Written by Rabbi Gershon Avtzon, Rosh Yeshivas TT”L Cincinnati
One of the most famous Chassidim of this generation, and the previous one, was the Chassid Reb Avraham Pariz. He was born on Purim 1889, in Bobruisk Russia. He had a great yearning to study Torah, so, even before he reached the age of 13, he traveled alone to Lubavitch to begin studying in Cheder.
After his marriage, he lived in Vitebsk, where he continued to impart the values of Chassidus, just as he had done, even as a student, during the years he studied in Yeshivas Tomchei Temimim. He immigrated to Eretz Yisroel in 1926, but continued to be in contact with Beis HaRebbe.
He lived in Petach Tikva and earned a modest living by opening a small grocery store selling milk and eggs. When the economic situation deteriorated, he went to New York for ten years, staying at the home of Rabbi Eliyahu Simpson. During that time, he spent many years working together with the Rebbe in the same room. From then on, he had a personal and special relationship with the Rebbe.
He was a an Ish Emes – a man of truth. Everything he did was always permeated by Emes. It is interesting that the most defining Hayom Yom about serving Hashem with truth is from a letter written to Rabbi Avraham Pariz: In the month of Elul 1936, Reb Avraham wrote a very candidly introspective letter to the Rebbe describing his feelings about his personal Avodah.
The Frierdike Rebbe responded (Igros volume 3 page 575), by quoting a Sicha that the Rebbe Rasha”b said about the service of Temimim. The Rebbe Rasha”b spoke strongly about serving Hashem with Emes and personally guaranteed that those who serve Hashem with truth will be successful.
In the course of that Sicha, the Rebbe Rasha”b said the following: “Truth is the middle path. A deviation to the right – being overly stringent with oneself and finding faults or sins that do not exist; or, a deviation to the left – being overly lenient and covering one’s faults or being lax in one’s Divine service due to self-love – these are both false paths.” It was obvious that Reb Avraham Pariz really internalized this message.
As mentioned earlier, Reb Avraham was very close with the Rebbe from the time that they worked together. He was from the first Chassidim that pushed his fellow Chassidim to accept the Rebbe as the Rebbe following the Histalkus of the Frierdike Rebbe. As a matter of fact, it is to him that the Rebbe wrote the following message right before he officially accepted the Nesius on Yud Shevat 5711: “R. Avraham, we must bring the Rebbe back down here. Like this, it’s difficult; both for me and you. And who benefits from it?”
Rabbi Abraham referred to the Rebbe as Melech Hamoshiach years before other Chassidim began to also mention this. Already in the early years of the Nesius, Rabbi Avraham would open each letter to the Rebbe with the words: “To Admor, Melech HaMoshiach.” He spoke of the Rebbe this way also at every farbrengen he attended, and always with such absolute certainty that nobody could dispute it (“dvaarim hayoitzim min halev, nichnasim el halev“).
In 1965, Rabbi Abraham printed thousands of copies of a special proclamation in which he announced to our brothers/sisters – the sons and daughters of Israel, that the Rebbe is indeed the long-awaited King Messiah, and he does not need our choice because Hashem already Chose him. In the proclamation, Rabbi Abraham called to everyone to communicate with the Rebbe by letters “for his own good in matters of his need.”
In the month of Sivan, Rabbi Avraham distributed thousands of copies of this proclamation. He stood in the midst of big cities and distributed the proclamation to those who passed by. When one of the copies of the proclamation reached the Rebbe, he immediately ordered the secretaries to direct R’ Avraham to immediately stop distributing the proclamation, and on 24 Sivan R’ Avraham received a telegram saying the following:
“We were alarmed by his letter, and please immediately stop distributing the letter and the flyer and collect and send to the secretariat all that remain to the last one, and he is to fulfil this order immediately.” As soon as the order was received, he quickly collected all the leaflets that remained in his possession and at his distribution points, and sent them to the Rebbe’s secretariat.
Later, his grandson, Rabbi Levi Pariz, said: “For decades, I was troubled by the question: How is it that my great grandfather, the Chassid, who did nothing in his life without first asking the Rebbe about it, initiated such a project without writing to the Rebbe? Only recently was it revealed that my grandfather did indeed write a letter to the Rebbe – three weeks before he began this revolutionary project, in which he informed the Rebbe about the planned move – and the Rebbe did not object! Only after the chassidim wrote to the Rebbe that they were “ashamed to walk the streets of Tel Aviv” did the Rebbe stop the publication” (“ein melech blo am“).
Dearest Chassidim: In our times, especially after 5750, the Rebbe revealed to us the “direct path” to bring Moshiach: Learning and publicly teaching the parts of Torah that speak about Geulah and Moshiach. Especially “the Maamarim and Likkutei Sichos of Nasi Doreinu”. The Rebbe also publicly gave the “green light” to publicize to the whole world the identity of Melech Hamoshiach (of course “in a way that it can be accepted”) and we need to do this Avoda with an Emes.
It is amazing that this is the Hayom Yom for 27 Adar 1. On that day in 1992, the Rebbe suffered a stroke by the Ohel (al pi teva). Since then, there have been two ways of thinking about our generation: 1) “being overly stringent with oneself and finding faults or sins that do not exist” – saying that our generation cannot accomplish things that have not even been done earlier since we are full of faults. 2) “being overly lenient and covering one’s faults or being lax in one’s Divine service due to self-love” – lowering the demands and expectations.
We must remember: “these are both false paths.” – we must stay true to the Rebbe’s direct path and serve Hashem with Emes. This will bring the final and true Geula. L’chaim!