The Rebbe’s Kasha
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 Tmimim 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 sfiras hamalchus, 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 parents."

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 essential love.

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 tshuva, 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, sfiras hamalchus, 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, chv, 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, ah, 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 tshuva?" He answered, "Because almost all baalei tshuva 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 tshuva, 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 proclaiming it!"

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 tshuva.

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 it…"

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 mamash NOW!

Yechi Adoneinu Moreinu vRabbeinu Melech HaMoshiach lolam vaed!


The Rebbe’s porridge now," R. Mordechai called out, "is Yechi Adoneinu! Do everything possible to grab it and be attached to it…"



Now, more than ever, the simple faith and emuna bursts forth and reveals itself with tremendous fervor.



"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.


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