|Sefer HaToldos Admur Maharash|
A Biographical Sketch Of The Rebbe Maharash,
Compiled By The Rebbe From The Sichos And Notes Of His Father-In-Law,
The Rebbe Rayatz Nshmoso Eden
With Supplementary Material, Including A Newly Discovered Biography Of Rebbetzin Rivkah
Rebbetzin Leah Golda: Six Stories
Translated by Shimon Neubort
Published and copyright © by Sichos In English
(718) 778-5436 • info@SichosInEnglish.org • FAX (718) 735-4139
Monday, 25 Menachem Av:
During the meal (which we all ate together in [Father's] chamber) our Aunt [Tziviyah] Gittel entered the room. Of course, she reminisced about events of long-ago and told some stories of times gone by:
- She told about her paternal grandmother Rebbetzin Leah Golda, who was very good-natured and never got angry. All her life she suffered over her children (may G-d preserve us), all of who died during her lifetime. In fact, two of her grown sons died within a two-month period. In spite of all this she did not mourn them too greatly, for she was extremely strong-minded; such strong-mindedness would be very unusual even in a man, and certainly in a woman.
A highly unusual example of this: her son had just passed his nineteenth birthday when he lay dying. His name was Reb Hirshel Aizik, and he was an outstanding scholar, about to complete his seventh round of studying the entire Talmud. As he lay dying, she busied herself lighting many candles. After his soul departed, she came closer and tore her garment and recited the blessing of Dayan HaEmes. She then straightened his beard with her hand and declared: "Master of the World! I thank You for having given us children who were such tzaddikim and scholars; and I thank You even more that I am able to return them to You as tzaddikim." Being very strong-minded, she did not weep.
- When her last son, Reb Aharon, lay dying at the age of twenty-five she also failed to cry. When she approached the deceased's body she tore her garment and said "We must now recite the final blessing."
She recited the blessing and then gave thanks to G-d as described above, but her husband Reb Moshe wept profusely. She said to him: "Moshe, what is the matter with you? Apparently you preferred the candles we lit at the reception, when we led our son [to the wedding ceremony] with the [Mitteler] Rebbe's youngest daughter. Those candles you did like, but these candles you are unable to bear? No, Moshe [it is written,] 'G-d has given and G-d has taken away, may the Name of G-d be blessed.'"
- When my mother traveled to Niezhin for the first time after the passing of her husband Reb Aharon, she stopped off in Shklov where her father-in-law [Reb Moshe] and mother-in-law lived. As we can well understand, she was quite bitter at heart at the time. Her mother-in-law Rebbetzin Leah Golda came forth to greet her. As she was emerging from the carriage, her kerchief moved out of place. The rest of her clothing were also not in proper order because she was distracted and in great anguish (may G-d preserve us). The first thing [her mother-in-law] said to her was:
What's the matter, my child? You should not be eating your heart out. You must see to it that you are properly dressed. You are still young, and you have all the world to see yet.
With these words, she set her mind at ease and comforted her.
- A few days later [my mother Rebbetzin Sarah] traveled to Niezhin and Haditch. One day Reb Moshe felt very lethargic after eating his midday meal. He sat down to study, but fell asleep. The Alter Rebbe came to him in his dream along with his son the Mitteler Rebbe. They said the following:
Sorkeh was just now here, and she poured out her bitter heart to us. We should have been similarly notified when Hershel Aizik was sick, and even more so [when] Aharon'ke [was sick].
He then awoke and related the whole story to his wife Leah Golda. She kept this event to herself, recording the exact time in her memory.
It was after much difficulty and hardship on the road that Mother had finally arrived in Niezhin on Monday at two or three o'clock in the afternoon. Immediately upon her arrival in town she went to the Ohel and poured out her heart to her father. On her return trip she stopped off in Shklov, where Rebbetzin Leah Golda questioned her about the day and the time she had been at the Ohel. She told her what day and what time it had been, and this was the exact time that the dream had taken place. Upon hearing this, Rebbetzin Leah Golda fainted.
- Rebbetzin Leah Golda's whole being was devoted to seeking out the good in all things. Even in suffering (may G-d preserve us) she could discover some good. Certainly in matters that were good in themselves she would suppress the aspects that were not good and utterly reject them. When her son's daughter got married, the kallah was escorted by Reb Moshe and her mother. While escorting the kallah to the chupah, Reb Moshe was in a state of deveikus. After the chupah the chassan and kallah were brought into a private room. The close relatives of the bridal couple also entered the room. Rebbetzin Leah Golda and her husband Reb Moshe were also present. She said to him:
I don't understand you! It seems you are not satisfied with the fact that G-d has left you Aharon's children to escort to the chupah. Where are your brains? Let us thank G-d for this.
- Our uncle the Tzemach Tzedek held Rebbetzin Leah Golda in the highest esteem. He said of her that she was a tzidkanis and that she possessed outstanding intellect. Once, she sent a message to him, saying that she wished to enter his chamber to see him. When the messenger arrived, he stood up and declared, "Let her come in." He then paced back and forth in his chamber awaiting her arrival. As he paced he spoke much praise about her, especially about her piety and her strong will.
- (Back to text) From the diary of the Rebbe Rayatz for the year 5674; printed in Sefer HaSichos - Toras Shalom, pp. 205-207.
- (Back to text) The wife of her grandfather Reb Moshe, and mother of her father Reb Aharon ben Moshe of blessed memory.
- (Back to text) [See story supra, Supplement A, Ch. 3.]
- (Back to text) [..."The Judge of truth." Blessing recited upon the death of a close relative or upon hearing other tragic news (G-d forbid); Siddur, p. 87.]
- (Back to text) I.e., the father of [Aunt Tziviyah Gittel] who was telling this story.
- (Back to text) At that time less than two months had passed since the death of her previously mentioned son. [According to another version (supra, Supplement A, Ch. 4), Reb Aharon died in the twenty-eighth year of his life, not at the age of twenty-five.]
- (Back to text) For this was her last child.
- (Back to text) [Iyov 1:21.]
- (Back to text) [Aunt Tziviyah Gittel] was relating about her mother [Rebbetzin Sarah].
- (Back to text) I.e., the father of [Aunt Tziviyah Gittel] who was telling the story.
- (Back to text) [To visit the Ohel of her father the Mitteler Rebbe in Niezhin and of her grandfather the Alter Rebbe in Haditch.]
- (Back to text) [I.e., Rebbetzin Sarah.]
- (Back to text) Or perhaps it was Haditch; I don't remember exactly.
- (Back to text) I am almost certain that this was in Niezhin.
- (Back to text) I.e., a sister of [Aunt Tziviyah Gittel,] who was telling the story.
- (Back to text) The kallah's paternal grandfather.
- (Back to text) [Translator's note: There appears to be some error here; as we know (see supra, Supplement A), the kallah's mother - Rebbetzin Sarah - passed away before any of her children were married. However, see Sefer HaSichos Kayitz 5700, p. 172.]
- (Back to text) This was a result of his deep sorrow [that his son Reb Aharon - the kallah's father - had not lived to participate in the wedding himself]; he was in a sort of shock.
- (Back to text) [I.e., the uncle of Tziviyah Gittel, who was telling the story. The Tzemach Tzedek's wife, Rebbetzin Chayah Mushka, was an older sister of Tziviyah Gittel's mother, Rebbetzin Sarah.]