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Dvar Malchus
Shabbos Parshas VaYakhel, 25 Adar 5751
Moshiach & Geula
The Rebbe’s Talmidim
Footsteps of Moshiach: Chapter 11
Miracle Stories
The Rebbe Tells A Miracle Story
The Chassidishe Parasha
Parshas VaYakhel

The Rebbe’s Talmidim
By Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Ginsberg

My first Purim as a talmid in Yeshivas Tomchei Temimim Lubavitch is one I cannot forget. It was in 5733, when I attended the yeshiva ketana in Lud, which was run by R’ Elimelech Kaplan, a’h (known as R’ Melech der Shvartzer).

As was customary among yeshiva students, particularly those in yeshivos ketanos, we all went to the home of our rebbi on Purim night to farbreng. Our rebbi was Mordechai Shneur, known as R’ Monye, who lives in Kfar Chabad. 

A Purim farbrengen is generally a happy affair, and as young boys (children actually) are wont to do, we were a bit wild and unruly. This included saying l’chaim — obviously in the proportions fitting for talmidim of Tomchei Temimim — almost to the point of “ad d’lo yada,” speaking in a Purimdike and open way, even with our rebbi and mashpia, as well as saying things we wouldn’t have dared say throughout the year. After all, it was Purim, when people are more open-minded. Nobody was insulted, and even if sharp things were said, they were soon forgiven and forgotten.

So we arrived at R’ Monye’s home in Kfar Chabad on Purim night. If we were a little uncomfortable at first, we quickly overcame any hesitancy or reticence. R’ Monye greeted us with open arms, the tables were laden with mashke and delicacies, and it was all wonderful. We sat down to farbreng. We sang and said l’chaim and our normal boundaries melted away.

Someone stood on the table. Somebody else began shouting about something that bothered him. Some of us began dancing around the table, dragging with us R’ Monye, who quickly joined in the joyous Purimdike dance. Everyone was merry.

R’ Monye was already good and drunk when he suddenly stopped the dancing and began talking to us. Actually, he didn’t talk — he yelled at us with fire and brimstone in his inimitable way.

The Sages say, said R’ Monye, that when the Jews of Shushan heard of Haman’s terrible decree, they immediately abandoned whatever they were involved in and began a spiritual renaissance of teshuva and tefilla. Mordechai HaYehudi, the Sages tell us, gathered 22,000 Jewish children and taught them the halachos of the karban omer. Seeing this, Haman knew that his end was near, because these children — who were unafraid of him and his decree and who refused to part with Mordechai HaYehudi to the extent that they screamed to Mordechai, we are with you in life or death! — were the ones who represent the eternal power of the Jewish people. In his anger, Haman declared that he would kill these children first, r’l, for he knew that these children are the untouchable core of the Jewish nation. As long as they were alive, he knew he could not touch the Jewish people.

Now I ask you, said R’ Monye, what do you think? Could Mordechai HaYehudi himself have taught 22,000 children on his own? He didn’t have a microphone, and it was probably impossible to find a hall large enough to contain 22,000 children! It doesn’t sound possible, yet it doesn’t say that it was a miracle!?

Then R’ Monye’s voice rose: There were other melamdim. There were teachers, mechanchim, roshei yeshivos, and mashpiim. And each one learned with his class. But all of them taught, educated, and guided the children as Mordechai’s shaliach and under his leadership. That’s why they were all called Mordechai’s talmidim, to the point that the Sages say that Mordechai HaYehudi himself taught all 22,000 children.

Also today we have roshei yeshivos, mashpiim, and educators. But you should know that you are Mordechai ha’Yehudi’s talmidim, not Mordechai Shneur’s — Mordechai HaYehudi’s! And R’ Monye repeated this again and again, in a shout that came from his heart. “Not Mordechai Shneur’s — Mordechai ha’Yehudi’s!

The Rebbe Shlita supervises and pays attention to each one of us, especially his children, the talmidim. He thinks about each one, and knows each one through and through, far better than we know ourselves. The Rebbe gives each one a hand, and directs him. The Rebbe both demands and encourages. He blesses and advises and guides, and he gives you the feeling as though you are accomplishing things on your own, despite the fact that this isn’t the case at all. The Rebbe is the one doing it all, but he wants it to come about through us, and not as a “gift from above.”

The dancing and rejoicing that Purim night in 5733 continued. The wildness increased. A chair was broken and curtains were ripped. Somebody threw up and others fell asleep on beds and tables, but the words spoken at that farbrengen seared our hearts and minds and reached the depths of our souls:

Know that you are learning from Mordechai HaYehudi, the Rebbe Shlita. The melamed who hugs and guides you, your teacher and mashpia is not Mordechai Shneur. It’s Mordechai HaYehudi!

And we, little children who know nothing, who understand and feel nothing, know and feel one thing: We want Mordechai HaYehudi!


When all sorts of Hamans try to sunder us from our faith in Mordechai HaYehudi, we say — as the children did at that time — “We are with you in life or death!” Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu v’Rabbeinu Melech HaMoshiach L’olam Va’ed!

When a terrible decree hovers over us, “to annihilate, kill, and destroy all the Jews” (r’l), when all the descendents of Amalek are polishing their swords and preparing for the day when they can carry out Haman’s plan, when it seems hopeless, “because it was written in the name of the king and sealed with the king’s ring and it cannot be retrieved,” when “good friends” have begun crying and eulogizing the Jewish nation who used to be a light onto the nations — then we must carefully observe Mordechai HaYehudi. He doesn’t take the steps you would think he would take. He doesn’t organize a diplomatic delegation to the king, and he doesn’t even turn to his relative Esther the queen. He knows that the decree didn’t just happen because Achashverosh is foolish and Haman managed to take advantage of him. No way! Mordechai knew that this decree came from above, because “they took pleasure from the feast of that wicked one.”

Now that doesn’t mean that the food they ate wasn’t kosher. Not at all. On the contrary, everybody’s dietary requirements were catered to. The problem went deeper. The fact that the Jews took pleasure in Achashverosh’s invitation and feast, rather than following Mordechai and what he represented — that was the problem.

The Jews did what they could to gain the favor of Achashverosh and Haman. They listened to the surveys. They had their finger on the pulse of the people. They knew what they wanted to hear and adjusted their message accordingly. But then, surprisingly, Achashverosh and Haman revealed what they truly wanted, which was to destroy them.

That’s why Mordechai didn’t take the diplomatic route. He didn’t try to resolve the problem through diplomacy and political ties. He simply went out into the street and cried bitterly, in order to shake the people up and redirect them towards following the nasi ha’dor.

Mordechai gathered the children and learned inyanei Moshiach and Geula with them, the halachos of the karban omer brought in the Beis HaMikdash. These were not practical halachos for them at that time. Mordechai taught them Torah li’shma (for no ulterior reason). It was simply Torah that strengthened their emuna in the imminent building of the Mikdash. Of course, seeing this, Haman knew his plot was foiled.


By Divine providence, we have just concluded the Rambam’s seiferYad HaChazaka,” according to the directives of our Mordechai HaYehudi, the Rebbe MH”M. Let us remind ourselves of the Rebbe’s directives to learn the daily shiurim, and remember that although seriously studying and understanding what we learn is important, the Rebbe has told us that the main thing is saying the words:

And not as those who err and think that these shiurim are (only) a part of the mitzva of talmud Torah, so that there is room to say that the shiur in Tanya (which is part of the oral Torah) is not fulfilled unless one understands it (which is a must when it comes to oral Torah). The shiurim in Chitas primarily affect the life of the soul (and the shiur in Tanya, pnimiyus ha’Torah, is the life of the pnimiyus of his soul, as we know that the inner dimension of Yisroel is connected with the inner dimension of Torah). Just as the shiurim in Chumash and Tehillim (which are the written Torah) are fulfilled by simply saying the words (without necessarily understanding it), one can say the same for Tanya, as well as the shiur in the Rambam’s seifer in one of the three ways, three chapters a day, Seifer HaMitzvos, or one chapter a day.

As the Rebbe himself put it, “something he heard with his own ears, presented with such a koch — how could he forget it?!” Let all of us resolve to learn Rambam daily so that it should be unthinkable to allow a day to pass without it! And those who can learn three chapters shouldn’t wiggle out of it by claiming that they want to learn more in depth by studying only one chapter a day. As Reb Mendel would say, those people generally end up learning one chapter a day, not in depth and sometimes they even skip that! Because when you try to “be smart” and give in a bit to the yetzer hara, he continues to push you to concede more and more. The only way to win over the yetzer hara is by not compromising at all, and by not listening to his wiles in any manner, shape, or form — Mordechai did not bend or bow and did not get up or move!

(Of course, one chapter is, in fact, suitable for some, as the Rebbe himself suggested).

When we follow Mordechai HaYehudi proudly, without calculating what people might say and what they want to hear, but we present the Rebbe’s message and do all we can to make people receptive to it, then we merit to follow the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach proudly, and to see with eyes of flesh the true and complete Redemption, immediately NOW!


We were a bit wild and unruly. This included saying l’chaim, speaking in a Purimdike and open way, as well as saying things we wouldn’t have dared say throughout the year.






Those who can learn three chapters of Rambam a day shouldn’t wiggle out of it by claiming that they want to learn more in depth by studying only one chapter a day.



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