Rabbi Naftali Estulin


D’var Malchus
Parsha Thought
Tzivos Hashem

Avrohom Rainitz

12 “THE


Chaim Brook

Refael Dinari


34 THE
Nosson Avrohom

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Boruch Merkur

2014-08-12 3:17:42 AM


Jews always have the power to withstand exile.
Even when the will of a Jew in matters of holiness and Torah and Mitzvos
is sometimes concealed, his true desire is to fulfill G-d’s will. * From
Chapter Six of Rabbi Shloma Majeski’s Likkutei Mekoros (Underlined text
is the compiler’s emphasis.)
Translated by Boruch Merkur

11. […] We are presently
in the final generation of
exile and the first generation
of redemption. The Jews
throughout all preceding
generations and eras have
already amassed a vast quantity
of “our deeds and our service,”
even completing the final birurim
(acts of refining the world). Now
the primary emphasis is first
and foremost the completion
and perfection and end of the
avoda – to bring [the third and
final stage of a Jew’s avoda] the
Gimmel of the true and complete
redemption, geula, into actuality!
12. The power for each
Jew to succeed in all areas
(from their onset until their
conclusion) comes from the first
[stage of avoda, the] Alef, the
“Ani – I” of every Jew, which is
connected with and is one with
the “Anochi” above [the essence
of G-d]. Even as [the soul of]
a Jew descends into [a body

within] the physical world, the
statement remains true that the
entire world was created “for the
sake of the Jewish people, who
are called ‘reishis,’” the head
(rosh) and beginning (reishis) of
the entirety of Creation.
The power for each Jew to
reveal this Divinity within him
comes from Moshe Rabbeinu,
and likewise with regard to
the incarnation of Moshe in
each generation. The Moshe
Rabbeinu of this generation is
my revered father in-law, the
Rebbe, leader of our generation.
Through the Rebbe, all three
manifestations of the Luchos –
the First Luchos, their shattered
remains, and the Final Luchos
– are achieved, together with
the karnei ha’hod, the rays of
splendor that were emitted from
the face of Moshe Rabbeinu
after receiving the Final Luchos.
This concept is especially
relevant as this Shabbos we

read the entire parsha of “ki
sisa es rosh b’nei Yisroel – when
you (Moshe) sisa (count or
uplift) the Jewish people.” In
addition to the fact that, in
general, Jews are the head, with
the power of Moshe Rabbeinu
Jews experience “the uplifting
of the head.” This elevation,
in turn, provides the power to
accomplish what is discussed
later in the parsha: the concept
of Alef (the First Luchos), as
well as the concept of Beis –
avoda performed within the
world. The latter, the avoda of
Beis, includes serving G-d even
at the lowest possible depth, and
transforming that depth and
uplifting it to the level of the
Final Luchos, with the revelation
of the karnei ha’hod. Every
Jew has the [spiritual] capacity
to receive this revelation. Not
only that, but through avoda
performed in the physical world
a Jew can receive this revelation

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even as he exists in the physical
Moreover, in addition to
the fact that every Jew receives
the revelation of the karnei
ha’hod, the concept of karnei
ha’hod finds expression in each
individual Jew, on account of the
aspect of Moshe within him.
The Alter Rebbe explains in
Tanya the saying of our Sages on
the verse, “Now, Yisroel, what
does G-d, your L-rd, ask of you
other than to fear G-d, your
L-rd” – “Are we to understand
that fear [of G-d] is a small
matter? Yes, it is. For Moshe
Rabbeinu it is a small matter.”
That is, in virtue of the aspect
of Moshe within each person –
because to Moshe “fear is a small
Accordingly we can
understand the corollary: When
is it appropriate to say that to
Moshe (as well as the Moshe
within each individual) it is “a
small matter”? Within Moshe
there is a whole spectrum of
levels: corresponding to his foot,

his torso, all the way to his head
or crown. It is with respect to
yira tataa – the lower level of
fear, associated with Moshe’s
foot (reminiscent of “the feet of
the nation of which I am in their
midst”) – that the expression
“a small matter” applies.
However, beyond that level, there
are higher aspects of Moshe,
described as intermediate [his
torso] and great, superior, the
level of his head and even higher
still, the level of crown, KesserMalchus, embodied by Moshe’s
karnei hod, as is known.
Similarly it is understood
with regard to the aspect of
Moshe within each Jew – that
in virtue of this dimension of
holiness, he possesses within
him all levels of Moshe – from
“small,” to “intermediate,”
and “great,” including Kesser
(karnei ha’hod). The innovative
concept here is that [although
in all matters there is a balance
between holiness and evil] the
(true) concept of Kesser has no
counterpart on the Other Side.
Yet this unique dimension of

holiness is imparted to every
single Jew. (Jews are bestowed
with the level of Kesser-Crown in
virtue of their being “children of
kings.” In fact, they are actually
“kings” (Tikkunei Zohar, Preface
1b, beg.)). In all times and in all
situations – even in the time and
circumstance of exile – a Jew has
the Kesser-Malchus of the karnei
In terms of soul-powers,
Kesser corresponds to the power
of will, including the power of
mesirus nefesh, self-sacrifice.
The will of a Jew towards G-d
is always in full measure, at all
times. It is for this reason that
Jews always have the power
to withstand exile. Even when
the will of a Jew in matters of
holiness and Torah and Mitzvos
is sometimes concealed, his true
desire is to fulfill G-d’s will, as in
Rambam’s famous ruling (Laws
of Divorce, Ch. 2, end).
(From the addresses of the Rebbe
delivered on Parshas Sisa, 10-18
Adar Rishon 5752; Seifer HaSichos
5752, pg. 436-437)


vww c

Anywhere, Anytime !

jhanu vkutd hbhbg
hyuekc ohrugha
asue ,ujha


sgu okugk jhanv lkn ubcru ubrun ubhbust hjh

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The passing of Rabbi Levi Yitzchok on Chaf Av emphasized a critical
matter in his avoda throughout his life – mesirus nefesh for Klal Yisroel. *
We need to learn a lesson for our lives, to act in this way too: forgoing our
good for the good of someone else, devoting ourselves to the shlichus the
Rebbe assigned to us, preparing the world to greet Moshiach.
By Rabbi Naftali Estulin


his year, Chaf Av will
mark 70 years since the
passing of the kabbalist,
Rabbi Levi Yitzchok
Schneersohn, the father of the
Rebbe MH”M. When marking
70 years to a certain event, I
cannot help but be reminded of
the Rebbe’s 70th Year since his
birth. The Rebbe considered 70
years as a particular milestone
and urged Chassidim to start 71
new mosdos that year. A Chassid
who said he started a new mosad
received 71 dollars as the Rebbe’s
token participation.
I was already on shlichus at
the time, in Los Angeles, and I
remember how R’ Shlomo Cunin
fulfilled the Rebbe’s horaa with

The Rebbe also placed
special emphasis on the idea
of milestones when it came to
yahrtzaits. So, I have no doubt
the Rebbe wants us to mark
his father’s passing on Chaf Av
with a “great commotion” and
particular inspiration.


fervor. He started mosad after
mosad and did not rest. The 70th
year of the Rebbe could not pass
by as just an ordinary time!

In one of his sichos, the
Rebbe explained that in order
to understand the essence of
his father’s avoda, one needs to
examine the Torah significance of
Chaf Av, the day of his passing.
From a Torah perspective,
Chaf Av was considered a special

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date even before the
world was created!
We know that certain
things are established
for a person’s future
forty days before the
fetus is conceived.
Adam was created
on Rosh HaShana,
so forty days before
that was Chaf Av.
The Rebbe mentions
this and says that on
this day the avoda of
Rosh HaShana already
begins as well as the
avoda of Yom Kippur,
as alluded to in the fact
that it is always the day
of the week on which
Yom Kippur falls out.
The next time the
date Chaf Av appears
in a Torah context is in
the Mishna regarding
the offering of wood –
“the time of the wood
[donation] of the Kohanim and
the nation … on the 20th [of
Av], [the donation of wood was
offered by] the sons of [the family
of] Pachas Moav ben Yehuda.” In
the Gemara there it says that it
was a special day of celebration
for this family who would bring
their donation of wood on this
What was special about a
donation of wood on this day
that caused the family such great
joy? The Gemara explains that
there is something special about
donating wood after the 15th of
Av – “on the 20th” – since “from
the 15th of Av and on the sun
weakens and they would not cut
wood for the pyre since it is not
dry.” Nevertheless, these families
donated wood for the altar even
though they could not replace
it by cutting down (good) new
Their donation of wood

on the 20th emphasizes the
greatness of the families that
made the donation and forwent
their personal good for the sake
of the Jewish people, for the
sacrifices of all Israel; not just for
the communal sacrifices but also
for individual sacrifices (even one
who is in a low state who has to
bring a sin offering and the like).
Says the Rebbe, this devotion
toward another Jew pertains
specifically to the House of
Dovid. This is why the Gemara
says “ben Yehuda” it means
the descendants of “Dovid
[HaMelech] ben Yehuda.” And
according to R’ Yossi who says
“these are descendants of Yoav
ben Tzruya,” the Rebbe explains
this is not a dispute about what
actually occurred since this
family descended from Dovid and
Yoav (whose families married one
The Rebbe concludes that

his father’s passing on
the 20th of Av (which
represents the forgoing
of one’s personal good
for the sake of Klal
Yisroel) underscores
an essential point in
the avoda of everyday
life – mesirus nefesh
for the welfare of Klal
Yisroel – since he
forwent his personal
good for the sake
and Judaism without
taking the danger into
account. As a result, he
was arrested and exiled
and died in exile.
When examining
the mesirus nefesh
that R’ Levi Yitzchok
showed on behalf
Klal Yisroel, we can
definitely see how this
was unusual mesirus
nefesh. It wasn’t for a limited
time, but from when he became
a rav until his death, an entire
career of mesirus nefesh!
It is said that after his
wedding, R’ Levi Yitzchok was
mortally ill. Although he was a
young man and his father-in-law
R’ Meir Shlomo Yanovsky was an
older Chassid, one of the great
rabbis of the time, they say that
his father-in-law stood with one
foot on a chair and meditated
deeply and then suddenly said:
Master of the universe, if You
want to take him, take me
Like his father, the Rebbe
gives everything for us and we
need to do the same – forgo our
ostensible good for the welfare of
someone else and be devoted to
the shlichus the Rebbe assigned
to us – to prepare the world to
welcome Moshiach.

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A compilation of stories about Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Schneersohn zt”l,
presented for Chaf Av.
Compiled by Avrohom Rainitz

R’ Mendel Futerfas
R’ Levi Yitzchok was
very particular about the
arrangement of divorce.
He would say: It is not
a small thing to permit
a married woman to the
He would fast on the
day a get was arranged
in his Beis Din and was
entirely shrouded in dread that every single detail
be absolutely perfect.
R’ Mendel once served as a witness in a
divorce, and without thinking put his hand on the
table. R’ Levi Yitzchok yelled at him: “Take your
hand off the table!” The witnesses must stand
when testifying, and when he leaned on the table
it could be considered like sitting, “leaning is like
Once, one of the big rabbanim sent him the
wording of a get in order to get his opinion
and consent. R’ Levi Yitzchok disqualified the
wording of the get and he wrote his reasons to
the rav.
The rav sent him a corrected version in order
to get his approval. But this time too, R’ Levi
Yitzchok found problems with it and disqualified

When this happened a third time and the rav
sent another version to him, he added a request in
his letter that R’ Levi Yitzchok act for the sake of
his honor, and after all the corrections to finally
approve the wording of the get.
R’ Levi Yitzchok sent him a response which
said that although he cared about the rav’s honor,
he could not compromise in this situation because
he needed to care far more for Hashem’s honor!

R’ Chaim Leib Itkin related:
My parents lived in Krivoy Rog, a five
hour train ride from Yekaterinoslav (now
Dnepropetrovsk). I once visited my uncle on
Motzaei Shabbos and talked to him for a long
time about various topics. When it was already
nine o’clock, I got up to go. But R’ Levi Yitzchok
stopped me. “You have a ticket, so why rush?”
I stayed for another half an hour and got up to
go. But he held me back again. Having no choice,
I sat back down. When it was almost 10:30,
I could not wait any longer and I did not listen
to him but left the house. He asked me to wait
because the train would be late anyway, but I kept
When I got to the train station I had only
three minutes to board the train. I rushed into a
compartment but the train did not move. Half an
hour went by, then an hour, and another hour,
and the train stood still. The hours kept passing
and we did not leave. In the end, the train left

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several hours late.
That is when I understood why he kept asking
me to stay and talk to him about important
matters, so I would not waste time, which is what
happened in the end.

R’ Peretz Mochkin
One of the chozrim
by the Rebbe Rashab,
R’ Yosef, a shochet
that he once went to
Charson in the same train
compartment as R’ Levi
Yitzchok. When the night
began, R’ Levi Yitzchok
began saying Chassidus.
He only ended when the train stopped at a station
at dawn. All night long, Chassidus and Kabbala
flowed from his lips without stop.

R’ Sholom Vilenkin related:
In Russia there were special stores in which
you could purchase checks in rubles in exchange
for foreign currency that citizens received from
abroad. With these checks you could buy food
that was not obtainable for regular currency.
I once stood on line together with hundreds
of other people in order to receive these checks.
R’ Levi Yitzchok suddenly appeared. I was
astonished by how the masses moved aside, most
of them non-Jews, out of respect for the rabbi and
allowed him to go straight to the front without
having to wait on line.

R’ Shneur Zalman Butman related:
I heard this story from R’ Levi Yitzchok who
traveled abroad with the Rebbe Rashab on a
number of occasions. One time, the two of them
went to the city where the Maharam of Rotenberg
was arrested and died. There was a cave there
where he is buried and the opening to the cave
was in the form of a low window close to the
ground. You had to lie down on the ground and

put your head to the window in order to look
inside. This did not stop the Rebbe Rashab who
made the effort and looked into the cave.
R’ Levi Yitzchok told me that it was hard to
watch the Rebbe stretched out on the ground and
he even tried preventing the Rebbe from doing
this, saying it was difficult and the Rebbe should
not exert himself. The Rebbe said: I want the
z’chus of seeing the place where the Maharam of
Rotenberg is buried.
R’ Levi Yitzchok said that they visited the
Altneuschul, the shul of the Maharal of Prague. In
the attic of that shul is the golem that was made
by the Maharal. The Rebbe Rashab asked for a
ladder to go up to the attic, even though he was
told that nobody dares to go up there because
they are so afraid. The Rebbe went up the ladder
and when only his head reached the opening of
the attic he came right back down, his face white.
He said that he too maintained that nobody had
permission to go there.

R’ Avrohom Drizin
When R’ Levi Yitzchok
once farbrenged in public
and spoke of kabbalistic
ideas, R’ Itche Masmid
said: Speak a bit about
matters of avoda, the
concept of the unity of
replied: There is not a
word in Eitz Chaim that does not relate to the
unity of G-d.

R’ Avrohom Drizin related:
R’ Levi Yitzchok’s great care in the baking of
matzos began with the harvesting of the wheat, as
related in the following story.
They once sent a large shipment of flour by
train. On the way, the train passed under a bridge
and a few drops of water dripped into one of the
compartments. When R’ Levi Yitzchok heard
about this, he wanted to disqualify all the flour
in that compartment. However the owners, who
feared a huge loss, did not agree to this.

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Chaf av
It was only after R’ Levi Yitzchok threatened
them that if they did not do as he paskened,
he would invalidate all the flour in all the
compartments that they caved into his demand
and R’ Levi Yitzchok’s request was carried out.

In 5690 he attended a
Yud-Tes Kislev farbrengen
in the home of R’ Levi
Yitzchok. They sang the
niggun of R’ Levi Yitzchok
of Berditchev: “Mizrach
Du, Maariv Du, Tzafon
Du, Darom Du, etc.”
After singing it, R’
Levi Yitzchok said: You
think that “du” (you) refers to Atzmus alone.
“Du” means two as it says, “tav l’maisav tan du”
[Aramaic, it is better to live together as two], i.e.
the Sh’china and K’nesses Yisroel.

R’ Nachum Zevin related:
The gaon R’ Chaim Ozer once called for
a meeting of rabbanim in his home to discuss
timely matters. My grandfather, R’ Shlomo Yosef
Zevin, was there.
When they urged him to begin the meeting, R’
Chaim Ozer said: The meeting will not begin until
the rav of Yekaterinoslav comes, R’ Levi Yitzchok!

R’ Shmuel Halperin related:
Once, an important rabbi in his city passed
away. As the rav in the city, he was given the
honor to eulogize the deceased. He noticed many
rabbis (refugees) in attendance at the funeral
and was afraid that once the eulogies began, they
wouldn’t end that day and the deceased would be
buried after a long delay.
He therefore decided that only one person
would eulogize the deceased and he explained
this lightly by saying: At the burial of Moshe it
says, “And nobody knew his burial place till this
very day.” Why wasn’t Moshe properly eulogized,
and why don’t we know where he is buried so we
can visit the grave and pray?

The answer is: if 600,000 Jews began
eulogizing he would not have been buried till this
very day and so they took him and buried him in
a way that nobody knows where he is buried.

Goldschmidt related:
One Yom Tov, R’ Levi
Yitzchok went to the shul
of the maskilim, quickly
went up to the bima
and protested the very
existence of the shul. It
was a move that entailed
great danger in those days.
The gabbai of the shul reacted impudently.
Not that long afterward, the gabbai died and
a short time after that his wife died. It was
considered wondrous.

In the heretical situation which prevailed in
Russia, there were rabbanim who tried to explain
halachos in Shulchan Aruch in logical ways. Not
so R’ Levi Yitzchok, who emphasized that this is
the word of G-d without explanations.
It is told that one time a woman went to ask
R’ Levi Yitzchok about a chicken. When he saw,
after examining it, that it was treif, he said to her:
You should know that the chicken is healthy, but
according to Halacha it is forbidden to be eaten
because it is treif.

Most of the Zionist activists in Yekaterinoslav
were opposed to the election of R’ Levi Yitzchok
as rav of the city. The Zionist leader Menachem
Osishkin had a different position, and he was
involved in R’ Levi Yitzchok’s appointment. His
friends wondered why he supported the Chassidic
rabbi, and he explained:
It is known that Chassidim are clever and all
the more so a Chassidic rav. I prefer a clever rav,
no matter his views, than another sort of rav.

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When R’ Levi Yitzchok once lay down to rest
on the couch after the Shabbos meal, he told
those nearby that the Rebbe Rashab told him that
one should always think, even when lying down
to rest.

One year, when all the matza bakeries were
closed, he managed to obtain a permit to use one
bakery in his city. The way it worked was that
each person brought his own flour out of which
matzos were made. One day, a person came to
the rav and complained: Yesterday, on his day off,

he stood all day and waited his turn, and in the
end he wasn’t able to bake his matzos. If he was
unable to bake his matzos that day too, he and his
family would starve on Pesach.
R’ Levi Yitzchok said: And what if you don’t
have matzos for Pesach?
The man was upset by this response and said
something disparaging.
If so, said the rav, you will immediately get
a turn to bake matzos. That’s the answer I was
waiting for.
Afterward, R’ Levi Yitzchok said that he
never had as much pleasure as he did from the
disparaging remark from that Jew.
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Eli Cohen, a businessman from Venezuela who
had been in yechidus with the Rebbe Melech
HaMoshiach and didn’t ask for a thing, suddenly
found himself in a desperate situation. When
he passed by the local Chabad house one
Shabbos and decided to go inside after hearing
the sound of niggunim, he never dreamed what
would take place as a result of this detour... An
amazing story spanning nearly a quarter of a
century after a private meeting with the Moshe
Rabbeinu of our generation.
By Chaim Brook
Translated by Michoel Leib Dobry



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R’ Eliezer Cohen at dollars distribution – 15 Teves 5752 – when he came to thank the Rebbe for his bracha


he Rebbe has a
power of vision
that is unworldly;
it’s as if the person
sitting before him is absolutely
transparent. I came to the Rebbe
and stood in line for dollars on
three or four occasions. The first
time was during a public audience
in the days before Tisha B’Av 5740.

The feeling of sitting before that
face radiating with a mysterious
light was so palpable, it put fear
and a sense of spiritual elevation
in my heart, and I realized that I
was sitting before a tzaddik – the
foundation of the world. About
twelve years later, the Rebbe did an
indescribable miracle for me, but
that’s for another time.”

These emotionally stirring
words were written on the
Internet some time ago, and
signed under the name: Eliezer
Cohen – Stockholm, Sweden.
This was on a website forum
where numerous Jews describe
their personal moment with the
leader of our generation, their
own spiritual experience with

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the Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach,
when they felt how he truly cares
for them as if they were his only
People didn’t make much
of an effort to gather these
stories back in the early years.
However, with the passage of
time, a revolution has taken place
with the Rebbe’s directive “to
publicize miracles” as a means
to bringing a ray of infinite G-dly
light into the hearts of other
Jews, filling the whole world with
the imminent arrival of the True
and Complete Redemption.

just left town for an indefinite
period of time. I wouldn’t know
where to find him...”
I then asked the shliach if he
might have heard the story of the
mysterious Eliezer Cohen and the
Rebbe. His response via e-mail
provided the breakthrough: “Yes,
he always tells a story about when
he happened to meet one of the
bachurim on shlichus at the
Chabad yeshiva in Caracas. His
name is Meir Burkis, and he lives
today in Kfar Chabad. Maybe
you should check out the details
with him...”

To Eli's great misfortune, crime in Venezuela is
not just a national epidemic – it's the way the
country runs.
By Divine Providence, I
received an e-mail from a friend
about this forum. My eyes came
across this text and my curiosity
was immediately aroused. I
clearly got the message that
there was another intriguing
miracle story hidden here of the
connection between a Jewish soul
somewhere in the world with the
leader of the generation, Rosh
B’nei Yisroel, at 770 Eastern
Parkway, Brooklyn, New York.
How would I be able to locate
this Jew named Eliezer Cohen,
whose story I wanted to hear?
Searching through the vast
collections of files on Chabad
Chassidim turned up nothing.
Finally, I decided to turn to
the Rebbe’s shliach in Stockholm,
Rabbi Chaim Greisman, in the
hope that he was acquainted
with this person. After a brief
conversation with the shliach, he
told me that he thinks he knows
who this is. However, to my great
disappointment, he added: “He

The Hand of G-d directs
every miracle to be revealed
at exactly the right time. The
shliach’s answer remained with
me for several months. For some
reason, I didn’t take the simple
step of picking up the phone
and checking whether he could
provide any clues.
Yud Shvat came and went, as
did Purim and Pesach. On the
Friday after Shavuos, just as I
was about to go out on mivtzaim
to put t’fillin on local Jews, I
suddenly remembered the story. I
decided to pick up the phone and
call R’ Meir Burkis in the hope
that maybe he could shed some
light on the details.
R’ Meir Burkis confirmed that
he remembered the story. “But if
you want to know more precise
details, the person to ask is the
Baal HaMaaseh,” he said. “The
truth is that since it’s been more
than twenty years since the story
took place, I wouldn’t know how

to help you. However, by Divine
Providence, just before Pesach,
I got a call from R’ Eliezer. He
had gone out of his way to find
my number and wish me a happy
and kosher Pesach. Now, I have
his number, and I’ll be happy to
give it to you...”
With undisguised joy, I
quickly dialed the number, and
the voice of R’ Eliezer Cohen
came on the line from Stockholm,
Sweden. “You’re calling me from
Eretz Yisroel to hear my story
about the Rebbe?” he cried. His
voice filled with emotion when I
made my request, and he gladly
consented to tell his story. He
remembered it well, as if it had
occurred only a few days ago.
Here now is his story:

About twenty-three years
ago, Eli was the owner of an
eminently prestigious line of
European clothes. The business
was quite successful and he was
able to make a very good living.
As any other observant Jew, he
regularly set aside at least ten
percent of his profits to tz’daka,
thanking G-d for the abundance
of blessings He had given him.
As is known, the wardrobe
industry has end-of-the-season
sales. When an importer is
stuck with a large quantity of
merchandise he is sometimes
forced to lower the prices and
market the unsold stock at far
less than its actual value. Within
the framework of his clothing
business, Eli looked for a
successful way to sell his surplus
items at their regular price,
thereby maintaining the prestige
of his fashion line.
Even here, his efforts bore
fruit, and he found a way to sell
a sizable portion of the remaining
merchandise in the stores of a

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From right to left – Mr. Eliezer Cohen, Rabbi Meir Burkis, and his mutual friend during a Rosh Chodesh Kislev 5752 farbrengen
at the Chabad house in Caracas, Venezuela, around the time of the miracle that took place with the Rebbe’s bracha

Jewish merchant living in the
Caribbean Islands. Eli jumped
at the chance, selling the rest of
his imports in Panama and other
countries throughout Central
As part of this marketing
venture, Eli rented a stockroom
on the island of Aruba, located
off the coast of Venezuela,
where he stored the expensive
wardrobe items. At a certain
point he decided that it would
be preferable to transfer the
merchandise to Venezuela. This

was a country with a population
of sixty to seventy million people
and he thought that it would be
much easier to sell the fashionable
clothes there. He rented a large
warehouse in Venezuela for a
monthly fee and moved all the
goods there from Aruba. The
cost of this merchandise was very
substantial and it was supposedly
well protected in this storeroom.
Not long afterward, in mid5751, Eli’s family returned to
live in Eretz Yisroel, and he was
forced to deal with a variety of

matters connected with the move.
This kept him out of Venezuela
for four to five months. When he
finally finished getting his family
set up in Eretz Yisroel he quickly
returned to Venezuela to resume
hands-on control of his business.

As soon as he returned to
Venezuela, later in 5751, he
went to the warehouse where
he had rented space to store his
merchandise and got the shock of
his life.
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Not long afterward, a huge-looking Venezuelan
came to the house. He was so tall that Eli thought
he might finish a close second to Og Melech HaBashan.
“I went over to the warehouse
owner,” R Eliezer said, “and
without skipping a beat, he
looked at me squarely in the eyes
and declared, ‘You have no more
“I was totally stunned. ‘What
do you mean, I have no more
merchandise?’ I screamed at
him. ‘I paid you rent for all these
months that I wasn’t here. What
kind of trick is this?’ I tried to
argue with him, even threatening
to go to an attorney. ‘Go to
whomever you want,’ was his
only reply.
“I realized that I was in
serious trouble. This merchandise
cost a great deal of money. I had
worked with this individual over
the previous year and it never
dawned on me for a moment
that he could suddenly become
involved in organized crime
“Later, I realized that when
he saw that several months had
passed and I hadn’t returned, he
decided to make it big and sold
my merchandise at a bargain
price to the first customer who
came along. He had already
pocketed the down payment of
fifty thousand dollars, and he
was about to receive the balance,
amounting to several hundred
thousand more, although this was
still far less than its actual value.
Suddenly and unexpectedly, I
came back and tried to spoil his
golden opportunity…”
To Eli’s great misfortune,
crime in Venezuela is not just a
national epidemic – it’s the way
the country runs. This is a region
where people are murdered at the
drop of a hat over money. If you

enter a police station to register
a complaint, the chances of your
getting out of there alive would
depend on how much you’re
prepared to pay the officer onduty… This was a dangerous
world based on three principles
– bribery, bribery, and again

Eli would not give up. He
went to one of the country’s most
prestigious attorneys and paid
a lot of money for his services,
but to no avail. His efforts were
unsuccessful. While he even tried
to make use of the many contacts
he had developed over the years,
they produced no tangible results.
One of these acquaintances was
a local Gentile, who periodically
did some business with him, and
they even developed an unusually
warm friendship. He had also
heard about Eli’s predicament
and empathized with his plight,
but he too admitted he couldn’t
do much to help.
Three months passed during
which Eli tried desperately to
fight the cruel circumstances that
had entangled him. Even back
in those days Venezuela was not
known for establishing justice or
insuring domestic tranquility. His
state of dejection threatened to
consume him.
As a Shabbos observant
Jew Eli spent Shabbasos at a
nearby hotel, located near the
of Jewish residents. The need
to avoid a long walk was not
just for the purpose of greater

of the mitzvah “And you shall
watch yourselves very well.” As
we have already said, Venezuela
is not the friendliest country for
business dealings.

One Shabbos during that
period, early in 5752, Eli passed
by a synagogue from which
he heard the sound of spirited
singing. This stopped him in
his tracks and he decided to go
inside. The niggun was “Yedid
Nefesh” and the synagogue was
the local Chabad house. He
hadn’t even been aware that there
was a Chabad house in the area.
“I went inside,” R’ Eliezer
recalled, “and I noticed that
there was a rather large crowd.
cheerful and they were all soon
dancing as they sang ‘Lecha
Dodi.’ As I was still feeling very
angry, sad, and dejected over
the problems consuming me, I
stayed on the side. Suddenly, a
young man, about twenty years
old, approached me. His name
was Meir Burkis, and as he was
smiling and laughing, he asked
me, ‘What’s the matter, sir? Why
are you so sad?’
“‘Forget it, I’m having
problems. You can’t help me,’ I
“‘Leave it alone,’ he said
Shabbos. Forget about the
problems. Just relax.’
“‘And where are you eating
the Shabbos meal?’ he then
“‘At the hotel,’ I replied.”
He exchanged a few words
with the shliach, Rabbi Perman,
who then invited him for the
Shabbos meal at the Chabad

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“On Motzaei Shabbos, Meir,
who was staying in the city on
shlichus, came up to me and
inquired about the problem that
was afflicting me. After I told
him in brief about the difficult
situation, he replied: ‘What’s the
problem? Write to the Rebbe!’
“Only then did it hit me. I
already knew the Lubavitcher
Rebbe and I had been privileged
to have an audience with the
Rebbe about twelve years earlier.
As was customary, I had taken a
sheet of paper and written out my
request – brachos of health for
people close to me. After waiting
several hours, I went inside for
yechidus. The Rebbe invited me
to sit down and I did so. The
Rebbe then asked me in which
language I preferred to converse.
I replied that since I speak several
languages including English,
French, and Hebrew, it made no
difference to me. ‘Pick one,’ the
Rebbe told me, and I chose to
speak with him in Hebrew.
“I was privileged to be in the
Rebbe’s room for about nine
and a-half minutes, and during
this private audience I felt as if I
was being viewed with an x-ray
machine. It put a real sense of
fear and spiritual elevation in
my heart, and I realized that I
was sitting before a tzaddik – the
foundation of the world.
“At the start of the yechidus,
the Rebbe looked at the note I had
submitted and then said: ‘You are
requesting for everyone, but what
are you asking for yourself?’ I
replied that, thank G-d, I have
everything, but the Rebbe still
wanted me to request something.
I had no answer for him. While
I realize now that this may have
been a wasted opportunity, this
story might represent a kind of
dénouement to that yechidus…

Rabbi Meir Burkis, Mr. Eliezer Cohen, and their mutual friend in front of the
‘Mitzvah Tank’ that the friend donated from his car business

“What the Rebbe told me
during those nine and a half
minutes is known only to G-d,
the Rebbe, and myself. But
one detail I can tell you: Rabbi
Groner opened the door twice
during the yechidus but the
Rebbe motioned for him to
close it. When I left the Rebbe’s
room Chassidim waiting outside
asked me what had transpired. I
entered a poor man, and I walked
out rich, I told them.
“In later years, I also went
for dollars on several occasions.
Yet, for some reason, despite my
connection with the Rebbe, until
Meir had suggested to me on that
Motzaei Shabbos to write the
Rebbe a letter about my problem
and ask for a bracha, I hadn’t
thought about this possibility.”

“Meir gave me the fax number
of the Rebbe’s secretariat, and
the next day, Sunday, I wrote
a detailed letter to the Rebbe,
spelling out the problem facing

me. I have saved the letter to this
very day. I sent it via fax, and
a short while later, I received
a question in response: ‘What
is your mother’s name?’ I had
apparently neglected to write my
mother’s name, and I re-sent the
fax with the missing information.
I left the hotel, hoping for the
That same afternoon, as Eli
returned to his hotel room, he
found a one-line handwritten
fax from the Rebbe. He called
Meir Burkis and asked him,
“Who’s the mazkir Ben Tziyon?”
Meir was puzzled at first, not
understanding what he meant.
Suddenly, he said with great
excitement: “That’s Azkir al
HaTzion, not Mazkir Ben
Tziyon. The Rebbe is going
tomorrow, Monday, to pray at
the gravesite of his father-inlaw, the Rebbe Rayatz, and he
is informing you that he will
daven for you and mention your
personal problem!”
On Tuesday, Eli went to
his friend, a local Gentile with

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The partner and mutual friend at dollars distribution

whom he had periodic business
dealings. As mentioned above,
this friend had heard about Eli’s
problem when it first developed,
empathizing with his plight. This
time, however, when Eli entered
his home, the friend immediately
asked him, “What’s happening
with you, Eli? Did you manage to
solve your problem?”
“I have an idea,” the friend
declared. “I don’t know why I
didn’t think of this before! Are
you prepared to pay a little more
“Yes,” Eli said emphatically.
The Gentile picked up the
phone and placed a call. Not
long afterward, a huge-looking
Venezuelan came to the house.
He was so tall that Eli thought
he might finish a close second
to Og Melech HaBashan. The
man, who introduced himself
to Eli as his friend’s uncle, was
the commander of the National
Guard in Caracas.
He said that he was
responding to his nephew’s
personal request, in exchange
for a “token” fee as payment

for his “services.” They agreed
on a certain sum, half of which
Eli paid immediately, while he
promised to pay the balance after
his problem was solved.

This police commander called
in several of his officers, and he
headed towards the warehouse
together with Eli. “We’re going
to get your merchandise back!”
he declared.
When they arrived at the
location, the warehouse manager
was just about to leave for
his afternoon break. As the
man noticed Eli entering with
someone he didn’t recognize, he
became very angry and started
yelling at him: “I warned you
before that if you came back here
I would call the police!”
Eli’s companion glared at the
manager and said authoritatively:
“I am the police.” He paused for
a moment and then continued:
“You don’t want to know who I
am, but I’ll tell you anyway. My
official title is ‘National Guard
Commander of Caracas’…

“I’ll you two choices: Either
you return all the merchandise
you took from this man right now
and we’ll forget the whole thing
– and you’ll handle the problem
of what you were planning to do
with the merchandise on your
own, or we’ll drag you in to
the police station and take the
merchandise anyway.”
“Within five minutes, I had
my merchandise back,” R’ Eliezer
recalled. “I brought a truck to
cart everything away, and I left
there grinning from ear to ear
with the merchandise safely in
my possession. I eventually sold
all the merchandise, albeit not at
the price I had originally planned.
With G-d’s help, I finished the
whole venture without sustaining
any losses.”

“I felt as if I was in a dream.
For three months I had been
walking around as if my whole
world had come to an end as all
my toil and effort had gone for
nothing. Then suddenly, I was
privileged to meet the Rebbe’s
shliach and he urged me to write
the Rebbe a letter and request
a bracha. I wrote the letter on
Sunday, the Rebbe prayed for me
on Monday, and on Tuesday, my
salvation had come!”
R’ Eliezer continued to
illustrate most vividly his feelings
over this tremendous miracle. “It
was as if I was trying to start a
car engine without success, and
people suddenly came to me and
said, ‘You have a key in your
pocket. Why don’t you use it?’ I
put the key in the ignition, and
the car revved up as if there had
never been a problem to begin
Not long afterwards, on the
15th of Teves 5752, R’ Eliezer

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traveled together with his friend
and partner to Beis Rabbeinu
Sh’B’Bavel. They were planning
a new business venture, a car
dealership that would prove
most beneficial to the Chabad
house in Caracas. They passed
by the Rebbe together for dollars,
and when their turn came, they
thanked the Rebbe for his bracha.
“Blessed Be He and His
Name for placing the Rebbe
in our generation,” R’ Eliezer
concluded with great emotion.

As Divine Providence would
have it, while I was writing this
fascinating story, I learned a
sicha from the Rebbe on Parshas
Shlach in Likkutei Sichos, Vol.
13, which concluded with a
marvelous instruction in Avodas

Hashem. I was amazed to see
how the content of this teaching
was extremely fitting for this
Here is the portion of the
sicha most relevant to the
“It is brought in Tikkunei
Zohar: ‘There is an extension of
Moshe in each generation,’ and
our Rabbis of blessed memory
say, ‘There is no generation
that doesn’t have someone like
Moshe.’ It’s understood that just
as Moshe Rabbeinu would pray
for each and every Jew, caring for
each and every one... similarly,
[we find] with the extension of
Moshe in each generation, caring
and praying for each and every
Jew in their generation...
“And the reason: ‘Roshei B’nei
Yisroel, etc., are the level of head
and mind, etc.’, and therefore,

it is understood that just as in a
material sense, when something
is missing or hurts in one of
the limbs of the body, it is felt
specifically in the head and mind,
so too in the spiritual realm.
Prayer for the entire body of the
Jewish People in all its limbs is
through the mind and the head
– the Moshe of the generation.
Furthermore, individual prayer
ascends through the Moshe of
the generation, the intermediary
connecting the Jewish People to
G-d, and as is stated, ‘I stand
between G-d and you.’
“By the same token, we find
regarding the Moshe in each
generation, who cares for each
and every person, and he is the
one who davens and achieves
through his davening a drawing
forth of all good – in the material
and the spiritual [realms].”

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If we tried to picture the shliach of the Rebbe
Rayatz to the Caucasus Mountains, the k’hilla
in Batum in Georgia, the rav of the Chabad
community in Samarkand, and the rav of a shul
in Mea Sh’arim, we would surely think these
are several different rabbanim. * R’ Nachum
Shmaryahu Sossonkin was the one person who
served in all these roles, and in all of them, he
used his influence to spread the wellsprings
outward and to connect people to the source of
the spring, the Rebbe. * Presented to mark his
passing on 19 Menachem Av.
By Refael Dinari

5650/1890 in Propoisk, Belarus.
His father was R’ Avrohom who
was one of the students of R’
Shmaryahu Nachum of Bobruisk.
In his childhood he was sent to
the school of his uncle who was
the melamed of the town.
His intellectual abilities were
immediately discerned. At age

six and a half he was switched
to a more advanced class where
he learned Chumash, Rashi and
Mishnayos. After one semester
he was sent to a melamed who
taught him Gemara. When he
was eight, a yeshiva was founded
in the town and he was one of the
first students.
He did not stay in yeshiva for
long. His father left the city for
business reasons and his mother
died only two years later. The

child declined his father’s offer
of hiring him a melamed in the
town near where he ran the
squire’s affairs. He chose to stay
with his uncle the melamed. In
the meantime, the yeshiva had
closed and his relatives began
worrying about the child’s future.
They wanted to apprentice him
to a watchmaker, but Shmerel
insisted on learning Torah and
after Sukkos 5661, at the age
of 11, he went to the yeshiva in

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When he arrived
there he was in for a
disappointment. The
hanhala of the yeshiva
refused to accept him
since he could not
prepare the material on
his own. He burst into
tears and prayed and
this helped. In the shul
where he slept learned
an older bachur with
his younger brother,
helping him prepare
the shiur. Shmerel
joined the brothers,
and the older brother,
seeing that Shmerel
grasped the material
quickly, agreed to
learn with him every
day on condition that
he would review the
shiur with his younger brother
who was not so quick. When the
bachur said that he was preparing
the shiur with Shmerel every day,
the hanhala accepted him into the
The bachur and the two
children slept in the small shul
in town. A sack which they
filled with grass or hay served
as their mattress and a winter
coat was their blanket. They ate
teg at householders’ homes who
considered it a privilege to have
a yeshiva bachur eating at their
Thanks to his learning with
Chaim, the younger brother,
Shmerel did very well in his
learning and was appreciated by
the rosh yeshiva. The many times
he reviewed the shiur with Chaim
until he understood it implanted
the material firmly in Shmerel’s
brain until he was expert in it.
He had another chavrusa to learn
other Masechtos and when he
finished yeshiva at age thirteen,
he was expert in four Masechtos.

His bar mitzva was marked
with the typical Jewish simplicity
of the times. He had an aliya to
the Torah and his father adjured
him to fulfill the verse, “and
choose life.” The boy promised
his father he would choose well
and learn in yeshiva and that was
He kept his promise and went
to Amchislav and was accepted
into the yeshiva of R’ Elchanan
Wasserman, the prized talmid
of the Chafetz Chaim and the
author of Kovetz Shiurim on the
Talmud and other s’farim.
He learned there for two years
and then went to Kremenchug
where he learned Gemara and
Hilchos Issur v’Heter by R’
Yitzchok Zuckerman.

When he finished learning
in these yeshivos for young
teenagers, he found himself at a
crossroads. The famous yeshivos
gedolos in Russia at that time
were in: Telz, Volozhin, Radin,

and Lubavitch. He
had learned in a
Chassidic town but
had no involvement in
Chassidus whatsoever.
All his friends were
wore short jackets as
the Litvishe yeshiva
bachurim dressed.
with bachurim from
Telz and Volozhin, he
was taken aback to
hear their complaints
about being yeshiva
bachurim and what
would become of them
and how they were
thinking of studying
That left Radin and
wasn’t drawn to Radin
because the bachurim there
went about in mara sh’chora
(melancholy), and he wasn’t
interested in Lubavitch because
they set aside Nigleh and studied
Kabbala, so he heard.
He heard about a yeshiva in
Kishinev that was opened by a
wealthy man named Perlmutter
who supported the bachurim.
When he arrived there he was
a sight to behold since the
yeshiva was attended by Polisher
Chassidim. They were surprised
to see a bachur in a short
jacket. When he went to talk to
Perlmutter he was told that he
could not be accepted since he
did not want “foreign ideas” in
his yeshiva.
While he was still in the town,
a bachur who was a baal t’shuva
asked Shmerel to learn with him
a few hours a day for which he
would pay him. He remained
in the town where he met the
Rebbe Rayatz’s father-in-law,
R’ Avrohom Schneersohn who
explained to him that the only

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While living in Samarkand, R’ Sossonkin came home one day glowing
with joy. He told his wife that he had bought a beautiful suit and had
paid for it with all their savings. When she wanted to see the stupendous
garment, he explained to her that she could not see it. It was a spiritual suit.
Only years after his passing did his wife reveal what that spiritual suit
was. It was when one of the Chassidim in shul burst into tears and cried
that he had a one-time opportunity to leave the Soviet Union but he did not
have the money to buy a ticket. If he did not pay then and there, who knew
whether he’d ever be able to leave?
R’ Sossonkin did not think much about it. He gave the Chassid all the
money he had saved up for which he had worked many years.

“I did not recognize my friends because they
changed so much. They had changed in their
dress, in their sensitivities, and their ambitions; even their
faces had changed. Before we came to Lubavitch, we felt
a strong sense of wanting to be like the rest of the world.
No wonder I did not recognize my friends since their
faces had changed and their way of dress had changed.
For why try to adapt to the world when they realized that
the world is not a true existence?!”
place for him was in Lubavitch.

He made his decision after
hearing a drasha from one of
the rabbanim which included
an explanation from Tanya, and
realizing that this wasn’t Kabbala
as he had thought, he left for
Lubavitch. When he arrived
there, he was accepted joyously
by some of his friends who knew
him from previous yeshivos.
“I did not recognize my
friends because they changed
so much. They had changed in
their dress, in their sensitivities,
and their ambitions; even their
faces had changed,” wrote R’
Sossonkin. “Before we came
to Lubavitch, we felt a strong
sense of wanting to be like the

rest of the world. There was
no refinement of a ben Torah
apparent on our faces. No
wonder I did not recognize my
friends since their faces had
already changed and their way of
dress had changed. For why try
to adapt to the world when they
already realized that the world is
not a true existence?!”
His years in yeshiva had a
profound effect on him. This is
not the place to talk about this at
length, but R’ Sossonkin wrote
in his memoir a long, detailed
description of the yeshiva, how
they learned, etc.
In 5670 he married and in
5671 he received smicha from
R’ Dovid Tzvi Chein. Starting in
5675 he served as a rav in many
Chabad communities with the
Rebbe’s consent.

The year that the Rebbe
Rashab passed away, the Rebbe
Rayatz appointed R’ Sossonkin
to three important jobs: rav in
Rostov, rosh yeshiva, and the
When he asked Rashag [the
Rebbe’s son-in-law] to give him
a student certificate of Tomchei
T’mimim, Rashag refused. When
he complained to the Rebbe,
the Rebbe told him that the
yeshiva was in fact not Tomchei
T’mimim, but only for the
purpose of fulfilling the Talmudic
dictate to establish a yeshiva near
the gravesite of a great man for
the first year after his passing.
In fact, a year later the yeshiva
Nearly every day he went to
the Rebbe, and as the Rebbe’s
secretary the door was open to
him. The Rebbe once told him
he feared being searched and
he gave R’ Sossonkin a pile of
letters and told him to bring them
each time he came. One day, R’
Sossonkin decided, for some
reason, not to go that day. That
very day there was a search and
the Rebbe was even arrested for a
few hours.
Since he did not receive a
salary for these three jobs, he
found a position as a shamash
in a shul. This was the time
of the Communist Revolution
and the economy was terrible
so that many Chassidim had to
find illegal means to support
themselves. The Rebbe gave R’
Sossonkin a letter which he asked
him to convey to the Chassidim,
in which he encouraged them and
reminded them that their main
role was to be a Jew and spread
the light of Judaism while other
occupations were secondary.

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With Rabbanei Chabad in Brunoy. From right to left: R’ Dworkin, R’ Kesselman, R’ Sossonkin, R’ Shemtov, R’ Plotkin
(standing), R’ Blinitzky, R’ Peretz Mochkin, R’ Isser Kluwgant, R’ Chaim Minkowitz

After the yeshiva closed, the
Rebbe told him to go to Derbent
in the Caucasus and to start a
yeshiva there. The Rebbe told
him to first go to Kutais where
R’ Shmuel Levitin lived and
worked, and to consult with
him as someone who already
had experience working with
Sephardic Jews.
In those countries far from
Moscow, R’ Sossonkin saw how
materially and spiritually life was
much better. There was kosher
sh’chita in all the big cities and
Jewish schools were out in the
open. You could buy any product
without coupons or tickets.
However, when he arrived
in the Caucasus, after leaving
his family behind in Baku in
Azerbaijan, he discovered that the
situation there was the complete
opposite. When he went to the
shul and said he was an emissary
of the Lubavitcher Rebbe in order
to start a school, the mountain

Jews told him fine, but they
couldn’t give him any money.
difficulties until he found
an Ashkenazic couple who
welcomed him into their home
and provided him with meals
though he did not eat meat there.
After settling in, he went to check
things out and discovered that in
a city with 1200 Jewish children,
most of them knew how to read
but only 15 of them knew how to
learn Chumash and Rashi.
Since he did not know their
language, he looked until he
found a boy who knew a little
Yiddish and then opened a class.
R’ Sossonkin first taught the boy
and then the boy gave the lesson
to the other children in Juhuri,
Caucasian for Jewish, a form
of Persian and the traditional
language spoken by the mountain
Jews. R’ Sossonkin listened and
picked up the language in this
way and then began teaching
After a year and a half without
his family, he met a Jewish man

who said he came from a nearby
city and that his father had come
there originally from Moscow
for business. R’ Sossonkin
decided to go to this city to see
whether he could set himself
up there financially. When he
arrived there, the man said he
had another eight children who
needed a melamed and he would
support him and his family.
Since he and his family had
been suffering from hunger, he
decided to move there with his
family. His children were thrilled
at their reunion. They learned
with him and finally, they were
no longer hungry.

At the beginning of 5682,
he received a letter from R’
Shmuel Levitin and R’ Zalman
Rogatchover in which they wrote
that the Rebbe said he should
move to serve as rav in Batum. R’
Sossonkin immediately left with
his family and after meeting with
his two friends the three left for
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The spiritual level of the
city was very low. Many Jewish
refugees were there who wanted
a rav but only ten percent of the
local community ate kosher. The
members of the small Sephardic
community were more careful
when it came to eating kosher but
their shochtim were ignoramuses
who could not be relied upon.
arrival, R’ Zalman went around
announcing that the rav would
speak in the shul. After the
drasha, most of the townspeople
were convinced that they wanted
the rav, but the gabbaim of the
community, who took a sizable
amount from the financial
support of the Joint, were
opposed. Despite this, two of
the members of the community

committed to pay the rav’s salary.
When the rav found out
that the flour at the mill was
moistened, he forbade its use for
Pesach. The Sephardim accepted
this, but the Ashkenazi gabbai
went around to the stores and
homes and explained that there
was no reason to listen to the
rabbi’s new, bizarre hiddur. It
was only after a long discussion
and the rav presenting another
way for them to obtain wheat
and pay for it, that the gabbaim
agreed to accept the rav’s ruling.
sh’chita. After one of the
two shochtim died, all sorts
of candidates tried to fill the
vacancy. In the end, after a long
battle, the rav went to the Rebbe
and returned with a shochet who

had learned in Tomchei T’mimim,
R’ Betzalel Wilschansky. The
fight wasn’t over though.
When the rav left town for a
while to a health resort, a Jewish
butcher whose parnasa was hurt
by the new shochet’s care with
kashrus, began to incite the
townspeople against the rav. It
was only after the rav returned
and signed an agreement with
the shochet that matters calmed
gabbaim wanted to appoint a
chazan who was not to the rav’s
liking. As a result, the rav left
town for the Yomim Nora’im
and went to the Rebbe. When
he returned, he saw a sign
on the wall from the gabbaim
announcing that they were
looking for a new rav. This was
an attempt to punish him for his
chutzpa on leaving the town for
the Yomim Nora’im.
But when the townspeople
heard of this, they rose up and
declared they would be the ones
to decide. A meeting was held
in which new members of a
committee were appointed. They
committed to pay the rav a good
salary and to proclaim him the
official rav.
Just one year went by and a
new problem arose. A Georgian
chochom who became enamored
of Zionism, began advertising
that he was opening a school in
Hebrew that would be under
government auspices and free.
The only way to stop this was by a
public debate with him, in which
R’ Sossonkin proved that there
was no way in the world that
the Russian government would
pay for religious studies and that
their goal was to eliminate Torah.
The Rebbe Rayatz took great
pleasure in R’ Sossonkin’s work.
When he went to the Rebbe for
Yud-Tes Kislev 5687, he did not

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manage to have yechidus before
Yud-Tes Kislev. The Rebbe, who
noticed him at the farbrengen,
said, “Far, but close!”
When he returned, he felt the
noose tightening. He was often
called for interrogation by the
GPU. After a while he realized he
had no choice but to leave Batum
forever. He went from there to
Charkov and then to Leningrad.
In Leningrad, he felt revived
spiritually but definitely not
materially. He went to the
Chabad shul where he could
meet his fellow Chassidim and
began giving a shiur in Gemara
and Chassidus until the noose
began tightening again and he
stopped. That year, ten members
of the community were arrested
following the tattling of an
informer. They were all exiled to
Siberia and died there. Among
those arrested were two of his
sons who left behind wives and
young children.
When the evil ones went to
his house to arrest his son, they
also had an arrest warrant for
him, but he wasn’t at home. He
immediately left the city and went
to live with his son Asher who
lived in a suburb near Moscow.
He lived there until the war,
trembling at night from every
little sound that might signal the
arrival of the angels of death.

When the war began and
authorities said to leave Moscow,
R’ Sossonkin fled with the other
Chassidim and after a long,
dangerous, arduous journey
arrived in Samarkand.
Once in Samarkand they
faced starvation. The government
was unable to feed the thousands
of refugees who flocked there.
Strict rationing was imposed on
bread sales and the streets were
full of bodies.

With a delegation of rabbanim by Mr. Schwartz, the director of the Joint in the US
From right to left: R’ Sossonkin, R’ Garelik, R’ Chanzin, Mr. Schwartz, R’ Gorodetzky, R’
Bruk, R’ Karasik. Standing: R’ Begun of Brazil, R’ Maidanchek, R’ Groner, and R’ Chefer

Upon arriving in the city,
he was appointed the rav of
the Chabad community, and
was the de facto rav of the city.
This is because the chachomim
were simple Jews who knew
more than the others but not
enough to serve as rabbanim.
The Chabad Chassidim started
a chevra kadisha, a mikva, an
elementary school and a yeshiva.
They revived the Chassidic spirit
which had been destroyed by the
When numerous Chassidim
left Russia, R’ Sossonkin left
too and he arrived in the refugee
camps in Europe. He served on
the improvised committee that
was formed in the refugee camp.
In 5710 he made aliya and was
appointed as rav in the Chabad

shul in Mea Sh’arim.
After the passing of the Rebbe
Rayatz, he spoke about the
greatness of the new Rebbe, “I
don’t say this because the mosdos
are in danger without the Rebbe,
but because I know him and I’m
telling you that he is the Rebbe!”
At farbrengens, he often
quoted the Chazal which says
that if the Jewish people sin,
Hashem will send them a king
as harsh as Haman to get them
to do t’shuva. He explained that
in our generation, Hashem had
mercy and gave us the Rebbeim
who revealed to us the treasures
with which we can do t’shuva.
Although he was weak and
sick, he did not stop learning and
teaching Torah. He passed away
on 19 Av 5735/1975.

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Beis Moshiach presents more of the Rebbe’s
correspondence with the internationally
renowned sculptor, Chaim Yaakov (Jacques)
Lipchitz. Part 3.
By the Grace of G-d
Erev Shevuoth, 5719
Brooklyn, N.Y.
Mr. Chaim Jacob Lipchitz
168 Warburton Ave.
Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.
Greeting and Blessing:
After the long interval, I was
pleased to receive your letter of
June 7th, and thank you for your
good wishes for the Festival,
which I sincerely reciprocate,
wishing you and all your family
a truly joyous and inspiring
Festival of “Receiving the Torah
with joy and inwardness”
to quote my father-in-law of
saintly memory. Needless to say,
the text of a blessing which has
become traditional in Chabad,
is meaningful. The significance
of the blessing quoted above lies
in the fact that the Torah entails
two essential aspects:
a. The inward experience

of the Torah and Mitzvoth,
so as not to permit them to
degenerate into an uninspiring
habitual routine, and,
b. Joy, that is to say, one’s
study and practice of the Torah
and Mitzvoth should permeate
one’s inner being to such an
extent as to realize that, far

from their being any sort of
a burden or duty, or a means
of getting reward or avoiding
punishment, they are good in
themselves and a source of true
inner happiness.
With kind regards and,
With blessing, M.
Regarding an appointment,
you will hear from the
Secretariat as to the first
available opportunity.
By the Grace of G-d
29th of Shevat, 5720
Brooklyn, N.Y.
Mr. Chaim Jacob Lipchitz
168 Warburton Ave.
Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.
Greeting and Blessing:
I received your letter with
some delay, but I was pleased to
read in it that the family matter
has been resolved satisfactorily
through the cooperation of an
Orthodox Rav, who has made a
deep impression on you.
May G-d grant that this
satisfactory development be the
forerunner of other successes in
all your affairs, in accordance
with the Torah, Toras Chaim,

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including, of course, the matter
of health. For, as you know,
the great teacher Maimonides
has ruled that taking care of
one’s physical health is part
of our religious way of life.
This is further emphasized in
the teachings of Chassidus,
where it is taught that all the
daily aspects of physical life,
including eating, drinking, etc.,
and certainly aspects connected
with the emotions such as in art,
etc., can and should be elevated
to a higher spiritual level if
carried out in accordance with
Mosaic Law, as you mention in
your letter, with inner joy and
gladness of heart.
Being on the threshold of the
happy and auspicious month
of Adar, which has been so
for all our people throughout
our history, and also for every
individual Jew, who is an
inseparable part of our people,
I send you the traditional
good wishes for a happy and
successful month.
With blessing, M.
Thank you very much for
your remarks concerning the
work of Mrs. W.

By the Grace of G-d
19th of Adar, 5721
Brooklyn, N.Y.
Mr. Chaim Yaakov Lipchitz
168 Warburton Ave.
Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.
Greeting and Blessing:
This is to thank you for your
note and best wishes for Purim,
together with the Shallach
Monos. I appreciate your
thoughtfulness and attention.
You do not mention anything
about matters of health, or
other affairs in your family,
from which I gather that all is
I have had occasion to
observe that the commandment
to increase joy with the entry
of Adar, implies that every day
of the month should have a
larger measure of joy over and
above the increased measure
of joy in the previous day, and
so on, in a compounded way
each day. Similarly, it should be
with all matters of Torah and
Mitzvoth. Since G-d’s reward is
in kind and in a most generous
measure, His blessings come in
a similar compounded way. May
it be so with you and yours,

and may you have good news
to report in good health and

With blessing,
I trust you will find the
enclosed of interest.
By the Grace of G-d
Erev Pesach, 5722
Brooklyn, N.Y.
168 Warburton Ave.
Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.
Greeting and Blessing:
I am in receipt of your letter
of April 12. I do not know if
you expect me to return to the
subject of our correspondence,
since it is evident from your
letter that you know now my
point of view. I find it necessary,
however, to refer to two points
which have been raised by you.
Firstly, in connection with Mr.
B.R. mentioned by me, and the
question you ask, what would be
the reaction if he had made such
a gift to a Yeshiva? Needless to
say, this is besides the point. The
point which I made was that if it
had been a person of a different
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There is no logical basis to assume that certain
carbons could not have been produced except
by the decay of other carbons, while those other carbons
came into being in some other way. This is an arbitrary
assumption. In view of the above, and other reasons, this
method is a doubtful criterion even in regard to a not too
distant past, and is certainly of very doubtful validity in
regard to the distant past.
background and profession,
it would have not surprised
me so much that you should
consider it a worthy association,
and I would have considered
my chances of dissuading you
much slimmer. But seeing that
it is this particular person that
is involved, it made me wonder
all the more why you should
consider it a worthy association,
and it had also raised my hopes
that on further reflection you
might not like the company
after all.
Secondly, your suggestion
to leave our divergent views
to the Supreme Judge, is
accept, since it is not a matter
nor am I G-d’s policeman.
I am hopeful that both of us
will for many many years to
come do our share to spread
Yiddishkeit and strengthen our
traditions. But I considered
it my duty to try to prevent
a Jew from doing something
which, in my opinion, was not
recommendable, especially a
Jew who is close to my heart.
As for citing the case of Prof.
Boris Schatz, I trust you will
forgive me when I say that the
facts were not quite the same as
you seem to think. At any rate,
I have no desire to go into this
matter, for it is not important
what any other individual did,

since in this matter we have a
clear ruling in the Shulchan
Aruch, and when a person
deviates from the Shulchan
Aruch he cannot be cited as an
example to follow. Here lies one
of the fundamental differences
between the Jewish religion and
others, for our Torah is an open
book, and everyone can find out
for himself what the Jewish law
is; and there is no authority that
can change it.
Since I have clarified my
views, there is no point in my
On the other hand it is my
policy in my relationship with
other people to seek out points
of agreement rather than
of disagreement. Therefore,
seeing that for the time being,
at any rate, we have reached
an impasse on this question, I
prefer to turn my attention to
points of mutual agreement.
At this time on the eve of
the Festival of Our Liberation,
I send you my prayerful wishes
for a kosher and inspiring
Pesach. I trust you will find
the enclosed copy of my Pesach
message of timely interest.
regards, and
With blessing, M.
P.S. With reference to the
question of carbon dating,

which you mention in your
letter, this method is precisely
also one of those that has all
the weaknesses which I noted
in my letter. Thus, this method
has only fairly recently been
discovered and has not been
tested over a long period; it
belongs in the category of
extrapolation, where a relatively
very short period of observation
is used as basis for inferences
going back to the distant past;
it is based on some illogical
and unscientific assumptions.
For example, there is no logical
basis to assume that certain
carbons could not have been
produced except by the decay
of other carbons, while those
other carbons came into being
in some other way. This is an
arbitrary assumption. In view
of the above, and other reasons,
this method is a doubtful
criterion even in regard to a not
too distant past, and is certainly
of very doubtful validity in
regard to the distant past.
By the Grace of G-d
4th of Adar, 5723
Brooklyn, N.Y.
168 Warburton Ave.
Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.
Sholom uBrocho:
heard from you for some
time, your letter of February
22 was particularly welcome,
following the regards which I
had previously received through
Mrs. Weill.
I am very pleased to
note that you have resumed
your work, and are working
with inspiration.
In connection with
your forthcoming exposition, I
wish you unqualified success,

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and for many, many good and
happy years to come may G-d
grant you to use your gifts to
the credit of our Jewish people,
and of our Jewish values in
particular. For there are many
ways in which a Jew can serve
G-d, and one must serve Him
in all, in accordance with the
principle “Know Him, and
make Him known, in all your
ways.” You have a unique
privilege of doing so through
your own medium, which
to certain circles is the only
medium of learning something
about Jews and Judaism.

A propos of the above,
I trust you will not take it
amiss, though it may sound
somewhat chauvinistic, but it
is nevertheless true, that Jews,
as Jews, can be justly proud.
For although we declare, and
pray for, three times a day –
in the famous hymn “Oleinu
l’shabe’ach”: “To establish the
world under the kingdom of
the Almighty, and all mankind
shall invoke Thy Name,” this
is preceded by “It is our duty to
praise the Lord of all things…
Who hath not made us like the
nations of other lands,” etc. Any
doubt that one might have had
about the inherent distinction
between our people and other
nations, in this 20th century
of enlightenment, science and
philosophy, has tragically been
dispelled by our experience at
the hands of a nation which
claimed first place in the arts
and sciences in our generation,
while the other “advanced”
nations hardly did anything
to avert or stop the mass
slaughter. This is too painful to
I will conclude on a
happy note, having entered
the joyous month of Adar,
highlighted by the festival of
Purim, may you, we all in the

midst of all our people enjoy –
to quote the Megillah – “light
and gladness, joy and honor.”
With blessing, M.

Your check was turned
over to the special Purim fund,
for “gifts to the poor,” in the
spirit of the Megillah.
By the Grace of G-d
5th of Teves, 5725
Brooklyn, N.Y.
Mr. Chaim Yaakov Lipchitz
168 Warburton Ave.
Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.

Greetings and Blessings:
After the considerable
interval, which already made
me wonder at your prolonged
silence, I was pleased to
receive your letter of the 3rd of
I was particularly pleased to
note that you are back at work,
now that you have returned
from abroad. May G-d grant
that you should continue your
work to a ripe and happy old
age, and thus utilize the gift
with which you have been
blessed to animate, so to speak,
even the inanimate. And as you
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no doubt expect me to connect
this with the concepts of our
Torah, I can indeed say that it
is one of the foundations of
our Torah, Toras Chaim, to
“spiritualize” the material,
inasmuch as everything in this
world has to be used as an
instrument to glorify the Name
of our Creator.
I must say that I
sometimes feel embarrassed at
finding your check for Tzedoko
in your every letter, as if you
thought that you cannot write
to me without including a
donation for our cause. Thus
every time I write to you may
entail an expense on your
part. I would feel better if
you would separate the two,
namely your correspondence
and contributions. I do not,
of course, wish to discourage
you from sending Tzedoko,
which is one of the greatest
Mitzvoth, and there can never
be too much of it, but you do
not necessarily have to include
a check whenever you feel like
writing to me.
With prayerful wishes
for your good health, and with
kindest personal regards,
With blessing, M.
By the Grace of G-d
Erev Lag B’Omer, 5729
Brooklyn, N.Y.
Mr. Chaim Yaakov Lipchitz
La Quinta Hotel
La Quinta, Calif.
Greeting and Blessing:

Thank you very much
for your letter of the 21st of
April. I was delighted to note
that you feel much better in
The inauguration which you
mention and which is to take
place on May 4th, will no doubt

be a certain strain, but on the
other hand, I am confident the
gratification that will go with it
will have a very beneficial effect
on your health.
I just received a good
report from Rabbi Krinsky
that your stay in your present
surroundings is satisfactory. He
also told me that you expressed
your readiness to meet with
some of our representatives on
the West Coast who are active in
the dissemination of Yiddishkeit
in that area. I trust that this
encounter will be of mutual
benefit, to you no less than to
I send you my prayerful
wishes and warm personal
With blessing, M.
By the Grace of G-d
25th of Shevat, 5732
Brooklyn, N.Y.
Mr. Chaim Yaacov Lipchitz
Villa Bosio
Pieve di Camaiore
Lucca, Italy
Greeting and Blessing:
I was sorry to hear
that you were not feeling too
well, but I trust that by the
time this letter reaches you,
your health will have improved
satisfactorily. Inasmuch as there
is always room for improvement
in all things, I wish you further
improvement and a Refuo
sort of a patient you are, I take
the liberty of expressing my
confident hope that you follow
your doctors’ instructions. Even
if this may entail an enforced
period of rest and interruption
in your work, which no doubt
you would be inclined to

militate against, nevertheless,
I am confident that you will
overcome this, so as to expedite
your complete recuperation.
It is customary for
Jews to connect everything
with the Weekly Portion of the
Torah. Significantly, we read
in this week’s Sedra ‫ורפא ירפא‬,
which our Sages explain to be
the mandate of physicians to
heal and cure. Moreover, our
illustrious teacher the Rambam,
who was a famous physician
in the plain sense, as well as a
great spiritual healer, made it
a point in his great Code – ‫היות‬
‫הגוף בריא ושלם מדרכי ה’ הוא (הל’ דיעות‬
‫)’ר”פ ד‬.
Rambam, and apply it in the
area which we had occasion to
discuss, we may say that what
the Rambam is expressing here
is that in order that the physical
body be fit to serve G-d, that is
to say to elevate and sublimate
the physical into the spiritual,
or to bring out the spirituality
of the material, which is the
key to the all-embracing Divine
Unity – it is necessary that the
physical body be in a good state
and healthy. I might add that in
your own sphere of sculpture,
this is also self evident. For, in
order to create an idea out of a
piece of inert matter, whether
metal, wood or stone, it is,
of course, necessary that the
material be in a good state.
I trust you will not
consider me presumptuous in
trespassing upon your domain.
However, I only wish to impress
upon you the essential thing,
namely the need to follow your
doctors’ instructions.
Wishing you a Refuo
Shlemo, and with kindest
regards to you and your family,
With blessing, M.

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By Rabbi Heschel Greenberg

“We want Moshiach now!” is
a declaration, originally part of a
song sung by children at summer
camps, and endorsed and
popularized by the Rebbe. In this
refrain we give expression to our
most heartfelt desire to see the
unfolding of the Messianic Age
through our righteous Moshiach.
When we delve more deeply
into this refrain we will discover
that the word “now” not
only suggests urgency, as the
conclusion of this refrain reads,
“we don’t want to wait,” but
also contains other more subtle
messages that tell us what we
have to do in addition to ask for
and demand Redemption. One
such nuance can be found in this
week’s parsha, where the word
“now” is used emphatically.
The Biblical word for “now”
ata (spelled with an ayin) appears
in this week’s parsha: “And now
(V’Ata) O Israel, what does
G-d, your G-d, demand of you?
Only to fear G-d, your G-d, to
follow all His ways, to love Him,
to serve G-d your G-d, with all
of your heart and with all your

The Midrash declares that
wherever the word V’Ata appears
it is always an expression of
T’shuva (repentance or return).
In the context of this verse
it implies that T’shuva is a
prerequisite for all of which are
enumerated in this verse such
as fearing G-d, following all His
ways etc. Conversely, for T’shuva
to be a proper T’shuva, it must be
accompanied by all of the things
enumerated in this verse. Mere
thoughts of repentance do not
We can now understand the
connection of “now=T’shuva”
to Moshiach. In addition to
Maimonides’ statement that
T’shuva leads to immediate
Redemption, the Zohar teaches
us that one of Moshiach’s
functions is to inspire and
influence everyone, even the most
righteous, to T’shuva.
The question is: how does
the ideal of T’shuva relate to the
word “now?”
There are a host of
explanations given:

One simple explanation is
that when one does T’shuva,
past transgressions are erased.
One is also not held accountable
for the sins he or she might
commit in the future. As long as
a person is sincere in the present,
his sins, past and future, are not
held against the sinner. Thus, in
T’shuva, one’s status is defined
and judged based solely on the
Moreover, as the Chassidic
classic Or HaMeir explains,
even one instant of T’shuva,
one fleeting thought is enough
to change one’s status from evil
to righteous. This is based on
the Talmudic law of a known
criminal who betroths a woman,
stipulating that the marriage
will take effect only if he is a
righteous person; the marriage is
nevertheless valid. The Talmud’s
rationale is that he might have
had a fleeting thought of T’shuva
a second before he betrothed the
woman. T’shuva is a process of
the moment. T’shuva can happen
instantaneously. While ideally
T’shuva can and ought to be a
lifelong process, even one instant
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Parsha Thought

If we truly believe that each and every moment
of life we are a new creation with new life, then
T’shuva can be effective, since we are not the same
person that sinned. T’shuva allows us to detach ourselves
from the past only if we believe that the present is a new
life and that each moment we acquire a new identity.
of T’shuva has a transformative
The above can be applied to
Moshiach. As the Rebbe would
state repeatedly, based on the
Talmud and Maimonides, even
one good deed, word or even
thought can change the balance,
tip the scales and bring salvation
to the entire world.
When we say “We want
Moshiach Now” it may also
convey the message that we can
make it happen by one thought.

psychological in nature, is based
on a reply the Chassidic Master,
Rabbi Chaim of Sanz (known as
the Divrei Chaim) gave to a Jew
who told him that he “wanted
to do T’shuva.” Rabbi Chaim’s
sharp reply to him was: “Then do
it now!”
People feel good when they
make resolutions. On one hand,
we find it difficult to let go of
our errant behavior because of
the seduction and pressure of the
Animal Soul. On the other hand,
we have pangs of conscience
and guilt which make us feel
uncomfortable. How can we get
rid of the guilt without really
making drastic changes in our
lives? By making resolutions for
the future; putting off our need to
change while acknowledging that
we must. Hence, true T’shuva is
when we say to ourselves: “now!”
When we say “We Want

Moshiach Now!” we must
internalize the message that we
cannot tolerate even one more
moment in exile. While exile is
comfortable for some who might
feel that they could countenance
Moshiach coming a little bit later
after they get the most out of
exile, the message of the word
“Now” is that we want him now,

Another explanation found
in the work Chakal Tapuchin
understands the role of the
the basis and rationale for the
efficacy of T’shuva.
If we consider the negative
impact of a transgression against
G-d it is difficult to comprehend
how we can make amends. The
medieval philosopher, Rabbi
Yoseph Albo in his Ikarim
explains that G-d does not judge
us according to His infinite
stature and standards but with
the nuanced understanding that
we are ephemeral human beings
and judges us accordingly. If
G-d would view us from His
vantage point, our transgressions
would be considered so egregious
that no T’shuva would be
effective. The fact that we are
so insignificant and temporal
“allows” G-d to accept our
Hence, the power of T’shuva
lies in our own limited existence;

that we live in a fleeting moment,
in the state of “now.”
The connection to Moshiach
is that the reason we want
Moshiach now is that we want to
proceed from a period of fleeting
and temporal existence to a world
of permanence, when we will
enjoy eternal life, in the physical

The Likkutei Maharan sees
the “now” dynamic of T’shuva as
good advice for the sinner who
wishes to do T’shuva and turn a
new leaf. One of the impediments
to T’shuva is the penchant some
have to wallow in the past. As
a result, they are plagued by
guilt and become powerless to
extricate themselves from the
quagmire of their past.
Hence, to do effective T’shuva
one must focus on the here-andnow, not on the past.
To be sure, proper T’shuva
does require expressing remorse
for past misdeeds. However, one
should not obsess with the past
but focus on the present.
Indeed, the entire concept of
T’shuva is disengagement from
the past and living in the present,
beginning with a new slate.
The connection to Moshiach:
If “now” means removing the
shackles and anguish of the past,
the Messianic Age is the ultimate
period of saying goodbye to
the pain and suffering of the
past. Moshiach represents total

The famous Chassidic master,
R. Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev
provides a theological explanation
for the connectional between
T’shuva and “now.”
Every Jew must believe,

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Rabbi Levi Yitzchak states, that
he or she receives a new surge
of vitality every instant. Every
moment of life is a new gift from
G-d without which we could not
possibly survive.
Hence, if we truly believe that
each and every moment of life we
are a new creation with new life,
then T’shuva can be effective,
since we are not the same person
that sinned. T’shuva allows us to
detach ourselves from the past,
Rabbi Levi Yitzchak states, only
if we believe that the present is
a new life and that each moment
we acquire a new identity.
Moshiach will usher in an age
which will take this awareness
to another level. We will not
only continue to believe in the
continuous nature of life, we
will see it with our own eyes.
We will witness the recreation
of everything every moment of

The Alter Rebbe, in his
explanation to the correlation
of “now” to T’shuva. The Alter
Rebbe translates the word
V’Ata as the here-and-now, in
contradistinction to the “next
world” or the world-to-come,
which is the world in which
the soul exists without a body.

The Alter Rebbe explains that
T’shuva’s ability to transform the
negative into positive, “darkness
into light” is, paradoxically, an
otherworldly dynamic which can
only be accessed in our physical
In the afterlife, where the
disembodied soul is spiritually
energized, it can only relate to
the Divine energy that permeates
the world because the soul is
unburdened by the physical
world and is receptive to these
energies. It is not receptive,
however, to G-d’s transcendent
energy, because it is outside its
grasp. By definition, one cannot
internalize the transcendent.
In contrast, in our world—
the world of “now”—the
soul’s ability to appreciate
G-d’s permeating
energy is sharply
curtailed because
of the obstructing
properties of our
bodies and Animal
precisely because
of our “handicap,”
we have access to
G-d’s transcendent
and empowers us
to transform the
of our world into
the most sublime,
darkness into light.

The connection to Moshiach
is that contrary to a popular
misconception, the Messianic Age
will not change our observance
of Torah and Mitzvos. It is
very much a continuation and
completion of our “here-andnow” world. In the Messianic
era the soul and body will still
work in tandem to transform
the darkness into light. The
only difference will be the lack
of physical and spiritual threats
to our lives. In one way we are
unique in that these last moments
of Galus/exile provide us with
the greatest challenges. In the
Messianic Age, notwithstanding
the absence of these challenges,
we will still be part of the “now”
generation, albeit, with enhanced
G-dly awareness and spiritual

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Shliach R’ Tzvi Yosef (Herschel) Rabisky’s
shlichus targets thousands of Russian Jews in
Toronto. * His mekuravim see miracles of the
Rebbe, but R’ Rabisky prefers to deal with the
outreach work and shiurim than to tell about
miracles. * He gives us a fascinating look at his
work now as well as his work in Ladispoli, Italy in
the early 90’s.
By Nosson Avrohom


he mohel finished his
work. The circumcised
baby was sent back to
the women’s section.
The sandak and the father of
the baby sat down to the seudas
and mekuravim sat together and
blessed the happy parents.
At a certain point, one of the
people, a mekurav of the baby’s
grandfather, said he had a special
story to relate that he personally
experienced. The hall was silent
as the crowd listened to what he
had to say.
The man took them all back in
time and reminded the audience
that had yet to identify him by his
accent, that he was from Russia.
At the end of the 80’s, he and
some family members had been

able to leave Soviet Russia for
New York.
He and his younger brother
worked at various jobs and
hoped to establish themselves
financially. One day, he met a
friend who suggested he visit
770. “There is a big rabbi there,”
he said. “I recommend that you
go see him and get a blessing
from him.” Although he did not
have a Jewish education, he was
curious and promised that he
would check it out.
The first opportunity he had
he took a break and headed for
770. He walked in from the back
door just as the Rebbe finished
Mincha and was the first in the
path that opened up for the
Rebbe. A few moments passed
and he could see the majestic

figure of the Rebbe walking a few
steps away from him.
He was captivated by the
Rebbe and the respect he was
shown by the Chassidim. It
was the Rebbe himself who
interrupted his train of thought
when he turned around to him
and said in English, “Be well.”
The man did not understand
what the Rebbe meant since he
was hale and hearty at the time,
but the atmosphere in 770 and
the image of the Rebbe remained
etched in his mind, and when
he left New York and settled in
Toronto, he became friends with
one of the Rebbe’s shluchim, R’
Herschel Rabisky.
For those who remember,
about twelve years ago there was
an outbreak of SARS (Severe

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Acute Respiratory Syndrome)
that caused thousands of deaths
in the Far East. It started in
China where the government
covered it up, but then spread to
Hong Kong and other countries
including western countries such
as Canada, particularly Toronto.
It was discovered there among
the Chinese community but
about a thousand other people
caught it. People were terrified
and it took a long time before the
virus was no longer considered a
A significant number of those
who caught the bug, whose
symptoms are like pneumonia,
died quickly when their bodies’
systems collapsed. Sadly, among
those who caught the virus were
Jews, including the man telling
the story and two of his family

members. His brother and
mother died.
This man was in the hospital
for a long time. One day, as he
lay there, he heard the medical
team standing around his bed
and expressing surprise that he
was still alive when the virus had
spread throughout his body. He
heard them as he had a feeling
of hovering. Suddenly, what the
Rebbe said to him about a decade
earlier came back to him. He
wanted to shout to the doctors,
“There is a reason why I’m alive!
The Lubavitcher Rebbe blessed
me that I should be well.”
A few days passed and he
regained his health as though
he had never gone through a
medical crisis. His life changed
completely since then as he

began attending shiurim and
strengthened his observance of
The many people at the
bris, including those who had
already heard miracle stories that
happened through the Rebbe’s
brachos, were amazed by his
story. Among the people sitting
there was the Rebbe’s shliach and
the man’s mentor, R’ Herschel
Rabisky, whose grandson had
just had his bris.

Many incredible stories like
this one happen but if you ask
R’ Rabisky, he doesn’t make a
big deal about them. According
to him, the essence of Chassidus
and a Chassid are not miracle
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In addition to the main Chabad house, there are other centers. R’
Herschel’s brother, R’ Dovid, who arrived in Toronto fifteen years ago, is
a rav in a shul that is open on Shabbos and Yom Tov. He does Chabad
activities there. His son, R’ Levi Yitzchok and wife Sarah are shluchim who
work with those who visit the Chabad house. His son-in-law, R’ Aharon
Dovid Korol, works in the school and yeshiva.
Five years ago, another son-in-law, R’ Yisroel Friedman, went to Maple,
a neighborhood in the north of the city, to prepare it for Moshiach. They
have minyanim every day of the week and on Shabbos the minyan is even
“After five years of work,” says R’ Friedman, “many Jews who were not
keeping kosher or lighting Shabbos candles are beginning to do so.”

tables for a farbrengen before the
people show up.
Toronto is an amazingly
varied city in which over two
and a half million people live
including many Jews. It is
estimated that in the city itself
live tens of thousands of Jews
who emigrated from the Soviet
bloc, as well as tens of thousands
of other Jews.
In the early years, when the
gates of the Soviet Union first
opened, tens of thousands of
people immigrated to Canada
from Russia. Back then, R’
Rabisky and his helpers focused
primarily on these Jews, but in
later years, branches of Maon
Noam work more with former
Israelis, local Jews and Jews from
other European cities and South
American countries.


R’ Rabisky farbrenging with Russian Jews in Italy

stories, but learning Chassidus,
going in the ways of Chassidus,
and Chassidic conduct.
When we arrived in Toronto,
we found a city with numerous
shluchim and Chabad houses.
Under the auspices of Maon
Noam, the name of the first
Chabad house that R’ Rabisky
started, several shluchim run four
shuls, an elementary school, and
a high school which are attended
by children of mekuravim along
with other Jewish children whose
parents want them to receive an
authentic Jewish education.
“R’ Rabisky is known as a
people person and in this lies the

secret to his success,” said his
mekuravim whose love for him is
like the love of children for their
father. With the many mosdos
that he runs, he is known first
and foremost for his one-onone talks with mekuravim and
for radiating tremendous Ahavas
Yisroel in his activities.
He doesn’t leave the tough
jobs for others. His day is packed.
He devotes a lot of time to
shiurim in Chassidus and Nigleh,
and to Chassidishe farbrengens,
and he turns his mekuravim
into full-fledged Chassidim.
He is involved in every activity
even if it is for children. You will
sometimes find him arranging

R’ Rabisky grew up in
Moscow in the underground
Chassidic community when the
government persecuted those
who were religious. His father
was an engineer and his mother
was a housewife who also worked
as a seamstress.
“I learned a lot from
my grandfather, R’ Yisroel
Cohenson. I remember that there
were farbrengens and shiurim but
it was all in secret. Usually, my
grandfather was one of the main
speakers at farbrengens. There
were other Chassidim like R’
Meir Shur, R’ Shneur Pinsky, R’
Yehuda Kulasher, and R’ Moshe
Katzenelenbogen. Although I was
a child, I learned a lot from each
of them. They were moser nefesh
for Torah and mitzvos.”
They spent years trying to
leave Russia but were refused
time after time by the emigration
office. “My paternal grandparents
were able to leave in 5726 and

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as soon as they left they visited
770 and asked for a bracha
that we also get out. The Rebbe
gave a bracha and in 5731 we
received our visas. We left Russia
immediately before any official
would change his mind.”
When the family settled in
Nachalat Har Chabad, Herschel
was sent to school in Kfar
Chabad. “Half a day we learned
Jewish subjects and half a day
secular subjects. Our teacher
was R’ Bentzion Lipsker a”h. I
did not have much to do in class
when they taught secular subjects
since I had already learned it
in Russia so I found a way to
occupy myself. When the Jewish
subjects were finished, I left with
my cousin, Moshe Shaikowitz for
R’ Yechezkel Springer’s chicken
coops where we took care of
the turkeys, feeding them and
cleaning the coops.”
When his grandfather, R’
Yisroel Cohenson saw that his
grandson was busy with turkeys,
he was very upset. When he went
to 770 he had yechidus and asked
the Rebbe whether he should
send his grandson to Tomchei
T’mimim in Brunoy. The Rebbe
repeated his answer twice that
this was a good idea.
“Within two months I was
on a plane heading for France.
I learned in yeshiva for six
years, six years of spiritual and
Chassidic delight in the presence
of an entire cast of mashpiim and
rabbanim including the legendary
mashpia, R’ Nissan Nemanov.”
Herschel flew to 770 at the
end of 5737 to learn in the
Rebbe’s beis midrash. He found
a shidduch there and learned in
kollel there.

“In the years before going

R’ Rabisky having an aliya in the Rebbe’s minyan

R’ Rabisky with Russian adults and children in Italy

on shlichus, we were busy with
mivtzaim. Two years before, some
young bachurim – R’ Moshe
Levin, R’ Mendel Okunov, R’
Yerachmiel Benjaminson, and
I traveled around the US on a
mitzva tank.
“When I heard the Rebbe’s
sicha encouraging ‘going out
of the ark,’ we decided not
to wait but to go on shlichus
immediately. I had a number of
offers and one of them was in
Italy. There, in Ladispoli, there

was a transit camp for Jews who
came from Russia on their way
to western countries. Many Jews
who left the Soviet Union stayed
a number of months in this city
until their paperwork was done.
The shluchim in Italy thought
I was a good match for this
The Rebbe’s positive answer
came swiftly and before the
young couple left they had
yechidus. “During the yechidus,
the Rebbe blessed us to be
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R’ Rabisky received many horaos from the Rebbe which guide him in
shlichus. He shares one of them:
“Every year, shluchim deliberate about whether to charge for public
s’darim or not. In 5749 we were still working in Italy and we made s’darim
for about 5000 people. That entailed huge expenses and I considered asking
for a lira (about a dollar) from each person to alleviate the burden.
“R’ Sholom Ber Friedman always thought that the s’darim should be free
so as to ensure that nobody stays away because of financial reasons. We
asked the Rebbe and the Rebbe said that Pesach s’darim should be free and
that is what we do till this day in Toronto too.”
successful in spreading the
wellsprings outward and then
added something interesting that
stays with me till this day. The
Rebbe said I should spread the
wellsprings ‘starting with the
deepest springs in Chassidus.’
I was very surprised by this
because it seems illogical to learn
Ayin-Beis or deep maamarim
with someone who never heard of
kashrus or t’fillin, but after being
mekarev dozens and hundreds of
Jews, I saw that it is the deepest
Chassidus that has an effect and
changes them.”
The new Chabad house
worked in collaboration with
such as the Joint Distribution
Committee, Israel Association
of Community Centers, ORT
and the Jewish Agency and was
very successful. In Eretz Yisroel
there are quite a few Chassidishe
families that started out on their
path to Torah with R’ Herschel.
R’ Sholom Dovber Friedman
(a Chabad askan in Milan)
helped R’ Herschel. He saw to
the regular funding as well as
matza for Pesach, a sukka and
the Dalet minim for Sukkos. He
was also helped by R’ Gershon
Mendel Garelik (shliach in
Milan) and R’ Yitzchok Chazan
(shliach in Rome).
organizations also had programs.

We were once unsure whether
to help them when they had
different agendas than us. We
asked the Rebbe and the Rebbe
said: The inyan of spreading the
wellsprings and strengthening
the walls of Judaism pertains
to everyone, not just to Chabad
R’ Rabisky remembers those
Pesach holidays he organized.
Many Jews lived in the transit
camp and arranging one seder
wasn’t enough. Additionally, he
was afraid that some Jews would
be unwilling to walk from distant
“Every year we would rent
several restaurants throughout
the city and have the s’darim
Once, due to a difference
of opinion among Anash, he
received an answer from the
Rebbe which reverberates with
him till this very day: Anash
must discuss and unite without
p’shetlach. In a place of doubt,
[do] as the p’sak din of rabbanei
p’shetlach. I will mention it at
the tziyun.

The Rabisky family stayed
there for ten years until there
were no more Jews, since they
were allowed to fly directly from

Russia to western countries. In
5750, they went on shlichus to
Toronto where many of their
mekuravim from Italy had settled.
After half a year, they thought
of leaving after disagreements
with a local shliach. But when
R’ Rabisky’s father passed by
the Rebbe for dollars, the Rebbe
said to him: Your son is doing
good things in Toronto. How
can he leave the Jews there and
run away to Eretz Yisroel? He
should continue his work but
in Toronto. Not to stand in
place but to go from strength to
strength but in Toronto! Over
there he can rise till the seventh
The answer couldn’t be
clearer and since then, the
Rabisky family has been working
with Jews in Toronto. Despite
the difficult beginning, R’
Rabisky put a lot of effort into
his outreach. At first, there were
mainly shiurim in the homes of
mekuravim, Shabbatons and
evening events. This was in
addition to the usual work of a
Chabad house. That was until
some of the mekuravim decided
there were enough members in
the community to start a shul.
The new place was called
Maon Noam and the work really
took off as it included more and
more people who came for t’fillos
and shiurim.
One of the main focuses of
Maon Noam is the connection
between the mekuravim and the
teachings of Chassidus and the
“We had a mekurav who was
married to a non-Jew. He came
with her from Russia where
nobody taught him this was a
problem. He only found out it
was a problem when he started
becoming interested in Judaism. I
went with him to the Rebbe and
stood on line, with him in front

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of me. I knew that he wanted to
tell the Rebbe of his plight and
I did whatever I could so he
would get his time. I stood there
protectively so he wouldn’t be
pushed out.
“He stood before the Rebbe,
introduced himself, and said
he was married to a gentile and
asked what he should do. Should
he have her convert or should
he leave her. Beforehand, he
had told me that he would do
whatever the Rebbe said. The
Rebbe told him to ask a rav, but
the man insisted and three times
the Rebbe told him he was not
a rav and he should ask a rav.
When the Rebbe saw he was
insistent, he said that in general,
marriage between a Jew and a
non-Jew is a tragedy both for the
Jew and the non-Jew. The Rebbe
blessed him and he left 770. He
soon left his wife and eventually
became a complete baal t’shuva.”

R’ Rabisky rented another
apartment in the building where
the Chabad house is located and
has a school there, primarily for
the children of mekuravim. In
a high school program, Achei
T’mimim, he has about twenty
enough Jewish schools but our
uniqueness is that all the learning
is al taharas ha’kodesh in the
Yiddish language, the way we
were raised in Russia. When
we teach Chumash or Gemara
with Rashi we try to be precise
about every word. We don’t skip
anything and we translate the
Chumash word by word and
explain it.
“In the Torah, every word
and letter has significance. In
his sichos, the Rebbe discusses

R’ Rabisky officiating at a wedding of mekuravim

even the vowels and individual
letters of words and this is our
approach. It is important because
it teaches the student that Torah
is truth. He learns that when it
comes to Torah and mitzvos,
there is no cutting corners or
doing things halfway; every detail
is important.”
There has been research
published lately that shows
50% assimilation and more
in the US and Canada. What
are you doing to eradicate this
teaching. A Jew who learns
Torah and does mitzvos is a
Jew who won’t think about
assimilation. This is our work,
to be mekarev people. We put
a lot into the shiurim to explain
the enormous difference between
a Jew and a non-Jew. Jews who
learn about the greatness of the
Jewish neshama, about Torah and
mitzvos, will understand that we
are separate from the nations.
Through learning, this feeling
is not just makif (external) but

R’ Rabisky giving a shiur in Gemara to the
students in Achei T’mimim in Toronto

p’nimi (internal).
You work primarily with
Jews from the former Soviet
Union. What is the secret to
your success with them?
“We have to accustom
ourselves to speaking the truth.
If a mekurav thinks you have
personal interests when working
with him, and you don’t speak
honestly, it won’t work. This

Issue 937 • �  

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2014-08-12 3:17:58 AM


One of the dynamic activists in Toronto is Mrs. Inna Goldstein. Among
her many activities with women, she is responsible for an activity in which
many women get together, bake challos, and do the mitzva of separating
challa. While baking the challos, she tells them a Chassidic story and a
message from the parsha as illuminated by Chassidus. “I’ve been doing this
project for seven years,” she said.
Dozens of irreligious women attend this shiur with one friend bringing
another. Over the years, there have been many dozens of women who made
good hachlatos in Shabbos observance, candle lighting, and family purity.
This usually happens after a miracle takes place with one of the participants.
Quite a few women became baalos t’shuva and some of them made their
homes into Chassidishe homes.
“One week, a woman showed up who looked sad. ‘What happened?’
I asked her. She said, ‘The Creator gave me only two children and both
of them disappoint me and I don’t know what to do. One son said he will
never marry a Jewish girl because he relates more to gentiles and my other
son has deteriorated in recent weeks. He began taking drugs and decided to
join the Canadian army and serve in Afghanistan.’
“She went on to ask whether I was sure that the Creator would answer
her prayers and get her two sons back on track. I told her that I was sure but
there was something else she could do. That was to make good hachlatos
in keeping Torah and mitzvos which would be a “vessel” to contain the
brachos. During the separation of the challa she mentioned her two sons
and we all said amen.
“I did not see her for a few months. Then one day, in walked a lady
wearing a skirt and a head covering. She asked to speak to me. ‘Do you
recognize me?’ she asked. When I said I did not, she told me she was the
woman who had asked for a bracha for her sons. I was flabbergasted. She
had certainly made big changes in her life. Her husband was with her in this
and he started going to shul every day and began putting on t’fillin. She had
completely transformed her home.
“And what happened with her two sons is no less astonishing. The older
son decided that he was going to visit relatives in Eretz Yisroel where he met
a Jewish girl. The wedding took place in Eretz Yisroel and then the couple
returned to live near the parents in Toronto. The young bride joined her
mother-in-law at the shiurim and our programs. Within a short time she
had also become a baalas t’shuva, drawing her husband after her. The two
of them have a beautiful, Chassidic home. They have three children.
“The second son had wanted to join the army but was refused. The army
sent him a letter which said the quota was full and they had no need for
additional soldiers. This refusal was from heaven since it gave him a serious
wake-up call and he decided to study a profession. With his mother’s
guidance, in the evenings he began visiting the yeshiva founded by R’
Rabisky and regularly attended classes until he too became a Chassidishe
bachur. He is presently learning in R’ Rabisky’s yeshiva.”
is true for any Jew, any person,
not just for Jews who came from
“We have to follow the

approach set forth for us by
our Rebbeim and stick to the
Rebbe’s horaos. There are tests
sometimes, but we are shluchim

of the Rebbe, and ultimately we
see that the shluchim who follow
those guidelines are the most
The Rebbe said to publicize
the Besuras Ha’Geula and
prepare the world for Moshiach.
How are you doing this?
“At the beginning of the 90’s,
when the Rebbe spoke strongly
about Moshiach, some Litvishe
fellows came to us and asked
what we had to say about the
Rebbe being Moshiach. I asked
them, ‘Do you want to listen or
do you want to have a discussion
that will go nowhere?’ They said
they wanted to hear what our
views truly are. I told them that
before we talk about Moshiach,
we have to open a Hilchos
Talmud Torah in the Rambam
where the Rambam paskens what
the talmid-rebbi relationship
ought to be like when the talmid
learned most of his wisdom from
him. It is supposed to be like a
relationship with Hashem!
“Likewise with titles for the
Rebbe, they are a diminution
for him, including the inyan of
Moshiach. I also quoted for them
what the Rambam says in the
laws of divorce about the true
desire of every Jew and I said that
their true desire is to also have a
Rebbe like this but their hatred
corrupts it.
“As I said before, I think that
if people really want to know and
learn, they just have to open the
s’farim and learn the subject and
then all the questions fall away. I
don’t see any reason to debate. I
have mechutanim from all parts
of the Lubavitch spectrum, those
who are called Meshichist and
those who are not, and I am
satisfied with them all. You need
to live with what the Rebbe said
in the most literal sense and
anticipate the true and complete

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2014-08-12 3:17:59 AM




‫קבל ּו ְמנַ ת לֶ ֶחם זְ עו ָּמה ׁ ֶש ָּת ׁ ִשיב ְמ ַעט ֶאת נַ פְ ׁ ָשם‪ַ .‬א ְך ָה ְר ׁ ָש ִעים‬
‫ִמ ְס ּ ָפר ׁ ָשנִ ים ָחלְ פוּ‪ַ ,‬א ְך ַ ּגם ָאז לֹא ִמ ֲהר ּו ָהרו ִּסים לְ ׁ ַש ְח ְררוֹ‪ַ .‬רק לְ ַא ַחר‬
‫ם לֹא ֵהבִ יא ּו ַּכ ּמוּת ַמ ְס ּ ִפ ָיקה ׁ ֶשל לֶ ֶחם וְ ַר ִּבים ָמצְ א ּו ֶאת ַעצְ ָמם‬
‫ַמ ֲא ַמ ִ ּצים ַר ִּבים ִמ ַ ּצד ַה ֲח ִס ִידים ּולְ ָחצִ ים ׁ ֶש ִהפְ ִעיל ּו ַעל ַה ִּמ ׁ ְש ָט ָרה‪,‬‬
‫ַזְמן ְמ ֻמ ּׁ ָש ְך ׁ ֶשל ֲע ִמ ָידה ַּב ּתוֹ ר‪ ,‬חוֹ זְ ִרים ְּביָ ַדיִם ֵריקוֹ ת‪ְּ ,‬בלֵ ב ָּכבֵ ד‬
‫‪ Bar‬צָ א‪ִ a‬מ ְּמקוֹ ם ָ ּגלוּתוֹ‪ְּ ,‬כ ׁ ֶשהוּא‬
‫ִהצְ לִ יח ּו לִ פְ עֹל לְ ׁ ִש ְחרוּרוֹ‪ַ .‬ר ִּבי לֵ וִ י יִ צְ ָחק יָ‬
‫ְר ֵעבָ ה לְ ַה ְח ִריד‪ָּ .‬כ ְך ָחזַ ר ַעל ַעצְ מוֹ ַה ָדּ בָ ר ִמ ֵדּ י יוֹ ם ְּביוֹ מוֹ‪.‬‬
‫‪By Necham‬‬
‫ָּת ׁשו ּׁש וְ ָחלו ּׁש‪ ,‬וְ ָעבַ ר לָ ִעיר ַאלְ ָמא ָא ָטא‪ּ ַ .‬גם ׁ ָשם‪ִ ,‬ה ׁ ְש ּ ִפ ַיע ַרבּ וֹ ת ַעל‬
‫‪rous,‬ים‪ַ ,‬מ ְר ֵאה ּ ָפנָ יו‬
‫‪ָּ but‬כל ָה ֲא ִס ִיר‬
‫ַאף ׁ ֶש ָ ּלבַ ׁש ְּבגָ ִדים ּ ְפ ׁשו ִּטים ְּכמוֹ‬
‫‪pick it‬‬
‫‪ֶback‬ש ּלֹא‬
‫‪ up‬יְהו ִּדים ׁ‬
‫‪ּand‬ת‪ּ ַ .‬גם‬
‫‪when‬בְ רו ָּחנִ ּיו‬
‫‪ְּ you‬בגַ ׁ ְש ִמ ּיוּת ּו‬
‫‪ very dange‬יְהו ֵּדי ַה ָּמ‬
‫‪ִ of‬ס ֵ ּי ַע לָ ֶהם‬
‫‪them‬קוֹ ם וְ‬
‫‪Forget‬ת נָ ְתנ ּו לוֹ‬
‫!‪it‬פְ ָע ִמים ַרבּ וֹ‬
‫ל ּיִים ׁ ֶשל ַר ִּבי לֵ וִ י יִ צְ ָחק עוֹ ְרר ּו ָּכבוֹ ד ּו‬
‫?‪ine in C’ili‬‬
‫‪ּ ִ get‬ג ַיע‪finally‬‬
‫‪your‬ף סוֹ ף ִה‬
‫‪ָ foot‬היָ ה ִּכי סוֹ‬
‫‪ out,‬ד‪ .‬נִ ְר ֶאה‬
‫‪you‬אוֹ תוֹ ְמאוֹ‬
‫‪ medic‬ווֹ ת ָא ֲהב ּו‬
‫ׁ ָש ְמר ּו ּתוֹ ָרה ו ִּמצְ‬
‫רים לְ ִה ְת ַק ֵדּ ם ַּב ּתוֹ ר ַעל ְמנָ ת ׁ ֶש ּלֹא יִ צְ ָט ֵ‬
‫‪can imagin‬‬
‫‪ַ the‬ה ְּמנו ָּח‬
‫‪ְ how‬ת ּ ָפ ְ‪e‬רצָ ה ְּבגוּפוֹ‬
‫‪In‬ה וְ ֶאל ַה ַ ּנ ֲחלָ ה‪ַ .‬א ְך ַּכ ֲעבֹר ְּתק ּופָ ה ְקצָ ָרה ִה‬
‫‪winter it pours‬‬
‫‪houses‬ק ַעל ַק ָ ּ‬
‫ַּב ָ ּגלוּת ַה ָּמ ָרה ַהזּוֹ ִה ְק ּ ִפיד ַר ִּבי לֵ וִ י יִ צְ ָח‬
‫‪ֲof‬חמו ָּרה‪.‬‬
‫‪the‬לה ְּכבַ‬
‫‪mud‬פְ נֵ י ׁ ֶש ִ ּ‬
‫‪ָ the‬ק ׁ ָשה ׁ ֶש ָ ּ‬
‫‪ַ numer‬מיִם‬
‫‪ous‬נפְ ַטר ִּב ֵ ּק ׁש‬
‫‪and‬ג ְר ָמה‪s‬לִ פְ ִט ָירתוֹ‪.‬‬
‫‪ַ walls‬מ ֲחלָ ה‬
‫‪ַ puddle‬זְמן ָקצָ ר לִ‬
‫‪ַ damp.‬רק ֶאת‬
‫‪the‬יו‪ְּ .‬ב ַה ִ ּג‬
‫ַה ַּמיִם ׁ ֶש ִ ּק ֵּבל ִה ְק ּ ִפיד לִ ּטֹל ֶאת יָ ָד‬
‫‪ַ In‬יע ַחג ַה ּ ֶפ ַסח‪ ,‬זָ‬
‫‪ֹmosqu‬ר לַ ַ ּצד ַ‪s‬ההוּא‪"...‬‬
‫‪ְ itoes‬תכּ וֹ נֵ ן לַ ֲעב‬
‫‪are‬א ַמר‪" :‬יֵ ׁש לְ ִה‬
‫‪consta‬ת יָ ַדיִם וְ ָ‬
‫‪ ntly‬לִ נְ ִטילַ‬
‫וְ ַה ֵּכלִ ים ‪ֶ ׁ -‬ש ָהי ּו ָּכל ָּכ ְך נְ ח ּוצִ ים‬
‫‪swarm‬ה ְּטהוֹ ָרה‪which‬‬
‫‪ְּ stench of rotting rises‬ביוֹ ם ְרבִ ִיעי כ' ְמנַ ֵחם ָאב תש"ד ֵה ׁ ִשיב ֶאת נִ ׁ ְש ָמתוֹ ַ‬
‫ִועם ַּכ ּמוּת ָמזוֹ ן זְ עו ָּמה ָחגַ ג ֶאת לֵ יל ַה ֵּס ֶדר‪.‬‬
‫‪street, indoors, in the rain, the‬‬
‫‪on the‬‬
‫‪ַ from‬ה ּיְהו ִּדים ׁ ֶש ָהי ּו ָּב ִעיר ִה ׁ ְש ַּת ְּתפ ּו ַּב ַהלְ וָ יָ ה ִּב ְמ ִסירוּת‬
‫‪the‬א ּה‪ְ .‬מ ַעט‬
‫‪ earth and the mud is‬לְ בוֹ ְר ָ‬
‫‪kitchen, on‬‬
‫ית ַח ָ ּנה‪ִ ,‬ה ְת ַא‬
‫‪ְּ disease‬מצָ ה לִ בְ דּ ֹק‬
‫נֶ פֶ ׁש ׁ ֶשל ַמ ָּמ ׁש‪ֶ ׁ ,‬ש ָּמא ְיִת ּ ְפס ּו אוֹ ָתם ַּב ֲ'עווֹ נָ ם' זֶ ה‪ֵּ .‬בין ַה ְּמלַ ִ ּוים ָהי ּו‬
‫ד ַר ִּבי לֵ וִ י יִ צְ ָחק ַּב ָ ּגלוּת‪ִ ,‬א ׁ ְש ּתוֹ‪ָ ,‬ה ַר ָּבנִ‪s.‬‬
‫‪care is needed while eating a source of many‬‬
‫ְמצָ א ַּב ְעלָ ּה‪ְּ .‬כ ׁ ֶשנּוֹ ַדע לָ ּה ַעל ְמקוֹ ם ִה‬
‫ְפ ִק ִידים ְבמוֹ ְסדוֹ ת ַה ֶ‪,‬מ ְמ ׁ ָשלָ ה‪,‬‬
‫)‪them‬עוֹ בְ ִד‪e‬ים ּופְ לִ ִיטים‪ .‬לם ה ה רב‬
‫‪consum‬לְ כֻ ָ‪ ָ to‬יָ ַ ִ ‪so as‬‬
‫’‪R‬ה נִ גְ ְר ָמ‬
‫ן‪ .‬נָ ֵקל לְ ׁ ַש ֵער ֵאיזוֹ ִ ׂש ְמ ָחה ְ ּגדוֹ לָ‬
‫‪ְּ to‬כמוֹ ַא ָּבא‬
‫לֵ וִ י יִ צְ ָחק ְדּ מוּת ְמ ֶיֻח ֶדת‪,‬‬
‫‪(it‬ש ֲאב ּו ְמ ַעט‬
‫‪hard‬טוֹ ב‪ִ ,‬‬
‫‪is‬מ ֶּמ ּנ ּו ׁ ָ‬
‫‪beds‬נ ַֹחם‪even the‬‬
‫‪ ּ Yitzch‬כּ‪Levi‬‬
‫לוֹ ַח ַה ָ ּי ָקר‪ .‬לְ ַא ַחר ְּתק ּופָ ה‪ֶ ,‬ה ְחלִ ָיטה ָה ַר ָּבנִ ית לִ נְ ס ַֹע ֵאלָ יו‪ַ ,‬על ַאף‬
‫ִּב ְת‬
‫‪he‬קופָ ה ֹה ָק ׁ ָשה‪imagine how people sleep .‬‬
‫‪off the train it‬‬
‫ֶה ָעצוּם‪ְּ ,‬כ ֵדי לְ ַס ֵ ּי ַע לוֹ ִּב ְמקוֹ ם ָ ּגלוּתוֹ‪ .‬לְ ַא ַחר ַמ ָּסע ָאר ְֹך ו ְּמפָ ֵר ְך‬
‫‪there). Some of the mosquitoes‬‬
‫‪was evening. There was silence‬‬
‫ה לְ צַ ִ'אילִ י‪ ,‬וְ ׁ ָשם‪ִ ,‬ס ְ ּי ָעה לוֹ ְּככָ ל יְכָ לְ ָּת ּה‪ִ .‬היא ָה ָיְתה ְמלַ ֶ ּק ֶטת‬
‫‪bear contagious diseases, some‬‬
‫‪and utter darkness and it was‬‬
‫ם ו ְּמכִ ינָ ה ֵמ ֶהם ְדּ יוֹ ְּכ ֵדי ׁ ֶש ּי ּוכַ ל לִ כְ ּתֹב ִחדּ ו ׁ ֵּשי ּתוֹ ָרה‪ִּ ,‬בזְ כו ָּת ּה‪,‬‬
‫ּו ִחדּ ו ׁ ֵּשי ּתוֹ ָרה ֵמ ַר ִּבי לֵ וִ י יִ צְ ָחק‪.‬‬
‫ֶש ְך ַה ּז ְַמן ִה ִ ּגיע ּו ֶאל‬

‫ה ּ ְפלִ ִיטים ַר ִּבים ׁ ֶש ָּב ְרח ּו‬
‫ָח ָמה‪ַ .‬עד ְמ ֵה ָרה נוֹ ַדע‬
‫ַעל ַ ּג ְדלוּתוֹ ׁ ֶשל ַר ִּבי לֵ וִ י‬
‫וְ ֵהם ָהי ּו ַמ ִ ּג ִיעים ֵאלָ יו‬
‫שׂ וֹ ֵח ַח ִא ּתוֹ‪ ,‬לִ לְ מֹד ִמ ֶּמ ּנוּ‪,‬‬
‫וֹ ֵדד ּולְ ִה ְתיָ ֵעץ‪ֶ .‬את ֻּכ ָ ּלם‬
‫ְמאוֹ ר ּ ָפנִ ים וְ ַאף ָהיָ ה אוֹ ֵמר‬
‫ם ִדּ בְ ֵרי ּתוֹ ָרה וַ ֲח ִסידוּת‬
‫י נֶ פֶ ׁש‪.‬‬

‫רבה ַה ַ ּצ ַער‪ַ ,‬ה ְּתנָ ִאים ַה ָ ּק ׁ ִשים‬
‫קוֹ ם ִה ׁ ְש ּ ִפיע ּו ַעל ְּב ִריאוּתוֹ‬
‫ָחלָ ה ְּב ַק ַדּ ַחת ָק ׁ ָשה‪ .‬רוֹ פֵ א‬
‫ׁ ֶש ִה ְתיַ ֵדּ ד ִעם ָה ַרב ִט ּ ֵפל בּ וֹ‬
‫רוּת ֵאין ֵקץ ּובְ ַח ְס ֵדי ה'‪ ,‬לְ ַא ַחר‬
‫ים ָּב ֶהם ָהיָ ה ְּב ַס ָּכנַ ת ַח ּיִים ׁ ֶשל‬
‫נִ ְר ּ ָפא ִמ ַּמ ֲחלָ תוֹ‪.‬‬


‫‪2014-08-12 3:18:01 AM‬‬

‫‪R’ Levi Yitzchok, as we‬‬
‫‪know, spread Judaism while‬‬
‫‪ignoring communist law. He‬‬
‫‪would address the public about‬‬
‫‪mitzvos even though he knew‬‬
‫‪that there were informers in‬‬
‫‪the audience. Indeed, he was‬‬
‫‪finally arrested. He spent some‬‬
‫‪time in a Russian jail where he‬‬
‫‪was interrogated and tortured‬‬
‫‪and then was sentenced to‬‬
‫‪exile in C’ili for five years.‬‬
‫‪C’ili is not a beautiful resort‬‬
‫‪town with fresh air; not at all.‬‬
‫‪It is a frightful town and even‬‬
‫‪mentioning its name aroused‬‬
‫‪fear. In order to understand a‬‬
‫‪bit how terrible it was to be‬‬
‫‪there, let us describe the place:‬‬
‫‪Walking in C’ili was very‬‬
‫‪hard. The town was unpaved.‬‬
‫‪To get from place to place you‬‬
‫‪had to walk on dirt roads.‬‬
‫‪The earth is very muddy and‬‬
‫‪never dries up. When you put‬‬
‫‪a foot down, it is hard to‬‬

‫איור‪ :‬רחליהודית‬

‫גליון מס' ‪800‬‬

‫‪Issue 937 • �  ‬‬

‫‪Monday, 19 Shvat, 5700.‬‬
‫‪R’ Levi Yitzchok Schneersohn,‬‬
‫‪the Rebbe’s father, traveled‬‬
‫‪by train under very difficult‬‬

‫~ ‪81‬‬
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‫‪938_bm_eng.indd 41‬‬

Tzivos Hashem

pouring. The muddy ground
made walking difficult and
nobody was waiting for him to
show him where to spend the
night and where he would live
in exile. He had to find a place
for himself in the unfamiliar
town. Not a living thing could
be seen outdoors and R’ Levi
Yitzchok, along with another
Jewish prisoner, tried to find
a place for themselves. They
did not even know the local
The two of them walked
in the dark and the mud and
after much searching, they
found out about a Jew who
lived there. This made them
a bit hopeful and they eagerly
began searching for his house.
How disappointed they were
when this Jew refused to let
them in. All of their pleading
fell on deaf ears.
They continued to walk
around in the dark, praying
that they find a place to rest
their weary bodies. They saw
a light glimmering in the
window of one of the houses.
They had nothing to lose and
with trembling hands they
knocked at the door. A gentile
woman opened the door and
was willing to let them in and
give them a small room.
Levi Yitzchok and the Jewish
prisoner stood in a long line
of thin prisoners. They all
waited expectantly for their
turn to receive a little bread.
But the wicked ones never
brought enough bread and
after standing on line for
a long time, many of them
had to leave empty-handed
with heavy hearts and empty
stomachs. This scene repeated

itself every day.
Although he wore plain
clothing like all the prisoners,
his noble face engendered
respect and the prisoners
often allowed him to go ahead
on the line so he would not
have to stand a long time.
Even in this bitter galus,
R’ Levi Yitzchok was very
time, he threw out the
cupboard and utensils which
were so necessary, because of
his concern about chametz.
He celebrated Pesach without
utensils and with very little
While R’ Levi Yitzchok was
in galus, his wife, Rebbetzin
Chana, made efforts to find
out where her husband was.
When she found out his
location, she sent him his tallis
and t’fillin. You can imagine
how happy he was when he
received this precious package.
After a while, she decided to
travel to him despite the great
difficulty involved, in order to
help him in exile. After a long
and extremely difficult trip,
she arrived in C’ili where she
helped him as much as she
could. She would collect grasses
and prepare a sort of ink so
he could write his chiddushei
Torah. Thanks to her, we have
R’ Levi Yitzchok’s chiddushim.
Over time, many refugees
arrived in this town who had
fled the war. They soon became
aware of R’ Levi Yitzchok’s
greatness and they would go
and talk to him, learn with
him, and consult with him. R’
Levi Yitzchok received them

all graciously and would
encourage them and tell them
divrei Torah and Chassidus.
Sadly, the harsh conditions
affected his health and he
became sick with malaria.
A gentile doctor who had
become friendly with the rav,
treated him devotedly. Thank
G-d, after two weeks in which
R’ Levi Yitzchok’s life was in
danger, he recovered.
Some years went by but
the Russians did not rush to
free him. It was only after
much effort on the part of
the Chassidim and pressure
exerted on the police that
they managed to get him
released. R’ Levi Yitzchok left
his place of exile feeling very
weak. He moved to Alma Ata
(Almaty) where he had a great
influence on the local Jews
and helped them materially
and spiritually. Even Jews who
did not observe Torah and
mitzvos loved him. It seemed
he had finally found rest when
a short time later he became
seriously sick.
Shortly before he passed
away he asked for water to
wash his hands and said, “One
needs to prepare to go to that
side ...”
On Wednesday, Chaf Av
5704/1944 he passed away.
The few Jews in the city
attended his funeral. This
entailed mesirus nefesh lest
they be caught in this “crime.”
Among them were officials
in government institutions,
laborers and refugees. To all
of them, R’ Levi Yitzchok was
like a beloved father from
whom they derived comfort in
that very difficult time.

42 � • 19 Menachem Av 5774
938_bm_eng.indd 42

2014-08-12 3:18:02 AM

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