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Published by B. Merkur
Heralding the imminent arrival of Moshiach
Heralding the imminent arrival of Moshiach

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Published by: B. Merkur on May 09, 2013
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06-05-13 1:14 PM

maamarim and sichos. To me, R’
Landau was a type I had not met
before; someone who worked on
himself, someone who learned
and implemented what he
learned in his personal life. When
he explained what real t’filla is, he
davened that way himself.
“In yeshiva, I became known
as the Chabadnik. In general,
in the Litvishe world it’s known
that there are bachurim who
are considered Lubavitch even
though, outwardly, they look like
everyone else. I was considered
the Chabadnik of the yeshiva,
because the closet in my room
was full of pictures of the Rebbe
and Chabad s’farim.

“My room in yeshiva was
known as an interesting room.
There were bachurim who came
to my room to learn Tanya from
Lessons in Tanya. Others came
just to debate and ask questions
on the topic of Chabad. The
top guys in yeshiva didn’t stop
harassing me. But I just ignored
them. There were some who
would not make Kiddush on
wine that I had touched, thanks
to what that rosh yeshiva in B’nei
Brak said.

“One day, I saw that my
Tanya had disappeared from my
room. I was very upset. I loved
learning it. The theft resulted
in my learning with R’ Zalman

Landau in the Alexander shul.
About fifteen boys from the
yeshiva participated. The shiur
went on for a long time until
someone tattled. The mashgiach
called me to his room and gave
me a choice – either I would
stop learning Chassidus and
schlepping bachurim along with
me, or I would have to leave the
yeshiva. I responded respectfully,
but had no intentions of stopping
to learn Chassidus. It was my
spiritual oxygen. During the
meeting with the mashgiach,
I saw my Tanya lying there in
a corner. I asked him how he
got it and he tried to dodge the
question. I said, ‘The mashgiach
has spoken a lot lately about theft

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06-05-13 1:14 PM

and here is an outright theft!’ He
gave the Tanya back to me.
“A relatively quiet period
ensued. The shiur with R’ Landau
continued and I remained in the
yeshiva. You have to understand
that the Litvishe approach
provides you only with technical
know-how but is devoid of
feeling. Chassidus provided me
and my friends with enthusiasm.
I remember how one Thursday
night some friends and I were
sitting in one of the rooms with
plates of steaming chulent, when
one of them asked – does anyone
have any idea what G-d is and
how He looks?
“Some said it was forbidden
to discuss this and others gave
their answers. Sadly, some of the
answers cannot even be written
here. This intensified the interest
of myself and my friends in
hashkafa and emuna. When you
are raised with Chassidus, you
don’t know how fortunate you
are. Chabad resolves numerous
questions in emuna as a matter of
course.

“Along with the shiur with
R’ Landau, I discovered the
Chassidus library near the
yeshiva. I would go there every
week. One day, at the beginning
of 5753, I heard that R’ Mendel
Wechter would be giving a shiur
in Chassidus there. I went and
was hooked. R’ Wechter asked
me to bring other boys from
yeshiva which I did. Together,
we began learning Tanya and
Likkutei Torah.
“We kept our shiurim with
R’ Landau and R’ Wechter a
secret, for obvious reasons. The
hanhala of the yeshiva was very
fearful of Chassidus and it was
absolutely forbidden to bring
sifrei Chassidus into the yeshiva.
“Since our secret was known
by many people, it eventually
got out. One morning we were

discovered by the rosh yeshiva’s
brother-in-law who looked
shocked. He quickly recovered
and began chastising us about
learning Tanya which he said was
heresy. ‘It says there that a Jew
has a neshama which is literally
part of G-d. Do you realize what
you’re learning?!’ he shouted. ‘Is
Hashem something tangible that
you can touch?’
“The next day I was called
into the rosh yeshiva’s office. He
said he knew that I was the one
who organized the shiur and he
gave me an ultimatum. Either I
stopped or I would be expelled
from the yeshiva immediately. I
tried to defend myself and asked
him why they made learning
Chassidus into such a serious
thing when it was m’chazek me
and the others in emuna and yiras
Shamayim. That bachurim went
to the beach on Fridays to relax
was okay but learning Chassidus
was not?!

“He stuck to his guns and was
unwilling to accept what I said.
‘If it doesn’t suit you, you can
leave.’ He called my father and
told him about the Tanya shiur
I organized. My father came
to the yeshiva and it was most
unpleasant, but I did not agree to
forgo learning Chassidus. I told
my father that he should tell the
rosh yeshiva that Tanya is Torah
and if I couldn’t learn the Torah I
wanted to learn, I would not stay.
I preferred leaving the yeshiva.”

SHOCKING THE FAMILY

R’ Spitzer sat facing his son,
listening as though hearing this
for the first time. He nodded and
said, “I wasn’t pleased by how
Yonasan was behaving. I think
you can learn in a Litvishe yeshiva
and remain a Chassid without
rocking the boat. I remember
how Yonasan told me that if he
wasn’t allowed to learn Tanya,

he wouldn’t stay in that yeshiva.
I tried to calm things down and
went to speak to the rosh yeshiva,
R’ Moshe Hirsch. He said they
did not want to expel Yonasan;
they hadn’t really planned on
doing that. He said he was a
bachur who learned seriously and
it would be a pity if he left.
“Alas it was too late, because
Yonasan was already planning on
switching to a Chabad yeshiva.
I wanted him to grow up as a
Sanzer Chassid. The Lubavitcher
Rebbe and Chabad Chassidus
were important to me, but I didn’t
think he would turn into a full-
fledged Lubavitcher. What father
doesn’t want his son to follow in
his footsteps? I remember seeing
the Klausenberger Rebbe at that
time and telling him, sadly, that
my son had switched to a Chabad
yeshiva and had become a
Lubavitcher Chassid. The Admur
said, ‘They are great people. If
I let you read the kvitlach I get
from young boys with questions
in emuna, you would dance for
joy that your son is not only not
floundering when it comes to
emuna, but is finding his way
within Toras Ha’chassidus.’
“I told him that I wanted him
to follow me in Sanz but the
Admur reassured me. Today, I
am happy that my son is doing
great things, and in his shlichus
he is being mekarev many
Yidden. But back then, I found it
hard to accept. It’s not easy when
things happen and you don’t
know where they are going and
how they will develop.”
R’ Yaakov Moshe Spitzer
wanted to share what he
heard from his teacher in Kfar
Chassidim, R’ Elya Lopian, fifty
years earlier, about how the
machlokes between Chassidim
and Misnagdim is based on error.
“R’ Lopian was the ‘R’
Yisroel Salanter’ of the previous

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