Her children remained in Kremenchug until after Pesach. From there, they traveled to Shklov - their grandfather Reb Moshe and their Grandmother Rebbetzin Leah Golda sent a carriage especially to transport them to Shklov. They remained in Shklov for about four months, after which they traveled to Lubavitch. They arrived in Lubavitch at the end of Menachem Av 5606, and went to live at the home of their maternal grandmother, the Mitteler Rebbe's widow, Rebbetzin Sheina.
Their maternal grandmother lived together with her son Reb Baruch. She was supported by a maamad that the chassidim raised expressly for her. Her son-in-law the Tzemach Tzedek also gave her an allowance of three rubles a week. When the children - her daughter's orphans - arrived, he added six rubles a month to this amount, for the support of the orphans.
The standard of living in their maternal grandmother's home was extremely simple, and all their expenses were calculated with the utmost care. At the home of my great-grandfather the Tzemach Tzedek, a simple standard of living was also observed. They would eat black bread baked from grain that they had ground themselves, by hand; this bread was the cheapest sort. His household furnishings were of the most ordinary wood; the chairs were of plain wood and the tables were unpainted. Their clothes were also of the simplest fashion. This was the lifestyle at the home of the Rebbe himself, despite the fact that by this time he had an adequate income. All the more so did the other family members observe a simple lifestyle, for they received their support from the Rebbe's household.
Now when these children had formerly lived in Lubavitch, they had always enjoyed abundant sustenance (as mentioned earlier). Even while living in Kremenchug, they had known no shortage of food. Moreover, there - in "Little Russia" - the diet is different from our country. There, even ordinary people eat the wheat bread known as "white bread," for it is available in abundance and costs no more than the black bread that we eat in our country. They could not accustom themselves to such poverty; it was extremely difficult for them, and they suffered because of it.
My grandmother the Rebbetzin adapted herself more easily and more quickly to the situation. The reason, as she used to say, was that "The main thing is to resign oneself to it; if you are resigned, you can endure anything."
She would assist her older sister with the household chores. Her sister - my great-aunt - kept a close watch over her conduct, regarding both her manners and her piety. She supervised both the quality and the content of her prayers. She insisted that she daven only from a Siddur, and that she recite all the Selichos and the prayers in the Machzor.
Grandmother told me that when she was eleven or twelve years old, she said the Rosh HaShanah prayers together with her sister Tziviyah Gittel, in one Machzor. Her sister thought that she had skipped a stanza, but she remained silent, saying nothing during the remainder of the Rosh HaShanah day. But after Rosh HaShanah was over, she admonished her sister for indulging herself in such lax conduct. After all, Rosh HaShanah is the Day of Judgment; even freethinkers, ignoramuses, and unobservant folk are also moved [by the awe of the day]. "How is it possible for a daughter of our father and mother to skip passages in the Machzor?" In this vein, she rebuked her severely.
"But I myself knew," related Grandmother, "that it was not so - I had not neglected any part of the Machzor, and I told her so."
Her sister and mentor was in great anguish for having tormented her for no reason, based on mere suspicion. Nevertheless, she did not change her ways, and continued to supervise her closely regarding every detail of her manner of eating, drinking, walking, and doing her household chores.
In general, they met with the approval of their uncles, aunts, and the rest of the family, who made a great effort to befriend them. They, however, remained very lowly in their own eyes. For they were four orphans, being raised in the home of a maternal grandmother who was herself old and poor. My grandmother told me that they were so unassuming in their own eyes that whenever one of their aunts or other relative would speak to them, they wondered at the extreme kindness done to them thereby. After all, what were they but forlorn and lonely orphans!
- (Back to text) He was nicknamed "Bosha the Rebbe's." [In White Russia, "Bosha" was a familiar form of the name Baruch.]
- (Back to text) I believe that was the amount, but I cannot say for sure.
- (Back to text) I.e., a ruble and a half per week.
- (Back to text) Where [the black bread] is cheaper.
- (Back to text) As I calculate it, this would have been during the first year after their return to Lubavitch from Kremenchug, i.e., Rosh HaShanah of 5607.
- (Back to text) [Of one of the lengthy liturgical hymns said on Rosh HaShanah.]