The Middle Of The Eleventh Hour
A compilation of stories relating to
the histalkus of the Alter Rebbe on Motzaei Shabbos Parshas Shmos, Chaf-Dalet
WILL PROVE USEFUL"
Rebbe MH"M related the following story he heard from his father-in-law, the
the Erev Shabbos before his histalkus, the Alter Rebbe emptied his
pockets (a requirement before Shabbos) of a few notes and gave them to his
grandson, the Tzemach Tzedek. The Alter Rebbe told him, "These will be
useful to you." Some say that one was the well-known reshima
beginning with the words "Nefesh HaSh’feila" (The Downtrodden
Rebbe asked his father-in-law what the point is of the reshima, because
it didn’t have a beginning or an end. The Rebbe Rayatz laughed and didn’t
the reshima was written before the Alter Rebbe’s histalkus, it
obviously has a connection with it. It is one of the last writings of the Alter
Rebbe, and may, in fact, be the last. (One of the Chabad Rebbeim, probably the
Tzemach Tzedek, said that the Alter Rebbe wrote it a week before his histalkus,
and the contents refer to himself since he wasn’t learning at the time and was
involved with Anash in worldly matters, etc.).
this time, the Alter Rebbe told the Tzemach Tzedek some other points, which the
Tzemach Tzedek mentions in his Chassidic discourses. He writes in one of the
discourses, "I heard from the mouth of my holy grandfather, the Rebbe, if I
recall, on the Erev Shabbos prior to his histalkus…"
5691 (1931), the Rebbe Rayatz related:
Tzemach Tzedek had a cup the Alter Rebbe had used for his final Kiddush
in the village of Piena, which had leftover dried-up wine in it. The Tzemach
Tzedek would place it on the table during the Pesach seider, as did his
son, the Rebbe Maharash. After his passing, his wife, Rebbetzin Rivka, did so
until the maid once mistakenly washed it, and then the cup was lost.
MIDWAY THROUGH THE 11th HOUR
Tzemach Tzedek described his grandfather’s histalkus:
Friday, Erev Rosh Chodesh Elul, [the Alter Rebbe] traveled with
his household to Krasna, and on the following Friday they fled from the French
and traveled until they arrived in Piena on Erev Shabbos VaYishlach 5573
(1813). On Motzaei Shabbos Shmos, 24 Teives, around the middle of the
eleventh hour, [the soul of] the holy ark, light of Israel, anointed of G-d, was
taken captive and required in the Heavenly Academy. Hashem should speed the
coming of our redeemer, and ‘arise and sing those who dwell in the earth,’
and [the Alter Rebbe] among them. He will let us hear wonders of Hashem’s
Torah, which revives the soul, soul in a body, for the dew of Torah resurrects.
Amen, may it be soon."
note is the only source of the time of the histalkus, which was
approximately 10:30 p.m.
years later in 5723 (1963), on this date, which came out on Motzaei Shabbos as
it did back in 5573, there was a special farbrengen in 770 that began at
that time. Among other things, the Rebbe mentioned this note of the Tzemach
Tzedek and the time it specified.
RABBANUS AND WRITING OF SEGULOS
the night of 20 Kislev 5693 (1933), the Rebbe Rayatz related the following to
his son-in-law, the Rebbe MH"M:
night of the histalkus, the Alter Rebbe gave his grandson, the Tzemach
Tzedek, something he had written. This note was burned in 5617 (1857). It was
not a maamer Chassidus."
Rebbe asked, "Did it have something to do with pidyon nefesh, inyanei
ha’nesius, or was it concerning the Rebbe’s household? The Rebbe Rayatz
answered, "More than that."
source relates that on that Erev Shabbos, the Alter Rebbe gave the
Tzemach Tzedek a note about inyanei rabbanus.
a letter he wrote in 5648 (1888), the Rebbe Rashab mentioned that there was a
note suggesting segulos, among them a segula for a woman whose
children died in childhood, and he advises in the name of his mother, Rebbetzin
Rivka, the wife of the Rebbe Maharash, that one who suffers from this should do
as is written. He indicated the source of the note, as well: "They say that
the tzetel (note) was given by the Alter Rebbe to the Tzemach Tzedek in
Piena, leil Motzaei Shabbos, before his histalkus, and that it is
from the Maggid or the Baal Shem Tov."
BY THE SIGHT"
introduction to the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch (signed by
three rabbanim, sons of the gaon and author, z’l, the
first one being the Mitteler Rebbe), relates this about the Alter Rebbe’s histalkus:
after many amazing wonders, we saw from him, z’l, in those days before
his histalkus, his mouth did not cease reviewing [words of Torah] until
the day of his passing. After he davened Maariv and said Havdala
with a clear, settled mind and with extraordinary dveikus, on Motzaei Shabbos
24 Teives 5573, in a singular bond he was bound up with the Holy One Blessed
Be He... he elevated his soul to Him with joy and gladness of heart. Everyone
standing there could clearly see the event as it transpired, and they were
amazed and awestruck by the sight."
Chaim Eliezer Bichovsky wrote in the name of Rabbi Yaakov Henkin, who heard this
quote from the Chassid R’ Yisroel Yitzchok of Rudnia, who served the Tzemach
Tzedek for many years. The Tzemach Tzedek had told R’ Yisroel: "Before
his passing, the Alter Rebbe said: ‘There’s reason to say that Havdala is
a Biblical mitzva and Maariv is merely reshus, and since
time is short, Havdala should precede Maariv.’
explains the introduction in the Shulchan Aruch that says that the
histalkus was "after he davened Maariv with the Havdala
in ‘chonein ha’daas.’" Havdala with a cup of wine is
not mentioned, since this had already taken place before the davening
(which preceded the histalkus).
Chaf-Dalet Teives 5715 (1955), the Rebbe mentioned that he heard that on the
night of the histalkus, the Alter Rebbe had said Havdala on a cup
of coffee. He had not heard this from his father-in-law; but there was a basis
for this assertion since the Alter Rebbe suffered from diabetes, and they did
not have the medications that we have today.
is another story about Havdala over coffee: Rabbi Moshe Dov Ber Rivkin, a’h,
wrote in 5713 that the Rebbe Rashab recited Havdala over coffee on the
last Motzaei Shabbos of his life.
ARE AFFECTED BY YOUR ACTIONS
a letter from the Tzemach Tzedek discussing fear, it says:
person should always display happiness in his body movements, because the heart
is drawn according to one’s actions...and then Hashem will draw down a spirit
from Above of joy and gladness of heart.
heard from the Alter Rebbe in Piena that this is what the Maggid said on the
verse, ‘Like the appearance of a sapphire, and on the image of the chair was
the image of a person…’ – according to how a person acts down here is what
he will be shown from Above. That is why [the Alter Rebbe] stopped me from
singing a niggun that was mara sh’chora (gloomy). I davened
Maariv before his death with a niggun of mara sh’chora,
and he waited until I finished and told me this."
Rebbe MH"M related this on Shabbos Parshas Shmos 5719,
Chaf-Beis Shvat, and then said, "Zol men zein b’simcha, vet men
milmaaleh oich vizen aza tenua" (Be happy, for then from Above there
will be a similar response).