Yekusiel Leipler’s Unique Approach To Bedikas Chometz
Mrs. Devorah Ebert
the seventh night of Pesach 5697 (1937), the Rebbe Rayatz related the
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.
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).
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.
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.
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!”
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
Tzemach Tzedek had R’ Yekusiel join him for the seider, which
R’ Yekusiel later said provided him with fifteen years worth of avoda.
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.
the sicha of Parshas Acharei, Shabbos HaGadol, 5744, the
Rebbe mentioned this story and extracted the following lesson:
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.
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.”
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!
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.
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...”
Shabbos Parshas P’kudei 5734, the Rebbe referred to this story
and derived the following lesson:
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.
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.
can apply the various points from the story to the times we are in now.
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.
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
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.
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).
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 tell ourselves, “Rebbe! We are yours, now” — not tomorrow or
the day after.
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