By Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Ginsberg,
Mashpia, Yeshivas Tomchei T’mimim – Lubavitch, Kfar Chabad
Translated by Michoel Dobry
A few weeks ago we endured the passing of the mashpia,
R. Mordechai Kozliner, may he rest in peace. In the meantime we wait in
anticipation for the immediate fulfillment of the verse, "Arise and sing, those
who dwell in the dust."
According to Chabad custom as established by the Rebbe MH"M
(during the Shiva of the Rebbe Rayatz in 5710), chassidim do not
give eulogies; they tell stories instead. We will, therefore, tell a few stories
about R. Mordechai. These stories are just a small gleaning of what we merited
to hear from him. They are especially relevant at this time as we find ourselves
in an aura of "great preparation," less than thirty days from Yud-Yud-Alef
Shvat, the day of the Rebbe MH"M’s acceptance of leadership and malchus.
R. Mordechai relates: One of the famous mashpiim among
Anash during the first years after the establishment of Yeshivas Tomchei
T’mimim – Lubavitch was R. Avrohom of Zhembin, known as "R. Avramke Zhembiner."
(He was also the teacher and mentor of the mashpia of Tomchei T’mimim, R.
Shmuel Gronem Esterman.)
Yeshiva students and T’mimim who were in
Lubavitch once ran to farbreng with R. Avrohom, who granted their request
to come to Lubavitch for that purpose. It was agreed that the farbrengen
would continue until 2:00 a.m. At the appointed hour, a horse-drawn carriage
would be ready to take him immediately back to his home in Zhembin.
The students made certain to order a carriage as agreed upon,
and the farbrengen began. R. Avrohom spoke and spoke. The niggunim
of yearning and longing flowed from those assembled as the atmosphere became
warmer. At 2:00 a.m., when the carriage arrived, the farbrengen was at
its height, and no one considered calling it a night.
A few minutes passed, then a few more, and a few more. More
than an hour of waiting had passed and no one seemed to move. The driver became
angry. He knocked on the window and began to shout noisily, "Avramke, this is
simply unacceptable! We set a time! I came in the middle of the night! I’m
waiting already a long time – come immediately!"
R. Avrohom saw that he had no choice, so he started getting
ready to leave. The bachurim groaned, "Oy, just when the farbrengen
was only starting to go so well, now it’s over!"
R. Avrohom answered, "On the contrary. Precisely because it’s
over, it’s going so well..."
During the last few weeks, much has been written on the
concept of s’firas ha’malchus, the primary trait of the
Rebbe shlita. When all the revelations have been finished and it appears
as if it’s all over, only then does the essence become revealed. Essence is not
limited to a higher level of existence where the vessels are fitting and ready
to receive it. It is specifically in a lower state where the essential
connection is revealed far more than in the higher levels – even though in the
latter, the connection to G-dliness is more evident and clear.
In the words of the Rebbe Shlita (Likkutei Sichos,
Vol. 35, p. 336):
"…we see clearly just the opposite. Regarding children who
don’t stand out in special qualities, their parents’ love of them is much
deeper. As our Sages indicate, "[Concerning] love that is dependent upon
something, when that something become nullified, the love becomes nullified."
From this it is proven that even before that something becomes nullified, the
love is not as deep and true as when it is not dependent upon something. This is
precisely because the true love of a father for his children is a love not
dependent upon anything. In chassidus, this is called ahava atzmis
(essential love), because children are derived from the essence and being of the
However, this reason does not fully explain why love is
greater when the children do not have exceptional qualities. It would be
sufficient to say that the love is the same. But since there exists both
essential and dependent love, the latter weakens – that is to say – covers the
As an example of this kind of revelation coming from a lower
state, during previous eras such as those of the Crusades (may G-d protect us!),
it was specifically the simple laymen who sacrificed their lives for their
religion and faith more willingly than the intellectual and enlightened. While
both were "believers, sons of believers" for whom the pintele Yid was the
source of their self-sacrifice, the way of the intellectuals was to filter
everything in accordance with their acquired wisdom. But when the common folk
were faced with a challenge to their faith, their pintele Yid was aroused
to action with neither vesture nor boundaries.
If love is dependent upon something, even something grand and
inspiring, it is limited and limits the most essential love, covering it with an
expression of love made out of habit.
This is the reason why the Baal Shem Tov was so enthralled by
simple Jews. He even sent his own wondrous and righteous students to learn from
them. Here the essential connection to G-dliness was found in a greater and more
revealed state. This was true also with baalei t’shuva, who
neither learned nor knew very much, and even failed in the past with improper
conduct. Yet the fact that they were now connected to G-dliness was proof that
the connection did not stem from their knowledge or their great qualities.
Rather, it was an attachment of the very essence, independent of all else. As
the mashpia R. Mendel Futerfas was always known to say, to be a simple
Jew is not a simple thing at all. To be "the simplest of the simple is gahr
gahr" (very difficult to achieve).
It was specifically this essential point that the Baal Shem
Tov instilled even in the most learned and brilliant Torah scholars. As a
continuation of this path, the Alter Rebbe, in Tanya (the same letters as
the word "eisan," mighty), revealed this point in all its might, and
instilled it deeply into the revealed strengths – intellect and emotion.
Afterwards, all the Rebbeim drew this lower and lower "from heaven to heaven."
In our generation, the seventh generation, s’firas ha’malchus,
the matter has been expressed in the strongest possible manner. As has been
written at length in previous issues (see Moshiach Achshav, Parts 1 & 2),
we are the lowest of all generations. Nevertheless, we go out with the
shlichus of the Rebbe shlita and conquer the whole world for G-d
Alm-ghty so that G-dliness will be instilled within and will fill even the most
materially and spiritually distant places.
All of this has increased in intensity specifically during
the last few years when it would appear, ch’v, that it’s all over.
Now, more than ever, the simple faith and emuna bursts forth and reveals
itself with tremendous fervor – not because we see, understand and feel, but due
to the simple common element connecting us that is independent of all else.
The revelation of this element is expressed, above all else,
by the proclamation of "Yechi Adoneinu" and everything it represents and
implies – to bring the hisgalus of the Rebbe MH"M shlita
immediately mamash with the true and complete Redemption, when the
essence will be fully and completely revealed.
Once R. Mordechai Kozliner, a’h, spent
Acharon Shel Pesach with his daughter in Kfar Chabad. At the Seudas
Moshiach, he farbrenged at the Beis Nachum Yitzchak Shul in the
shikunim. We heard his vort on the saying of the Sages that "Moshiach
comes to make the tzaddikim repent."
R. Mordechai asked, "Why do the tzaddikim need to do
t’shuva?" He answered, "Because almost all baalei t’shuva
already proclaim and sing "Yechi Adoneinu," whereas all the tzaddikim
don’t yet do so. Apparently, this is the job of Moshiach – to make the
tzaddikim conduct themselves as do baalei t’shuva, so that
they will also proclaim…"
Naturally after such words, the crowd began singing "Yechi,"
and the atmosphere heated up. But some in attendance didn’t approve, and a few
tried to cause a disturbance.
R. Mordechai couldn’t restrain himself. He stood on the steps
near the Aron Kodesh and began to scream from the depths of his heart.
"It’s one thing if you don’t hold of ‘Yechi Adoneinu..’ That’s your
privilege. But how it is possible to prevent and disturb others from singing and
He continued, "If the Rebbe Rashab said of the four cups we
drink at the Seudas Moshiach, das iz Seudas Moshiach, then without
question, the proclamation of ‘Yechi Adoneinu’ – das iz Seudas
Moshiach – this is the main purpose of Seudas Moshiach!"
He was not content until he added, "It is known that everyone
pushed to eat the Yud-Tes Kislev kasha. For the saying went that whoever
ate the Yud-Tes Kislev kasha, the Alter Rebbe’s kasha, would not pass
away without doing t’shuva.
It is common knowledge that with one’s revealed strengths, it
is impossible to know if he is fitting or not. As a result, the person tries
with all his might to, at the very least, hold on to the kliamke
(doorknob) of chassidus. The Rebbe’s kasha now," R. Mordechai called out,
"is Yechi Adoneinu! Do everything possible to grab it and be attached to
As has been said, specifically this conduct – not to be
affected by all the revelations and continue with the essence in full force –
will bring us finally to the ultimate purpose, the complete revelation of the
Rebbe shlita MH"M with the true and complete Redemption, immediately
Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu v’Rabbeinu Melech HaMoshiach l’olam