The Rebbe Maharash had special times set aside for reciting Chassidus
. During the months of Tishrei through Iyar he would recite [his regular maamar
] - for the most part - before Kabbalas
Shabbos. During the months of Sivan through Elul it was on Shabbos morning at about seven or eight o'clock, but occasionally it would be after davening
at one in the afternoon.
On festivals and other special occasions, the time varied.
He would recite the maamar with his eyes closed. In the middle of the recitation he would open them for a short while and then close them again.
He also had a specific schedule for yechidus. My father-in-law the Rebbe said:
Grandfather [The Rebbe Maharash] said that the main difficulty associated with yechidus was the need to clothe himself and divest himself. For yechidus it is necessary [for a Rebbe] to possess ruach hakodesh (even if only the level of ruach hakodesh where one sees a prophecy but doesn't understand what he is seeing). But besides this, one must clothe himself so that he temporarily becomes that person. Then, he must divest himself so that he no longer is that person. Next, he must clothe himself again in the personality of the next person. And this constant dressing and undressing is hard labor for the soul.
As soon as Grandfather read the note [submitted by the visitor], he would immediately respond with advice, a blessing, and a minimum of words regarding the path for his avodah and the refinement of his middos. He knew the appropriate word to say to each one of his chassidim in yechidus. And for that chassid, this word would remain his "pillar of fire" for the rest of his life.
His wife Rebbetzin Rivkah related:
Usually he would take a ride outside of the town twice a day. There, he would descend from his carriage and sit among the trees. The souls of his saintly ancestors would reveal themselves to him and he spoke with them. On several occasions he discussed with me future events they had revealed to him. Whenever he visited the Ohel of his father (my father-in-law) the Tzemach Tzedek, he would ask me before traveling there whether I had any requests or anything I needed to find out. Upon his return, he would say to me, "This is what Father answered..."
Besides his genius and his great knowledge of all areas of Torah - both revealed and hidden - he possessed outstanding talents and an excellent memory. A few examples follow:
- At the end of the sefer Hon Ashir - by the same author as Mishnas Chassidim - there is a song marked with its musical notes. The Rebbe Maharash read them and then remarked that the song written there inspired him to sing a certain melody. He then sang the niggun long known among chassidim by the name "One Two Three Four," or the "Ein Sof Niggun."
- [The chassidim] once requested that he repeat a maamar they had heard from him five years earlier. He thought for a few minutes and then proceeded to repeat the maamar letter-for-letter.
- His sons Reb Zalman Aharon and the Rebbe Rashab were once studying a very complex Torah subject in their room. Their father entered the room and stood aside, listening as they discussed the pilpul. He remarked, "There is a difficult Rashi here," and recited the text by heart. "This needs to be examined closely," he said. He then began suggesting solutions to the subject, and continued with the pilpul for some time. He then concluded by saying that it was twenty-eight years since he had last reflected on this subject.
- He was fluent in several languages: Russian, French, Latin, etc. He was also particularly knowledgeable in the science of medicine.
- For reasons of his health the physicians instructed him to engage in physical work and handicrafts. Thus, there were in the house of the Rebbeim several objects that he had made by hand; they are of the most wonderful craftsmanship. Among these was a candlestick as tall as a man, with twelve or thirteen branches. There were also tables fashioned of small pieces of wood and stone mosaic, etc.
- He was an expert and gifted scribe of Torah scrolls, tefillin, and mezuzos. He gave each of his sons a Megillah that he himself had handwritten. In the one that my father-in-law the Rebbe Shlita possesses the writing is as beautiful and clear as if it had just now been written. Not all columns begin with the word hamelech and the ten sons of Haman do not appear in a separate column by themselves. There are also mezuzos that he wrote with his own hand.
At the end of the year 5642 he became ill. On the eve of Tuesday, 13 Tishrei 5643, he passed away, and was laid to rest in the Ohel of his father the Tzemach Tzedek.
- (Back to text) [The reason for the change in schedule may have been simply to accommodate the longer winter evenings and the longer summer days.]
- (Back to text) [See Sefer HaSichos 5703, p. 105.]
- (Back to text) [I.e., the Rebbe must in a sense "become" the individual visitor who has come for yechidus, by clothing himself in the spiritual levushim appropriate for the individual visitor. Afterwards, he must divest himself of these levushim to prepare for the next visitor.]
- (Back to text) [Lit., "The wealth of the wealthy," containing commentaries on the text of the Mishnah and other subjects, including a poem on Shabbos, milah and tefillin, with accompanying musical notes. Printed in Amsterdam, 5491.]
- (Back to text) [R. Emanuel Chai Reiki (1688-1743), rabbi, kabbalist and poet.]
- (Back to text) [A facsimile of this page is reproduced at the end of Sefer HaNiggunim.]
- (Back to text) [This is the niggun of the Rebbe Maharash, regularly sung at the Rebbe's farbrengens; the Rebbe calls it the "Lechatchilah Ariber Niggun."]
- (Back to text) [The round table next to the desk in the Rebbe's yechidus room in 770 (the "Upper Gan Eden") was hand-made by the Rebbe Maharash.]
- (Back to text) [These ritual objects all require highly-skilled writing, by hand, on parchment.]