Rejoicing Over The Rebbeís Maamer
Compiled by Y. ben Boruch
Stories about the Rebbe Rashab, told for the first time in English. * From the reshimos of Rí Avrohom Weingarten, aíh * líilui nishmas his son, Rí Matisyahu Aryeh Leib, aíh


A widow from Zembin came to Tomchei Tímimim in Lubavitch with her two sons, Rí Moshe Reuven Zembiner (Zarchin) and Rí Feivel Zembiner (Zarchin), asking that they be accepted into the yeshiva.

The Rebbe Rayatz, who was the active dean of the yeshiva, agreed to accept the older brother, Moshe Reuven, but not the younger Rí Feivel. The yeshivaís financial situation was precarious and it was impossible to accept all who applied to the yeshiva.

Feivel was so upset that he wasnít accepted that he burst into tears. In fact, a number of days passed with him still in tears.

One day, Feivel walked near the Rebbe Rashabís yechidus room while crying, and suddenly the Rebbe Rashab passed by and, noticing him crying, asked what was wrong. Feivel told the Rebbe that he greatly desired to join the yeshiva but was refused. The Rebbe Rashab entered his room and wrote a note to his son asking him to accept the boy.

Later on, the Rebbe Rashab rang the bell and called for his son and asked him why he hadnít accepted the boy into the yeshiva. The Rebbe Rayatz answered, "the Heavenly kingdom is like the earthly kingdom, and in the earthly kingdom, i.e., Russia, only one of two brothers is taken into the army. And this is how it should be in the Heavenly kingdom, i.e., the yeshiva, too."

The Rebbe Rashab said the boy should still be accepted and added, "There will yet sprout forth from him..."

(Rí Yochonon Gordon)


Once, while farbrenging with the Tímimim, Rí Shmuel Grunem reminded Rí Feivel of what had happened, and said to him: Feivel! Remember how you cried when you wanted to be accepted in the yeshiva? Do you think you cried? No, your neshama cried!

Rí Feivel later became a shochet in Barisov which was near Dokschitz, and I remember that he once came to Dokschitz to visit Rí Leib Sheinen (the rav of Dokschitz).

(Rí Yochonon Gordon)


At the Rebbe Rashabís farbrengen on Yud-Tes Kislev 5664 (1904), Rí Zalman Schneerson of Lodz (known as Zalman Velizsher) was present. The Rebbe spoke about how the Alter Rebbe received the truth of the Baal Shem Tovís teachings, and as Rí Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev testified about the Alter Rebbe: We all ate from the same bowl, and the Litvak got the cream. In a letter Rí Levi Yitzchok wrote to Rí Avrohom of Kalisk, he said that the Alter Rebbe was very dear to the Maggid of Mezritch.

The Rebbe Rashab added: This letter of Rí Levi Yitzchok is wondrous, for he writes to Rí Avrohom: This that you write that our teacher, Rí Menachem Mendel (of Vitebsk), was dear to our teacher, I did not hear, but I can testify that my mechutan (relative by marriage, meaning the Alter Rebbe) was very dear to the Maggid, who praised him highly.

When the Rebbe Rashab quoted the words of the letter, "I did not hear," Rí Zalman Schneerson thought that the way he remembered the letter it had said, "I did not know." As soon as Rí Zalman had this thought, the Rebbe Rashab knew what he was thinking and turned to him and emphasized: It did not say "I did not know," but "I did not hear" (i.e., he hadnít heard it from him but he certainly knew this).

Those present did not know what the Rebbe meant, but Rí Zalman immediately realized that the Rebbe was addressing his thought.

(Rí Menachem Zev Gringlas)


A similar incident happened to Rí Zalman with the Rebbe Rayatz. Rí Zalman was mekushar and batel to the Rebbe Rashab, and after his histalkus, when the Rebbe Rayatz took over the nesius, at first Rí Zalman was not batel to him, thinking that even if the Rebbe Rayatz explained something a certain way, it could still be understood differently.

Rí Zalman was once at the Rebbe Rayatzís table and the Rebbe explained a certain Zohar while Rí Zalman thought it could be understood differently. The Rebbe read Rí Zalmanís mind and said to him: This is the meaning of the Zohar, and nothing else!

From then on, Rí Zalman was fully mekushar to the Rebbe Rayatz.

(Rí Dov Ber Chaskind)


One of the Tímimim who learned in Tomchei Tímimim in Lubavitch was Rí Yitzchok Gershon, who watched the Rebbe Rashab closely while he delivered a maamer, and would take note of the Rebbeís expressions and even his hand motions. He once related that when the Rebbe said a particular maamer and spoke about igulim, he noticed that the Rebbe made a circle with his fingers.

Rí Yitzchok Gershon would say that by watching these movements, the topic discussed in the maamer was grasped better, and, as it says in Chassidus about "a hint is sufficient for the wise," there are certain things which cannot be said but must be revealed through hints.

(Rí Kaddish Romanov)


Rí Shmuel Levitin went to learn in Lubavitch when he was sixteen. He arrived before Pesach 5699 (1919), together with his brother Rí Shemaryahu, who was a great scholar. They lived together in Rí Moshe Yosefís "Kvatir" inn.

On Pesach 5699, he heard the maamer "Ki Yishalcha Bincha" from the Rebbe Rashab. Rí Shmuel said that the maamer affected him greatly and he took in every word of it even though he did not understand much at that time.

(Rí Shmuel Levitin)


On Shabbos Parshas Chukas 5699, the Rebbe Rayatz began saying Chassidus for the first time (in his fatherís lifetime). He said the maamer, "Im Lo Brisi Yomam VaLaila, Chukos Shamayim VaAretz Lo Samti."

This Shabbos was the Shabbos before his birthday on Yud-Beis Tammuz, whereupon he entered his twentieth year.

(Rí Shmuel Levitin)


When the Rebbe Rashab found out that his son had said a maamer Chassidus he rejoiced, and in honor of the occasion there was a special farbrengen on Motzaei Shabbos Chukas.

Rí Shmuel Levitin and his brother were at the inn they stayed at, and the brothers Rí Shmuel and Rí Zalman Bespalov came and told them the Rebbe was farbrenging.

The Chassid Rí Yaakov Mordechai Paltaver (Bespalov) participated in the farbrengen. He was a great menagen, and he sang joyous melodies at this farbrengen while making hand motions, as was his way.

(Rí Shmuel Levitin)


Rí Moshe Betzlalel was also at this farbrengen. He was very shy (and was considered one of the slightly more modern Chassidim, who wore a cardigan" and smoothed their beards).

Mashkeh was distributed (other versions: the Rebbe Rashab distributed mashkeh) and Rí Moshe Betzalel was given some too, though he was embarrassed to take any.

The Rebbe Rashab said to him: Busha (shame, shyness) is not appropriate for Chassidim. With a little mashkeh "farlirt men zich" (you lose yourself).

(When Rí Shmuel Levitin related this he began crying and said that this quote, that by taking a little mashkeh farlirt men zich, was deeply engraved within him, and he concluded by saying that the main thing is to be a nit metzius, a nonentity.)

(Rí Shmuel Levitin)


(In connection with what Rí Shmuel related about the Rebbeís Rayatzís first maamer, Rí Zalman Bespalov related what happened with the Rebbe Rashabís first maamer, which he had heard from his father, Rí Yaakov Mordechai Paltaver.)

When the Rebbe Rashab said a maamer Chassidus for the first time, it was an explanation of a maamer said by his father, the Rebbe Maharash. The next day, Rí Yaakov Mordechai went to the Rebbe Maharash, as he did every day at four or five in the morning, and told the Rebbe that his son had said a maamer. Hearing this, the Rebbe Maharash rejoiced, and was so happy that he raised himself up with the chair he sat on!

* * *

The Chassid Rí Avrohom Shraga Feivish Zarchin was born in Zembin around the year 5657 (1897). His father died when he was just a child.

In Tishrei 5670, when he was twelve, his mother took him along with his older brother, Moshe Reuven, and brought them to Lubavitch to Tomchei Tímimim. Thatís when the incident which was related here happened, and Rí Avrohom Feivish was finally accepted into the yeshiva and was one of the outstanding students. One could see the fulfillment of what the Rebbe Rashab had said, "there will yet sprout forth from him...," as well as the fulfillment of the verse, "however his younger brother will be even greater than he."

Rí Yisroel Jacobson describes the period of time that he learned in Tomchei Tímimim: Rí Shraga Feivish was "a Chassidisher bachur," and even after he married he was "a geshmaker yungerman."

Rí Yehuda Chitrik told Beis Moshiach, "I remember Rí Avrohom Feivish as one of the distinguished Tímimim, and one of the ovdim who was involved in avodas haítífilla.

After the Communist revolution, Rí Avrohom Feivish moved to old Borisov (Stara Borisov). He married in Tishrei 5682. He wrote the Rebbe Rayatz about this and received a reply in which the Rebbe urged him to learn and teach Chassidus both orally and "inside" [the text], in Borisov.

HaTamim M. Avrohom Shraga Feivish: "It was with pleasure that I read your letter of P. Bereishis, and mazel tov, mazel tov for your engagement in a good and auspicious time. May your lives always be fortunate in gashmius and ruchnius.

"Regarding your question about business, may Hashem give you great success to support yourself expansively. And you should establish times for learning, and review Chassidus orally in public, and learn "inside" as the listeners understand, and strive with great effort. Then Hashem will surely help, bígashmius and bíruchnius.

"Write me at length about everything regarding the new city of Barisov, does it have chadarim, or any young married men? Are there any members of Anash there who have a bit of passion for learning and davening, and not just those who are Chassidim in name only, without Torah and avoda."

Rí Yehuda Chitrik: "After he married, Rí Avrohom Feivish became a shochet uíbodek in Borisov. During World War II he was drafted. The Nazis killed his wife and children and entire family (may Hashem avenge their blood). Rí Avrohom Feivish was wounded in the stomach by shrapnel or a bullet. This wound remained open and he always suffered from it. A medic would come every day to bandage it.

Rí Avrohom Feivish went to Samarkand where he was appointed mashpia in Tomchei Tímimim there.

Rí Hillel Saltzman relates: After the war, Rí Avrohom Feivish returned to Borisov to see who of his family was still alive. When he arrived there he was shocked to see half the city destroyed by the Nazis, and to discover that his entire family had been murdered by the Nazis. The sole survivor of his family was a niece (maybe the daughter of his brother).

Miraculously, his own house was still standing, but due to the bombing, it had moved a few meters. Rí Avrohom Feivish decided to remain in Borisov, and he married a second time (to his niece). Since he could not obtain kosher meat, he became a shochet uíbodek once again, and provided kosher meat for all the surrounding cities.

Rí Yitzchok Mishulovin relates: When I was in Russia, I heard a lot about the Chassid Rí Avrohom Feivish Zarchin. In my youth, the Chassid Rí Chaim Zalman Kozliner (known by the acronym Chazak) told me it was very worthwhile going to Borisov to Rí Avrohom Feivish because I could get guidance in Chassidus from him, and receive a great deal in nigleh, Chassidus and the ways of Chassidus and avodas haítífilla. But it didnít work out and I did not go to him.

Rí Avrohom Feivish passed away in Borisov in Iyar 5741.

* * *

Rí Avrohom Feivishís older brother, Rí Moshe Reuven, was born in Zembin around the year 5656, and learned in Tomchei Tímimim for a period of time.

Rí Avrohom Drizin (Maiyor), relates: The older brother, Rí Moshe Reuven, left Lubavitch after some time (but his younger brother, Rí Avrohom Feivish remained and was one of the outstanding boys there).

In the winter of 5682 (1921-1922), Rí Moshe Reuven married. He wrote the Rebbe Rayatz and received the following letter:

"To my student M. Moshe Reuven,

"In reply to your letter of the fifth day of VaYechi, I bless you with birkas mazel tov, and may all your days be fortunate ones bígashmius and ruchnius. Wherever you go, strengthen the good and upstanding things, supporting those who learn Torah etc."

Rí Moshe Reuven moved to Kursko and in 5696, when Rí Shmuel Zalmanov, who was the shochet in Kursk moved to Eretz Yisroel, Rí Moshe Reuven was appointed shochet uíbodek in his stead.      



Rí Yaakov Mordechai went to the Rebbe Maharash and told him that his son, the Rebbe Rashab, had said a maamer. Hearing this, the Rebbe Maharash rejoiced, and was so happy that he raised himself up with the chair he sat on!



The Rebbe Rashab read Rí Zalmanís mind and said to him: This is the meaning of the Zohar, and nothing else!



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