#159 (s5761-06 / 3 Mar-Cheshvan 5761)
The 'Tzemach Tzedek' remarked: 'When the tzaddik, the holy saint Rabbi Yisroel of Ruzhin says Tehillim/Psalms, all of Creation is revealed to him.


"We Agree"

[Excerpt from a letter of Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Shneersohn, the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe.]

My diary records something I heard from my famed teacher and outstanding Chassid, Rabbi Shmuel Betzal'el (the 'Rashbatz'), which he heard from my grandfather (Rabbi Shmuel Shneersohn, the fourth Lubavitcher Rebbe-the 'Maharash'). These are my grandfather's words, as he reported them:

"One Shabbat when I was eight years old, I walked into the study of my father (Rabbi Menachem Mendel Shneersohn, the third Lubavitcher Rebbe-the 'Tzemach Tzedek') and found him sitting at his table studying the Zohar. Just then my eldest brother, Rabbi Baruch Shalom [ancestor of the seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe], also entered. My father closed the Zohar and remarked, 'When the tzadik, the holy saint of Ruzhin says Tehillim/Psalms, all of Creation is revealed to him. And when he recites them on Shabbat, he sees the spiritual roots of everything in this World, and is then able to rectify problems directly at their source. Thus, any evil decree in this World can be anulled. As for me, I agree with the advice of the tzadik of Ruzhin.'"

This rather enigmatic statement has an explanation. A remarkable affection existed between the Tzemach Tzedek and the Ruzhiner, even though they may never have actually met face-to-face [and wow!-did both of them have remarkable faces! -y.t.]. At the time this episode took place, the Jewish people in Russia were under the threat of a terrible decree that the Czar was about to issue against them. The Tzemach Tzedek sent his great chassid, Rabbi Yitzchak-Isaac of Homil, to the Ruzhiner Rebbe, in order to consult with him and devise a plan to nullify the decree. The Ruzhiner received Reb Isaac most warmly, as befitted a man of Reb Isaac's stature.

The rest of the story my teacher, the Rashbatz, subsequently heard from Reb Isaac himself.

"After I relayed to the Ruzhiner exactly what the Tzemach Tzedek had assigned me to tell him, the tzadik replied, 'Very well, let us say a couple of chapters of Tehillim and G-d will open for us the "Portals of Light," and we shall see what is going on.'

"On Shabbat, the Ruzhiner was in the midst of saying his customary Torah discourse, when he suddenly stopped and ordered everyone to leave the room, indicating that I alone was to remain. When they had all gone he said to me, 'My opinion is that two messengers be sent to the capital where they should present such and such arguments, and with G-d's help the decree will be abrogated.'

"Then he added, 'By the way, your Rebbe agrees with me.…'"

[Adapted by Yrachmiel Tilles from
Tehillim Ohel Yosef Yitzchak and other written and oral sources.]

Biographical note:
Rabbi Yisrael Friedmann of Ruzhin
[1797-3 Cheshvan 1850], the great-grandson of the Maggid of Mezritch, at a young age was already a charismatic leader with an enormous following of chassidim. He was also greatly respected by the other rebbes and Jewish leaders of his generation. Six of his sons established Chassidic dynasties, several of which -Sadigora, Chortkov, etc- are still thriving today.

Rabbi Yitzchak-Isaac of Homil [1780-1857], author of Chanah Ariel, was such an outstanding disciple of Rabbi Shnuer Zalman and Rabbi DovBer, the first and second Rebbes of Chabad-Lubavitch, that when the latter passed away in 1827, Reb Isaac was seriously considered as a candidate for the succession. He refused, instead becoming the chassid of the eventual third rebbe, the Tzemech Tzedek (see above), who was twenty years his junior.

Yrachmiel Tilles is co-founder and associate director of Ascent-of-Safed, and editor of Ascent Quarterly and the AscentOfSafed.com and KabbalaOnline.org websites. He has hundreds of published stories to his credit.

A 48 page soft-covered booklet containing eleven of his most popular stories may be ordered on our store site.

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