Weekly Chasidic Story #1237 (s5781-49) 15 Elul 5781/Aug. 23, 2021
"Childhood Brilliance and Frightening Dreams"
Rashi, Ibn Ezra, and Ramban, summoned Rabbi Shneur-Zalman to the Heavenly Court because of the commentary he wrote encompassing their three commentaries on Scripture.
Connection: This Thursday, 18 Elul, is the 276th anniversary of the birth of the Alter Rebbe.
Story in PDF format for more convenient printing
CHILDHOOD BRILLIANCE AND FRIGHTENING DREAMS
When he was ten, the Alter Rebbe had a frightening dream. In it he was learning in the Liozna shul's second room, when Reb Reuven Baal-Shem appeared and told the Alter Rebbe that he was being called to judgment. The Alter Rebbe was then instructed to enter the shul.
Upon entering the shul, the Alter Rebbe saw the beit din (rabbinical court) sitting near the southern table with three elders standing at a distance. The middle one of those seated motioned for them to approach, and R. Reuven Baal Shem led him to the table. The judges of the beit din were wrapped in their talleisim (prayer shawls) and the elders were dressed in white.
When he stood in front of the beit din, the judge in the center turned to the Alter Rebbe and said, "These three elders, Rashi, Ibn Ezra, and Ramban, are calling you to court because you would deprive them of being among those who bring merit to the many through studying their commentaries, as your commentary encompasses their three commentaries."
The Alter Rebbe had nothing to say in his defense, and with sincerity and much sobbing he said he would burn his commentary. The elders placed their hands on his head and blessed him with success in his learning. They blessed him to be mechadesh chiddushim (develop new insights) in Torah study and avodas Hashem (serving G-d), which tens of thousands of Jews in all generations would follow, until the coming of the Redeemer.
When the Alter Rebbe awoke from his dream, he was terribly
distressed and concerned, and he took upon himself a fast. After dreaming the
same dream twice more, he burned his commentary.
When he was twelve years old, it happened that he lectured publicly on Rambam's Laws of Kiddush HaChodesh, much of which is devoted to complex astronomical calculations relative to projected appearance of the new moon, etc. The preeminent Torah-scholars who were present at that time in the study-hall were utterly overwhelmed. [Hayom Yom, Shvat 7]
2B) When Schneur Zalman reached the age of Bar Mitzvah, in accordance with custom he delivered his first public discourse on the Talmud. He was acclaimed as an outstanding Talmud scholar, elected as an honorary member of the local Chevra Kaddisha Burial Society, and entered into the Pinkas (Registry) of the community with titles and honors given only to mature scholars of exceptional merit. [from L'ChaimWeekly]
To receive the Story by e-mail every Wednesday--sign up here!
of the Full Moon"