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His Merchandise Is Superior
In honor of the yom ha’hilula of the Rebbe Maharash, Beis Moshiach presents this compilation of stories

The Difference Between An Oveid And A Maskil

The Tzemach Tzedek once told his son, the Rebbe Maharash, to repeat the maamarim as he had heard them from R’ Isaac and R’ Hillel, because he wanted to know how they gave them over. The Rebbe Maharash did so. Afterwards, the Rebbe told him, "R’ Isaac is a maskil and R’ Hillel is an oveid."

The Rebbe Maharash asked, "What is the difference between a maskil and an oveid? After all, a maskil is also an oveid, and an oveid is also a maskil!" The Tzemach Tzedek remained silent.

A week later, the Tzemach Tzedek said a special maamer Chassidus for his sons and R’ Isaac and R’ Hillel. In the middle of the night, at about two or three in the morning, the Tzemach Tzedek called for the Rebbe Maharash. He told him to go and see what R’ Isaac and R’ Hillel were doing. He added that he shouldn’t go in to see them, but should view them through their windows.

The Rebbe Maharash took his steward along with him and went to R’ Isaac, who was sitting deep in thought, his head tilted back, his eyes closed, his face aflame, and holding a lit pipe. From there, he went to R’ Hillel, who was sitting, bent over. Since he was short and slight in stature, he appeared even shorter and thinner than usual. His finger was in his mouth, a sign of concentration, his face was pale, and he looked very worried.

When the Rebbe Maharash reported back to his father, the Tzemach Tzedek said, "Both are deeply contemplating yesterday’s maamer Chassidus. R’ Isaac is thinking about kesser ilaa, which is discussed there, while R’ Hillel is contemplating the topic of kabbalas ol and relating it to himself.

(Toldos Yitzchok Isaac, p. 73)

I Could Have Learned In That Time

The Tzemach Tzedek especially loved his son, the Rebbe Maharash, who came to see him every day, and sometimes a few times a day. He once visited his father late at night after a lengthy yechidus that took longer than usual. The Tzemach Tzedek complained about the time he had spent on yechidus. "What do they want from me? I could have learned in that time!"

The Rebbe Maharash went to the bookcase in which the Tzemach Tzedek’s writings on Chassidus were kept. He removed the curtain and counted over thirty volumes on one of the shelves. He asked his father, "Would you have written so many maamarim if you had not received so many people for yechidus?" His father answered, "Yes, you are right."

(Seifer HaToldos, the Rebbe Maharash, p. 34)

If You Will Remain Silent

"In 5640 [1880], when anti-Semitism in Russia intensified," the Rebbe Rashab related to his son the Rebbe Rayatz, "in many locations the Jew-haters incited the populace to start up with the Jews. My father, the Rebbe Maharash, traveled to Petersburg to do all he could for the betterment of the lot of the Jews.

"My father was acquainted with well-placed ministers, and shortly after his arrival in the city he had already found ways to quiet things down. In order to publicize matters, the ministers advised him to visit the interior minister and the head of the Senate. This would get the wealthy people and maskilim involved.

"My father called a meeting of wealthy and enlightened Jews and suggested a plan in which they would select a circle of people to participate. Since my father did not usually deal with these people, they weren’t happy with him. One of them said, ‘We aren’t blocks of wood you can play with as you would play with chess pieces. You have to take us into account!’

"My father replied, ‘It says in the Megilla, "If you will be silent at this time, salvation will come to the Jews from elsewhere, and you and your father’s house will be destroyed." Thank G-d, salvation will come to the Jews. If you do not want to participate, it will come from somewhere else. But then ‘you and your father’s house will be destroyed,’ i.e., you will lose out.’"

(Sippurei Chassidim, Zevin, p. 346)

Bikkur Cholim

"When I was 19 years old," the Rebbe Maharash related to his son the Rebbe Rashab, "I became ill, and the specialist, Dr. Heibenthal, was brought to see me. When my health stabilized somewhat and I was no longer in critical condition, I still had to remain in bed for another three months. Each day, my father would come to visit me and sit by my side for two hours, and sometimes three and even four hours.

"Most of the time he told me about the years he had spent in his grandfather’s [the Alter Rebbe’s] house. He told me stories about the Alter Rebbe when he was in Mezritch with the Maggid.

(Seifer HaToldos, the Rebbe Maharash, p. 35)

His Merchandise Is Superior

Once, the Rebbe Maharash traveled to Belz disguised as a merchant. On Shabbos, at the time of the late afternoon meal, he went to the beis midrash of the tzaddik Rav Sar Shalom and stood off to the side.

The beis midrash was packed solid when Rav Sar Shalom arrived, so the Chassidim cleared a path for him to his seat. But as the tzaddik entered, he paused and said he smelled something good. Then he immediately turned to where the Rebbe Maharash was standing, following the fragrance until he came face to face with him. He grasped the Rebbe Maharash’s hand and said, "Young man, you can’t hide from me!" Then he went to his place.

Some of the Belzer Chassidim assumed their rebbe had erred since he was blind, and they said to him, "That Jew is merely a merchant!" "That is correct," replied the rebbe, "he is truly a merchant! His merchandise is superior than all others!"

(Sippurei Chassidim, Zevin, p. 339)

If Such A Thought Came To Me While Wearing Tefillin…

The Rebbe Maharash was in Vitebsk at an inn renowned for its kashrus. For this reason, everybody was surprised to see that the Rebbe ate nothing at lunchtime. Shortly thereafter, someone dashed into the dining room and yelled that the chicken shouldn’t be eaten. A serious question had arisen about it, and it couldn’t be considered kosher.

Although Rebbeim have ruach ha’kodesh, they prefer to act within the context of the natural world. The other guests asked how he knew that the chicken was not kosher. The Rebbe Maharash answered, "This morning, as I was putting on Rabbeinu Tam tefillin, a thought about lunch came to me. I realized that if such a thought came to me while wearing tefillin, there must be something wrong with the lunch, so I decided not to eat it."

(Sippurei Chassidim LaNoar, Vol. 2, p. 161)

When You Don’t Know The Basics

The Rebbe Rayatz related, "Once, when the Rebbe Maharash said a maamer, the Chassid R’ Shmuel Ber of Borisov was present, and he did not understand the maamer. The Rebbe invited the elder Chassidim for the Shabbos meal, among them R’ Shmuel Ber. The Chassidim asked my grandfather to explain the maamer. The Rebbe Maharash replied, "What kind of explanation can be given when you don’t know the foundation?" So he repeated the maamer.

(Seifer HaSichos 5710, p. 148)



As the tzaddik entered, he paused and said he smelled something good. Then he immediately turned to where the Rebbe Maharash was standing, following the fragrance until he came face to face with him.




One of them said to the Rebbe, ‘We aren’t blocks of wood you can play with as you would play with chess pieces. You have to take us into account!’


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