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featured articles WeeKlY cOluMNs

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tHe reBBe’s cHaZaN
Menachem Ziegelboim

Will YearN 14 tHeYdaYs Of eXilefOr tHe
R’ Sholom Dovber Reichman

MeMOries Of luBaVitcH
Mordechai Lazar

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D’var Malchus Farbrengen Moshiach & Geula Parsha Thought Crossroads Memoirs

36 dealiNG WitH HardsHiP aNd

OPPOsitiON ON sHlicHus

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744 Eastern Parkway Brooklyn, NY 11213-3409 Tel: (718) 778-8000 Fax: (718) 778-0800 EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: M.M. Hendel HEBREW EDITOR: Rabbi S.Y. Chazan ENGLISH EDITOR: Boruch Merkur

D’var Malchus

If G-d Is Revealed, Why Can’t We see hIm?
Translated by Boruch Merkur

Since every single Jew can experience [what is said in the verse regarding Avrohom Avinu], “And G-d appeared to him,” why do they not actually perceive this revelation? To answer this question from three different angles: 1) It is real even if it is not experienced: First and foremost, not seeing something with one’s physical eyes does not change the reality. There is a well-known parable of the Rebbe Rayatz about scholars who travel on a horse drawn carriage. The scholars speak words of wisdom as they travel while the horses think about the hay, etc. The fact that the only thing on the mind of the horses is hay – that is their reality and all that exists to them (at least at that moment) – doesn’t change the veracity of the topic the scholars are discussing. What they are discussing is real, regardless of how abstract and irrelevant it is to the horses. 2) It is experienced spiritually: The concept of “although he does not see, his mazal sees [“mazal” being a dimension of the soul that transcends the body]” has many applications, one of which is our case. That is, a Jew’s mazal sees the revelation of “And G-d appeared to him.” And as a result of the mazal experiencing this revelation, it also has an impact on that part of the soul that is

invested within the body, having a practical effect on the person. 3) It will be experienced in the simple, literal sense in the Messianic Era: The principal manifestation and revelation of “And G-d appeared to him” will take place with the true and complete redemption through Moshiach Tzidkeinu. But this should not be seen as a remote, distant event. In fact, we have the ability to make it happen imminently, for every positive action we do (especially hosting guests, as well as doing acts of kindness regarding spiritual matters) brings the true and complete redemption closer, ushering in and hastening the advent of the time when we will experience the revelation of “And G-d appeared to him.”

speeding up the redemption is of paramount importance
And since this is so, there is reason to add in disseminating Torah and Judaism and spreading the wellsprings outward with greater strength and greater force, with greater alacrity and a greater sense of urgency, etc., in order to hasten the true and complete redemption. Indeed, speeding up the redemption even a single moment is of paramount importance, because we are speaking about the

redemption of all the Jewish people of all generations, as well as the redemption of the Divine Presence Itself. “And so may it be for us,” that immediately we merit the revelation of “And G-d appeared to him,” with our physical sense of sight. There is a historical precedent for such a powerful revelation taking place in the physical word, as discussed in Tanya (Ch. 36, 46a), “something of this revelation has already been experienced on earth, at the time of the Giving of the Torah,” including a revelation that spanned the globe (in all 127 nations upon which Ester was queen – Ester being the descendant of Sara Imeinu, who lived 127 years), as has been stated, “King of all the land.” May we immediately experience this revelation with the advent of Moshiach Tzidkeinu. May he come at once and redeem us and take us upright to our land, the Holy Land, to Yerushalayim the Holy City, to the Holy Mountain – “on the mountain, G-d will be seen” (22:14) – immediately!
(From the address of Shabbos Parshas VaYeira, 18 MarCheshvan 5749, muga)

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Chazan R’ Moshe Teleshevsky a”h was a familiar figure in the Rebbe’s court, considering his having been granted the privilege of holding forth in the Rebbe’s presence on numerous occasions. R’ Moshe, who passed away on Sukkos, was a model of utter bittul to the Rebbe. * Years ago, I had the privilege of interviewing him. R’ Moshe shared with me his stories and the special relationship he had with the Rebbe.
By Menachem Ziegelboim

uring the interview I conducted with Chazan Rabbi Moshe Teleshevsky a”h, on one of my visits to Crown Heights, I asked him what he thought was the reason for the special fondness that the Rebbe had for him. R’ Moshe didn’t deny it and after thinking for a while he said, “I don’t know. I can only guess that it’s because all my life I wished that everything I sang and davened to have meaning and not just be an opening of the mouth and letting out loud noise. Every stanza that I sang before the Rebbe was prepared and inspected after the requisite thought and preparation.


Although I davened for the amud for many years, each time I was particular about having every part of the niggun connect to the words of the t’filla.” That was R’ Moshe’s answer, but recently, in the book B’chol Beisi Ne’eman Hu about R’ Shneur Zalman Gurary, I read a story that might provide an additional reason for that special fondness that the Rebbe showed for him. The story reveals R’ Moshe’s hiskashrus and utter bittul to the Rebbe. The Rebbe once told R’ Zalman in yechidus about the nachas he received from four Chassidim. One of the four was R’ Moshe Teleshevsky.

LeaVe pittsBurgh Before shaBBos!
R’ Zalman Chanin heard the full story from R’ Moshe’s wife: It was in the 50’s and R’ Moshe and his wife lived in Pittsburgh. R’ Moshe was a chazan in a local shul and Mrs. Teleshevsky worked as a teacher in the Jewish school. R’ Moshe went to Crown Heights for Yud Shevat and decided to remain for yechidus that took place Thursday night. He told his wife, who asked him to report to her right after the yechidus. R’ Moshe assumed he would have yechidus late at night and he

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R’ Moshe Teleshevsky davening with the Rebbe

said he would call in the morning, but his wife said she would be up late preparing for Shabbos in any case, so he could call. R’ Moshe came out of the Rebbe’s room at 3:30 in the morning in an emotional turmoil. He called his wife and told her that during the yechidus the Rebbe told him to leave Pittsburgh immediately and move to Crown Heights, before Shabbos! Since the distance between Pittsburgh and New York is a seven hour drive, R’ Moshe asked the Rebbe what he should do since there would not be enough time to drive to Pittsburgh and back to Crown Heights before

Shabbos. The Rebbe said to spend Shabbos in a hotel, but he must leave the house before Shabbos. He could come to Crown Heights after Shabbos. “What shall I do with all our belongings? When should I pack them?” asked R’ Moshe. The Rebbe said, “Ask your friends there to take care of it.” R’ Moshe told his wife this shocking order from the Rebbe, but she was sleepy and the urgency of the matter did not register. It was the next morning, when R’ Moshe arrived in Pittsburgh and repeated what

the Rebbe said, that the Rebbe’s instructions sank in. She did not ask questions. After packing her personal belongings, she left the house with her husband and they went to a local hotel. On their way to the hotel, R’ Moshe called the president of the k’hilla to inform him that he would not be there on Shabbos. He did not know how to explain the fact that he was leaving the city and his position for good. He merely said that due to an emergency, he could not make it for Shabbos. On Motzaei Shabbos, they drove to Crown Heights and stayed with relatives. They had no idea what their next move should

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be. They were both bewildered. They had left their home and good jobs and had come to the unknown. After a day or two, R’ Chadakov asked R’ Moshe’s wife to come to the office. When she arrived, he told her that the Rebbe wanted to see her. She wasn’t prepared for this and she asked whether she could go in later, after she had prepared somewhat. He told her that the Rebbe said she should enter immediately. When she entered the Rebbe’s room, she was utterly confused and did not know what to say. She stood there silently. The atmosphere was tense until the Rebbe smiled broadly, which encouraged her somewhat. Then she asked, “What should I tell my parents when they ask me why I suddenly left everything for no reason?” The Rebbe said, “Tell them that you left because I told you to leave. That’s enough.” Until today, the mystery has not been solved. R’ Moshe and his wife never learned why the Rebbe told them to leave Pittsburgh, but as a faithful Chassid R’ Moshe obeyed the Rebbe. The Rebbe told this story to R’ Zalman Gurary and said that R’ Moshe’s obedience, without any questions, gave him much nachas. “I still remember it,” R’ Moshe told me, over seventy years later. “My teacher, R’ Kaddish Romanov, brought the children in his class to the Rebbe for a bracha.” Young Moshe had yechidus with the Rebbe Rayatz five times. His second yechidus was when he was nine and in Riga. “My grandfather, R’ Menachem Mendel Teleshevsky, had yechidus and I went with him. I received a bracha from the Rebbe again.” R’ Moshe attributed his survival during the war due to the following yechidus: “About a year before the war began, I had yechidus and the Rebbe gently asked me, ‘Do you learn?’ My grandfather answered for me, ‘No. He does not learn.’ The Rebbe thought a bit and then told me to go to shuls and battei midrash and to answer, ‘Amen, Yehei Shmei Rabba’ with all my might. Since the Rebbe told me to do this, I did as I was told. “Later on, I learned the maamer Chazal that says that whoever responds with ‘Amen Yehei Shmei Rabba’ with all his might, his evil decrees are torn up. Rashi says that ‘with all his might’ means with all his kavana, concentration, while Tosafos says it means in a loud voice. That’s when I realized the meaning of the Rebbe’s instruction to me. “Before the war began, my parents lived in Helsinki, Finland while my sister and I were sent to the Talmud Torah called ‘Torah V’Derech Eretz’ in Riga, which was under R’ Chadakov. When the war began, I was able to leave Riga on the last train and the last ship for Helsinki, before the Russians invaded Riga. A week after the Russians invaded Riga it was no longer possible to leave. I attribute my being able to leave on the last train to the evil decree being torn up.” Young Moshe remained in Helsinki for the rest of the war years. During this time, he experienced another miracle when he was severely injured in an accident and was in a coma for a long time. When he miraculously recovered, he recalled the Rebbe’s instruction to him to say “Amen Yehei Shmei Rabba” and felt sure that this is what saved him again. In 1946 he went with his family to the United States where the Rebbe Rayatz was already living. The trip took a week by ship. R’ Moshe learned in 770.

the reBBe raYatZ approVes three hours a daY for chaZanus
R’ Moshe’s voice was unique from when he was a boy. He inherited this from his father who was a chazan in Helsinki. While he was still in Europe, many listened in wonder to R’ Moshe’ voice, but he did nothing to develop his talent. It was only upon arriving in America that experts heard him sing and predicted great things for him and urged him to develop his voice. He began going three times a week to Manhattan for voice lessons. Of course, each time, this took away from his learning in yeshiva. The hanhala was not happy with his absences and upon consulting with his father, they wrote a letter to the Rebbe Rayatz about this. He even had to sign to this letter. “You can imagine how I felt. First of all, the embarrassment in that the Rebbe would know about my missing yeshiva. Second, chazanus was essential to me and

go to the shuLs and saY “amen Yehei shmei raBBa”
R’ Moshe Teleshevsky was born in 5687/1927 in Moscow. His father was R’ Mordechai Dov. His Chassidic bond with the Rebbe was something he developed from a young age. At the age of three he had his first yechidus.

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I was upset by the mere thought of having to give it up. But whatever the Rebbe would say, I would do; there was no question about that. “A response from the Rebbe arrived two or three days later. I tensely read through the letter. The Rebbe wrote, ‘In response to your question about the advice of experts in singing, it is proper that you go to the top in this field. With permission from the hanhala of Tomchei T’mimim Lubavitch, you will be involved in this study for three hours a day, and consistently lead the prayers in shuls on weekdays and Shabbos for various t’fillos. Half your earnings you should give, bli neder, to Tomchei T’mimim Lubavitch and to Merkos L ’Inyanei Chinuch. May Hashem grant you success, materially and spiritually.’ “Naturally, after being apprised of the Rebbe’s position, the hanhala made peace with it and allowed me even more time to devote to my singing than I had taken up until then. So it worked out quite well for me.” Throughout the day, R’ Moshe sat in the small zal of 770 and learned in R’ Mentlick’s class. He was a Tamim, a Yerei Shamayim, dignified looking with a pleasant demeanor. He was only 22 at the time and a new immigrant when he was asked to be the main chazan on the Yomim Nora’im in the Young Israel shul in Crown Heights. It was a huge shul with 800 members. He wasn’t sure whether he should accept the position, thinking he wasn’t up to such a responsibility. The hanhala of the yeshiva wasn’t thrilled with the idea either. He wrote to the Rebbe Rayatz and two days later he received an answer. He should accept the offer. Why did such a prestigious

Learning in yeshiva along with voice lessons and chazanus. R’ Moshe Teleshevsky in his youth.

“The Rebbe’s knowledge about the inside world of chazanus was astounding. Before the nesius, I would go to his room now and then and he would discuss various topics with me. He took an interest in my voice lessons.”
MH”M, whose room was open in those days to whoever wanted to see him] and showed him the letter. R’ Moshe remembers the scene: “He got up and read the letter with great seriousness, twice and three times. Then I asked him whether dividing the money was something I always had to do or only for that year. He thought a moment and said that it was only for that year. “That wasn’t just any question and answer. It was the Rebbe Rayatz who made me a shliach tzibbur and the Rebbe understood this from the letter. What the Rebbe Rayatz decided was, to the Rebbe, absolute and final.” This is the reason that R’ Moshe attributes to his becoming the official chazan of the Rebbe.

shul take such a young chazan? R’ Moshe explained: “It was different back then. In those days in Crown Heights, and in Brooklyn in general, there were numerous shuls but few professional chazanim. This was because, due to the war, additional chazanim did not come from Europe. There weren’t enough chazanim to go around.” So Moshe Teleshevsky became a chazan in a big shul. He remembers the sum that he received as a salary that he split with Tomchei T’mimim. “I received $1000 for the t’fillos throughout the Yomim Tovim. In those days, that was an enormous sum.” A few days after he received the Rebbe’s letter, he went to the room of Ramash [the Rebbe

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the minutest nuances of these methods, knowledge that only a first-class chazan knows after years in the profession. “The next time I was astounded was the night of Simchas Torah when the Rebbe taught the niggun Shamil. A chazan who wants to be at his best needs to rest before singing and only then he can reach the octaves he wants to reach. This was after a long farbrengen and exhausting hakafos. After all that, the Rebbe began singing in a mezzo (half) voice. “I was amazed by the power and his ability. The professional form was like that of veterans in the opera who studied voice lessons for years. As someone who was involved in voice training, I had the knowledge and was able to hear the small nuances in the niggun. I could not understand how the Rebbe did it.” When I asked whether the Rebbe read musical notes, R’ Teleshevsky said, “I don’t know, but I’ll tell you a story. I once got a phone call from R’ Chadakov who told me that in the Seifer HaNiggunim, on a certain page, there is a niggun and he wanted me to sing it over the phone the next day at four o’clock. I realized that it was the Rebbe, not R’ Chadakov, who was interested in the niggun. “Anash in Eretz Yisroel had taken the niggun and wanted to put the words of U’faratzta to it. They had written to the Rebbe that the niggun was in the Seifer HaNiggunim and the Rebbe wanted to hear it. “The next day, R’ Chadakov called me at four o’clock. I was ready and I knew the Rebbe was listening on the line. After I finished singing, R’ Chadakov asked me to wait. A minute later

“When I sent the niggun of three movements, I received a question the next day – why was this niggun accompanied only by a piano. The Rebbe suggested we add a violin.”
When the Rebbe said, “The shliach tzibbur is here,” everyone knew whom he meant. “We spoke about the topic of chazanus and my voice lessons. The Rebbe’s knowledge about the inside world of chazanus was astounding. Before the nesius, I would go to his room now and then and he would discuss various topics with me. He took an interest in my voice lessons. “The Rebbe once explained to me the differences between the two approaches to voice development, the Italian and the German. The Italian method is the one that is accepted today and the one I was studying. It was only at the age of 50 that I began studying the German method which teaches how to preserve the voice when aging. I wondered how the Rebbe knew all this. He was aware of

taLKs With the reBBe aBout chaZanus
R’ Moshe acquired his knowledge of chazanus, the theory and practice, with a lot of hard work and many years of study. “I devoted my life to this,” he said. Chassidim never made a big deal about chazanus as other groups did, and yet Chazan R’ Moshe Teleshevsky received kiruvim from the Rebbe over the years. R’ Teleshevsky often spoke to the Rebbe and they sometimes discussed the professional world of chazanus.

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he thanked me and hung up. He had asked the Rebbe whether I should sing it again. After some time, the song U’faratzta was publicized to the world.”

the reBBe’s inVoLVement in niggunei nicho’ach
R’ Teleshevsky used his musical talents to preserve Chabad niggunim within the framework of Nicho’ach (Niggunei Chassidei Chabad). R’ Shmuel Zalmanov ran the organization. He arranged the niggunim and wrote them down with musical notes. Some time after R’ Zalmanov’s passing, R’ Teleshevsky was summoned by R’ Chadakov, who told him that the Rebbe wanted him to run Nicho’ach. R’ Teleshevsky considered it a great privilege and devoted himself to the task with all his heart. When the Rebbe turned 70,

R’ Teleshevsky was called to the Rebbe and was asked to wait in Gan Eden HaTachton. The Rebbe suddenly came out and told R’ Moshe that he wanted him to prepare recordings of all niggunei Chabad and to do so in the best possible way. “I began working on the first record immediately. I was given some instructions from the Rebbe, with the Rebbe himself saying which songs to include. The first song on the record was “Tzama Lecha Nafshi” with the Rebbe’s voice. “Other songs on that record were: Becha Hashem Chasisi, K’Mofeis Hayisi L ’Rabbim, Ozreinu Keil Chai, U’faratzta, and Avo B’Gevuros Hashem Elokim. I had a band that I worked with and a choir of about forty bachurim and men. We immediately got to work. Shlomo Zilbermintz did the arrangements and choir and Eli Lipsker was the musical consultant. I would submit a report to the Rebbe

every day about what I did the day before and the Rebbe sent back corrections and comments. “When I sent the niggun of three movements, I received a question the next day – why was this niggun accompanied only by a piano. The Rebbe suggested we add a violin.” That period of time, known by Anash as “Shnas HaShivim,” was an exciting one for Anash worldwide. Everyone sought to give the Rebbe a birthday gift. R’ Moshe Teleshevsky’s gift was a new song, “Becha Hashem Chasisi.” He told me about the creation of this song: “I remembered this happy song from when I was eight years old. Chassidim in the Chabad shul in Riga would sing it during hakafos. I added words from the Rebbe’s perek of T’hillim of that year and sent the results to the Rebbe for his approval. The Rebbe gave his approval and it was a hit.

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“During the festive Yud-Alef Nissan farbrengen of that year, thousands of Chassidim began singing it with such enthusiasm the likes of which I had never heard before. Afterward, I heard that the Rebbetzin asked for a recording of the song that was sung at the farbrengen. She said she heard it was something special.” Seven years and seven records … in 5737, R’ Teleshevsky was told by R’ Chadakov that there was no longer a budget for this since the cost of each record was about $18,000, a large sum in those days. R’ Teleshevsky smiled and reminisced: It was at the Siyum Seifer Torah which took place on Lag B’Omer 5742/1982, when Chazan R’ Shneur Zalman Baumgarten sang “Sh’Yibaneh Beis HaMikdash.” Afterward, they submitted the video of the event to the Rebbe. At the children’s rally that day, the Rebbe asked that they sing “Sh’Yibaneh Beis HaMikdash.” The Rebbe said: “Since the content of this prayer is connected with the greatest simcha – ‘simchas olam al rosham’ that will take place with the future Geula – therefore, say this t’filla as a niggun, with the niggun that is known by many Jews. In addition to these words pertaining to every Jew, this niggun also pertains to every Jew.” I was on a street near 770 when a bachur ran up to get me so I would sing. I went and sang, and that was the first time. Later, at the Shabbos farbrengen, the Rebbe asked me to sing again. Since then, I regularly sang “Sh’Yibaneh” at farbrengens. On weekdays, I used a microphone. At first, the Rebbe would call me by name. After a while, he merely looked in my direction and motioned with his head to the left. The niggun was composed by a chazan and musician named Yisroel Schorr. There are a number of cantorial versions and I sing the one that the famous chazan, Yossele Rosenblatt sang. There is a longer, more complicated version from Chazan Moshe Koussevitzky. One time, I was not at the farbrengen but a certain singer from Eretz Yisroel was there. He was given the honor of singing the “Yehi Ratzon.” He sang it

“sh’YiBaneh Beis hamiKdash” at the reBBe’s farBrengen
R’ Teleshevsky had a special bracha in chazanus. His talent was obvious, even to someone unfamiliar with the profession. His voice easily climbed the register; it looked effortless. R’ Moshe davened for 22 years in the same shul in Flatbush. Originally, it was a modern shul that had no proper mechitza between the men and women’s section. He asked the Rebbe what he should do and the Rebbe told him to make his acceptance of the job conditional on raising the mechitza. He saw his job at the shul as part of the Rebbe’s bracha that he would succeed in chazanus: “I didn’t have to travel for the Yomim Nora’im and Yomim Tovim like other chazanim.” When he finished davening, he would walk to Crown Heights for the Rebbe’s farbrengen. Only after the farbrengen, at six o’clock, did he walk home. In the winter, it was Motzaei Shabbos. His family knew that he wasn’t home for Shabbos. As mentioned earlier, R’ Moshe was in 770 since 1946. He was proud of the fact that over the years he hardly missed a farbrengen. He played an important role at farbrengens. The Rebbe always gave him the honor, at the end, of singing “Yehi Ratzon, Sh’Yibaneh Beis HaMikdash.” How did this begin?

Kuntres “ahaVas YisroeL” for those Who made the record
R’ Teleshevsky ran Nicho’ach for seven years. During this time, seven records of niggunim were produced. “After I finished making a record, I gave the first copy to the Rebbe in yechidus. The bachurim told me afterward that they noticed that the Rebbe took it home with him. I believe the Rebbe listened to the songs. “Three to four months and more were needed for every record, but the third record was made quickly, after only five weeks. We worked around the clock; even today, it is hard for me to understand how we were able to do it in such a short time. After presenting the record to the Rebbe, the Rebbe told R’ Groner that he wanted to see me in Gan Eden HaTachton. I waited there and then the Rebbe came out, holding a bunch of copies of kuntres ‘Ahavas Yisroel.’ The Rebbe asked me how many people took part in making the record, and I said about seventy. Every member of the choir and band received a kuntres, but the Rebbe personally gave me the first kuntres and said, to my surprise, ‘This is for your wife.’ The Rebbe knew that if I made a record in five weeks that I wasn’t home much.”

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according to Koussevitzky’s version. It was long, with each stanza doubled (which is also why I chose the other, shorter version). As he trilled, the Rebbe said jokingly, “By the time he finishes, Moshiach will have already come.” Sh’Yibaneh was usually sung at the end of farbrengens. It once happened that at the beginning of a farbrengen the Rebbe asked why they should wait until the end, and I sang it at the beginning and the end. This is the only cantorial piece that was sung so many times and so regularly for the Rebbe. He greatly enjoyed it.

the reBBe asKed: did You enJoY the chaZZan’s daVening?
R’ Teleshevsky was the chazan in the Rebbe’s minyan in 770 for decades, primarily on Shabbos B’Reishis and the second night of Pesach. On Shabbos B’Reishis he would incorporate all the tunes of the month of Tishrei into the davening. The idea to do this came from teachings of the Rebbe regarding Shabbos B’Reishis, which includes the qualities of all the holidays. “It occurred to me to include all the niggunim of Rosh HaShana, Yom Kippur, Sukkos, and Simchas Torah in this t’filla, which the Rebbe and the tzibbur enjoyed. In 35 years of davening as chazan on Shabbos B’Reishis, I always had a new niggun, at least one that I never sang before.” On the second night of Pesach, in the Hallel, he would use niggunei simcha and d’veikus for every paragraph. “When I davened, the Rebbe would daven with me. I felt that the Rebbe was listening closely. When I was

R’ Moshe (bottom, center) at the Rebbe’s farbrengen

the chazan, I would feel whether the Rebbe was with me or not. During these t’fillos, I felt that he was always with me. “I remember that on the second night of Pesach 5740, R’ Gershon Jacobson went to the Rebbe to get matza and for some reason, he was smiling. The Rebbe asked him, ‘Why the simcha – did you enjoy the chazzan’s t’fillos?’ That meant that when the Rebbe went to his room, I and the t’fillos were in his mind. “A few times, I heard from people who stood next to the Rebbe during the davening that when I would sing, the Rebbe would follow each word by pointing at it. I felt that the Rebbe was not only satisfied by the niggunim but paid them special attention.” R’ Teleshevsky concluded the interview by saying, “I venture to say that when the Rebbe Rayatz approved my study of chazanus, despite the drawbacks that it

entailed, it was because he knew that the day would come when I would provide great enjoyment to his son-in-law, the Rebbe, and that made it all worthwhile!” *** On Sukkos we heard the sad news about R’ Moshe Teleshevsky’s passing away. He was 85. The residents of Crown Heights and numerous guests attended his funeral. R’ Teleshevsky was known for his hiskashrus to the Rebbe and his strong faith in the Rebbe’s immediate hisgalus. He would sing the Rebbe’s perek and Yechi at farbrengens that took place in recent years in 770. In Beis Moshiach’s early years he wrote a regular column with short thoughts on the parsha. Later on, he had a similar column in the Algemeiner Journal. He is survived by his wife Riva and his children Yisroel (Melbourne), Rochie Barber (Sydney), and Chana Golda Naparstek (Crown Heights).

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chaf cheshvan

What did the Rebbe Rashab’s mother know about her son and how did she react to the idea of Tomchei T’mimim? * Who was the person to whom the Rebbe Rashab gave unprecedented honor? * Why did the Rebbe Rashab split wood with an aide and why did this work stop? * Presented for Chaf Cheshvan, the birthday of the Rebbe Rashab, from the reshimos of R’ Sholom Dovber Reichman.
Rashab got up and danced with the bachurim. Then he sat down and said, “May it be Hashem’s will that I merit appearing together with them before Moshiach and then I will be able to say: See what I have raised.”
(Toras Shalom)

the yeshiva. Once, a letter arrived from a wealthy person. He offered a large donation but made it conditional on certain things he thought should be implemented (for example that a bell should ring at the end of s’darim). The Rebbe Rashab responded, “I spurn your silver and gold. This House of G-d will be built without you.”
(Heard from R’ L. Zalmanov. The two preceding stories were often recounted by R’ Pinye Altheus.)

souLs draWn to chassidus
When the Rebbe Rashab decided to open Yeshivas Tomchei T’mimim, he told his mother, Rebbetzin Rivka, about it. His mother said, “As for food, what will be? What we eat, they will eat; but from where will you get boys who will want to learn in a Chassidishe yeshiva?” The Rebbe said, “When there is a place where you learn Chassidus, neshamos hear about it and gather on their own.”

We must thanK g-d
The Rebbe Rashab once stood up and said, “All of us Chabad Chassidim must praise and thank G-d for the privilege of hiskashrus to the [Alter] Rebbe, for through this we are connected to the Ein Sof of Chochma of Atzilus, and with the Rebbe’s niggunim we will go to greet Moshiach Tzidkeinu.”
(Seifer HaSichos 5701)

no thanKs
At first, the material circumstances of the yeshiva in Lubavitch were not organized fully. Due to this limitation, the hanhala had to turn away many potential students. This was in addition to the restrictions caused by the high spiritual requirements for someone to be accepted into

from tears to hope
The Rebbe Rayatz described the s’darim in his father’s house: “The heartfelt vocalization and pleading voice while saying,

good fruit
At a farbrengen, the Rebbe

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‘Pour Your wrath upon the nations who do not know You’ – who do not want to know You – stirred the heart. The words ‘For he consumed Yaakov and destroyed his dwelling’ led to impassioned tears, but then immediately was heard the inwardly fervid proclamation ‘L ’shana HaBaa B’Yerushalayim!’”
(Seifer HaSichos 5701)

The Rebbe Rashab: “When Moshiach will come, speedily in our days amen, all will yearn for the days of galus. Then we will truly feel distress at our having neglected working at avoda; then will we indeed feel the deep pain caused by our lack of avoda. These days of exile are the days of avoda, to prepare ourselves for the coming of Moshiach, speedily in our time, amen.”
(HaYom Yom, 3 Av)

What the mother KnoWs of her son
One time, after a farbrengen with the Rebbe Rashab that took place on a happy occasion (Yud-Tes Kislev or Purim), the Chassidim were inebriated. One of them (maybe the mashpia R’ Moshe of Zembin, known as Moshe Zembiner) met Rebbetzin Rivka, the Rebbe’s mother. Being intoxicated, he said, “You don’t know what kind of son you have ...” The Rebbetzin, who was known for her Chassidic cleverness, responded with charming humility, “For me, what I know is enough.”
(Quoted by the mashpia R’ Chaim Shaul Brook)

mesirus nefesh and LoVe
Erev Rosh HaShana 5658/1897, the Rebbe Rashab told his son what his father, the Rebbe Maharash, had told him: “When the neshama of the Alter Rebbe had to descend below, they told it that in addition to it having a revelation of the Etzem HaNeshama down below, it would also appear as the first leader of Chabad. Through the avoda of mesirus nefesh and the love and kiruv it would have for the Jewish people, the Jews would merit the revelation of Moshiach.”
(Seifer HaSichos 5701)

the reBBe Wrote his prophecY
When the Rebbe Rashab founded Yeshivas Toras Emes

in Chevron, he sent the mashpia R’ Zalman Havlin and some bachurim shluchim including R’ Alter Simchovitz. After a short while, R’ Alter longed for the Rebbe and returned to Lubavitch. Later on, R’ Zalman the mashpia also returned to Lubavitch in order to take care of military matters for the bachurim. World War I began while R’ Zalman was in Lubavitch. Consequently, he learned that his family planned on returning to Russia since they had been expelled from Eretz Yisroel by the Turks who were fighting the Russians. R’ Zalman met R’ Alter one day and suggested his older daughter Rivka as a shidduch, saying: You know that she is G-d fearing etc. R’ Alter made no decisions on his own and they went to the Rebbe Rashab to ask him for his advice and bracha. On their way out, they met the Rebbe’s son. R’ Zalman said: We get a mazal tov! Rayatz said: If my father said so, then I won’t say anything, but I’m surprised at you that you are making a shidduch without knowing where the kalla is. The family subsequently arrived in Lubavitch. Before the wedding, R’ Alter went to the Rebbe for a bracha and the Rebbe wrote his bracha on a paper. Ten years later, R’ Alter’s wife suddenly died. After her passing, R’ Alter showed his brotherIssue 854 • �  


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in-law, R’ Yitzchok Lifschitz the note which the Rebbe had written and said: The Rebbe had a feeling back then that we would not live long together, for he did not write a bracha for long life as he usually did.
(R’ Yitzchok Lifschitz)

One time, the Rebbe asked his aide to go with him, but the aide declined. The Rebbe asked him why and he said: Rebbe, when you get there, you suddenly delve deeply into thought and in the end, I have to return with both the saw and you and I don’t have the strength for that.
(Heard from R’ Zalman Leib Estulin)

the reBBe rashaB and the chafetZ chaim
R’ Benzion Maruz assisted the Rebbe Rashab when he was at a meeting of G’dolei Yisroel that took place in Moscow in 5677/1917. One day, the Chafetz Chaim asked him if he could speak to the Rebbe. The Rebbe was living on the second floor, and when he heard the Chafetz Chaim’s voice, he came downstairs, went over to the Chafetz Chaim, and placed his hand under the Chafetz Chaim’s arm. Arm in arm they went up the stairs to his room where they spoke for a long time. When the Chafetz Chaim was ready to leave, the Rebbe once again took his arm and placed it under the Chafetz Chaim’s arm, and went down the stairs with him. When R’ Benzion Maruz described this, he said: I never saw the Rebbe Rashab give such honor to anyone other than the Chafetz Chaim.

the Bachur the reBBe Was meKareV
R’ Mendel Futerfas related: I once visited R’ Mordechai Aharon Friedman in his old age (he lived in Kfar Chabad), when he was over 80. I saw how he ate, biting the food into very small pieces. I asked him about this and he told me that when he learned in Lubavitch, they nicknamed him the Malach. He had suffered a severe hernia in his youth, and so the bachurim who had to show up at the draft office in various towns would send him in their place and the doctors would exempt him/them due to the hernia. This was done with the Rebbe Rashab’s blessings. The Rebbe esteemed his mesirus nefesh and was mekarev him. When he wanted to see the Rebbe, he would knock on the door and when the Rebbe said, “Enter,” he would walk in. He once complained to the Rebbe that he was unable to refrain from eating because of his health, “But what about the avoda of iskafia?” The Rebbe told him that his avoda of iskafia should be done by his eating with small bites.

travel to the countryside every summer. Once, a group of wealthy Lubavitchers came to visit him. Wealthy people, it is known, tend to be more audacious, since they feel close to the Rebbe as a result of their contributions to communal work. In their audacity, they asked the Rebbe how he felt on vacation. The Rebbe said: Since the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven is everywhere, what difference does it make [whether I’m in Lubavitch or on vacation]?
(R’ Mendel Futerfas)

t’fiLLin straps are LiKe t’fiLLin
R’ Moshe Chaim Dubrawski said that the Rebbe Rashab once saw someone’s t’fillin straps dragging on the floor. The Rebbe was bothered by this and said, “Why are the t’fillin on the ground?” He referred to them as t’fillin since he considered the straps like the t’fillin themselves.
(R’ Mendel Futerfas who heard it from R’ Moshe Chaim)

so much is “poured” on the t’mimim
The Rebbe Rashab once saw a bachur going up the steps two at a time. This took place in Rostov where the yeshiva and the Rebbe’s household were in multistory buildings, while in Lubavitch the buildings had had one floor. The Rebbe was bothered by this, for he considered it chitzonius (externality) and the opposite of yishuv ha’daas (mental composure) and he said: We pour so much on the T’mimim and in the end, it accomplishes nothing [in changing the nature of the middos].

the reBBe cut trees
The mashpia R’ Chaim Shaul Brook said (when he was in Moscow, on his way to Eretz Yisroel) that the Rebbe Rashab needed to do physical work for exercise as per his doctors’ instructions. He would go to a certain place in Lubavitch (or nearby), accompanied by his aide, and they would hold a large saw from either end and cut a thick tree.

no Vacation from KaBBaLas oL maLchus shamaYim
The Rebbe Rashab would

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isKafia is mandatorY
R’ Mendel Futerfas related: One of the foundations of chinuch which they gave in Lubavitch was that iskafia must be done; without it, one cannot progress. Some took it to an extreme. One bachur reached the point where eating was disgusting to him and this resulted in his life being in danger. As a result, the Rebbe told him to stop this avoda and to reach a point where he found some taste in food so that he could eat. I did not see any hiddurim in eating by the outstanding bachur and oved, R’ Dovid Horodoker (Kievman), just in other matters such as washing the hands (checking the cup and his hands before washing). I once asked him about this and he said that when he first started out, he was very particular about eating. He did not even drink the milk that the bachurim drank in the morning since the milk was adulterated with water and had been in a metal container; since the Alter Rebbe writes in his Shulchan Aruch to be careful of water that was in a metal container overnight, he applied these words to his situation. He continued with these stringencies until his health was compromised and the Rebbe

found out about it. The next time he had yechidus, the Rebbe told him to stop and said: Enough with the hiddurim in eating; you need to start using [food] for the sake of Heaven.

the speciaL niggun
The Rebbe Rashab said: In the summer of 5639/1879, the great Chassidim, R’ Shmuel Dovber of Borisov, R’ Gershon Ber of Parhar, and R’ Chaim Dovber of Kremenchug, were in Lubavitch and stayed for two weeks. During this time, they farbrenged a number of times, and each time, they sat for hours and reviewed maamarim, sichos and stories that they heard from elder Chassidim. One of the topics of conversation was the old niggun that the early Chassidim would sing at the beginning of the Alter Rebbe’s nesius. However, five or six years after his son, R’ Dovber, became the Rebbe, he said the niggun should not be sung publicly except by a few individuals who continued to sing it with a special flavor and sweetness. As time went on, fewer people knew the niggun until it was forgotten. Apparently, the niggun was composed during the early years of the Baal Shem Tov’s nesius and was comprised of three

movements that corresponded to the three worlds of Beria, Yetzira and Asiya. The words of the third movement are: ‫בּרוך הוא אלוקינו שנתן‬ ‫לנו תורת אמת וחכמה בּינה ודעת להשכיל כוונת‬ ‫הבריאה ולהבין כוונת ירידת הנשמה לעולם הזה‬ ‫לעשות רצונו יתברך ויתעלה בשעבוד המוח והלב‬ [Blessed is He, our G-d, who gave us the Torah of truth and wisdom, understanding, and knowledge to conceive the intent of creation, and to understand the intent of the descent of the soul into this world, to do His will, may He be blessed and elevated, in subjugating the mind and the heart.] Before the Alter Rebbe’s arrest, the avoda of the Chassidim was in the content of the second movement which corresponds to the world of Yetzira. After his release from jail, when Toras HaChassidus greatly expanded, the avoda of Chassidim was on the third movement and the emphasis was on what we were given. The third movement is the foundation of the entire Chassidus, and Chassidim have toiled in it since then until today. With this movement we will greet Moshiach, the righteous redeemer, speedily in our days, amen.
(Igros Kodesh Rayatz vol. 4, p. 298)

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Mr. Mordechai Lazar learned for a brief period in Yeshivas Tomchei T’mimim in Lubavitch. He later made aliya and was a member of Mapai (Labor Party), but his nostalgia for Lubavitch compelled him to devote a chapter in his book to the Rebbe Rashab and the yeshiva in Lubavitch. * Presented for 20 Cheshvan, the birthday of the Rebbe Rashab.
By Mordechai Lazar Prepared for publication by Shneur Zalman Berger

raBBi shoLom Ber
“I remember the Rebbe Sholom Ber (Rashab) enough to say a few words about him. He had red hair; his head and beard were fiery [when he said a maamer]. He was of moderate height and of broad shoulders. His talks made an impression, as though they were formulated in his deep thoughts as he said them. He would begin in a low voice, which even those standing near him found it hard to hear, but then his voice grew stronger and everyone could hear him. He always spoke sparingly and was always serious.” He goes on to explain that sometimes the Rebbe joked and he brought a story to illustrate this:

It is told that representatives of the G’dolei Yisroel were selected to meet with Minister Stolypin (1862-1911), who was the minister of internal affairs, in order to ask him to cancel some laws against the Jews. The representatives were R’ Chaim Soloveitchik (R’ Chaim Brisker), who was world renowned as a Torah scholar, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, and the well known government appointed rabbi, Vladimir Tyomkin of Elisavetgrad (now Kirovograd), who was not a big scholar but was one of the most famous speakers in the Jewish world and was also an ardent Zionist. It was Erev Pesach and rumors abounded about Jews using Christian blood in their matza. The three men also

wanted to take the opportunity to explain to the minister and convince him that there was no basis for these spurious claims. The meeting took place in Petersburg and lasted half an hour. Stolypin wanted to end the meeting earlier. He gave his hand to Tyomkin and then to the Rebbe and seemed to ignore R’ Chaim. When the three men left Stolypin, the Rebbe wanted to console him for the slight and he said jokingly, “Brisker Rav, don’t be upset that the minister did not put out his hand to you too. Pesach is approaching and in the Hagada it says explicitly, “Davar Acher – B’yad Chazaka Shtayim,” i.e. when a “davar acher” (a euphemism for a pig) puts out its strong hand, it does so only for two men and not for

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Mr. Mordechai Lazar learned in a yeshiva in Kremenchug where he was hosted by the Chassid R’ Yitzchok Yoel Rafaelowitz, a great Chabad rabbi. Thanks to the latter, Lazar took an increasing interest in Chabad until he went to Lubavitch to learn in Tomchei T’mimim. Upon being accepted, he began learning in the branch of the yeshiva in Szedrin and then learned for several months in Lubavitch. From there, he went further in his search for a path in life. He later made aliya and lived in Haifa. He ran a leather and shoe business. He became a member of the left wing Mapai party and became active in that movement. He wrote his memoir over fifty years after the events occurred. the Rebbe were fully cognizant of their role in life and their responsibility to their k’hillos. All these filled an important role, perhaps the most important in community life in Russia while hardships multiplied every day. The main source of hope was belief in the future of the people and the imminent Geula. The [Lubavitcher] bachurim and men

The town of Lubavitch

three.” The three men laughed and continued on their way. The Rebbe, R’ Sholom Ber … was constantly immersed in the four cubits of the study of Nistar. Faithful to his role, he would prepare for his maamer on Friday night or would correspond with the heads of Lubavitcher communities as well as with those who were not Chabad Chassidim, regarding various communal matters. He would encourage them to influence those Jews who were in direct contact with enlightened gentiles and the czar’s ministers so that the czar would cancel restrictions or lighten the evil decrees against us. He was beloved by the simple folk. The court of the Rebbe Rashab was not interested in

petty things such as decorating the house with expensive items of silver and gold, or a carriage and horses and expensive clothing, silk clothes, or appearing like a Jewish king, which is what other Rebbes did in Poland, Galicia and southern Russia, especially in later years. R’ Sholom Ber was fully immersed in important matters, in spreading the Chabad philosophy, in expanding the houses of study and yeshivos whose crowning glory was the yeshiva in Lubavitch, which produced scholars and men knowledgeable in Nigleh and Nistar. He provided rabbanim, shochtim, baalei kria, chazanim, and teachers for communities, who had good reputations in the Jewish world. Those sent by

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were outstanding in their love for the Jewish people, in their integrity, their dignified behavior, their nice manners, their devotion to spreading Torah … and there is no wonder that from this family came forth a president of Israel, R’ Zalman Shazar, who was also a scion of the Schneersohn line, in whom Torah, greatness and nobility of an authentic Jew blended in wondrous harmony, and in whom we all take pride. about the famous yeshivos in Lithuania and Reisin such as those in Volozhin and Telz. However, among the more pious bachurim, among those who never davened hastily and never missed immersing in a mikva before davening, they did not stop praising the yeshiva in Lubavitch where, they opined, Nigleh and Nistar were combined and it produced impeccable, accomplished men. They would say that any yeshiva where they did not learn Tanya and Toras HaNistar, they only partook of half of the Torah. In general, how could a lamdan fill up on Shas and poskim while knowing nothing of Toras HaNistar? It just wasn’t possible. Therefore, every good the yeshiva would go there. If they said “Lubavitch,” they meant this town. One exception was the town of Szedrin where a few dozen boys learned, guided by select teachers until they reached the level of independent learning in the large hall in the yeshiva in Lubavitch under the supervision and guidance of the mashgiach (in my time it was Yoske Rogatchover). The mashgiach Yoske would walk here and there on the platform that was built on the eastern side of the room, and he watched over the hundreds of boys, each of who sat in his usual place, humming some niggun to himself, learning a daf Gemara. Only with a difficult sugya, when he could not figure something out, did he turn to Yoske. *** After a lengthy explanation about the founding of Chassidus, he goes back to Lubavitch: What is this Chassidus Lubavitch that remains till this day [the book was written in 1973] as a self perpetuating entity that is active and inspires activity, builds and influences in many places, even in those that we never heard of before like in North Africa, the United States, South American and African countries? An outstanding example of this is Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, who lives in Brooklyn. He leads an empire and his influence reaches all parts of the globe where there are Jewish communities. His decisions are accepted by his Chassidim and admirers like the word of the living G-d. What is the reason for this? There are many reasons, but the main one is the philosophy of this Chassidus that speaks straight to the heart, and especially to the heart of the

“tYpicaL schneersohn”
In concluding his description of the Rebbe Rashab, Lazar wrote that the Rebbe had an only son, R’ Yosef Yitzchok who in turn, had daughters. He says that after the passing of the Rebbe Rayatz, “the Chabad leadership

However, among the more pious bachurim, among those who never davened hastily and never missed immersing in a mikva before davening, they did not stop praising the yeshiva in Lubavitch where, they opined, Nigleh and Nistar were combined and it produced impeccable, accomplished men.
was transferred to a relative, a very talented man, R’ Menachem Mendel Schneersohn, but he has no sons or daughters. I met him in New York, in Brooklyn. He is a pleasant person whose manner is typical of the Schneersohns. He continues, with great success, in developing the Chabad network … according to the approach and tradition of the Chabad movement.

WonderfuLLY idYLLic
Let us go back to Mr. Lazar’s youth, to what motivated him to go to Yeshivas Tomchei T’mimim: While I was in Kremenchug, I often heard conversations

Jew had to go to the yeshiva in Lubavitch, which was the center for Chabad Chassidus, and fill in what he lacked. Not surprisingly, I decided to head for Lubavitch. When I recall those days that I learned in Lubavitch, I include them amongst the nicest and most interesting periods of my youth and even many years after that. That town always appeared in my mind’s eye as wonderfully idyllic. In my time, the Lubavitcher yeshiva was located in a small town called Lubavitch. Every boy who wanted to enjoy the hidden Chabad light within the walls of

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young generation, which causes a Jew to come under its wings.

As mentioned before, the name Lubavitch was always a mystic lighthouse that shone from afar and provided an unceasing attracting force. When I was still a boy, my father would often tell me of the amazing yeshiva there. My friend Zalman Klampert, who lived in a village near the train station in Dolinsk, which was only a few kilometers away from Sahaydak, also told me wonderful things about the yeshiva in Lubavitch. His father was very close to the Rebbe. The town of Lubavitch, which was well-known throughout the Jewish world in Russia and outside of it, was nothing but a small town with a few narrow muddy streets. During the rainy season, they were impassable. It was settled mostly by Jews who were supported through the yeshiva or the Rebbe’s court. Every Jewish home hosted boys and young men. The wealthier Chassidim would often be charged exorbitant prices for every little service or cup of tea. It should be mentioned that only some of the Jews of the town were supported easily by hosting boys … I remember that when I learned in Lubavitch, right after a boy or man came to the Rebbe’s office, R’ Yehuda “the hosting arranger” would conduct a hurried talk with the guest, check him out, and know where to bring him. In my lifetime, I have visited many yeshivos aside from the ones that I learned in and I never found one where the authentic Jewish spirit like love for others, good middos, relating to people as people, the willingness to help

When I would ask one of the talmidim why he came to Lubavitch, he would say, “First of all, I want to be a good person and a Chabadnik.”
others at any time, making peace among people, were as developed as they were in the yeshiva in Lubavitch during the period that I learned there. The curriculum and ways of learning that led to the main goal were completely different than in other yeshivos. In other yeshivos, the talmidim’s ambition was to master learning the Talmud in order to be a rav or scholar. In Lubavitch, they devoted many hours to both Nistar and Nigleh. Along with learning Talmud, they learned chapters of Nistar or from Tanya and other maamarei Chassidus from the manuscripts belonging to the greats of Chabad Chassidus such as the Rav of Liadi, the Tzemach Tzedek, the Maharash. When I would ask one of the talmidim why he came to Lubavitch, he would say, “First of all, I want to be a good person and a Chabadnik.” A Chabadnik means not only
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chochma, bina and daas. The real meaning is a good Jew and person with good Jewish middos who is imbued with Ahavas Yisroel. Most of the talmidim wanted to be businessmen and disseminators of the teachings of Chabad. Few wanted to serve as functionaries in communities such as shochtim etc. They received encouragement from the Rebbe who saw a need to raise a generation of teachers, counselors and communal leaders faithful to Chabad. The teachers were also more accommodating than teachers and counselors in other yeshivos. Every now and then they would hold gatherings [farbrengens] to mark a Chassidic event like YudTes Kislev, which is the day the Alter Rebbe was released from jail in Petersburg, or the yahrtzait of the Baal Shem Tov, the Hilula of Rashbi, etc. Everyone participated in these gatherings, small and big, rav and talmid, poor and rich. All sat down around the tables, drank some wine and ate cake. The refreshments weren’t lavish or especially varied, but there was always enough wine and cake for everyone. All ate slowly; there was no grabbing and the young ones did not touch the refreshments before the older ones began eating. At these festivities [the mashpia and mashgiach] R’ Gronem was in charge. He was around 65, a little taller than average, broad shouldered and with a long, silvery beard. He had piercing eyes, one of which was much larger than the other. The talmidim suspected it was a fake one since they never saw it blink. He always spoke gently. We never saw him emotional with raised voice. He always began his talk or Chassidic story in a low voice. When someone would comment on his low voice which made him inaudible, he would quote the verse that says, “The words of the wise are heard b’nachas,” and he would explain it thus: if Torah scholars express what they have to say gently, then they are “heard.” Everyone sit quietly and you will hear me. He would tell miracle stories that happened to the Mitteler Rebbe, to the Baal Shem Tov, and the Maggid of Mezritch, how they had k’fitzas HaDerech on their way to save critically ill people, how R’ Leib Sarah’s saved the child of the innkeeper from the Satan who had ambushed him, and how a short Friday became lengthened for the Rebbe Maharash so the sun wouldn’t set while he was on his way to a town. He spoke convincingly with deep conviction and complete faith. Between stories, R’ Gronem would stop, take a little sip, eat some lekach, swallow, and continue talking. He always finished a story with a Chassidic saying from one of the G’dolei Chabad and at the end, everyone would dance joyously. These celebrations fused us, young and old, into one unified family. When the Rebbe would enter the yeshiva on Friday nights … they would take four long tables and put them in the shape of a final Mem, leaving only a small opening through which the Rebbe could enter and sit in his special chair. All the bachurim and Chassidim who came to spend the weekend with the Rebbe would stand, ready to receive the “Divrei Elokim Chayim” from the Rebbe. In the first row around the tables, which were in the center of the large room, were R’ Moshe the chozer and a group of bachurim with excellent memories around him, who made their ears like funnels. The Rebbe would take out his red handkerchief, wrap it around his hand and say a Chassidic maamer. This would take about an hour or an hour and a half. All stood and listened without moving from their place as though rooted to the floor. When the Rebbe finished the maamer, they opened the “gate” again and when the Rebbe turned towards the exit, all those present stood in his honor and remained standing and watching him. Then the bachurim would surround the elderly, delightful and thin Moshe – he was literally skin and bones – and he would repeat what the Rebbe said, just like a recording. He would repeat not just the idea but the sentences as they were said. Every so often one of the outstanding bachurim who stood there would interrupt and say, “The Rebbe didn’t say it like that but like this.” If R’ Moshe agreed with him, he would say, “Right,” and if he did not agree he would say, “You don’t remember correctly,” and then other bachurim would weigh in. Regardless, all the bachurim around R’ Moshe had outstanding memories. R’

r’ moshe the choZer
Among the people who stood out was R’ Moshe the chozer. He was very old, close to 80, and had an extraordinary memory. [SZB: R’ Moshe Rosenblatt of Zembin, who was known as R’ Moshe the chozer, was a Chassid of the Rebbe Maharash and Rebbe Rashab, a talmid of the Chassid R’ Avrohom of Zembin. He was a mashpia in Tomchei T’mimim in Lubavitch and the Rebbe Rashab’s chozer. He passed away in 5675 in Lubavitch.]

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Moshe, however, remembered better than all of them, including the style and construction of sentences. Shabbos afternoon, after sleeping, some bachurim would daven a hasty Mincha and convene once again in a special room with R’ Moshe and review the maamer once again. Of course, now it was easier than the first time.

r’ aVrohom of Liadi
R’ Avrohom of Liadi [SZB: R’ Avrohom Fradkin] I mention here not because of his personality or spiritual stature, but because of another reason altogether. He was the most outstanding dancer among the Chassidim in the town. He was an impassioned Chassid, very thin, of average height, with a willowy beard that was not very long and half gray. He would live, enjoy, and be nourished by Chassidic holidays that had passed or by upcoming holidays. Weekdays to him were a break from holidays, either from the days saturated with delight that had passed or a preparation and yearning for upcoming holidays. When the holidays came around and Chabad Chassidim were jolly after having drunk wine after the evening meal [on Friday nights and holiday nights], they would gather in the large room and start by singing and end by dancing. Then it was Avrohom of Liadi’s turn. He would dance alone or with the bachurim with an incomparable elevation of spirit. There was enthusiasm, d’veikus, and hispaalus all mixed together. He would dance for hours to the singing of the bachurim and to their rhythmic clapping. I remember him jumping with sweat pouring

The Rebbe’s court in Lubavitch today

Rebbe’s court in Lubavitch

down his face and body. His black clothing was drenched as though he had just emerged from a stream of water. His eyes were partially closed and he whispered some words from the Gemara or Chassidus to himself, dancing and whispering. He would dance endlessly. When the bachurim saw that he was growing bored of the niggunim, they would start a new niggun called “four worlds.” Chassidim believe there are four worlds ABY”A which stand for: Asiya, Beria, Yetzira, Atzilus. Man must climb a ladder. This ladder has Asiya as the lowest rung and Atzilus as the highest rung. This song, with four words, had a certain niggun that fit the words and the content. I don’t know whether this niggun is known today because starting at the beginning of the First

World War and ending with the Holocaust of the last World War, Chabad underwent many incarnations and it is possible that many things were lost. Therefore, I provide the niggun here [in the book, there is a photocopy of the notes]. There was another niggun that we, the b’nei yeshiva, would sing while learning Gemara, especially when we reached the end of some sugya that wasn’t easily understood and we had plumbed its depths and emerged victorious. We would finish with this niggun [which Mr. Lazar called “Sugya Niggun”]. There was another song taken from Koheles, “Ma Yisron L ’Adam B’Chol Amalo SheYaamol Tachas HaShemesh.” The song or niggun would be explained as follows: What advantage does man have in all his work? The answer was that he should work under the sun. Obviously, this is not just any work but the toil of Torah. [These three niggunim were so important to the author that he worked with composer Moshe Bick to write the notes for them.]

Issue 854 • �  



the ReBBe RayatZ’s fIRst maameR ChassIdUs
chassidic stories about the rebbe rashab as we approach his birthday on 20 cheshvan. * from the notes of r’ avrohom Weingarten a”h, l’ilui nishmas his son, Matisyahu aryeh leib, may hashem avenge his blood.
Edited by Y Ben Boruch

the heaVenLY Kingdom is LiKe the earthLY Kingdom
A widow from Zembin went to Yeshivas Tomchei T’mimim in Lubavitch with her two sons, ages 12 and 13, Moshe Reuven Zembiner (Zarchin) and Feivel Zembiner (Zarchin). She asked that they be accepted into the yeshiva. R’ Yosef Yitzchok, the Rebbe Rashab’s only son and later his successor, who was the acting dean at the time, was only willing to accept the older brother. At this time, the financial situation of the yeshiva was poor and it wasn’t possible to accept everyone who wanted to attend the yeshiva. Furthermore, the younger brother’s skills were not advanced enough. When Feivel saw that he wasn’t being accepted he burst into tears and he spent the next few days crying. One day, he went next to the yechidus room of the Rebbe Rashab while crying. The Rebbe Rashab walked by and

saw him and asked him why he was crying. Feivel said that he wanted to be accepted into the yeshiva and he was rejected. The Rebbe Rashab went to his room and wrote a note to his son asking him to accept the boy. Later on, the Rebbe Rashab pulled a bell rope and called for his son. He asked his son why he hadn’t accepted the boy into the yeshiva. The Rebbe Rayatz said, “The heavenly kingdom is like the earthly kingdom. In the earthly kingdom (referring to Russia), when there are two brothers, only one of them is inducted into the army. The same ought to be true for the heavenly kingdom (Yeshivas Tomchei T’mimim).” The Rebbe Rashab said, “Nevertheless, he should be accepted into the yeshiva. There will yet grow from him... (The concluding words are not known).” [In R’ Yisroel Jacobson’s memoir he tells the story differently. He writes that neither boy was accepted and that, in the

end, it was thanks to Rebbetzin Rivka who prevailed upon her son, the Rebbe Rashab, to accept them when their mother cried to her. However, the original note of the Rebbe Rashab is extant (and was published in his Igros Kodesh vol. 2 p. 489 and elsewhere, despite the instruction written on it to burn the note – see picture). On the reverse side the Rebbe Rayatz wrote the details of the story as they appear here, although there is no mention of any dialogue between father and son.]
(R’ Y. Gordon)

the crY of the neshama
Once, at a farbrengen of R’ Shmuel Gronem with the bachurim, he reminded R’ Feivel of this and said: Feivel, do you remember how you cried when you wanted to be accepted into the yeshiva? Do you think it was you who cried? No, it was your neshama that cried. R’ Feivel later became a shochet in Barisov, which was near Dokshitz. I remember that he once came to Dokshitz to visit R’ Leib Sheinen, the rav of Dokshitz.
(R’ Y Gordon)

the reBBe read his mind
R’ Zalman Schneersohn of Lodz (who was known as Zalman Veliszher) was present at the Rebbe Rashab’s YudTes Kislev farbrengen of 5664. During the farbrengen, the Rebbe

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spoke about how the Alter Rebbe received the true essence of the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov. As R’ Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev said about the Alter Rebbe: We all ate from the same bowl and the Litvak took the cream. This is what R’ Levi Yitzchok wrote to R’ Avrohom of Kalisk, describing how the Alter Rebbe was very dear to the Maggid of Mezritch. Said the Rebbe Rashab: This letter of R’ Levi Yitzchok is astonishing, for he writes to R’ Avrohom of Kalisk, “That you say that our teacher, R’ Menachem Mendel (of Vitebsk) was dear to our teacher – I did not hear this, but I can testify that my mechutan (the Alter Rebbe) was very dear to the Maggid who highly praised him.” When the Rebbe Rashab said the words “I did not hear this,” R’ Zalman Schneersohn thought to himself that as he recalled the letter, the wording was, “I did not know.” As soon as R’ Zalman thought this, the Rebbe sensed this with his ruach ha’kodesh and he said to R’ Zalman, “It does not say, ‘I did not know’ but ‘I did not hear this’ (i.e. he did not hear this from him but surely, R’ Levi Yitzchok knew this). The other people present at the farbrengen did not know why the Rebbe Rashab was saying this, but R’ Zalman immediately realized that the Rebbe was responding to his thought.
(R’ Wolf Gringlass)

Handwritten note of the Rebbe Rashab instructing that the boy (Feivel Zarchin) be accepted in yeshiva

that although the Rebbe Rayatz explained something a certain way, it could still be interpreted another way. One time, when R’ Zalman was at the Rebbe Rayatz’s table, the Rebbe explained a certain Zohar and R’ Zalman thought that it could be explained differently. With his ruach ha’kodesh, the Rebbe Rayatz immediately sensed what R’ Zalman was thinking and said to him: This is the explanation of the Zohar and nothing else! From then on, R’ Zalman was utterly mekushar to the Rebbe Rayatz.
(R’ Dovber Chaskind)

The other people present at the farbrengen did not know why the Rebbe Rashab was saying this, but R’ Zalman immediately realized that the Rebbe was responding to his thought.

a hint is sufficient for the Wise
One of the bachurim who learned in Tomchei T’mimim in Lubavitch was R’ Yitzchok Gershon. He would look at the Rebbe Rashab’s face as he said a maamer and he would pay attention to the Rebbe’s expressions and his hand movements. For example, he once said that when the Rebbe said a certain maamer and spoke

about igulim, he saw the Rebbe make circles with his fingers. R’ Yitzchok Gershon would say that by seeing these movements, the topic discussed in the maamer became more settled in his mind. This is as it says in Chassidus about a hint being sufficient for the wise, that there are topics that cannot be stated but need to be revealed through hints.
(R’ Kadish Romanov)

that is the eXpLanation in the Zohar!
A similar thing happened to R’ Zalman with the Rebbe Rayatz. R’ Zalman was mekushar and battul to the Rebbe Rashab. After his passing, when his son succeeded him, at first R’ Zalman was not so battul to him. He felt

he sWaLLoWed eVerY Word of the maamer
R’ Shmuel Levitin went to learn in Lubavitch when he was sixteen. He arrived there before Pesach 5659/1899, together with his brother Shmaryahu, who was a big lamdan. Both of them lived
Issue 854 • �  



R’ avROhOm feIvIsh ZaRChIn

The Chassid R’ Avrohom Shraga Feivish Zarchin a”h was born in Zembin in approximately 5657/1897. His father died when he was a boy. In Tishrei 5670/1909, at the age of 12, his mother took him with his older brother Moshe Reuven to Yeshivas Tomchei T’mimim in Lubavitch. R’ Avrohom Feivish was accepted (after the incident related in the article) and was one of the outstanding bachurim. They could see the fulfillment of the Rebbe Rashab’s bracha that “there will yet grow from him,” and he exemplified the verse, “However, his younger brother will surpass him.” R’ Yisroel Jacobson relates: R’ Shraga Feivish was “a Chassidishe bachur” in Tomchei T’mimim and after he married he was “a geshmake yungerman” (a delightful young man). R’ Yehuda Chitrik a”h told Beis Moshiach that he remembered R’ Avrohom Feivish as one of the distinguished T’mimim, who was one of the ovdim immersed in the avodas ha’t’filla. After the Communist Revolution, R’ Avrohom Feivish moved to Borisov. In Tishrei 5682/1922 he became engaged and he informed the Rebbe Rayatz of this in a letter. The Rebbe wrote him, wishing him mazal tov and blessing him with good fortune all his life, materially and spiritually. The Rebbe responded R’ mOshe ReUven ZaRChIn to his question about parnasa by saying he should he be in business and blessing him with great success R’ Avrohom Feivish’s older brother, R’ Moshe for ample parnasa. He urged him to learn and Reuven, was born in approximately 5656. He learned teach Chassidus in Borisov, by heart and in the text, for a period of time in Tomchei T’mimim in Lubavitch. according to the level of understanding of the students. R’ Avrohom Drizin (Maiyor) related: R’ Chitrik said: “R’ Moshe Reuven left the yeshiva after a while “After he married, R’ Avrohom Feivish became (but his younger brother remained and was one of the a shochet in Borisov. During World War II he was outstanding bachurim).” drafted. The cursed Nazis killed his wife and children R’ Moshe Reuven married in the winter of 5682. and his entire family. While in the army, he was He informed the Rebbe Rayatz of this, who responded wounded with shrapnel in his stomach. The wound with a letter wishing him mazal tov and blessing him remained open and he suffered from it for the rest of with good fortune all his life, materially and spiritually. his days. Every day a medic would come to bandage The Rebbe instructed him to strengthen good and him. upright things by supporting Torah etc. wherever he “After being wounded, he went to Samarkand where might be. he was appointed as one of the mashpiim in Yeshivas R’ Moshe Reuven moved to Kursk. In 5696, Tomchei T’mimim.” when R’ Shmuel Zalmanov, who was the shochet in R’ Hillel Zaltzman related: Kursk, moved to Eretz Yisroel, R’ Moshe Reuven was “After the war, R’ Avrohom Feivish returned to appointed the shochet.

Borisov to see who still remained alive of his family. Upon his arrival there, he was shocked to see that half of the city had been destroyed by the Nazis and his entire family had been murdered. The only one to remain alive was his niece (perhaps the daughter of his brother Moshe Reuven). “His own house had miraculously not been destroyed, but due to the force of the bombing it had moved a few meters. “R’ Avrohom Feivish decided to remain in Borisov and he married his niece. Since kosher meat was unobtainable, he became a shochet once again and supplied kosher meat to all nearby towns.” R’ Yitzchok Mishulovin relates: “When I was in Russia, I heard a lot about the Chassid, Avrohom Feivish Zarchin. In my youth, the Chassid R’ Chaim Zalman Kozliner (known by the acronym ChaZaK) told me that it would be very worthwhile for me to go to Borisov to R’ Avrohom Feivish, for I could get Chassidic guidance from him and could gain a lot in Nigleh too, and also in Chassidus and the ways of Chassidus and the avodas ha’t’filla. But matters did not work out and I did not go to him.” R’ Avrohom Feivish passed away in Borisov in Iyar 5741/1981.

together in R’ Moshe Yosef’s guest house.

On Pesach, he heard the Rebbe Rashab say the maamer

“Ki Yish’alcha Bincha,” and R’ Shmuel said that this affected

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him greatly. He swallowed every word of the maamer even though he did not understand that much of it.

When the reBBe raYatZ said his first maamer
The Rebbe Rayatz said Chassidus for the first time (in his father’s lifetime) on Shabbos, Parshas Chukas 5659. He said the maamer, “Im Lo Brisi Yomam V’Laila ...” That Shabbos was the Shabbos before his birthday on 12 Tammuz, when he entered his 20th year, having been born in 5640. The Rebbe Rashab said a maamer on the same verse. Apparently, the Rebbe Rayatz’s maamer was based on, and was an explanation of, his father’s maamer.

R’ Shmuel Levitin and his brother Shmaryahu were in their guest house when the brothers, R’ Shmuel and R’ Zalman Bespalov, came and told them that the Rebbe was farbrenging. R’ Yaakov Mordechai Poltaver (Bespalov) attended this farbrengen. He was musically talented and he sang niggunim with great joy. As he did so, he made hand motions as was his custom.

currency among Chassidim. With a little bit of mashke one loses oneself.
(When R’ Shmuel Levitin related this, he began to cry and he said that this line was deeply engraved in him. He concluded that the main thing is not to be a metzius).

he rose up With the chair!
In continuation to what R’ Levitin said about the Rebbe Rayatz’s first maamer, R’ Zalman Bespalov said the following about the Rebbe Rashab’s first maamer, as he heard it from his father, R’ Yaakov Mordechai Poltaver: When the Rebbe Rashab said a maamer Chassidus for the first time, it was an explanation of the maamer said by his father, the Rebbe Maharash. The next day, R’ Yaakov Mordechai went to the Rebbe Maharash as he did every day at about four or five in the morning. He told the Rebbe that his son said a maamer and when the Rebbe heard this, he rejoiced greatly and in his joy, he rose up together with the chair he sat on!

a LittLe mashKe gets rid of the ego
The Chassid, R’ Moshe Betzalel was also at this farbrengen. He was very shy (and was considered one of the slightly modern Chassidim who wore cardigans and arranged their beards). Mashke was distributed (according to another version the Rebbe himself gave it out) and R’ Moshe Betzalel was also given some, but he was embarrassed to take any. The Rebbe Rashab said to him: Busha (shyness) is not a

a speciaL farBrengen
When the Rebbe Rashab heard that his son said a maamer, he rejoiced. In honor of the occasion, he held a special farbrengen on Motzaei Shabbos.
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Issue 854 • �  


Moshiach & geula

‘WIld talK’ aBOUt the meanInG Of ‘hIstalKUs’
following the histalkus of the rebbe rayatz, the rebbe Mh”M proclaimed that the rebbe remains alive as before. * source materials on this topic, compiled by rabbi Majeski in likkutei M’koros. (translations appear in bold. underlining is the author’s emphasis.)
Translated and presented by Boruch Merkur

n the address said in honor of the Rebbe Rayatz’s Shloshim, on 10 Adar, the Rebbe MH”M tells of how the Rebbe Rayatz’s doctor felt that he had no business being his doctor, for from a medical perspective, he “cannot understand the corporeal life of the Rebbe.” The Rebbe explains the nature of this enigma: The truth is that the Rebbe’s life is spiritual life: “The life of a tzaddik is not physical life but spiritual life” (Tanya Igeres HaKodesh siman 27). From this it is understood that with regard to the Rebbe, there is no distinction between his previous status and his current status. Even now, the Rebbe is with us physically. And the means of hiskashrus to the Rebbe (mentioned earlier) – i.e., studying his maamarim, etc. – remain in full force.
(Ibid 17)


On Shabbos Parshas Tetzaveh of that year, the Rebbe MH”M came out in protest against the “wild” claims about the Rebbe Rayatz’s

histalkus: Those who say that the “histalkus” means that the Rebbe has “passed away” from us are unruly individuals, who don’t know what they’re talking about. Indeed, the Rebbe explains, the Rebbe Rayatz elucidated this very term in the maamer “Basi L’Gani,” which was to be given out on Yud Shvat of that year, and turned out to be the day of his histalkus: The Rebbe explains the saying of the Zohar, “When the Forces of Evil are overcome, the glory of the Alm-ghty is istalek (exalted) in all the worlds.” Would this person translate “istalek” here in the literal sense as well, G-d forbid?! The Rebbe explains that “the glory of the Alm-ghty is istalek” refers to the manifestation of G-dly light at an extremely lofty level, the level of Sovev Kol Almin, Transcending All Worlds. This manifestation is called “histalkus” because it is at the level of “exaltedness.” From this it is understood that the same meaning applies to the “histalkus” of the Rebbe. […] Nevertheless, we want and need

the Rebbe to be [present in this world in a way that we can perceive him] in the simple sense, “below ten handbreadths”... The father of the Rebbe Rashab, nishmaso Eden, the Rebbe Maharash, asked his father, the Rebbe the Tzemach Tzedek, in connection with the year that was said to be a “keitz” (a date predicted to be the end of exile): How is it possible that Moshiach did not come? The Tzemach Tzedek answered: Likkutei Torah was published [in that year]! [That is, the revelation of such an important work, which brings G-dly concepts into the realm of human understanding, is tantamount to the coming of Moshiach!] The Rebbe Maharash replies, saying to his father, the Tzemach Tzedek: But we want and need Moshiach in the literal sense, “below ten handbreadths”!
(Ibid 18)

In a letter dated the 25th of Adar 5710, in preparation for Beis Nissan, the Rebbe MH”M specifies two themes of the day: 1) The day of the hilula, the histalkus, of the Rebbe Rashab, and 2) since his position is

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an inheritance, it is automatically transferred to his only son, the Rebbe Rayatz, “nasi and leader of our generation.” When it comes to an anniversary of an event, the qualities particular to that original event recur. Naturally, thirty years after the histalkus of the Rebbe Rashab, he has ascended thirty levels, for as our Sages teach, the righteous go from strength to strength, even after their histalkus. At the same time, it is said that “The righteous who pass on are present in all the worlds” – even in the physical

world – “more so than when they were alive.” Thus, the influence that extends to his adherents constantly rises higher and higher, and in order for it to be properly received and absorbed by the Chassidim, their “vessels,” i.e., their faculties (presumably their minds and hearts), must be correspondingly purified. It is, therefore, incumbent upon every Chassid to strengthen his hiskashrus to the Rebbe in accordance with the ways which he has guided us – in his letters, his sichos, and his maamarim – with

greater strength and fortitude. Also, each person must contemplate and implant in his mind and heart the fact that the shepherd – our nasi, my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe ‫ – הכ’’מ‬did not desert his flock, G-d forbid; he still stands and serves in holiness to protect them and provide for all their needs, both materially and spiritually. [The Rebbe’s signature]
(Ibid 19)

Continued from page 42 asked the Chassidim that came to Australia to settle on the farm in Shepparton so he could enjoy their Chassidishe presence. The mashpia, R’ Abba Pliskin went with him, for he also wanted to continue being involved in Chassidus and hashpaa. Upon first arriving in Shepparton, they stayed with R’ Feiglin, who received them with great honor and joy. Now the small k’hilla had four significant Chassidim: R’ Moshe Zalman Feiglin, R’ Betzalel Wilschansky, R’ Shneur Zalman Serebryanski, and R’ Abba Pliskin. Most of the Jews on the settlement were not

religious and they went to shul on Shabbos by car. After years of spiritual isolation, R’ Feiglin greatly enjoyed being in the presence of Chassidim. Shortly after arriving, R’ Zalman began discussing with R’ Feiglin his idea to start a yeshiva. Unfortunately, at just this time, R’ Feiglin’s wife had a serious problem with her foot and was sent to the hospital. R’ Feiglin was busy with her and his response to R’ Zalman’s suggestions lacked enthusiasm and attention. In a letter that R’ Zalman wrote to the Rebbe on Erev Rosh HaShana he reported about this and expressed his

hope that when R’ Feiglin’s wife recovered, R’ Feiglin would be among the first to get involved. R’ Zalman did not want to be a burden on R’ Feiglin, especially as he was busy with his wife, so he began working in R’ Feiglin’s fields. His son Chaim, who had still not recovered completely from his condition of the summer before, and could not concentrate to learn in depth, joined him in working in the fields. His son Aharon learned alone in the shul in the center of the village. The money they received for their work was enough to cover the cost of renting an apartment and basic subsistence.

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Parsha thought

thRee-tIeRed taRRyInG
By Rabbi Heschel Greenberg

taKing Lot BY the hand
This week’s parsha chronicles the destruction of the city of Sodom. Only Lot and his immediate family were spared because of their association with Abraham. The Torah then records how at dawn the angels sent to destroy the city were pressuring Lot to leave: “Arise; take your wife and your two daughters who are found, lest you shall be destroyed because of the iniquity of the city.” Instead of heeding their urgent demand for Lot to leave and the explicit threat that he too might become a victim of Sodom’s destruction, the Torah continues by saying: “And he tarried.” This forced the angels to literally take Lot and his family by their hands and get them out of the city.

The Hebrew word for “and he tarried” is VaYismahmah. This word is intriguing because of the rare musical note attached to it called shalsheles. The word shalsheles means a chain and indeed the symbol looks something like a chain and it is chanted in a manner where the reader sings higher and higher no less than three times. What is the significance of

this note and why is it attached to this word in particular? The obvious answer is that the shalsheles note indicates stretching. And indeed Lot was stretching and procrastinating. Lot was twisting and turning. The question now, however, is why did he procrastinate and why does the Torah make a point of emphasizing his tarrying with both the word and its musical note? And why is it indicated by a note that has three twists? Is it possible that Lot did not really believe the angels that the city would be destroyed? There is precedent for this in an earlier parsha, where Noach was compelled by G-d to enter the Ark, which prompts Rashi’s comment: “Noach was not a firm believer, he believed and didn’t believe the flood would occur.” Now if Noach, who was a perfectly righteous person, had his doubts about the fulfillment of G-d’s threat to destroy the world, certainly Lot may have had some doubts of his own about the impending disaster in Sodom. The comparison to Noach, though, is not a good one. Noach was convinced that G-d, the epitome of kindness, would never destroy His world and that the building of the Ark and the threat of a flood was G-d’s way of getting people to shape up. It was, therefore, hard for him

to believe that G-d would really destroy the world. Lot, on the other hand, is never described as a righteous person. He was saved not in his own merit but in the merit of his uncle Abraham. It is more plausible to think that Lot’s tarrying had less to do with his belief in G-d’s goodness and more about his weaknesses and moral lapses. Moreover, the very fact that he sought to live in the world’s most corrupt city is an indication that he too was far from being a paragon of virtue.

Lot’s three fears
A more plausible explanation for Lot’s tardiness was his attachment to his home and the city that kept him and he was loath to abandon it so quickly. He wanted to make the transition gradually. Abrupt changes are difficult for people. In fact, if we delve more deeply into why people do not change quickly, one can discern three reasons: There is a certain familiarity and attachment to the place where we live. The Talmud states: “The charm of a place is on its residents.” People develop attachments to their homes and cities. There is a fear of change no matter how bad the previous

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situation was. A prisoner may experience fear prior to his release from prison. There is also a fear of the unknown challenges that the future will bring. Thus the musical note that accompanies the word “VaYismahmah-and he tarried” consists of three twists and turns. There are three hurdles and roadblocks that contributed to Lot’s tarrying. Lot was comfortable in Sodom. According to Rashi, he was a highly respected member of the community and was appointed to be a judge. He enjoyed great affluence and was welcome in a city that was notorious for its hatred of outsiders. He genuinely took a liking for this horrible place. Lot was also afraid of change no matter how good the change would be for him. He had to first psych himself up to the prospect that he was going to a new place. And thirdly, he was terrified of the future challenges and that he would be judged. Lot feared how he would fare in any place outside of Sodom. Indeed, the Torah tells us as much when it records how Lot begged to be able to stay in the city of Tzo’ar rather than go all the way. He was terrified of going up to the mountain where he was originally told to go. Why? Rashi explains that he knew that he was not worthy of the future when compared to his uncle Abraham. In Sodom, Lot was a tzaddik. Relative to the inhospitable, wicked, sadistic, corrupt, profoundly immoral Sodomites, Lot was a shining star. Once out of Sodom, living in the shadow of his righteous uncle Abraham, he would have to change and become a totally different person. That, he was

Because exile conditions eclipse our ability to excel, even if we barely deserve a passing grade, we are doing well. We might be concerned that in the future we will no longer have the same excuses and we will have to perform on a much higher level.
not prepared to do. Lot’s fear was entirely justified emulate Lot’s three twists alluded to in the word VaYismahmah— and he tarried. First, we feel comfortable in exile. We enjoy the prosperity and even the spiritual opportunities that we have, particularly in this country. We loathe giving it up so quickly, so we are prepared to take our time. Second, we don’t like change. We imagine that the changes of the future will be drastic; totally unfamiliar to us. And even if they are for the good, it is still change. And the prospect of change for many is daunting. Third, when we live in exile we may look good only as compared to others. In the Messianic Age, we will be living amongst the resurrected righteous people of the past and we fear that we will look like nobodies. Moreover, we often use exile conditions as an excuse for our wanting behavior. Because exile conditions eclipse our ability to excel, even if we barely deserve a passing grade, we are doing well. We might be concerned that in the future we will no longer have the same excuses and we will have to perform on a much higher level. Just as Lot was terrified of going up to the mountain, so too we are fearful of climbing the spiritual mountain associated with the future Redemption.

the paraLLeL to our generation
There is a parallel that can be drawn for our own generation. Sodom, with its lack of spirituality, is a metaphor for the state of the world in exile. And though exile conditions vary from one age to another and from one place to another, the common denominator of all aspects of exile is that they compromise our standards of attachment to G-d and His teachings. The state of Sodom is the lowest point to which exile conditions can take us. And that is one of the dangers of living in exile even in its most benign forms; once we come off the “mountain” we can fall into the abyss. The Torah tells us that we should never get too comfortable in exile. Moreover, we must endeavor to get out of exile by pleading with and demanding of G-d to bring Moshiach, by learning Torah, specifically the aspects of Torah that concern the age of Redemption. This knowledge will help us shape and mold a liberated way of thinking and act in a totally G-dly and selfless manner – a foretaste of the way we will live in the Messianic Age. However, exile forces counter these three efforts. And as much as we believe that Moshiach’s coming is inevitable, we can still

i BeLieVe, With perfect faith, i aWait
There is one other place

Issue 854 • �  


Parsha thought
where the word YiSmahmeah is employed. In the Biblical book of Chabakuk, the prophet states: “If he shall tarry, wait for him.” This verse has been incorporated in the Thirteen Principles of Faith many recite daily, based on Maimonides formulation of the basic principles of Judaism, which declares: “I believe, with perfect faith in the coming of Moshiach. And even if he tarries, I await his coming every day.” The prophet‘s reference to tarrying is not just about Moshiach’s tarrying but also about our reaction to his coming. We tarry and hesitate when it comes to getting out of our Sodom/exile to climb the change, we say “with perfect mountain. We want a place of faith,” to indicate that we are not respite before the Redemption. fearful of this change and that And to counter all three we want it with all of our heart reasons for this tarrying, there and soul. The reason why it is a are three expressions of faith in sincere faith is that, in truth, the changes will not destroy who we the Ani Maamin prayer: (a) “I believe” (b) “with are now. It will merely enhance perfect faith” (c) “I await his all that we are and possess. It is not change; it is real growth. coming every day.” And to dismiss the fear of the To counter the attitude of: “I future challenges we assert: “I Express service like it here in exile,” Express service we declare “I believe in the coming of await his coming every day.” This Fully Computerized Fully Computerized Moshiach.” We believe that our expresses our intense desire and place is not in exile because in eager anticipation for Moshiach 331 Kingston Ave. 331 Kingston Ave. future Redemption. exile we are not truly ourselves; and the (2(2nd Flr) Brooklyn NY 11213 nd Flr) Brooklyn NY 11213 We do not ask for Redemption thus, the emphasis on the word reluctantly, rather, we are “I.” The true “I” believes in and identifies with Moshiach.your tickets within enthusiastic about it because we Get tickets withinminutes! minutes! Get believe that we will be able to To respond to the fear of Fax: (718) 493-4444 Fax: (718) 493-4444 meet the new challenges.

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POlItICal UnIty OR UnIfORmIty?
While it’s been good to hear all the talk about uniting the religious and rightwing parties, this unity must be real, disqualifying no one and opening the door to everyone. only this type of unity will send a clear message to the public atlarge, enabling a united list of candidates to garner a considerably larger number of Knesset seats and become a decisive force in the next government.
By Sholom Ber Crombie Translated by Michoel Leib Dobry

he election atmosphere that has captured the attention of the citizens of Eretz Yisroel didn’t just pop out of nowhere. The country’s political machinery has been working for several months in preparation for the official start of the election campaign, and all the various parties are now off and running. It was only a question of timing: When will the prime minister put an end to all the smoke and mirrors on the election issue and send the voters back to the ballot box? Even the religious parties had been preparing for the expected announcement. However, it appears once again that instead of trying to create an aura of real unity in their ranks, they are more concerned with the question of who won’t have a realistic spot in a united list of candidates – if


and when it is formed. It seems that despite the decades that have passed since the Rebbe wrote numerous letters on the issue of religious unity in Israeli politics – nothing has changed. Instead of trying to increase the size of the religious/ultra-Orthodox bloc, they are busy dealing with more important questions, such as who will lead the party in the upcoming campaign and who will receive the higher-ranking positions in the next government. There were those who sought to advance this process, as they attempted to unite all the rightwing and religious parties prior to the last Knesset elections four years ago. Naturally, these efforts went largely for naught. This was due in part to all those who saw themselves as future government ministers and committee chairmen, no matter

what the price, and their refusal to join forces with “extremists” from the nationalist camp. They forgot that it was specifically the “moderate leadership” that brought us to the disgraceful expulsion from Gush Katif. To this day, they have not been called to account. It is in this very same fashion that the current government easily approved the destruction of Ramat Gilad, Givat HaUlpana, and Migron. They are simply unwilling to admit to the world that they were wrong, as they always seek to find others to blame, i.e., those politicians who steadfastly maintained the struggle for Eretz Yisroel, and with whom they categorically refused to sit in the same government. The Jewish People are paying the price for this stubbornness through the reckless abandon of the Israeli government and the High Court of Justice, while the right-wing and ultra-Orthodox parties go completely unnoticed. The political power wielded by the Torah-observant sectors failed during this past year to stop the waves of uncontrolled incitement against the ultraOrthodox communities or the irrational and unjustified removal of Jews from their homes. The harsh truth is that a right-of-center government is doing the work of the leftists, and there’s no viable opposition to stand against it. The nationalist parties are splintered and divided, unwilling to fight together for
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We learned this lesson during the last year. In every respect, this was a year to be remembered as one filled with very difficult struggles, eventually concluding with one failure after another. The ultraOrthodox and religious communities failed to close ranks and wage a united struggle, and the media had a field day with these two sectors, weakening them considerably in political terms.
their shared principles as one united bloc. Take for example the proposed “arrangements bill,” the unsuccessful legislation designed to protect Jewish communities in Yehuda and Shomron from demolition if they were built with government assistance. It is quite evident that if Shas, Yahadut HaTorah (United Torah Judaism), and Bayit HaYehudi (the former NRP) had presented a joint demand for passage of the proposed law, including a warning that they would all bolt the government if the legislation failed to receive Knesset approval, the prime minister would have been compelled to take this into account and would not have undermined the bill. However, when the only party to threaten Netanyahu with leaving the coalition (a threat it never carried out) was Bayit HaYehudi, there was no chance that the prime minister would take such threats seriously from those demanding the bill’s passage. When we consider the numerous letters that the Rebbe wrote on the issue of political unity among the religious parties, we realize that this is not a political matter. This is a question of protecting the Jewish values of the Jewish state. We learned this lesson during the last year. In every respect, this was a year to be remembered as one filled with very difficult struggles, eventually concluding with one failure after another. The ultra-Orthodox and religious communities failed to close ranks and wage a united struggle, and the media had a field day with these two sectors, weakening them considerably in political terms.

if there had Been true unitY, eVen the media BattLe WouLd haVe appeared different
It’s impossible to separate the vested interests of the ultraOrthodox parties from those of the other religious parties. The problem is that they also didn’t unite these interests in order to fight for a common cause. All the talk about solidarity within the ultra-Orthodox and national religious sectors has failed to achieve any joint action or parliamentary struggle to help them in their battles on behalf of their communities. The battles waged by these two groups eventually followed the same path. The media that did such harm to the country’s Jewish values is the same media that caused damage to the Jewish outposts and neighborhoods in Yehuda and Shomron. In the present absurd situation with a biased media in Eretz Yisroel, it is in the best interests of both these religious sectors and all

the religious parties to set things straight. The same applies to the flagrant injustice in the conduct of the Israeli High Court of Justice, which violates the rights of Jewish settlers in Yehuda and Shomron. Similarly, it denies the right of the ultra-Orthodox communities to maintain services in keeping with their Torah observant lifestyle, such as “mehadrin” bus lines. If the ultra-Orthodox and religious parties would unite in strength and initiate a joint struggle in the various parliamentary committees against the media bias, we would undoubtedly get a far more responsible press in this country. We were privileged to see this during several battles when religious Knesset Members across the political spectrum spoke with one voice. When MK Yisroel Eichler (Yahadut HaTorah) stood together with MK Yaakov “Ketzele” Katz (Ichud HaLeumi) to save the Givat HaUlpana neighborhood, his words rang with greater clarity before the Knesset committees, earning him much respect in the eyes of the public. By the same token, “Ketzele” received well-deserved plaudits when he announced that he would support the ultraOrthodox sector in the face of organized incitement against the “mehadrin” bus lines. The very fact that we see unity among politicians from these two sectors causes those on the outside to reconsider their objections. They realize that this is not just a battle of “black hats” or “orange ribbons” but a general struggle by a wide cross-section of communities. Such an understanding will enable the parties to coordinate their positions and set clear demands for overall change in the government’s attitude

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towards anything with an aroma of Yiddishkait.

In his correspondence on the subject of a united political front, the Rebbe also proposed the option of a technical bloc. In other words, the parties run with a single a unified front against netanYahu list of candidates, and each one operates as a separate and The upcoming elections will independent parliamentary faction after the election. This apparently deal with two central issues: the Iranian threat and option permits each party to tend to its own voting public the socio-economic threat that and their educational institutions without harming any future initiated the waves of protests throughout the country last coordination or cooperation in coalition negotiations.
summer. These two issues will shift the focus away from the question of the territorial integrity of Eretz Yisroel and the possible establishment of an independent Palestinian state, G-d forbid. In the upcoming elections, scheduled for the day after Yud Shvat, the politicians will have no need to contrive any evasive answers for whether or not they support the peace agreements, nor will they be asked to present their own foreign policy proposals. Despite the highly critical nature of these issues, they will be allowed to dodge them through empty slogans. The real question is not what will happen during the election campaign, but what will happen the day after. There is a genuine sense of concern over a possible third election victory for a prime minister who has already announced his intention to establish a Palestinian state and who enjoys a high public approval rating – with no viable alternative for leadership. This is exactly what happened during the premiership of Ariel Sharon. In his first two years in office after defeating Ehud Barak in a special election, he merely asserted his positions on certain issues without any clear policy action. However, after he led the Likud Party to a landslide victory at the polls, his policy positions were transformed into the actual steps leading to the malicious expulsion of the Jewish communities in the Gaza Strip, carried out with a flood of public support. It is specifically for this reason that there must be a firm united front against the prime minister to prevent further dangerous withdrawals and “disengagements.” It doesn’t matter whether this front sits around the government table or on the opposition benches. The important thing is that there should be a coalition of religious/ ultra-Orthodox parties with all faith-filled Knesset Members from the political right-wing. The purpose of this coalition will be to protect the prime minister against unwarranted pressure from the media and the leftists. In his correspondence on the subject of a united political front, the Rebbe also proposed the option of a technical bloc. In other words, the parties run with a single list of candidates, and each one operates as a separate and independent parliamentary faction after the election. This option permits each party to tend to its own voting public and their educational institutions without harming any future coordination or cooperation in coalition negotiations. This possibility can easily lay the groundwork for a viable run for the premiership by a religious or ultra-Orthodox candidate. However, until that happens, it will change the attitude towards the religious/ultra-Orthodox parties in coalition negotiations when it presents a united front of thirty-five Knesset seats as an incontrovertible precondition in the formation of any future Israeli government.

don’t settLe for unitY BetWeen onLY tWo parties
While it’s been good to hear all the talk about uniting the religious and right-wing parties, this unity must be real, disqualifying no one and opening the door to everyone. Only this type of unity will send a clear message to the public at-large, enabling a united list of candidates to garner a considerably larger number of Knesset seats and become a decisive force in the next government. But more importantly, we must not settle for a symbolic unification of two small parties. We must continue to demand that the politicians strive for overall unity among all Torahobservant parties, as the Rebbe prophetically requested decades ago and which remains a viable and necessary option to this very day.
Issue 854 • �  



A selection of stories about shluchim who encounter difficulties, which turn out to be the very thing that strengthens their work. a daY camp in a pLaYground
A few years ago, a Chabad day camp for dozens of children found itself operating out of a public playground because municipal workers expelled them from their building. The camp was run by the shliach in Nachalat Yehuda in Rishon L ’Tziyon, Rabbi Tal Kaplan. R’ Kaplan and his wife started a small community with a Chabad minyan, shiurim, Rosh Chodesh parties, camps, and events around the year. However, like Avigdor and the Misnagdim of yesteryear, a few residents of the neighborhood called the municipality to complain about the Chabad house. That is how the children came to be removed from the building where the day camp was housed. The camp was forced to go back and forth from the playground to a nearby shul. This did not deter the shliach, and in subsequent years the day camp has grown and expanded. On a recent Lag B’Omer there was a parade that entailed a large expenditure of money, which the shliach organized after being promised by a donor that he would cover all the expenses. In the end, the donation did not materialize, and a large sum of money that was beyond the shliach’s capabilities had to be deposited in the bank in order to cover the checks. Then the shliach got a call from a Lubavitcher who said to him, “I would like to give you a small donation. Can you come and pick it up?” The shliach showed up and to his surprise, the amount of the donation was precisely the amount he needed to deposit in the bank to cover the Lag B’Omer expenses.

rescinding decrees
In Alon Moreh, the head of the city council told the shliach R’ Yehuda Rubin that he had to clear the Chabad house staff and activities out of his building due to a housing shortage thanks to the building freeze. The building freeze meant that not a single home was available for rent or sale. R’ Rubin posted a message on the Shluchim Forum asking all shluchim to see what they could do to help. Some shluchim wrote a letter to the head of the Alon Moreh city council, but within four days the problem was resolved in an

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unexpected way. The owners of the building that the Chabad house was housed in went to R’ Rubin and, of their own initiative, they offered that he continue his activities on the ground floor of the building. This would cost less than he had paid in previous years. In general, R’ Rubin is accustomed to miracles. I remember a Kinus HaShluchim in 770, when there was an Israeli Prime Minister who spoke about destroying dozens of settlements in Yehuda-Shomron. There was an outcry in 770. R’ Rubin called upon those present to daven that the decree be rescinded. Within a few days, the plan was revised. A similar thing happened when the government spoke about giving our enemies the Golan Heights. As a spiritual preventive move, Tzach held the annual Israeli Kinus HaShluchim in the Golan Heights. Then too, the government’s plans suddenly changed and the dangerous proposal was dropped.

Then the young man came to me and asked me to write to the Rebbe with a request that they find the horse. I was somewhat uncomfortable with this, for what did a horse have to do with Igros Kodesh? But then I recalled the story in which King Shaul asked Shmuel the Navi about his missing donkeys. I guided the young man and he wrote the letter. heLpers and enemies
R’ Meir Messas is a shliach at Moshav Safsufa and the nearby yishuvim. He has some stories about hardships and opponents who ultimately came around to helping the Chabad house (or who ended up leaving the area). He related the following at a farbrengen: When the Rebbe Rayatz left prison, he said a maamer Chassidus on the verse, “Hashem is with me amongst my helpers and I will see my enemies’ defeat.” I will also tell you about my “helper” and my “enemy.” Several years ago, a new family moved to our yishuv. The father had won a lottery and bought a house with a large farm on our yishuv. It could all have been fine except that he was fanatically opposed to the Chassidic movement and especially to Chabad.

The lecturer is the shliach R’ Shabtai Slavaticki, someone who has always suffered from speech difficulties. How does he manage to engage hundreds of women, without a microphone, on a Shabbos afternoon? The answer lies in the same kochos and brachos that we have all been given to overcome any obstacles to spreading Chassidus; he who is dedicated and works hard, sees wondrous results.

The night before they were going to move to the yishuv, his wife dreamed of the Rebbe and the Rebbe said to her, “Tell your husband not to stop up my wellsprings on the yishuv.” Upon their arrival at the yishuv, the woman inquired who the shliach was. Then she came to me and told me about her dream. I immediately understood that it referred to the wellsprings of Chassidus and I explained this

a shiur on shaBBos for 300 Women
One of my daughters went to Antwerp to help out at a camp. She had this uplifting information to relate. Every Shabbos afternoon, there was a shiur in Pirkei Avos in the hall of the largest shul in Antwerp that was attended by 300 women. Many of them came early in order to get a good spot. There is a large religious community in Antwerp with a wide array of shiurim, but everyone knows that when the Pirkei Avos shiur is being given, no other shiur will be given because nobody would consider missing the Pirkei Avos shiur.

to her. She told her husband that the Rebbe warned them not to interfere with Chabad, but he was not receptive to this. He actually made it his goal to disturb, to besmirch, to argue and to stir up trouble for anything associated with Chabad. The Rebbe tried to restrain him, once by means of that dream and a second time, in another way. One day, the man bought a gift for his oldest son, a thoroughbred Arabian horse that cost in the five figures. The horse soon disappeared. The boy and his family spent days and nights looking for the valuable horse. They went to all the moshavim in the area, but couldn’t find it. Then the young man came to me and asked me to write to the Rebbe with a request that they find the horse. I was somewhat uncomfortable with this, for what did a horse have to do with Igros Kodesh? But then I recalled
Issue 854 • �  



The complex of mosdos in Shlomi

the story in which King Shaul asked Shmuel the Navi about his missing donkeys. I guided the young man and he wrote the letter. As he opened the volume, we heard the sound of a galloping horse right near the house. He ran outside to see which horse it was and it was his! He hugged it and yelled for a piece of rope. He ran to his house and shouted, “Abba, the Lubavitcher Rebbe returned my horse!” The stubborn father insisted it wasn’t the Rebbe, the horse would have returned regardless, etc. but the son, who had seen the miracle with his own eyes, rejected his father’s disparaging remarks. He left the house in protest and broke off contact from his father and the entire family for a long time. Later on, this Misnaged experienced all sorts of other problems, and he finally left the yishuv, granting us quite a bit of relief.

house with tools in order to break in and cause damage. They did not take into account who they were dealing with. When they turned on the electric saw, it broke. One of them volunteered to go off on his bicycle to bring another one, but on the way he fell and injured his leg. After some more mishaps, they concluded that it wasn’t worth fighting Chabad. Some of them ended up leaving the yishuv while others joined the victors. All in all, R’ Messas is busy day and night as he reaches out to all the moshavim in the area.

from humBLe Beginnings
I like to call R’ Benny Nachum, shliach in Shlomi, the “Tzaddik M’Luban.” He is a successful shliach who answers all my questions in Chassidus and Kabbala, and he is also meluban, which is an acronym for melumad b’nissim (accustomed to miracles). The miracles began as soon as he began looking for an apartment to rent in 5752. Back then, Shlomi was a small town of only 500 families (in contrast to the 3000 it has today). When he asked someone where

LiKe the aLter reBBe’s Wagon
During that period of opposition to the Chabad house, there were some attempts made to close it down. One day, some of them showed up at the Chabad

he could find a real estate agent, the man laughed and said it was like asking in Moshav Safsufa where the Prime Minister’s house is. The man went on to say that in all of Shlomi there was only one house available, a small house on the edge of town. R’ Nachum had no need to think about it much and he rented the house. Ten months later, the landlord said he had decided to sell the property and already had a buyer, but if R’ Nachum was interested in buying it then he had 24 hours to provide $18,000 as a down payment. R’ Nachum asked the Rebbe, who told him to buy it and added, “For the mosdos.” When R’ Nachum and his wife saw this answer, they were astonished. They had no idea how they could raise that large amount within 24 hours. Nor did they understand what mosdos could fit in the old, 62-squaremeter building. And yet, the Rebbe had given his answer. “My wife told me to get going and so I went to some old friends. As soon as I set out, I began to see a series of miracles. “I was under enormous pressure. On the one hand, I knew that there was no natural way that I could obtain the money

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‫בעצמנו ולהחיות עם זה נפש כל חי‬ .‫השנה כולה, בכל רגע בזמן, בכל נקודה לא מרפה, לא מפסיק ולא מתעייף‬ .‫במקום, ובכל אחד ואחת ממש‬ ‫בתוך הריקודים עד כלות הכוחות, אשר נשמה באפו. כל אחד במקום‬ ,‫ולרבי אי-אפשר לתת "שוחד", גם בתוך הלימוד, בתוך התפילה, בתוך לשם שלחה אותו ההשגחה העליונה‬ (‫לא "שוחד" של תורה ומצוות ומעשים ההתוועדות, בכל רגע שנמצאים ב"בית "המקום אשר יבחר ה' אלוקיך )כדי‬ ."‫משיח", וגם ברגעים שיוצאים משם לשכן שמו שם‬ .‫טובים‬ ‫ שוב ושוב, ההוראה‬time I ‫ וראוי‬expense. I went over to ‫ – הוא‬concede to the‫ב-077 זהו מקום ש"אותי‬ ‫ להדגיש‬our ‫ זועק וקורא, בקלא‬him ‫ אתם הביתה‬neighbor, but in and that within a short wouldn’t ‫הייתה‬a ‫ השנים‬to live. On with a smile and asked him‫ אליו פנימאה דאשתמע‬assessor came. He ,"‫לוקחים‬ have place ‫ ובקלא פנימאה דלא מהרבי שליט"א בכל‬what the end, the ‫כאשר מתמסרים‬ ‫ שכל מי‬I was pleasantly ‫לחלוטין, נכנסים לגמרי ומתבטלים אשתמע, בביטול עצום ובשמחה גדולה, והינה גם‬ the other hand, – ‫ עתה בכל התוקף‬was going on. He explained, ‘You examined some maps and then ‫מצד אחד בדמעות ומאידך דווקא שזכה להיות בגופו ב-077, עליו למסור‬ ‘Your property is ,‫לגמרי אליו‬ surprised wherever I went. One are new here. You don’t realize it told me, ‫ אל ה"נקודה", אל‬two ‫ה"עצם" – ודווקא ביחד עם זאת בשמחה ובטוב לבב, כפי שהרבי רוצה משהו מהמטען שקיבל שם מהרבי, כל‬ friend said, ‘How‫ כדלעיל‬that you ‫ אחד לפי‬entire‫ ששום‬is mine.’ ‫ ומתוך‬dunam.’ He went over to the – nice ‫ אפשרויותיו‬but this ‫ דבר‬area ‫רצון נחוש‬ ,‫מחליטים, ומיישמים זאת בפועל מאתנו‬ came today. It’s my birthday no ‫ לעמוד נגדו – שהגיע כבר‬neighbor and informed him that ‫“ כדי להגיע אל המטרה: "מאך‬I had‫הזמן‬idea what was going ‫מרגע זה ואילך, להוריד זאת לפועל לא יכול‬ and whatever‫ 077". לעשות את כל העולם‬While‫ למלא סוף סוף‬what to do, he had to move his wall over a ‫ממש גם‬ ‫ כולו‬you ask for, I’ll on. ‫ דא‬I wondered ,‫בכל הפרטים והגדרים לכבוש סופית את היעד‬ give you.’ Another ‫ובאופן "ארץ ישראל" כמות שהיא‬continued adding bit. ‫ את‬didn’t leave until he saw ‫הקטנים‬ ,‫ לאמיתתה‬friend, upon the neighbor ,‫ המטרה והתכלית של הכל‬He ‫והתחתונים. כשמתפללים‬ hearing of the urgent need and ‫בו‬row upon row to his wall. I felt ‫מירכאות! ויעיד על כך הכי מלא‬wall ‫עם הרבי‬ .‫ והכי מושלם‬the neighbor start taking his ‫)בלי‬ ‫מרגישים אלקות וקדושה‬ ‫מקום‬ of the Rebbe’s bracha‫ אמיתית, מקום בו מאיר‬and helpless. I consulted apart, row by row. ‫כל מי שנמצא שם ורוצה‬ ‫להרגיש כך‬ ‫ המלך המשיח‬to buy the scared ‫ובפשטות – לא להפסיק אף לרגע‬ ,‫ .0006$ המקדש‬Within with friends and one of ,‫“ המלחמה‬Then‫בפשטות ובתמימות בלי התחכמויות‬ ‫את‬ house, donated ‫ בדרכי נועם ובדרכי ובו מרגישים וחיים את בית‬them we started building ‫ זאת בכל פרטי‬Shlomi ‫ מקום‬to immediately call a mosdos, since ‫ ת א‬had ; ( ‫פ ו ת‬ 24 hours, I returned to‫בו מחדירים‬told me ‫ ס פ י ם שלום, כמובן, שהרי "אנן פועלי דיממא‬we ‫כ ש מ‬plenty‫ו י‬of ‫ו ה ת פ ל ס‬ ,‫ גם יחד‬I had $20,000. ‫ עד החיים‬assessor to ‫עם הרבי; כשרוקדים בכל אנן" ותפקידנו הוא‬ with extra money.‫ הגשמיים והרוחניים‬professional – ‫ להאיר אור‬examine space. Thanks to donors in Eretz‫להתוועדות‬ '‫ סובב סביב ה'נקודה‬and ‫הכוחות אל מול פני הקודש, גם אם ח"ו שנראה את הרבי מלך המשיח שליט"א באופן שהכל‬ I made the down payment the maps of the Israeli Land Yisroel and abroad, we have a ,‫שהיא כל חיינו ממש‬ ‫את‬ ‫– מתנשא‬ the Chabad mosdos of Shlomi ,'‫ הגאולה וה'עצם‬what ‫ ומביא לכולנו‬shul, a beis'‫לא זוכים לראות בעיני-בשר, וכו' וכו‬ Authority to ‫כל‬ midrash, a mikva for ‫בשר המתבטאת בקריאה וההכרזה שפועלת‬see ‫לעיני‬the border ‫זוכרים ויודעים שהרבי נמצא כאן ממש האמיתית‬ ‫והשלימה‬ were underway. was‫את‬ between us. I looked in the ‫ תיכף ומיד‬mikva for ‫עם כל אחד ואחת. אם הוא‬ men, a ‫ רק רוצה‬women, a soup ‫התגלות מלכנו משיחנו לעיני כל‬ .‫ממש, וברגע זה ממש‬ “Two days after making this Yellow Pages and found an Arab kitchen, as well as a house for‫לקבל, אם‬ ,‫הוא רק מוכן להתבטל‬ – ‫בשר‬ modest purchase, I noticed that a assessor from Kfar Yasif who our family and a guesthouse. ,‫לשכוח מעצמו‬ ,‫מרצונותיו ותאוותיו‬ ‫יחי אדוננו מורנו ורבינו מלך‬ the job. neighbor was starting to build a wanted 600 shekels for ‫מאך דא‬ ‫כל כולו אל ה"נקודה" – הוא‬ .‫המשיח לעולם ועד‬ “As the Rebbe said from the ‫להתמסר‬ ‫ זה‬Maybe ‫זה לקחנו‬ ‫את‬ .‫ הכול‬mosdos.’” wall. He was enlarging his yard at I hesitated. ‫מ-077 ואת‬we should‫ כל‬outset, ‘for the ‫הרבי שנמצא עמו יחד ונותן לו‬

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‫גיליון מס‬

Mas852_A.indd 33


Consistently r “if it grows we have it” Superio
Michal & Aaron Raskin

16/10/2012 04:23:24

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Issue 854 • �  




the tRIP tO aUstRalIa
r’ Zalman arrives in shepparton, australia and wants to start a yeshiva. * from the life of r’ yehoshua shneur Zalman serebryanski a”h.
Prepared for publication by Avrohom Rainitz

he hundreds of Lubavitcher families who ended up in Paris after the war, including R’ Zalman, were granted refugee status along with temporary residence permits. After a number of years, some of them went to Eretz Yisroel, some went to the United States, and a few families went to Australia. Some remained in France. Upon a general instruction from the Rebbe Rayatz, each of them sought a place to settle and then asked the Rebbe for a bracha. R’ Zalman heard from R’ Shmuel Betzalel Altheus about the possibility of immigrating to Australia and asked the Rebbe about it. After receiving his positive answer, he began working on obtaining a visa for Australia.


the feigLin famiLY heLps the chassidim
In order to receive a visa for Australia, you had to receive a job offer with the promise of a salary that would enable a family to live in dignity, without becoming a burden to the Australian government. R’ Moshe Zalman

Feiglin, the first Lubavitcher Chassid to settle in Australia (in 5672/1912), obtained visas for seven Chassidishe families in Paris. These were the families of: R’ Betzalel Wilschansky and his son-in-law R’ Dovid Perlow, R’ Isser Kluvgant, R’ Shmuel Betzalel Altheus, R’ Nachum Zalman Gurewitz, R’ Abba Pliskin, and R’ Zalman Serebryanski. The Rebbe Rayatz thanked R’ Feiglin for his efforts and wrote: I was very pleased that you were able, with Hashem’s help, to obtain visas for seven families of Anash refugees from Russia. [You] my friend need to make great efforts to obtain more and more visas for Anash families. In that letter, the Rebbe added: I am sure that with Hashem’s help they will bring much blessing to their country by strengthening Judaism in all its branches and making the country of Australia a place of Torah T’mima. After receiving the necessary documents from R’ Feiglin,

R’ Zalman and his family had to undergo medical tests. The Australian government was very particular about not allowing unhealthy people to settle in the country. Whoever wanted to live there had to undergo extensive medical testing. R’ Zalman had suffered from a chronic lung problem for years and every winter it acted up again. In those days, there was no medication for this, and the only remedy was to eat a lot of fat until the lung was covered inside with fat. Considering his poor health, he was very nervous about these medical exams. In the X-ray he would take, it would be easy to see his diseased lungs. Having no choice, he sent a friend for the tests instead of him and miraculously, all went well. Within a short time, he received his visa. R’ Zalman informed the Rebbe of this and received a reply: In response to the letter of my student and friend about preparing for the trip with your family, your sons who are talmidim of Tomchei T’mimim – Lubavitch, and your daughter Nechama, a talmida of Beis Rivka, surely you are busy collecting all types of material in s’farim, manuscripts and

40 � • 17 Cheshvan 5773

booklets, and all printed matter published by the library of Otzar HaChassidim. Hashem should strengthen the health of all of you and grant you a proper and successful trip to find a group of passengers to discuss with them matters of avoda as per the explanation of the saying “We are dayworkers.” We, the Chassidim in general, and Chabad Chassidim in particular, are day-workers. As the Rebbe, my father, said in one of his holy talks, when you ensure that the ways of spiritual avoda are illuminated for someone else, the reward for this is that from Above they make luminous with gashmius and ruchnius.

R’ Yehoshua Shneur Zalman Serebryanski (left) with talmidim of the yeshiva in later years. In the picture are also R’ Yaakov Eliezer Herzog (near the lectern), R’ Shneur Chaim Gutnick, and R’ Sholom Gutnick

the famiLY Joins the trip
R’ Zalman prepared to travel with his entire family. However, his son Chaim, who learned in Tomchei T’mimim in Brunoy, wanted to stay in the yeshiva and go with some friends to learn in 770 in New York. Upon his father receiving the Rebbe’s answer that referred to his traveling with his family and mentioned his sons learning in Tomchei T’mimim, Chaim realized that the Rebbe wanted him to join his family in going to Australia. From the Rebbe’s letter, R’ Zalman understood that his journey to Australia was not for parnasa but mainly for spiritual reasons. The Rebbe had written about material and spiritual reward. Indeed, R’ Zalman fulfilled the Rebbe’s instructions and brought the light of Torah to Australia and received the brachos in full. Although he was sick and weak, he lived another 42 years and had nachas from his descendants, materially and spiritually.

The situation was so bad that rabbanim who were considered Orthodox arranged mixed dances for Jewish boys and girls in an attempt to prevent intermarriage. That was considered a religious achievement in those days.

After packing his few belongings and taking many sifrei Chassidus and Jewish works, as the Rebbe told him to do, R’ Zalman and his family took a train to Genoa, Italy from where they set sail for Australia. R’ Abba Pliskin and his family traveled with them. The voyage took a month and R’ Zalman already began his shlichus to spread Chassidus on the ship. There were about 1000 passengers and half of them were Jews emigrating from Europe to Australia. Every day there were minyanim and they even had a Torah with them. R’ Zalman took the opportunity to spread Torah and Judaism. Most of the Jews on board were not religiously observant, but they had religious backgrounds and R’ Zalman urged them to preserve the Jewish spark in Australia too.

the spirituaL state of austraLia
In those days, Australia was a spiritual wilderness. If people told the Rebbe Rayatz that America is different and it was impossible to maintain Jewish life there as they did back in the shtetl, the spiritual state in Australia was far worse. In America, Jewish communities of religious people had begun to develop and in 1949 there were even some yeshivos and Talmudei Torah that the Rebbe had founded. In Australia, you could count the number of religious Jews on one hand. Out of thousands of Jews who arrived in Australia between the two world wars, very few retained their Judaism. Most of them assimilated. The few Jews who did not assimilate sufficed with two

Issue 854 • �  


to three hours of religious instruction that were given to their children once or twice a week after a day in public school. The situation was so bad that rabbanim who were considered Orthodox arranged mixed dances for Jewish boys and girls in an attempt to prevent intermarriage. That was considered a religious achievement in those days. The situation did not improve even after World War II when Jewish refugees began arriving from Europe en masse. Religious Jews who came with beards quickly realized that they would not get a job with a beard. When they walked in the street, children laughed at their obvious Jewish appearance. They did not withstand the test and removed their beards. Some askanim from Agudath Israel wanted to establish a branch in Australia but discovered that this was impossible. of the farm was the shul, and R’ Moshe Zalman brought a melamed and shochet. The melamdim and shochtim arrived, found it difficult to live in a small village, and were replaced regularly. As a result, R’ Zalman studied sh’chita and when there was no shochet, he would shecht for the Jews of the village and also serve as the melamed. The community grew and after World War II there were over 100 people. This village was the first Lubavitcher community in Australia. The influence of the Feiglin family extended far beyond the parameters of the little village and reached Melbourne. R’ Moshe Zalman’s children were among the founding fathers of the Mizrachi movement in Australia, which was the only Jewish movement in those days. If not for the support of the Feiglins, one can assume that the Mizrachi movement would not have been able to exist. R’ Zalman Serebryanski and his family arrived in Melbourne on 18 Elul 5709/1949 and quickly sent a telegram to inform the Rebbe of their arrival. The Rebbe responded immediately with a telegram welcoming them, which was followed two days later by a letter: In response to the telegram, I responded with a telegram blessing your successful arrival. May Hashem strengthen your health and the health of your family and help you in settling down properly with a good and ample livelihood. And towards the new year that is coming upon us and all the Jewish people for goodness and blessing, I bless you and your family, amongst Anash and amongst the Jewish people ... with blessings for a k’siva va’chasima tova, for a good and sweet year, materially and spiritually. R’ Feiglin’s children joyously welcomed R’ Zalman and R’ Abba and their families and hosted them with great honor in their home.

hoW do You start a YeshiVa?
In Melbourne, they met with the Altheus, Kluvgant and Gurewitz families who had arrived a few weeks or months before them. They heard from them that Melbourne had many possibilities for business. However, R’ Zalman, who was utterly devoted to the Rebbe, did not think about business. His mind was occupied with thoughts of how to open a yeshiva and turn Australia into a place of Torah. In a letter that he wrote to the Rebbe on Erev Rosh HaShana, he said: In Melbourne, I see G-d fearing people, G-d fearing bachurim, who conduct themselves according to Torah and mitzvos, and R’ Isser Kluvgant showed me boys who learn Gemara with Rashi and Tosafos. He said to me that if I am thinking of founding a yeshiva, there are boys in Melbourne to start it with.” R’ Zalman did not think that he would be able to start a yeshiva with his meager abilities and as he put it, “Without a doubt, I do not have the spiritual strength for something like this, nor am I an effective doer, especially as I am a foreigner.” However, he decided to do what he could in order to get a yeshiva going. Since he wasn’t interested in business, he did not want to remain in Melbourne. He joined R’ Feiglin who had Continued on page 29

shepparton: an isLand of spirituaLitY
One of the few who managed to develop Jewish life in Australia was R’ Moshe Zalman Feiglin who, as mentioned previously, was the first Lubavitcher in Australia. Shortly after he arrived, the government put up for sale a small farm in the Shepparton area, which is 200 kilometers away from Melbourne. R’ Moshe Zalman and his family, together with other Jewish families, rejoiced at the opportunity and bought the farm. There, in the fresh country air, R’ Moshe Zalman established a Jewish community. The Rebbe once said, “Hashem sent the British to Australia to settle it, and the Feiglin family in order to bring Yiddishkait there.” A wooden shed in the center

42 � • 17 Cheshvan 5773