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R’ Yekusiel Leipler’s Unique Approach To Bedikas Chometz
By Mrs. Devorah Ebert

On the seventh night of Pesach 5697 (1937), the Rebbe Rayatz related the following story:

During the Tzemach Tzedek’s nesius, guests were not allowed to participate at his sedarim. However, they all received Pesach provisions from the Rebbe, including wine, maror, charoses, and even shmura matza.

The Chassid R’ Yekusiel Leipler never had set times for visiting the Rebbe. Instead, he would go to Lubavitch whenever he felt so inspired. One year he decided to go to the Tzemach Tzedek for Pesach. Many guests had come for Pesach that year, and the Rebbe’s assistants distributed the Pesach provisions on the night of bedikas chametz (only the shmura matza was given on Erev Pesach).

Before bedikas chametz, R’ Yekusiel sat deep in thought. He was known for becoming deeply absorbed in the significance of the chicken for kaparos a few days before Yom Kippur, and greatly engrossed in the physical and spiritual bedikas chametz before Pesach.

As he sat there lost in thought, the assistant entered and said, “The Rebbe sent this for you,” handing him a package of the Pesach provisions. R’ Yekusiel was sure that since he was receiving something from the Rebbe now, it indicated that it had some connection with the issue he was occupied in, and was probably meant to help him in his bedika. He took the wine, maror, and charoses, poured it all into a cup and drank it down.

The next night, R’ Yekusiel entered the Tzemach Tzedek’s home in the middle of his seider and said, “Rebbe! I don’t have anything for the seider — no wine, no maror, and no charoses!”

The Rebbe began investigating, questioning R’ Chaim Ber, the assistant, who knew nothing about it. They called Hirshel der Shvartzer, the assistant who had delivered the food to the guests, and the Rebbe asked him for his list. R’ Yekusiel was indeed on the list. Hirshel der Shvartzer added that he had given R’ Yekusiel the provisions and even remembered where R’ Yekusiel had been sitting at the time. R’ Yekusiel finally recalled what had taken place during bedikas chametz and said, “Ah, what you brought me from the Rebbe when I had to be bodek chametz... Yes, I received it. It revived me. You saved me.”

The Tzemach Tzedek had R’ Yekusiel join him for the seider, which R’ Yekusiel later said provided him with fifteen years worth of avoda.

* * *

During this period of time, when everyone is busy getting ready for Yom Tov, it is appropriate that we learn the lessons this story has to teach us. The Rebbe MH”M mentioned this story at a number of farbrengens, and each time referred to another lesson to be learned from this story.

In the sicha of Parshas Acharei, Shabbos HaGadol, 5744, the Rebbe mentioned this story and extracted the following lesson:

R’ Yekusiel Leipler was known for his Chassidishkeit and hiskashrus to the Rebbe. He was also known as someone who put tremendous effort into learning and understanding Chassidus. Although immersed in the study of Chassidus, when he heard that there was a shlichus from the Rebbe (knowing that this is a shlichus from Hashem, for the Rebbe represents Hashem, as Moshe Rabbeinu said, “I stand between Hashem and you,”), he immediately abandoned his lofty pursuits and hurried to fulfill the Rebbe’s shlichus.

The Rebbe MH”M adds, “This obviously applies to our times. When we receive a shlichus from nasi doreinu, even in the midst of the most lofty matters, learning a maamer Chassidus in depth or the like, we must take advantage of the situation and actually fulfill this shlichus. We must ‘grab and eat, grab and drink,’ without making calculations about finishing that which we were occupied in. We should act as the example set for us in the story, leaving everything and hurrying to carry out the Rebbe’s shlichus.

The Rebbe indicated another point as well: R’ Yekusiel Leipler ate everything the Tzemach Tzedek sent him at once, without noticing the difference in the taste of the charoses, the wine, or the maror!

The lesson to learn is that the content of the Rebbe’s shlichus makes no difference — whether it is like wine, “the secrets of Torah,” or more like maror. One’s priority should be to “grab it” and fulfill the shlichus without making calculations. By doing so, one will even be assisted in the matter in which he was previously engaged, as we see from the story.

The Rebbe mentions this story in a letter (Igros Kodesh, Vol. 3, p. 112), in response to the claim, “when I have time, I will study.” The Rebbe writes, “Whatever comes any Jew’s way, particularly…a Chassid who follows the Baal Shem Tov’s approach regarding Divine providence — all the more so when it comes from his Rebbe — most certainly is intended specifically for the time the suggestion is made, as in the well-known story of R’ Yekusiel Leipler...”

* * *

On Shabbos Parshas P’kudei 5734, the Rebbe referred to this story and derived the following lesson:

“R’ Yekusiel Leipler knew why the Rebbe sent the food to him, so why did he eat it right away? From this story we learn the power and importance of hiskashrus to the Rebbe, for R’ Yekusiel did not consider himself a metzius at all. Thus, as soon as he received something from the Rebbe, he immediately understood that it applied to him at that moment, and in fact, it helped him in his avoda.

“This teaches a lesson in hiskashrus, as the Mechilta says on the pasuk,And they believed in Hashem and in Moshe, His servant.” Wholeness in one’s faith in G-d is predicated on faith in Moshe, His servant.


We can apply the various points from the story to the times we are in now.

1): Sixteen years ago (in a sicha of Shabbos HaGadol 5744) the Rebbe said that the most important mivtza is to prepare all the Jewish people to go out of exile, and immediately thereafter for the true and complete Redemption.

At first, the Rebbe asked us to increase in all activities connected to spreading the wellsprings outward — the wellsprings of Torah, the inner dimension of the Torah, and the wellsprings of mitzvos, the Rebbe’s mivtzaim: ahavas Yisroel, chinuch, Torah, tefillin, mezuza, tzedaka, having a house full of s’farim, neshek, kashrus, taharas ha’mishpacha, as well as abolishing the law of “mihu Yehudi, and signing all Jews up to have letters in sifrei Torah. Then the Rebbe stressed that we must increase in the most important campaign — preparing the world to greet Moshiach!

Not only in the sichos of 5751-5752 did the Rebbe speak about preparing the world to greet Moshiach, but sixteen years ago. We just have to open our eyes and see what the call of the hour is. Yes, everything is important and necessary, but we cannot forget the main thing: preparing the world to greet Moshiach. This will help us in the other things we are involved with, too.

We should not think about what is pleasant or not pleasant, but do our shlichus without embarrassment. Our mesirus nefesh today lies primarily in “not being embarrassed by those who mock us” (as the Rebbe mentions in a number of sichos and maamarim).

We should remember that something from the Rebbe is directed specifically to our times and to everything happening today, and is of vital importance right now. We may not say, “When I have time, I will study.” Saying “when I have time, I’ll try to do it,” and other similar sentiments, reflects the view of the Amalek within us, which we must eradicate!

We must tell ourselves, “Rebbe! We are yours, now” — not tomorrow or the day after.

When we approach life seeing the Rebbe before us crying out, “Do all you can!” without involving our previous engagements, we certainly know what we must do. May we immediately merit the true and complete Redemption!


R’ Yekusiel sat deep in thought. He was known for becoming deeply absorbed in the significance of the chicken for kaparos a few days before Yom Kippur, and greatly engrossed in the physical and spiritual bedikas chametz before Pesach.


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