine within you.
the presence where words of Chassidus are said; as I am not here to give drashos, the Rebbe
Chazal say, it is as if the one concluded. Everyone must begin chazzering
who originated these words of Torah is standing Chassidus for the public!4
before you. Imagine what a great zechus this is for the
one teaching Chassidus, and the obligation for every
? 33
member of anash to join and be present at the time!3

Many years after this letter was written, the Rebbe
.- , , ,
explained its contents at a farbrengen, highlighting
the words used by the Frierdiker Rebbe
that the neshama of the Rebbe

whose Chassidus you repeat actually shines within
you. This is more than just the ordinary presence of
- , ,

: ! ,]
()" ' "

Double Benefit
Our Rabbeim emphasized that teaching Chassidus
is beneficial for both the listening crowd as well as the
one chazzering.
The reason for chazzering Chassidus in shuls is
for the benefit it brings, which is actually two-fold,
the Rebbe explained. (1) For the bochurim; in order
to recite Chassidus by heart they will need to learn it

really well on their own; and (2) for the baalei-battim,

who are in the shuls5
As the Frierdiker Rebbe told Reb Yisroel Jacobson:
before chazzering a maamar, one needs to think it
over three, four, five, six or seven times!6
The talmidim will also develop their knack for
THE REBBES EDITED SICHA PUBLISHED FOR PARSHAS VAYISHLACH public speaking in this manner, the Frierdiker Rebbe

ADAR I 5776
The Rebbe explains that getting the bochurim more so, let them whet the interest of the listeners
acquainted and comfortable with speaking words by beginning with a story or the like (taken from the
of Chassidus will prepare them for their main job. sichos)...10
The job of Temimim is to be illuminating In another letter the Rebbe responds to the
lights, teaching Chassidus and yiras Shamayim to question if it is proper to give over Chassidus in a
those who are not yet of anash.7 manner that is similar to a speech () .
The Rebbe says that it is not only allowed; it is
The Neshama Hears actually necessary!11
In Hayom Yom 24 Adar I, the Rebbe records a
To Reb Hillel Paritchers question whether to TELL THEM YOURE
review Chassidus even in towns where the people FROM LUBAVITCH
have no conception of Chassidus, the Mitteler Rebbe In days gone-by, when bochurim went out to visit the
responded: The neshama hears words of Chassidus. shuls and were asked Where are you from? they would
In the original letter from the Frierdiker Rebbe respond, From Dokshitz, or something like that. They
where this story is quoted, he concludes: were afraid to say they came from Lubavitch because
More than 120 years have passed since then, they thought theyd be thrown out.
and in the meantime tens of thousands of Jewish Today, we dont need to be intimidated. We can
people have enjoyed the bright light as taught by openly say: We had and we have a great Rebbe, and we
those chazzering Chassidus, strengthening themselves come here on his shlichus!
in yiras Shamayim and meticulous keeping of the Tell them the truth that you come on the Rebbes
mitzvos8 shlichus. Speak with breitkeit (boldly) and dont be
intimidated. True, you should not be impolite. Speak
Hear and Understand respectfully; but boldly and without any reservations.
Even so, the Rebbe was always insistent that one (Shabbos parshas Nitzavim-Vayelech 5710)
choose maamarim that the crowd will be able to
understand and appreciate, without resorting to the Trailway of Likutei Sichos
fact that the neshama hears In 5712, the Rebbe started the initiative of making
When asked which maamarim to review in public sure that all the bochurim in yeshiva would go visit
in order to be easily understood by the crowd, the shuls to chazzer Chassidus.
Rebbe responded in a letter: In a yechidus with the members of Vaad
" Hamisadder Chazzoras Dach, the Rebbe asked that
. , " , , - they give over to all the bochurim that they must go
"' out and chazzer Chassidus.
With regards to which maamarim should be On the list of bochurim given to me who
reviewed [in public] so that the crowd of listeners participate every week there are only twenty names,
will understand, also with their humanly minds, while there are more than seventy-five bochurim in
these maamarim were already selected and written yeshiva! the Rebbe said.
in Yiddish for this reason. They are printed in Sefer The Rebbe said that they should give over in his
HamaamarimYiddish.9 name that no excuses will be accepted. If there are
At times, the Rebbe also suggested that the not enough shuls for everyone to go around, let
speaker should spice up his words and make it more them chazzer Chassidus here in 770 or in the yeshiva
interesting for the listeners: building.
I was very pleased by your proposal to send out The Rebbe concluded that, If you will really want
the talmidim to the batei midrash in your area and to, you will succeed in seeing this matter through!12
teach Chassidus or review part of a maamar [for There were times at farbrengens in the early years
the crowd there]. It would be appropriate to do so when the Rebbe would point to a certain concept
in a manner that the listeners can understand, and discussed in the sichos and instruct the bochurim that

36 ADAR I 5776


this should be the material they should give over in Reb Shmuel told the Rebbe that there are
the shuls.13 hundreds of yungeleit at the Rebbes farbrengens
Eventually, two of the members of Vaad (presumably in an attempt to suggest that the
Hamisadder Chazzoras Dach, Rabbi Nachman Sudak maayanos are indeed getting out). The Rebbe
and Rabbi Leibel Raskin, wrote to the Rebbe with a responded:
request: In order that the bochurim will have what to If those hundreds would go out afterwards and
speak when going out to the shuls, they request that teach Chassidus in the shuls, then Moshiach would
the Rebbe be magiah a sicha for each weeks parsha, come. Every shul allows itthere are no more
from farbrengens of previous years. menagdim. Even in the yeshivos they allow it! We
To everyones delight, the Rebbe agreed! Shortly need only to get out there and spread Chassidus to
thereafter, the Rebbes sichos were published on a the furthest chutza! Then Moshiach will come and it
weekly basis, making what we know today to be the will all be good
first volumes of Likutei Sichos. On the cover of each
pamphlet, the description read: "
Points of Chassidus to repeat in the
See Yalkut Chazzoras Dach in the sefer A Chassidishe
Bar Mitzvah by Rabbi Zalman Gopin p. 220 and further.
The Rebbes wish for bochurim to chazzer
Chassidus was expressed explicitly so many times. 1. Hatomim vol. 1 p. 36
His appreciation for those who did so is evident 2. Toras Menachem vol. 13 p. 313; vol. 12 p. 143; et al.
no less. The whole project of Lekutei Sichos began 3. Igros Kodesh Admur HaRaYaTZ vol. 1 p. 514
thanks to the bochurim who taught Chassidus in 4. Shabbos Bereishis 5724; Toras Menachem vol. 38 p. 153
shuls. 5. 24 Teves 5712; Toras Menachem vol. 4 p. 253
While in a yechidus with the members of the 6. Zikaron LBnei Yisroel p. 101
hanhala of Tomchei Temimim on Hei Teves, 5725, 7. Igros Kodesh vol. 4 p. 158
the mashpia Reb Shmuel Levitin told the Rebbe that 8. Igros Kodesh Admur HaRaYaTZ vol. 3 p. 330
the bochurim are doing hafatza. 9. Igros Kodesh vol. 3 p. 104
The Rebbe responded: 10. Ibid. fn. 7
You expect me to be satisfied with that? From the 11. Ibid. vol. 18 p. 342
year 5715, the doors are open for Moshiachs arrival. 12. Toras Menachem vol. 4 p. 237; some details from the yoman
of Elya Gross
Moshiach told the Baal Shem Tov he will come when
13. See for example: Chai Elul 5711; Shabbos parshas Chukas-
the maayanos are out in the chutza, but theres no one
Balak 5712
to deal with this!

ADAR I 5776

... ;


.)"- ,(

Insights into the

mitzvah of Hakhel
and its relevance today,
collected from the Rebbes
sichos and letters

Studying the possuk most central to Hakhel, we discover an essential insight into our avodas
Hashem. The Torah says, Gather the nation, the men, the women, the children, and the converts
within your gates. The possuk spells out each demographic individually, thus informing us that
they werent all assembled at once. As they entered the Beis Hamikdash for the great event, they
didnt clamber all over each other. They entered in an orderly fashion, in the sequence that the
possuk spells out. First the men, then the women, afterwards the children, and then, the converts.
This teaches us the importance of approaching important steps in our lives with discipline and
order, starting with whats lightest first and progressing bit by bit. Hashem doesnt ask of us the
impossible; indeed, transforming everything in an instant is infeasible. Instead, He instructs us
to begin by enhancing the beauty of our mitzvah performance, and continuing to do more until
weve accomplished all we can.
However, we must never be satisfied to the point of complacency. The Hakhel ceremony
would not start until everyone was inside; unless all the people, even the smallest children, were
taken into account. We cannot rest until weve literally gathered all the sparks and completely
transformed the world. We have to start at the beginning, but in no way may we stop once weve
completed the first task.
(Adapted from the Farbrengen of Yud-Tes Kislev 5727,
Toras Menachem Hisvaaduyos 5727 vol. 1, pgs. 343-344)

38 ADAR I 5776
' '
"" " '"
" " ' "
" '

Zayin Adar is the day that Moshe Rabbeinu was born and passed
away. Although among some Jews, the custom was to commemorate
the day through a special observance, in Chabad tradition one does not
find such a practice. In 5748, however, the Rebbe mentioned that today
things may be different because, In this age of darkness we should
endeavor to use every opportunity to add in goodness and holiness.
Specifically, the Rebbe mentioned the idea of performing mitzvos
and studying Torah joyfully in connection to that day, Zayin Adar. The
Rebbe also highlighted that in this year of Hakhel we should utilize the
day to gather people and inspire an increase in Torah and mitzvos.
(Adapted from the sicha of Zayin Adar 5748,
Sefer Hasichos 5748 vol. 1, pg. 280)


A bochurs job is first and foremost Torah study with dedication and diligence.
This year, in addition to that, he should also get involved in promoting unity in
line with Hakhel. In order for this project to succeed, organization is necessary.
Ordinarily, if an authority figure is involved, the students will participate in
a larger scale and it will be more structured. The head of the yeshiva or the
mashgiach should therefore encourage the students in this regard, in a manner
that is both gentle yet influential. As the saying goes, Taparu da plachu.
Sometimes the students need to remind their mentors to speak up and inspire
them. The Mishna says, A bashful person doesnt learn. The bochurim should
not be ashamed to demand a word of encouragement from their teachers.
Obviously, the rosh yeshiva shouldnt feel slighted upon hearing the reproach.
To the contrary, he should give them a yasher koach for their enthusiasm. Like a
father who is happy at his childs ingenuity and will to grow, an educator should
view his disciples as children and be happy at their desire to add in Yiddishkeit.
(Adapted from the Farbrengen of 13 Tishrei 5748,
Toras Menachem Hisvaaduyos 5748 vol. 1, pgs. 163-164)

ADAR I 5776
Part I

" ' ' '
" " '"
" '
" '



40 ADAR I 5776
In the preparation of this article series,
we conducted extensive interviews with
many key individuals involved in chazzering,
transcribing, and printing the Rebbe's Torah,
as well as printing the Torah of the Rabeim.

They are: Rabbi Chaim Shaul Brook,

director of Vaad Hanachos BLahak;
Rabbi Dovid Feldman, chozer and maniach
and editor-in-chief of Vaad Hanachos BLahak;
Rabbi Simon Jacobson, chozer and maniach - Vaad
Hanochos Hatmimim; Rabbi Eliyahu Matusof, senior
editor at Otzar Ha'Chassidim; Rabbi Dovid Olidort, chozer
and maniach and senior editor at Kehot Publication Society.

On behalf of our readership, we thank them for bringing

their extensive expertise to bear on this vast topic, sparing
neither time nor effort in their assistance. ' .

ADAR I 5776
Throughout the history of Chassidus, the spoken teachings of the
Rabbeim have been learned and retained through a two-step process,
which, over time, developed a lexicon of its own.

First there was Chazzara (repeating), when a chozer (repeater) would the zekainim, would each repeat
the lesson again, with every single
chazzer (repeat) the Rebbe's teaching for the benefit of the listeners. A
person eventually hearing the
chozer would chazzer the teachings as accurately as possible - which,
lesson a total of four times. This
depending on the Rebbe, could last up to several hours at at time.
was important not only because
Then came the next step, hanacha (transcribing), when a maniach it may have taken several times
(transcriber) would write a hanacha (transcript) of the Rebbe's teachings. to understand the halachos, but
also because this was their one
In this article series, we examine the history, development, and and only chance to remember
experience of this nearly impossible endeavor. the halacha and preserve it for
This was how it was done for
over a thousand years, as the
leaders of each generation passed
on this plefora of oral tradition to
the leaders of the next generation,
and they to the next. And this
got harder and harder with each
progressive generation, since the
material they had to remember
kept growing; each generation was
michadesh gezeiros and takanos of
their own, which themselves had
to be remembered. To be sure,
writing wasnt completely out
of the questionthat would be
impossible. Rather, each person

Ancient History
would take notes, and based on
had to be memorized by heart, a that he would later share and
task of gargantuan proportions. expound upon in his teachings to
Although the idea of chazzara This was done through a his own disciples.1 Torah Shebaal
might seem like a concept process reminiscent of the Peh survived from generation
invented by Chassidus, it is in chazzara we are familiar with to generation in this manner, as
fact one of the oldest institutions today, as can be seen in the thousands upon thousands of
of Jewish life, intertwined with Gemaras description of the first halachos and Midrashim were
Torah Shebaal Peh from its earliest transmissions of Torah Shebaal transmitted without the aid of a
beginnings. Today we may take Peh by Moshe Rabbeinu right after single official text.
it for granted, but for thousands hearing it from Hashem. Moshe In the time of the Roman
of years, none of Torah Shebaal would repeat the lesson four times, Empire, Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi
Peh, including all the halachos, first to his brother Aharon, then realized that, due to the difficulties
midrashim, limudim on pessukim, to (Aharon and) Aharons sons, of galus, the tradition was on the
gezeiros and minhagim, were then to (Aharon, his sons, and) verge of being broken; he therefore
allowed to be written down. the zekainim, then to (Aharon, his decided to write (or gather2) a
Everything from the most exotic sons, the zekainim and) the rest brief summation of the halachos
story in Midrash about Adam and of the Yidden, all of whom had of Torah Shebaal Peh, and this
Chava, to the nitty gritty halachos by that point gathered in Moshes became the Mishnah. He was
of tzaraas, to the takanos of Ezra, tent. Then Aharon, his sons, and followed several generations later

42 ADAR I 5776
by Ravina and Rav Ashi who any official hanachos either; his the holy words of the Rebbe...are
transcribed the Gemara. (Other most famous sefer, Kesser Shem words that stand at the height of the
Tanaim, also authored the various Tov, is a collection of his teachings world...which not every mind can
sefarim of Midrashim). that were quoted in the various comprehend...lofty wisdoms that
Once Torah Shebaal Peh sefarim of his students. The first cannot be said with the mouth].
became a text-based system of one to publish Torah from the I also added that I saw the work
learning, the need for memory Baal Shem Tov was his talmid, Reb of other transcribers, and they fall
and chazzara became obsolete. Yaakov Yosef of Polonoye, known very short of capturing the Rebbes
From this point on, the major as the Toldos Yaakov Yosef. intent...He said to me, Nevertheless,
expounders and teachers of It was in the times of the however it is written, it is all good,
Torah wrote their ideas down Maggid that the idea of hanachos in order that it be a remembrance
on paper, beginning with the of Chassidus was born. Reb for avodas Hashem.
teshuvos of Rabbanan Savoroi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev, Reb And here we come to the
and the Geonim, and continuing Yechiel Michel Zlotshover, and crucial passage:
with the innumerable sefarim of Reb Shmelke of Nikelsburg, I said to him, Why does the
the Rishonim and Acharonim. were among the more famous Rebbe want and desire this? And
But there was one exception manichim, and from some of this is what he answered me: Is it
Kabbalah. their writings the sefarim Maggid small in your eyes this that Dovid

Kabbalistic Custom
Devarav LYaakov and Or Torah Hamelech asked for [in Tehillim]
were later printed. Agura bohalecha olamim [I shall
Even after the rest of the Torah
(It should be noted that the dwell in Your tent to eternity],
had been transcribed, Kabbalah
word hanacha as referring to meaning in both worlds?3
continued to be transmitted
a transcription is exclusively The Maggid was referring to
orallyand secretlyfrom
of Chabad vocabulary; a loose Chazals limud on this possuk,
generation to generation, as it had
translation of the Yiddish that Dovid Hamelech was asking
been from the times of Moshe
expression - placing Hashem that he live in worlds
Rabbeinu (and before). Although
on paper.) pluralwhich is accomplished
there were some Kabbalah
One of the Maggids talmidim if, after he passes on, people
sefarim, like the Zohar, they could
recounts how the Maggid asked repeat Torah in his name. Dovid
not completely replace the oral
him to get involved in writing Hamelech was requesting of
tradition, since they are extremely
hanachos, and their exchange Hashem: Ribono Shel Olam! May
difficult to decipher without
offers unique insight into the value they repeat teachings in my name
extensive training from teachers.
of transcribing the words of a in olam hazeh! So too, the Maggid
Furthermore: the few sifrei
Rebbe: was telling his talmid, these
Kabbalah that did exist were not
One time, the Rebbe asked me hanachos will serve to perpetuate
actually written by their authors,
why I am not writing what I hear. I the Maggids Torah forever.
but are rather the transcriptions of
answered the above answer [[that]
their Talmidim. For example, the
Zohar is the transcripts of Rabbi
Shimon bar Yochais teachings by
his talmid Reb Abba. Centuries
Torah Shebaal Peh survived over a
later, the Kisvei HaArizal were
written down by his students,
thousand years in this manner, as
primarily Reb Chaim Vittal. thousands and thousands of halachos
This tradition continued after
the birth of Chassidus. The Baal and midroshim were transmitted
Shem Tov didnt write his own
Torah. In fact, there arent really without the aid of a single official text.
ADAR I 5776
Counting chozrim remember every word of the exception of the Tanya, he

the maamar, to guard the lashon didnt write any of his Chassidus
harav, whereas the Mitteler Rebbe himself. (The only maamorim
did not requireor even want written by the Alter Rebbe himself
THE ALTER REBBE the Chassidim to focus so much can be found in Torah Or parshas
In the court of his teacher the on the exact language.4 Chayei Sarah and Teruma). He
Magid, the Alter Rebbe served Additionally, since every Rebbe relied solely on the manichim: his
in the role of both chozer and had a unique style of teaching brother, the Maharil, whom he
maniach, repeating the Magid's Torah, it often took a different type hired for this task; Reb Pinchas
teachings and transcribing them of person (to understand it and) Raizes; the Mitteler Rebbe; his
as well. chazzer it. Just because someone son Reb Moshe; and the Tzemach
Subsequently, when the was a chozer in one generation Tzedek.
Alter Rebbe began leading the didnt mean he could be a chozer The Frierdiker Rebbe describes
Chassidim and saying Chassidus for the new Rebbe. chazzara in the Alter Rebbes court:
himself, he created the official A maniach, on the other hand, After the [Alter] Rebbe concluded
positions of choizer and maniach, is the transcriber. He requires saying his Torah and left the room,
appointing specific Chassidim to more of a smooth pen than an the chozer went up to the bima
each post. easy mouth, and there is less of a and repeated the Torah word for
Now, it is important to note need that he remember the entire word. He would repeat itbilashon
that although they may sound Torah the first time around, since haravseveral times, until the
interchangeable, a chozer and he can listen to the chozrim before participants were able to grasp the
maniach occupy two distinct roles. transcribing. Torah, each on his own level. Some
A chozer is someone that has In later generations, the lines understood the whole Torah, some
the quick mind to immediately delineating these roles became a half, and there were some who, even
grasp and remember the Rebbes bit less firmmany of the most after much effort, were only able
Torah upon hearing it for the very talented chozrim were also the to understand a third or a fourth.
first time. He also has a smooth most prolific manichimbut, in This was repeated day after day
tongue and can repeat it to the the times of the Alter Rebbe, not throughout the week, with the chozer
other Chassidim so they can one of the official chozrim was a repeating the Torah that the Alter
understand it as well. maniach, nor was there a maniach Rebbe had said on Shabbos, three
The exact demands of this role that was also an official chozer. or four times a day. Once they fully
would change over time: the Alter Whereas chazzara was a grasped the maamar, the chozer
Rebbe was particular that the constant fixture of Chassidic life would begin explainingaccording
from the Alter Rebbe onwards,
the role of the maniach ebbed
and flowed from generation to
generation, depending on the
need. During the Alter Rebbes
times it was crucial, since, with

44 ADAR I 5776
After the [Alter] Rebbe concluded
saying his Torah and left the room,
the choizer went up to the bima and
repeated the torah word for word.
He would repeat it - bilashon horav -
several times, until the participants
were able to grasp the torah, each on
their own level.

to his abilitythe ideas said in the self-contained maamar each time, was a tremendous feat just to wrap
Torah. the Mitteler Rebbe would often ones mind around it altogether.
Over the Alter Rebbes thirty say long maamarim, some taking In this era, hanachos by
four years of nesius there were several weeks to complete. For Chassidim seem to have for the
three official chozrim appointed by example, the maamar Lehavin most part fallen by the wayside.
the Alter Rebbe, each occupying Inyan Rosh Hashana of 5580 was In fact, no sefer hanachos was
his position for roughly eleven to said over three Shabbosim and known to exist until recently (in
twelve years. Rosh Hashana, and the Mitteler the 5740s), when a single sefer

Rebbe spoke two or three times of hanachos happened to land in
on each occasion. So one single the hands of Lubavitch by way of

The Floodgates
maamar could have spanned six to sefarim dealers. Presumably, this
twelve hours!6 was because the Mitteler Rebbe
Of course, the whole concept himself would transcribe the
THE MITTELER REBBE of chazzra changed then as well. maamarim after Shabbos for the
During the Mitteler Rebbes The Alter Rebbes maamarim, Chassidim to learn from, making
nesius, the style of saying especially in the early years additional hanachos superfluous.
maamarim changed drastically. of his nesius and even later, But oftenprimarily in the
First of all, the maamarim were were relatively short, while the early years of his nesiusthe
much longer; the Mitteler Rebbe maamarim of the Mitteler Rebbe Mitteler Rebbes hanachos were not
would speak for forty five minutes were much longer and thus harder of his own maamarim; they were
to an hour at a time.5 And, unlike to remember. maamarim from the Alter Rebbe
the Alter Rebbe who spoke once By the Alter Rebbe, the upon which his maamarim had
or twice a month, these maamarim Chassidim focussed on been based. For this reason, in the
were two or three times every remembering the short maamarim bichlech, the binders Chassidim
Shabbos. Furthermore, while the word for word, and delving into kept of the Mitteler Rebbes
Alter Rebbe would recite one them during the week. But now it maamarim, there are several

ADAR I 5776
For tuberculosis it is good to change
air. He should come here and hear
Chassidus, and then he will have
what to speak.
maamarim titled a Maamar that the Mitteler Rebbe settled in
the [Mitteler] Rebbe said, but they Lubavitch, Reb Moshe Shlomo,
are really hanachos of the Alter who was living in nearby Rudnia
Rebbes maamarim. at the time, fell very ill with
For most of the Mitteler Rebbes tuberculosis. For a year and a
nesius there was only one chozer, half, he endured tremendous
Reb Moshe Shlomo, who was pain, and his father-in-law would
actually trained into this role many constantly send tzetlach to the
years earlier. Mitteler Rebbe asking him for a
In the early "sabout bracha. But his condition saw no
twenty years before he would improvement. On Lag Bomer 5578
become Rebbethe Mitteler (which, incidentally, was famous
Rebbe was charged with for being the Yom Tov that the
overseeing the talmidim learning Rabbeim, especially the Mittler
in Liozna; he did this together Rebbe, would perform mofsim),
with the Maharil, the Alter Rebbes the Mitteler Rebbe was sitting with
brother. As their menahel, he the Chassdim for a seuda, when
would test the talmidim on their the father-in-law approached
knowledge of the Alter Rebbes with a tzetel. He was crying from
maamarim and also give them the depths of his heart that this is
lengthy explanations of his own. already the second month that Reb
He was very particular that they Moshe Shlomo cannot speak due
remember each word of the Alter to his weakness.
Rebbes short, succinct maamarim, The Mitteler Rebbe looked
but when testing them on his own intently at the tzetel, and said: For
explanations, he focused only on tuberculosis it is good to change
the content, not requiring that air. He should come here and hear
they recall the precise words he Chassidus; then he will have what
used. However, there was one to speak.
talmid, Reb Moshe Shlomo, who The father-in-law immediately
after learning by the Mitteler rushed home to Rudnia, and found
Rebbe for two years and getting Reb Moshe Shlomo sitting up in
used to his style of speaking bed in a very good mood. When
managed to chazzer even these he asked him why, Reb Moshe
long explanations, in the Mitteler Shlomo answered that he himself
Rebbes original words. didnt know the reason, but out of
Some twenty years later, after the blue, he suddenly felt healthier.
the Alter Rebbe was nistalek and Upon hearing the Mitteler Rebbes

46 ADAR I 5776
words from his father-in-law, Reb which there was much time to
Moshe Shlomo was filled with new get used to the Tzemach Tzedeks
life. style, chazzara still didn't do well.
On a Thursday night, he was The Chassidim only managed to
transferred into a wagon and set chazzer the general concepts, but
out for the trip to Lubavitch. After not the divrei harav, a situation
arriving, before licht bentchen on that bothered them terribly.
Friday evening, three yungeleit KEHOT PUBLICATION SOCIETY In honor of Shavuos 5589
carried him into shul for the ()", about a year and a half
maamar. Over Shabbos, he after the Mitteler Rebbes histalkus,
chazzered publicly each maamar many of the greatest Chassidim
the Mitteler Rebbe said, and on of the time gathered in Lubavitch,
Shavuos that year the Mitteler bringing with them a huge crowd
Rebbe crowned him as the official of Chassidim from towns far and
chozer. He obviously went on to Midrash, Zohar, and agadeta, often near. Along with them came
have a full recovery. explaining each possuk according a Chossid by the name of Reb
Although there were other to different meforshim. Although Nochum.
people who chazzered the Mitteler all the Rabbeims maamarim Reb Nochum, who had been
Rebbes Torah, Chassidim are peppered with quotes of a young Chossid in the times
especially enjoyed Reb Moshe Midrashim, these were different. of the Mitteler Rebbe, had been
Shlomos chazzara, since he The Tzemach Tzedek doesnt quote very proficient at chazzering his
managed to retain most of the the typical Midrashim and Zohars maamorim (though he never
divrei harava feat that astounded that most people are familiar with. was an official chozer). Now, in
his listeners.7 He remained chozer He quotes obscure Midrashim and general, whenever he would travel
until the Mitteler Rebbes histalkus, unknown pieces of Zohar, which to visit the Rebbe, he would stop
after which he moved to Niezen, are rarely quoted in regular sifrei off at the various cities and towns
site of the Mitteler Rebbs tziyon, nigleh or Chassidus. Most people along the way and urge them to
where he stayed for the rest of his would have a hard enough time join him on his trip to the Rebbe.
life, living off of a monthly stipend deciphering these quotes as theyre On the way back, he would
sent to him by the Tzemach already written in Or Hatorah, for stop off on those same towns to
Tzedek. example, let alone remembering chazzer the Chassidus he had
Some hanachos of the Mitteler them as they were said. heard, and recount what he had
Rebbes maamorim written by the For this reason, in the early seen by the Rebbe. This was the
manichim were ultimately printed days of his maamorim, the general custom of Chassidim in
in Maamorei Admur Haemtzoi - Chassidim, even those with a very those days, but since he was such
Hanachos ". quick grasp and who should have a talented chozer, the Chassidim

A Challenging
made for very good chozrim, had were filled with special excitement
a very difficult time picking up every time he visited, treating

on the maamarim, despite the him with a royal welcome and
fact that they werent as long as spending hours and hours hearing
the Mitteler Rebbes. Even the Chassidus and farbrenging
THE TZEMACH TZEDEK Tzemach Tzedeks eldest children, together.
With the Tzemach Tzedek, the holy Reb Boruch Sholom and In his first yechidus, the Mitteler
the style of maamarim changed Reb Yehuda Leib, were unable to Rebbe told him (among other
once again. Unlike any of the master the maamarim. (The Rebbe things) that he should learn agada,
Rabbeim before or after him, his Maharash was not yet born.) Even since this is the way to know He
maamarim are full of quotes from after a full year passed by, during who said, and the world came

ADAR I 5776
He continued chazzering the maamor throughout
the night, until they had to break in order to make
kiddush before sunrise.

else, Reb Nochum took it in like

a sponge, sincefollowing the
instructions of the Mitteler Rebbe
so many years earlierhe was
fluent in all the sources quoted
in the maamar. In fact, unlike
most people who were having a
hard time following, he enjoyed it
Following the maamar, Reb
Nochum went out to the courtyard
with a group of Chassidim, and,
standing in one of the corners,
chazzered the maamar word for
word, without a single mistake.
He continued chazzering the
maamar throughout the night,
until they had to break in order
to make kiddush before sunrise.
After eating the seuda and going to
mikveh, he chazzered the maamar
once more. The same thing
happened with all the ensuing
maamarim over the next days of
Word of his chazzaros spread
like wildfire among the Chassidim,
and suddenly he was the most
sought after man in town. The
great, elder ChassidimReb
Pesach Malastuvker, Reb Yisacher
Ber MiLubavitch, Reb Aizil
into being. Reb Nochum would Now Reb Nochum had come
Homiler, Reb Hillel Paritcher, and
often recount that during the on his first trip to the Tzemach
Reb Notte MiManastrishtzine
kodesh kodoshim tentzelthe dance Tzedek, for Shavuos, which was a
each asked Reb Nochum to visit
following yechidusthe Rebbes three day Yom Tov, as it fell out on
where they were staying to chazzer
words from the yechidus were Sunday and Monday.
the maamar, and they were
ringing in my ears, and he didnt When the Tzemach Tzedek said
astonished by his rendition.
waste a moment. That night, I the first maamar, on Friday night,
The elder Chassidim decided
began learning Midrash Rabba much of it was based on a pirush
to ask the Tzemach Tzedek to
from Bereishis, and Ein Yaakov of the Ibn Ezra, and it contained
appoint him as official chozer,
from Brachos. many references to Nach, Zohar,
and thus return chazzara to its
and Midrash. But, unlike everyone

48 ADAR I 5776
former glory. When Reb Nochums manner as before8. The Tzemach appointment was passed to his
father-in-law, who had supported Tzedeks sons supported the elder finest student, Reb Nochum from
him since his marriage, heard the Chassidims idea to request that Homil.
exuberant praises and acclaim for Reb Nochum be appointed as As far as hanachos, the situation
Reb Nochums chazzara, and how chozer, and the Tzemach Tzedek was similar to the Mitteler Rebbe;
he was being proposed for the agreed. He was the chozer for not many hanachos were written of
official job as chozer, he offered the next twenty eight years, his maamorim, presumably since
to continue supporting him if during which time he trained he would give out a ksav after
he moved away to Lubavitch to many talmidim in the art of Shabbos; and these maamorim
become a chozer, in the same chazzara. When he passed on, his were often the Alter Rebbes,
though this was the case primarily
in the early years of his nesius.
Nevertheless, we do have quite a
few hanachos of his maamarim,
which constitute a small
percentage of Or Hatorah, and the
maamorim in Maamarei Admur
HaTzemach Tzedek - "-",
and they also include many more
that have not yet been published.
The Rebbe Maharash wrote
hanachos of his fathers maamarim
as well.

But Deep
With the onset of the Rebbe
Maharashs nesius, the style of
maamarim changed once more.
He spoke succinctly and wrote
even shorter.9 The Frierdiker
Rebbe categorizes his maamarim
as miut hamachzik es hameruba
(small but contains much), and
the Chassidim treated each word
as a source of wisdom, elaborating
and expanding upon each nuance.
The Frierdiker Rebbe brings an
example to this by saying that
he heard chazzara of a certain
maamar from two famous
Chassidim, the Radatz and Reb
Dov Zev Kozivnikov, together
with their own, long explanations.

ADAR I 5776

" " "


But when his father, the Rebbe minutes to an hour at a time, often
Rashab, explained this maamar in saying one maamar over several
one of his own maamarim, it then sittings, the Rebbe Rashab would
dawned on him that all the lengthy speak for an hour and a half to
explanations of these Chassidim two hours straight. Reb Shmuel
were brief relative to what the Batumer describes chazzara in
maamar really contained.10 Lubavitch during the time of
There is scant information Tomchei Temimim:
about chazzara by the Rebbe After the Rebbe completed the
Maharash, and hanachos were maamar, everyone davened kabbolas
again pretty much obsolete, since Shabbos, after which most of the
he transcribed his own maamarim talmidim and guests went home for
(although there are some hanachos seduas Shabbos. But a number of
from the Rebbe Rashab and other the talmidim and guests remained
Chassidim, some of which are and gathered together to chazzer the
printed in Toras Shmuel). But in maamar, which they would chazzer
the next generation, the need for exactly as it was said[Reb Shilem
hanachos emerged anew. Kuratin, the main choizer] would

The Longest
there are another seven or eight begin chazzering the maamar and
hundred maamarim that he did they [the bochurim that were good

not write, and were either lost chozrim] would help him. It took
or transcribed by manichim. His them a while until they managed
sichos were written by manichim to piece together the maamar, and
THE REBBE RASHAB as well. when they were done, they davened
It is generally presumed that His maamarim were much and ate seudas Shabbos. Although
the Alter Rebbe and the Rebbe longer than his fathers. He once the hour was late, they were afraid
were the only Rabbeim that did commented that although the that the maamar would slip from
not write their own maamarim. style of his maamorim are like the their grasp (since they had only
But this is only partially accurate. Mittiler Rebbe, he is a Chossid of reviewed it once), so they gathered
Although the Rebbe Rashab wrote his father, the Rebbe Maharash.11 again after the seuda and reviewed
prolifically, penning eight hundred But while the Mitteler Rebbe it a second time. Then they went to
and seventy of his maamarim, would only speak for forty five sleep for a bit.

50 ADAR I 5776
Early the next morning, Reb them, sometimes also explaining a
Shilem and his [chazzara] assistants, difficult inyan in the maamar.
together with a few of the prominent Afterwards, Reb Shilem went
guests, would go to the Rebbes out and chazzered the maamar
house, where Reb Shilem would again, since by now he knew it
chazzer the maamar before the well, chazzering it beautifully
Rebbe. By the end of davening and seudas
Rabbi Yisroel Jacobson Shabbos, his helpers were also able
describes the scene: to chazzer the maamar, yet everyone
The chozrim would go in before wanted to hear specifically from
davening, at about eight in the Shilem. Shabbos was passed on
morning...They would usually wait the maamar; food and sleep were
in the room where people waited for secondary.

Farbrengens -
yechidus, waiting until the Rebbe

Toras Sholom
Rashab would open the door. The
people that went in for chazzara
were: a few bochurim, the chozrim; The Rebbe Rashab generally
some of the guests who were held farbrengens only a few times
knowledgeable in Chassidus; and a year. The sichos he said during
yechidei segula. those farbrengens were not
Every time, the Rebbe would ask: properly transcribed and the only
is chazzara necessary? The question remnants of these precious talks
was asked differently every time, were the journals and transcripts
and sometimes it was with a serious of lone Chassidim who had jotted
face and sometimes with a smile on down the Rebbe Rashabs words
his lips. Also, when he would see from their own memory shortly
a new face, he would ask whether after the farbrengens. These were
every person was truly necessary to scattered about in the private
be there. possession of Chassidim, and it
When the Frierdiker Rebbe was was the Rebbe who, years later,
in Lubavitch, he would also go in took to the task of searching out
for chazzara, and the Rebbe Rashab whatever was available in various
would tell someone to call him and locations.
notify him that it was starting. The In the 5700s, the Rebbe set out
Frierdiker Rebbe would stand in the on a project to collect all these
hallway, behind almost everyone sichos and publish them in what
else, so everyone would turn slightly became Sefer Hasichos - Toras
side-ways so that their backs werent Sholom.
towards him. The door was often There was a substantial amount
locked so no other people could of transcriptions written by the
enter. Frierdiker Rebbe himself which
Reb Shmuel Batumer describes served as a basis for the collection,
how the actual chazzara worked: but most of the sefer was compiled
If they missed words or mixed from the writings of the elder
up how things were connected, the Chassidim. The largest collection
Rebbe would remind and rectify of all was received from Reb
Eliyahu Simpson who handed

ADAR I 5776
the Rebbe his own notebook full genuine Chassidim who held every occasionally see the words
of transcriptions he had written word of their Rebbe as most holy. ( Not to be reproduced)
between the years 5662-5666 while Hence, it is without doubt that in the Rebbes emendations of the
studying in Lubavitch. they made their best attempt to text.
The Rebbe meticulously edited stay true to their Rebbes actual Even after the sefer was
these notes, comparing the various words without adding or omitting published, the Rebbe still
hanachos, and producing the final anything. requested of elder Chassidim to
product. The Rebbe, in addition to send in whatever they had written
In his introduction to the revising the existing text, also or remembered from the Rebbe
published sefer, the Rebbe made added footnotes where he saw it Rashabs sichos, to be included in
note of the difficulties he had necessary, and inserted them at subsequent editions.12

The Rise
contended with: the end of the sefer. (In subsequent
In many instances, we were editions, these were included at the

of Sichos
unable to ascertain who wrote the bottom of the pages throughout
transcriptions, and we therefore the sefer.) Several sections of the
cannot be certain how accurate transcriptions were not published
they are. Nevertheless, one must at the time, as per the Frierdiker THE FRIERDIKER REBBE
bear in mind that the writers were Rebbes request, and one will The Frierdiker Rebbe wrote all
of his maamorim, so in this regard
the job of a maniach was again
obsolete, but chazzara continued.
But the biggest change in the time
of the Frierdieker Rebbe didnt
regard the maamorim - it regarded
the sichos.
Throughout the generations
of Chassidus, we do not find
an emphasis on the Rebbe
farbrenging and saying sichos.
There were only a few solitary
farbrengens throughout the
yearYud-Tes Kislev, Purim, Lag
Baomerand that was it; and
there are few, if any, hanachos of
these farbrengens.
This all changed with the
Frierdiker Rebbe, who would
farbreng much more often,
recounting Chassidishe maasos,
inspiring the Chassidim, and
saying over words of Chassidus.
The hanachos of these sichos fill
several volumes, some of which
were written by the Frierdiker
Rebbe himself. Reb Yechezkiel
(Chatche) Feigin and Reb
Mordechai Mentlik were among

52 ADAR I 5776
the prominent chozrim and
manichim of the sichos. Our
Rebbe would ensure that all the
Frierdiker Rebbes sichos were
always transcribed.

The Rebbes Role

About the Frierdiker Rebbes
years in the United States, Rabbi
Shalom Chaskind relates how the
Rebbe took charge of the chazzara:
The Rebbe would go over
to the bochurim or Chassidim
Rebbe would sit there the entire the United States [in 5690]. You
that were able to do chazzara
time. Any time a question arose will certainly fulfill this promise as
and split up the responsibility for
about the precise wording of the well13
remembering and transcribing the
sicha, the Rebbe was the one who While the Rebbe was away in
sichosYou remember from this
resolved it. Paris in 5707 to greet his mother,
point of the sicha until this point,
Over the years, the Rebbe Rebbetzin Chana, he wrote again
worked tirelessly to gather every to Rabbi Jacobson:
One Shabbos, Mr. Yosef
bit of information on sichos of Thank you for the few lines
Palmer was a guest in 770, and
the Frierdiker Rebbe. In countless about Shvii and Acharon shel
the Frierdiker Rebbe asked that
letters printed in Igros Kodesh, Pesach in the [Frierdiker] Rebbes
I serve the food at the table. The
we find that when the Rebbe house; although you were concise
Rebbe and Rashag were also
wasnt together with the Frierdiker where it would have been good to
present at the seuda. When we
Rebbe, he would constantly ask elaborate much more14
went downstairs, the Rebbe turned
various Chassidim to send copies Even when the Rebbe was
to me and told me to transcribe
of the sichos, and when he was present, he still requested hanachos
the Frierdiker Rebbes words on
together with him, he would be of the Frierdiker Rebbes talks
Motzei Shabbos, and he chazzered
the one sending out these sichos to when possible. In 5708, Rabbi
the sicha for me. But I couldnt
Chassidim. Ezriel Zelig Slonim wrote to the
keep up, and told him that I
In a letter sent to Rabbi Yisroel Rebbe of a sicha they had heard
wouldnt be able to write a hanacha
Jacobson from the year 5698 together in the Frierdiker Rebbes
from hearing it only once. So the
()", while the Rebbe was living sukkah in Riga thirteen years
Rebbe chazzered it a few more
in Paris, he writes: earlier. The Rebbe replied:
times until I got it.
I take this opportunity to You mentioned a story told
The Rebbe also played a
remind you about the maamorim by the [Frierdiker] Rebbe about
leading role in the actual chazzara
of Shavuos last year which you the Rebbe Maharash and the
following the sichos.
borrowed from me; you will Belzer Rav (from the sichos in
Rabbi Yosef Goldstein relates
certainly return them now. Riga). Would you be able to send
the following:
Also, I would greatly appreciate me a transcription of the sichos
In those days the Frierdiker
if you would send me a copy on that Sukkos, whatever you
Rebbes voice was very weak,
of the maamor given to you in remember?15
and it was very difficult to
Perchtolsdorf You promised As chairman of Kehos, the
understand what he was saying at
me while in Vienna that... you Rebbe also sent out all the
the farbrengens [making chazzara
would search for some remnants maamorim and sichos of the
all the more difficult]. After the
of the sichos and maamorim of the Frierdiker Rebbe to Chassidim
farbrengen, the Chassidim would
[Frierdiker] Rebbe while he visited and others all over the world. A
gather for chazzara, and the

ADAR I 5776
I couldnt keep up, and told him that
I wouldnt be able to write a hanacha
from hearing it only once. So the
mere glance at any of the Rebbes
letters from 5702 and on teaches

Rebbe chazzered it another one or

us how the Rebbe really wished
for these copies to be taught and

two times until I got it.

disseminated in each community.
The Rebbe would often add at the
end of a letter: .
. - Enclosed
herein is the kuntres You will
certainly please the public with
it Part of the Rebbes relentless
effort that the maayonos of
Chassidus should reach every
corner of the globe, ushering in
the coming of Moshiach.

For the story of chazzara and

hanacha of the Rebbes maamorim
and sichos in dor hashvii, look out
for part II in next month's magazine

1. Rambam, Hakdama to Mishneh

2. See Likutei Sichos vol. 12 p. 89; Igros
Kodesh vol. 25 p. 64
3. Hakdama to Or Torah of the Maggid
p. 16.
4. Reshimos Hayuman p.
5. Likutei Diburim vol. 1 p. 192.
6. Ibid.
7. Divrei Yimei Hachozrim, p. 7-9.
8. Though, the Frierdiker Rebbe notes,
Reb Nochum eventually had plenty of
parnassa from his job as chozer.
9. See Bosi Legani 5711 ois vov; Igros
Kodesh Admur Mehurayatz vol. 2 p. .
10. Likutei Diburim vol. 3 p.
11. Sichos Kodesh 5740 vol. p. 479
12. See Igros Kodesh. vol. 21 p. 80. More
about the story behind Toras Sholom
appears in the Derher weekly newsletter
Vol. 3 Issue 17-18 (Adar 5773).
13. Igros Kodesh vol. 1 p. 16
14. Ibid. vol. 2 p. 204
15. Ibid. p. 324


54 ADAR I 5776

" " '

In Loving Memory of Chaim Katzier

On his Yaartzeit 29 Teves
Dedicated by
Oren and Neally Antebi

Without Any Fear

As the Rebbe prepared the kuntres Purim 5711 for print, he added a short yet powerful description of the events surrounding the famous
maamor Vekibel Hayehudim. It was said by the Frierdiker Rebbe in 5687 in the biggest Lubavitcher shul in Moscow, and was an event
fraught with real dangers. In his introduction to the kuntres, the Rebbe spells it out:
(Loose translation)
This is the kuntres for the days of Purim; it includes a maamar and letter.
The maamar was said by the Frierdiker Rebbe on Purim Katan 5687 in the Lubavitcher shul in Moscow.
The letter is from a rav in Russia who was an activist. It gives us a slight understanding regarding the relationship between the
Jewish leadership and the Russian government. [It also gives us a glimpse] as to the great danger of saying such a maamar,
especially so publicly.
Here is the story of this maamar and how the government responded, based on the letter printed alongside the maamar:

Mr. Fuchs was a religious Jew living in Moscow

and he recalls the events that surrounded
the famous maamar of the Frierdiker Rebbe in the largest
From the style of their questions and manner of
speech it was clear to me that they were investigating the
Rebbe and that the situation was quite serious.
Shul in Moscow in the year 5687. I answered them that I have known Rabbi Schneerson
It was in Moscow, at the beginning of Adar I1, that I for many years as an activist working to better the
was summoned to the G.P.U for questioning. situation for Jews. I knew his father, who also dedicated
Is it true that Rabbi Schneerson collects great sums his life to all communal affairs and he occasionally would
of money to support religious institutions and large visit the capital.
portions of these funds go to organizations outside the I also remember, when I was still a young student
country for the same purpose? Does he recruit hundreds learning in Leningrad, seeing how his grandfather2
of young men to spread Judaism throughout the country? bravely visited the most terrifying ministers at the time,
And is he indeed respected and obeyed by Chassidim and to discuss the pogroms that had been occurring in Kiev
misnagdim alike? All this they wanted to know from me. and Niezhin. Through his wisdom, wit, and strength of
character he was successfully able to calm the raging
And the Rabbi Schneerson of present is truly a man of
spirit. I assure you that ifand again I dont know of such
activitieshe is supporting religious institutions it is all
in accordance with the law and you will not find anything
illicit with his activities. I do know that he is now in
Moscow but the reason for his visit is unknown to me.
By the time I returned home, my friends from the shul
were concerned about my wellbeing and they wanted to
know which questions I had been pestered with, because

ADAR I 5776
the meeting had taken longer than usual. I did not want When I internalized what was going on, a shiver ran
to reveal what had really occurred so I brushed them off through my whole body. I immediately thought how the
with some form of an answer. grandson had inherited the strength and conviction of his
[Being quite fearful of the governments evil grandfather, who also endangered his life on behalf of the
intentions] I called an individual who was close to the Yiddens plight and stood up to the wicked government of
Rebbe and I advised him that the Rebbe should leave the his time.
city that very night and return home. Mr. Vendil and I ventured inside to try and hear what
The next day, Monday, I met this individual and asked was being said. An amazing sight caught our eyes; the
him if the Rebbe had indeed departed. He mumbled some Rebbe was sitting at the bima and talking in a powerful
sort of answer and I realized that my advice had been captivating tone, discussing the strength the Yidden had
ignored; this pained me greatly. in the times of Purim not to give in to the wicked Haman.
On Thursday evening, just a few days later, I He continued to explain that this strength originated from
was taking a stroll with friends, along the streets of the 24,000 young children who were ready to give up their
Moscow when we noticed that the Lubavitcher shul was lives for the sake of their Yiddishkeit. It is the purity of
illuminated with many candles. We understood that these souls that shatters and destroys our enemies.
something was going on inside. As we got closer we saw The scene was so electrifying and the way everyone
that it was packed from wall to wall and the crowd had was listening had a strong impression on me; this was
spilled over into the alleyways and paths leading to the despite the obvious dangers surrounding such a talk. I
shul. When we inquired as to what was going on, we were was so captivated that I wanted to stay and hear more.
told that the Lubavitcher Rebbe is speaking from the bima Suddenly, a few suspicious looking men caught my
and that following the talk there would be a festive meal attention as being possible informers, so we quickly
to honor Purim Katan, which was that night. slipped out of the shul.

56 ADAR I 5776
By the time I his case. The law allows every citizen to practice his
religion at his own expense, he pointed out. He travelled
returned home, my from place to place and pleaded his case. At every speech

friends from the he made, he would praise and laud the government, which
recognized and appreciated the work of the laborers, and
shul were concerned he would also stress the need for religious institutions.
At one of the settlements he visited, the young man
about my wellbeing, began as usual to recite the laws. Present at one of these
because the meeting speeches was a member of the community board,
who assumed that this visitor was a messenger from the
had taken longer government headquarters. He was deeply affected by
than usual... what he heard and passionately decided that the board
would cover all the expenses associated with building
the mikvah. A short while later this materialized and the
As we walked away from the shul, deeply affected by mikveh was built.
the scene we had just witnessed, my friend Mr. Vendil, With that he concluded his first story and then went
who was more familiar with Chassidim and their way of on with the second one.
life, explained to me the impact that such an event would Within two years from when the Communist party
have. That speech, which was full of toichen, fits with the took control, there was a Yevsektzia office in practically
situation of the religious Jews right now and will surely every city and settlement, and they worked quite
leave its mark. He then continued, Chassidim review effectively. Suddenly, however, things began to change.
and repeat every speech, which they call a maamar, of Young men would arrive in different cities and chase
their Rebbe. They examine every detail and letter and then out the Yevsektzia, on the grounds that the religious
they even write it down. Many times the Rebbe himself Jews werent doing anything illegal and in fact the law
will transcribe it and publicize it everywhere. allows citizens to practice their religion. From then the
A week later I met the head of Yevsektzia3, Mr. tide began to turn and all their work became undone as
Litvakov, and we chatted about various things. During the schools, mikvehs, and shuls sprouted up throughout the
conversation, the topic of the Lubavitcher Rebbe came country.
up and he complained to me about his ongoing religious After spending a few months in rigorous
activities. He continues to recruit and support the klei investigations, the Yevsektzia discovered that this was the
kodeshrabbonim, shochtim, teachers, and roshei yeshivos work of Rabbi Schneerson. He was sending men across
throughout the country, he said. He works to establish the country and supporting their activities with great
religious institutions such as mikvahs. He establishes shuls sums of money.
and schools with teachers. Wherever we turn we feel his I heard Both of these stories from Mr. Litvakov
presence. All over the country, and even beyond, he has himself. I then asked him, Is it not true that the law
messengers fulfilling his wishes. allows religious activities? What great crime has Rabbi
Mr. Litvakov then proceeded to tell me two stories Schneerson actually committed?
about the vast net of the Lubavitcher Rebbes work, and At the G.P.U, he replied, we already know his crimes,
if they are true they stand as testimony to this great and, he added with anger, we have decided to uproot
organization. him from the very source, and we have already acquired
The first story he told me was about the Jews of the material we need.
Georgia (Gruzia). The community there was setup with a Following our conversation, I repeated this to
board that would attend to the needs of the Jewish people. someone who was close to the Rebbe. All that was left was
However, at that point all religious institutions in the for me to worry and hope that nothing bad comes from
city had been shut down with the rise of the Yevsektzia. this.
One day a young Ashkenazi4 Jew arrived in town and 1. The year 5687 was a leap year
began speaking publicly about the need to re-establish 2. Referring to the Rebbe Maharash
the mikveh, chadarim, and all the other Jewish centers. 3. The Jewish division in the Communist Party
He spoke with a perfect Gruzian accent as if he had been 4. The Jews of Gruzia (Georgia) would call the Russian Jews
born there, and he quoted the laws of the land to support Ashkenazim.

ADAR I 5776

What's Left
Moshiach will come once everyone does teshuva,
is that a reasonable expectation?

In the summer of 5750, Saddam to get Iraq out of Kuwait peacefully,

Hussein, the president and dictator of using diplomacy. Saddam Hussein
Iraq, accused the neighboring country refused, and he declared that if there
of Kuwait of economic warfare. He were attacks on Iraq by any Country,
claimed they were stealing Iraqi oil by he would fire missiles at Eretz Yisrael,
drilling at an angle across the border even though it was in no way party
into Iraqi territory. It was obvious to to this whole episode. The missiles
the world that he was just looking themselves were frightening enough;
for an excuse to invade Kuwait, and one missile alone could cause great
indeed, two weeks later, Saddam damage. But worse was that he
Husseins forces invaded Kuwait. threatened to fire missiles filled
The Iraqi army, with one million with poison gasweapons of mass
soldiers, quickly overpowered the destructionwhich would cause
20,000 Kuwaiti soldiers. By the end much greater harm than the missiles
of the day, Kuwait was completely themselves, rl.
conquered, and Saddam Hussein In Eretz Yisrael at that time,
declared that it was now a province of a certain rosh yeshiva gave public
Iraq. speeches talking horribly about Bnei
That whole summer, and through Yisroel and claiming that terrible
Teves of 5751, world leaders tried things would happen to them. At a

58 ADAR I 5776
THE SEDER IS, FIRST WE WILL BE Every Yid, at one point in his life
or another, entertained the thought
REDEEMED FROM THIS GOLUS, AND of doing teshuva and returning to
THEN OF OUR SINS! Hashem. Perhaps it was only for one
second, and maybe he never acted on
time when the fear of Yidden around wait for Moshiach to come every it at all, but the fact that the thought
the world was reaching its peak, he day. Not only must we wait for entered his mind is enough to cause
gave a speech implying that Hashem him, but we must expect him to Moshiach to come.
was going to bring another holocaust come every day. We wake up every Then the Rebbe went a step further.
on Klal Yisrael, rl. morning and state that Moshiach Every Yid descends from Yaakov
It was during that time that the can come today. Children proclaim Avinu. No matter which shevet he is
Rebbe dedicated a few sichos in We want Moshiach now! And, as from, and more so, no matter what
response to this rhetoric. the Rebbe often said at farbrengens, he did all his life. Rachmana litzlan to
On Asara BTeves after mincha, the Moshiach could come during this disparage any Yid, saying this one has
Rebbe said a sicha addressing these very farbrengen, while we are sitting this yichus, and this one another. The
terrible predictions. To preface: here, before we even get up to daven yichus of every Jewish person is that
If the world was the way it was mincha! he is the child of Avraham, Yitzchak,
meant to be, we would all be in Eretz But look around, how can and Yaakov. And when one belittles
Yisrael. The Beis Hamikdash would Moshiach come? Did Klal Yisrael do another Jew, it is as if he is starting up
be standing, the Kohanim would be teshuva yet? Are all Yidden leading with the pupil of Hashems eye!
bringing korbanos, and there would be their lives according to Torah? It For an indication of how Hashem
a king and a novi to lead us. is unrealistic to think that all of a will treat the Yidden, we can take a
Why is that not how the world sudden, in an instant, every Jewish look at the daily davening. We say
looks today? Well, any child could tell person will suddenly do teshuva, and in tachnun
you, and indeed we say so every day Moshiach will come. Hashem should redeem the
in davening: , In this sicha of Asara Bteves, the Yidden from all their troubles. And
because of our sins, the Beis Rebbe answered this question. He then immediately afterwards we say
Hamikdash was destroyed. And as we began with answers that had already He
say in musaf on Yom Tov, been given in the past, and then went will redeem them from all their sins.
because of our sins, we on to correct all of our notions about This tells us what the order of
were exiled from our land. Moshiach and geula. the geula will be. First Hashem will
Why were we put into golus? Why First of all, the Rebbe said, it is redeem us from golus; not just from
didnt Hashem allow us to remain indeed possible that Klal Yisrael some of our troubles, but of ALL our
in Eretz Yisroel peacefully, with can all do teshuva. The Zohar says tzaros.
the Beis Hamikdash, witnessing the that teshuva can be done in one He will take us out of golus, every
open miracles that happened there moment. So it is realistic that in one individual the way he istzaddikim,
every day? The reason is because the moment everyone will do teshuva and beinonim, and the third typeand
Yidden turned away from Hashem, Moshiach will come. only then will he redeem us of our
abandoning his Torah, which brought Furthermore, there is a psak-din sins.
this golus upon us. in Rambam, that if someone says Hashem does not have to wait for
So it follows, that in order for golus to a woman I am marrying you on Yidden to do teshuva. Not for one
to end and for Moshiach to come, all condition that I am a tzadik, they are specific person, or two specific people,
Yidden must return to Hashem, do considered married and he must give or for the whole Klal Yisrael. Thats
teshuva, and live their lives according her a get if he changes his mind. Even not the seder that Hashem chose to
to Torah. Then Moshiach will come if he was a sinner all his life, we cannot implement. Rather, first we will be
and we will be returned to our land. say that the condition was for certain redeemed from this golus, and then of
Indeed, as the Gemara says, the time not met. It is possible that at that our sins.
for Moshiach to come is here, all we moment a thought of teshuva entered May we merit the geula shleima
need to do is teshuva. his mind, and that alone would make speedily in our days.
There is however a slight problem him a tzadik.
with this. We know that we must

ADAR I 5776
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Miracle at

Our third child was born on Chof-Ches Sivan than usual and the rasping sounds he produced indicated
5773.Although pregnancy and labor were as smooth as an unusual amount of mucus in his system.
could be, our new little bundle of joy was blue, and in need The nurses grew anxious and took him into a side room
of oxygen.The midwife hurriedly took him to get some to give him more oxygen, and it was then that they figured
oxygen and thankfully after a few minutes his normal color he possessed some kind of infection. Before I knew it,
returned. We had our cuddles and sent out the text message our baby was whisked away to the high dependency unit
that everyone dreams of writing, announcing the news that (HDU) where he was attached to a ventilator and various
we were once again the proud parents of another boy. other monitors.Needless to say, the emotional strain was
We were moved into the postnatal ward and about four difficult to bear.
hours after birth, the nurse arrived for a routine check- The situation spiraled rapidly. At first the doctors
up.She found that his heart rate and breathing were quicker increased his oxygen intake and when that proved

60 ADAR I 5776
as over the past few days she had never been the bearer of
good tidings
Instead of relaying another piece of terrible news, she
asked if I would like to go and see the baby. She informed
me that they were able to reduce the amount of oxygen our
baby was receiving through the machine.
Ecstatic, I jumped at the chance to go and witness our
babys improvement, albeit minor, with my very own eyes.
From that moment the situation improved tremendously.
By Shabbos morning, the nurses had taken him off life
support and were able to use a machine that requires the
baby to breathe for himself; and by the end of Shabbos
he was back onto the smallest ventilator with a minimal
amount of oxygen flow.
That evening we were finally able to hold him for the
first time in two days.The doctors were amazed and
attested they have never seen such a quick and steady
turnaround before!
By Sunday afternoon our baby was no longer on any
machines and the doctors had ceased all medications.
In the meantime we were trying to decide on a name for
our baby. Names like Nissim and Boruch came up, and we
insufficient he was attached to a more powerful machine.
were undecided.
This repeated itself a few times and throughout the day he
This problem was solved soon enough.
was transferred from one ventilator to the next.
On Sunday evening Rabbi Danows wife paid us a
It was at this point that we began spreading the word,
hospital visit. She related that her husband had entered the
asking people to daven for our babys speedy recovery.
Ohel on Erev Shabbos at seven oclock pm, and as he had
That night, as I attempted to catch a few hours of much
promised, he included in his tzetel a request for a bracha for
needed rest, two doctors appeared with grim news. Our
our babys complete and speedy recovery.
babys situation was drastically deteriorating to the point
A quick calculation of the time difference between New
that he was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
York and England brought us to the realization that he had
and placed on life support.
been in the Ohel at the stroke of midnight here in Leeds,
Going to see him for the first time since the change, was
precisely the moment our baby had begun his miraculous
Two days later, on Erev Shabbos, we sent out a message
Two days later we were in the transitional ward, and
asking women to daven for a refuah sheleimah as they lit the
another three days after that we were completely discharged
Shabbos candles that evening. We also asked some of our
from the hospital. Now arrangements for his bris were able
acquaintances, who we knew didnt regularly light, to do so
to take place.
this week in our babys merit.
After such a miracle there was no more doubt as to the
That Shabbos was Rosh Chodesh Tammuz and a very
name we would bestow upon our new child. One week
good friend of ours, Rabbi Michoel Danow,1 who is a
from that Sunday a belated bris and seudas hodaah for our
shliach here in Leeds, had gone to New York to be by the
precious Menachem Mendel took place.
Ohel for Gimmel Tammuz. He was well aware of our
situation and assured us that before Shabbos he would enter 1. Rabbi Danow was contacted by the Chassidisher Derher Magazine
the Ohel and ask the Rebbe for a bracha on our behalf. and he verified the details of this story.
Shabbos had begun and our baby was still on life
support. The hospital didnt have any stronger machines
and if the current one wouldnt be sufficient we would have
to be transported by helicopter to a different hospital.
At approximatelymidnightthere was another knock on Share your story with A Chassidisher Derher by
my door.Seeing my nurse enter the room I was petrified, emailing

ADAR I 5776
Behind the Picture
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In the pictures presented here, dated 19 Shevat 5750, we see the Rebbe descending
from the second floor of his house for mincha, holding two siddurim (one mostly
obscured from view). One is the Rebbes personal siddur Torah-Ohr from which
he davened each day, and the other is a special siddur that the Rebbe generally
lent to chassanim to daven mincha from on their wedding day. A chosson is
seen accepting the sacred item with both hands directly from the Rebbe.

THE LAST MINCHA Perhaps this is how a long standing

Ones wedding day, in addition to being minhag evolved; one that began even before
a very joyous and happy occasion, is a very the Rebbe officially accepted the nesius.
solemn and serious time as well. Many have Chassanim made a point to daven
the minhag (cited by Rema in Shulchan the last mincha before the chupah from
Aruch) to fast during that day1, to increase a special siddur, which they would
in tzedaka and other such activities. personally receive from the Rebbe, along
Indeed, the chosson recites viduy in with a brief bracha and encouragement
shemone esreh of mincha, just as one .
does on Erev Yom Kippur, seeking
Hashems brachos for life ahead. THE SIDDUR
Naturally then, it is also a time The exact origin of this particular
when chassanim and kallahs seek to siddur remains somewhat of a mystery.
strengthen their hiskashrus to the Many speculate that it was given to
Rebbe, to receive his brachos as well.2 the Rebbe as a gift from the Frierdiker

62 ADAR I 5776

ADAR I 5776
Rebbe, and perhaps had been designated moment an opportunity for the extended
for this task precisely for that reason. family to receive the Rebbes brachos.
One thing that we do know is that this The Rebbe would give each person
siddur was used by the Frierdiker Rebbe and present a coin for tzedakah along with
it contained a typographical error which the his personal wishes for the occasion.
Frierdiker Rebbe himself corrected by hand,
with his ksav yad kodeshand which was WHEN
later made famous in a sicha of the Rebbe3 As the Rebbe left his room at 770 to go
in the siddur, the sefira corresponding to mincha, usually around 3:15pm, he would
to Pesach Sheni had been erroneously hand the siddur to the chassanim waiting
printed as being Hod ShebeChesed, instead in Gan Eden Hatachton, the hallway right
of the correct sefira, Chesed ShebeHod. outside the Rebbes room. For the duration
of much of the year after the histalkus of the
HOW IT WORKED? Rebbetzin, on Chof-Beis Shevat 5748, the
While the logistics of this time-honored Rebbe remained at his home on President
tradition changed over the years, the Street. During that time, Lubavitch
core idea remained the same. A personal relocated from 770 to the Rebbes house,
moment for a chosson to receive the Rebbes where all weekday tefilos, sichos and dollar
bracha and daven from his holy siddur distributions took place. It was there too,
before embarking on his lifes journey. that the Rebbe would give the siddur to the
For many years, the practice was that chassanimthis took place at the landing
chassanim waited for the Rebbe in Gan Eden of the staircase, as we see in these pictures.
Hatachton. The Rebbe would then emerge However, when the Rebbe would go to
from his room with two siddurim, and the Ohelwhich meant that mincha would
would hand the chosson the second one. be postponed pending the Rebbes return
As was the case several times, when two chassanim would receive the siddur as the
bochurim were getting married the same Rebbe left for the car. When leaving from
day, the Rebbe handed the siddur to one, his house, chassanim would receive the
who would then pass it on to the next. To siddur in the kitchen which led to the back
determine who would be zoche to receive the door of the house, where the car would wait.
siddur directly from the Rebbe, the Rebbe
would ask if any of the chassanim was a EXCEPTIONS
Kohen. If neither was, then the Rebbe would As it was not out of the ordinary for
ask whose wedding was first4. Alternatively, Lubavitcher weddings to take place out-of-
it would be handed in alphabetical town, making it difficult for the chosson to
order of the chassanims last name. daven mincha on the day of his wedding
In the earlier years, along with the siddur in New York, those who had no alternative
the Rebbe would also lend the chosson would receive the Rebbes siddur at the
a gartel that had been passed down from latest possible time, before departing.
rabboseinu nesienusince the minhag is to While the Rebbe generally gave
begin donning a gartel starting from the chassanim a siddur other than his
last mincha before the chupah. But that own, as mentioned above, there
was ultimately discontinued because the were times that the Rebbe did give
gartel, which was very old and thin, started his personal Torah Ohr siddur.
coming apart and eventually loosened. One such occasion was on 3 Nissan 5741,
Over the years, it became more when two chassanimReb Hillel Dovid
commonplace for the parents and Krinsky and Reb Moshe Goldsteinwere
grandparents of both the chosson and the both waiting in Gan Eden Hatachton. As
kallah to accompany the chosson to receive the Rebbe came out of his room with the
the siddur from the Rebbe, making this regular siddur for chassanim, he asked which
of them was going to be married first. When

64 ADAR I 5776
Reb Hillel Dovid replied that he was, the were able to receive the siddur from
Rebbe gave him the siddur and continued the Rebbe himself, in the specially
on to mincha. Returning a short while later, outfitted room at the back of 770.
this time with his own siddur in hand, the
1. Rema Even Haezer 61:1
Rebbe went ahead and gave it to the Reb
2. Until 5723 the Rebbe personally performed the
Moshe (after first removing from it the
siddur kiddushin at the marriage of many Lubavitcher
loose papers interspersed throughout). couples, and before the hascholas hanesius in 5710,
After 27 Adar I 5752, the siddur occasionally participated in the dinner as well. See A
was generally given to chassanim Chassidisher Derher issue 6 (66) p. 30 for more on
through a member of mazkirus. On
3. See Toras Menachem Hisvaaduyos 5710 p. 47.
the days that the Rebbe participated
4. See below regarding out-of-town weddings.
in the minyan for mincha, chassasnim


ADAR I 5776
A forum for readers to send their feedback, add to, or ask any questions about
articles. Submit your letter to
Submissions may be slightly modified by our editorial staff before publishing.

Mivtzoim In Baltimore The Crowns in Lubavitch

Dear Editors, Dear Editors,
In this months Derher there was a very I enjoyed reading your article about the
inspiring article about the Mivtza Ois Sefer Torah LYaldei Yisroel [Unite the
BSefer Torah [Unite the Children Children Derher Teves 5776]. I would
Derher Teves 5776] and how it saves like to add several details, as told over
the world from disaster. It highlighted by my mother, Mrs. Esther Sternberg,
the need to add in ahavas Yisroel and whose father, R Zalman Gurary, was
that one of the ways of doing this is the one who donated the crown for the
through including children from all first sefer Torah.
over the world to buy a letter in a sefer
Torah written especially for them. On page 25, the article mentions that
the crown for the Sefer Torah LYaldei
Because of this there was a tremendous Yisroel was the initiative of R Zalman,
hisorerus in our yeshiva, Yeshivas who was also its sponsor. The Rebbe
Lubavitch of Baltimore. We felt that instructed that the crown be a replica
the best way for us bochurim to spend of the one from the Sefer Torah
nittel nacht would be by meeting with LKabbolas Pnei Moshiach, which the
Yidden in the community and offering Rebbe had hand picked eleven years
them the chance to buy a letter for their earlier. R Zalman suggested that the
children in the sixth sefer Torah. crown be made of gold, to which the
Rebbe agreed. He later instructed R
Baruch Hashem and with the Rebbes Zalman to bring the crown to Eretz
brachos, the bochurim were matzliach Yisroel for the siyum sefer Torah.
and all together we signed up over 150
children in 3 hours! Regarding the actual crafting of the
crown, an inaccuracy crept in. The
Thank you for being the catalyst for this article states that the crown of the Sefer
hisorerus and for all your good work, Torah LKabbolas Pnei Moshiach was
photographed, and this photograph
Tzviki Prus
Baltimore, Maryland
was used to create a replica. This is
My mother related what actually took
place: When R Zalman said that he

66 ADAR I 5776
would sponsor the crown, he was told Derher Iyar 5775] where he spoke
by mazkirus that in the next few days he about the guidance he received from
will be given exact guidelines as to how the Rebbe in yechidus and letters, etc.
it should be made. clarified many things that I thought
about over my years as a bochur.
A few days later Rabbi Hodakov called
and said that they should come and If there is ever a chance in the future
pick something up from the office. R to include similar articles which show
Zalman came immediately to the office the Rebbes detailed involvement and
and was quietly handed a big bag by instruction in a persons life, I would
Rabbi Hodakov. Carefully wrapped enjoy it very much.
inside to hide it from prying eyes was
the crown of the Sefer Torah LKabbolas I also noticed that many times on the
Pnei Moshiach. (The fact that the side of an article there is a michtav or a
crown was being removed, albeit ksav yad, and they are often too small
temporarily, from 770, would have to read. For example, in the Teves issue
caused quite an uproar had it become from this year, on pages 46 and 47 the
known, as this never occurred before, images are very small. The same was
hence the secrecy.) A mold was made of last month with the Rebbes letters
the crown, and the manufacturer used to the the president of the JCC in
it to replicate the golden crown. Teaneck regarding the public menorahs
[Towers of Light Derher Kislev 5776].
My mother related another interesting One needs a magnifying glass to read
anecdote: When the crown was them and sometimes even that doesnt
complete, the Rebbetzin asked to see help. I think it would be worthwhile to
it. My father, R Nochum, brought it have a place on your website where one
to her, and the Rebbetzin commented can read these in full size.
that in Lubavitch there were numerous
crowns donated by the kantenistin, Yasher koach to the Derher team,
(Jewish children forcibly drafted
Pinchas Adler
into the Czars army) which adorned Person Harbor, Florida
the sifrei Torah, and that this crown
resembles those.

Avrohom Sternberg

New London, Connecticut Favorite Article
Dear Editors,

I would like to thank you for the

magazine that you put out. I read it
The Rebbes Guidance every single month in yeshiva and I
Dear Editors, really appreciate it. It gives me a lot of
As always the Derher is wonderful, and great information that I didnt know
I especially appreciated that the most before. My favorite article this month
recent issues arrived so promptly. was the one about
[Unite the Children Derher Teves
I dont usually give feedback but I 5776]. Keep up the great amazing work
would like to express my thoughts and thank you so much,
about an article that you published
a few months ago, which I enjoyed Mendy Steinmetz
thoroughly. The interview with Rabbi Oak Park, Michigan
Yitzchok Meir Gurary [

ADAR I 5776

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A Chassidisher Derher 770 Eastern Parkway

Vaad Talmidei Hatmimim Brooklyn, New York 11213