Iyar 13 is the day of the passing of R’ Yisroel Aryeh Leib, third son of the Rabbi and Mekubal R’ Levi Yitzchok and Rebbetzin Chana Schneersohn and brother of our Rebbe.
R’ Yisroel Aryeh Leib was known by the Chassidim of his time for his unique genius, especially in explaining deep concepts in Chassidus thought.
We have seen a few times when the deep connection between the Rebbe and R’ Yisroel Aryeh Leib came out into the open for all to see. Throughout the years, the Rebbe assisted in initiating and coordinating various projects in his memory. On Yud Gimmel Iyar, 5751 the Rebbe spoke an entire sicha expounding on the name of the Baal Hayahrtzeit.
In 1950 he managed to relocate to England, subsequently enrolling in a PhD program at Liverpool University in theoretical physics, which he did not complete, before his sudden passing on 13 Iyar 5712, at the age of forty-six.
Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka, who was the first to hear the news, was immediately concerned as to how Rebbetzin Chana would react. She had suffered over a decade of Stalinist oppression, the untimely passing of her younger sister Miriam Gittel, the prolonged suffering and premature death of her husband, and the loss of both her mother and son in the Holocaust. Was she able to withstand yet another huge loss? The Rebbe felt that she could not, and chose to conceal the tragedy from his mother.
For the following twelve years the Rebbe would forge a brief line of good wishes and his brother’s signature to letters sent from R’ Yisroel Aryeh Leib’s Widow, Genia, to Rebbetzin Chana. This would maintain the impression that he was still alive.