Weekly Chasidic Story #1042 (s5778-11/
9 Cheshvan 5778)
No Place Like Home
After the Mittler Rebbe passed away on the 9th of the Jewish
month of Kislev,1827, his son-in-law the Tzemach Tzedek refused
to accept the mantle to become the third Chabad Rebbe.
Connection: Tuesday, Yud Kislev is the 190th yahrzeit (and simultaneously the
244th anniversary of his birth!) of Rabbi DovBer, the 2nd Rebbe of Chabad.
No Place Like Home
After the Mittler Rebbe passed away on the 9th of the Jewish month
of Kislev,1827,* his son-in-law (and nephew!) the Tzemach Tzedek
refused many times over the course of the next half year to accept the mantle
to become the third Chabad Rebbe. Some of the chasidim were feeling abandoned
and isolated, and were becoming quite desperate without a Rebbe, Eventually,
two of them decided to search for a new Rebbe, outside of Lubavitch.
The obvious candidate was of course the "holy Rizhiner,"
So they traveled to Rizhin for Shavuos with the intention of becoming his chasidim.
But to their amazement, the Rizhiner completely ignored them.
They were very disturbed. Here they had come to commit themselves to a new
Rebbe, as there was no Rebbe in Lubavitch, yet the Ruzhiner was continuing
to ignore them.
Until the first day of Shavuos 1828. The Rizhiner was sitting
at his Festival table surrounded by a large group of his followers when he delivered
a short Torah insight. "It says in the Midrash, 'The seal of the Creator
is Emmet - truth.' That's why the first three words in the Torah are
'Bereishit bara Elokim' ('In the beginning G-d created'). The last letters
of these three words (in the original Hebrew)-taf, alef, mem-can be rearranged
to spell Emmet; G-d signs His name right at the beginning of the entire
The Rizhiner continued, "There are many secrets hidden in the word
Emmet, including more significant acronyms. One of these latter is 'Torat
Menachem Ohr' - 'the Torah teachings of Menachem (the Tzemach Tzedek's
first name) are Light.'" **
He then turned to the two Lubavitcher Chassidim whom he had been ignoring the
whole time and said, "Travel back to Lubavitch. There you have a Rebbe."
They went back to Lubavitch and found out that while they were gone, the Tzemach
Tzedek had accepted the leadership on Erev Shavuos. They also heard a strange
story involving something the new Rebbe had said during the holiday itself.
During one of his first official public addresses, the Tzemach Tzedek
delivered a brief interpretation of a passage of Torah in the style of most
non-chabad Rebbes. He declared:
"It states in the Midrash, 'The seal of the Creator is Emmet - truth.'
That's why the first three words in the Torah are 'Bereishit bara Elokim'
('In the beginning G-d created'). The last letters of these three words (in
the original Hebrew)-taf, alef, mem-can be rearranged to spell Emmet-truth."
He then quickly concluded by saying, "There are those that say Emmet
is also an acronym," but instead of explaining what the three letters represent,
he simply chuckled.
None of the chasidim could understand why the Tzemach Tzedek laughed
instead of revealing what the acronym stood for. It was only when the two journeying
chasidim returned to Lubavitch from Rizhin that the wonder of the two tzadikim
saying the same exact words of Torah while sitting hundreds of miles apart gripped
the astonished Lubavitcher chasidim.***
How excited they were to hear the Rizhener's second explanation of "emmes"-"truth"!
Source: Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from a posting on a WhatsApp story
Rabbi DovBer Shneuri [of blessed memory: 9 Kislev 1773 - 9 Kislev 1827]
was the eldest son and successor to Rabbi Shneur Zalman, founder of the Chabad
movement. The author of numerous deep, mystical texts, he is known in Lubavitch
circles as "the Mittler (Middle) Rebbe."
Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn [of blessed memory:
29 Elul 5549 - 13 Nissan 5626 (Sept. 1789 - April 1866)], the third Rebbe of
Chabad, was known as the Tzemach Tzedek, after his books of Jewish
Law responsa and Talmudic commentary called by that name. He was renowned not
only as a Rebbe, but also as a leading scholar in his generation in both the
revealed and secret aspects of Torah.
Rabbi Yisrael Friedmann of Rhyzhin [of blessed memory:
5557 - 3 Cheshvan 5611 (1797 - Oct. 1850 C.E.)] was a great-grandson of the
Maggid of Mezritch, successor to the Baal Shem Tov. At a young age
was already a charismatic leader with a large following of chasidim. Greatly
respected by the other rebbes and Jewish leaders of his generation, he was -and
still is-referred to as "The Holy Rhyzhiner Rabbi" Six of his
sons established Chassidic dynasties, several of which -Sadigora, Chortkov,
Bianna, etc- are still thriving today.
Connection: Tuesday, Yud Kislev is the 190th yahrzeit
(and simultaneously the 244th anniversary of his birth!) of Rabbi DovBer, the
2nd Rebbe of the Chabad Dynasty.
* That day of his passing was also his 54th birthday!
** Another tradition is that he said, "Toras Menachem Ohr"-"the
Torah teachings of Menachem are Truth."
*** For an additional manifestation of the "live link" between the
Rizhiner and the Tzemach Tzedek, see story #159 (16 years ago!) in this weekly
email list for stories.
Tilles is co-founder and associate director of Ascent-of-Safed, and chief editor
of this website (and of KabbalaOnline.org). He has hundreds of published stories
to his credit, and many have been translated into other languages. He tells
them live at Ascent nearly every Saturday night.
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