I Was There: Hei Teves in The Eyes of a 770 Bochur




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    I Was There: Hei Teves in The Eyes of a 770 Bochur

    From Beis Moshiach Magazine: Rabbi Shmuel Teichman was a member of the “Kevutza” from Eretz Yisrael learning for a year at 770, when the long-awaited announcement of “Didon Notzach” came on a cold winter day and sent 770 into a warm joyous frenzy. Each year, he and his fellow Kevutza friends gather for a farbrengen on this day, and this time Beis Moshiach’s Menachem Ziegelbaum joined the Farbrengen • Full Article

    By Menachem Ziegelbaum, Beis Moshiach Magazine

    “It says in Tanya that every year a new light descends to the world such as was never in the world before. So too, the light of Hei Teves is revealed each year in a greater fashion than in previous years,” says Rabbi Shmuel Teichman of Anash in Kiryat Malachi.

    “You can see how, from year to year, the inyan of Hei Teves gets stronger. It says that until a person is forty he does not apprehend the knowledge of his teacher. In Chassidus it explains that the teacher provides for his student with a constricted flow of intellect so that the student can understand the larger idea, but the teaching actually includes in a concealed state the entire depth of the matter. Over the years, through the efforts of the student, the student can finally plumb the depth of the knowledge of his teacher.

    “I think that this is also true for Hei Teves. We see that from year to year the idea of Hei Teves, the Yom Tov of the sefarim, the Rebbe’s Yom Tov, becomes more luminous, more revealed and more internalized by us and the entire world.

    Beis Moshiach

    “You can see that the printing and sale of sifrei Chassidus, publishing them in easy to understand language, and the learning of Chassidus by tens of thousands of Jews of all backgrounds and ages, increases more and more every year in an unprecedented way. I have no explanation for it except it’s the work of the Rebbe and a greater revelation of the light of Hei Teves every year.”


    R’ Shmuel was a bachur on Kevutza the year of the original Hei Teves celebration. Along with his friends he had the privilege of celebrating those days of light in the court of the Rebbe, and to experience the lofty experiences of those days.

    Those experiences are with him till today and every year his house takes on a festive air for the great day. For fourteen years now he has been hosting his friends from Kevutza 5747 on this special day and they learn and farbreng through the night, reminiscing and strengthening the feelings of hiskashrus to the Rebbe as well as everything connected with the episode of the sefarim, their redemption and strengthening hiskashrus to the Rebbe.

    Tuesday, the day “ki tov” was doubled. Hei Teves 5747.

    A few minutes after Nigleh seder began in Chovevei Torah, someone entered and shouted, “Didon Notzach!” We went to 770 and danced on the sidewalk outside the Rebbe’s room until Mincha. Mincha was held downstairs with the Yom Tov niggun.

    After Mincha the Rebbe spoke: As the Alter Rebbe said, we need to live with the times, and as the Mitteler Rebbe, the then guide of the younger Chassidim, explained it, it means living with the parsha of the week. The Rebbe stressed that “without Yosef no man raised his hand and foot” – “and the spirit of Yaakov their father was revived,” i.e. the Rebbe Nesi Doreinu. And all this in a way of “his enemies too will make peace with him.” One of the main complaints was that the sefarim are not being used to spread the wellsprings and the lesson from this is we need to learn more Chassidus and spread Chassidus, and the entire ‘descent’ was for a the sake of an ‘ascent,’ “and according to the pain is the reward.”

    (From the diary of R’ Shmuel Teichman)

    Can you describe how you felt that day?

    During those years, the talmidim on Kevutza learned in the zal of Yeshivas Chovevei Torah. It was after breakfast and we had started learning as we did every day. Suddenly someone came in, I think it was Yossi Lipkin, and he shouted “Didon Notzach!” We immediately closed our Gemaras and ran ecstatically to 770. Musicians soon arrived and we danced in 770 and on the street outside for several hours and drank plenty of l’chaims until Mincha.

    מרכז סת”ם 720

    The Rebbe came down for Mincha to the big zal, a rarity that year, which only intensified the festive feeling that day. After Mincha, the Rebbe said a sicha in the course of which he referred to the uplifted feeling.

    At the time, were you able to truly understand the magnitude of “Didon Notzach”?

    At the time, there was great exuberance and you lived the joy in the moment. As the years go by, and you mature, the essence of the day penetrates all the more deeply and is internalized in a more authentic fashion, and you have a greater appreciation of the greatness of what Hei Teves is about.


    Wednesday, 6 Teves 5747

    When the Rebbe returned from the Ohel, we davened Mincha and Maariv and then the Rebbe said a sicha. He said that everyone should write his name and his mother’s name (and bring money for the pidyon nefesh separately) and it would be read at the tziyun of the Rebbe, his father-in-law. And in any place that had kivrei tzaddikim they should do likewise; at the Meoras HaMachpela, since all [Jewish] cemeteries in the world are connected to one another with tunnels, as is brought in the holy sefarim. And to ask in the pidyon nefesh for whatever one wanted and not to be embarrassed because after all one was writing to the Nasi Doreinu who explained that we are in the final moments of galus.

    Thursday, 7 Teves, 5747

    At the Torah reading I saw and heard the brachos somewhat faintly.

    The Rebbe went to the Ohel before three with all the ‘panim’, about eight large bags. Many Chassidim waited outside to escort him when he went out.

    For Mincha-Maariv I was on the second bench under the Rebbe’s platform for davening. After Maariv, the Rebbe said a sicha. On the last two days, Wednesday and Thursday, I stood about two people behind Rabbi Chodakov. I saw the Rebbe when he came in to daven as he gave out money for tzedaka. In light of the events, there were many children and guests and the Rebbe calmly gave each one. At the Torah reading on Thursday, I stood on the bench near the chazan.

    (From the diary of R’ Shmuel Teichman)

    * * *

    Hei Teves 5747, moments after they heard the news.

    That night the Chassidim in Crown Heights literally did not sleep, nor on the following nights.

    “It was like Sukkos,” says R’ Teichman. “Dancing every night and davening with the Rebbe by day, with some rest in between to absorb the experience of those days, that’s how it was for seven days.”

    I’ll remind you that the following day, 6 Teves, something special happened.

    Yes, the Rebbe announced an “eis ratzon” (auspicious time) and said that everyone could send a pidyon nefesh to be taken to the Ohel, and whoever couldn’t send one could go to one of the kivrei tzaddikim in his area, tzaddikim who paved the way, and make their request there.

    That day and the next, thousands of panim arrived from all over the world.

    Throughout that year, I wrote a diary to document what I saw and heard. I wrote it because before I went on Kevutza, my great-grandfather R’ Folya Kahn suggested that although nowadays everything is written down, it would be worthwhile for me to write down what I saw and heard by the Rebbe.

    In reading the diaries of that time one sees that the tmimim danced and rejoiced for a week but after that, the Rebbe said a sharp sicha in which he demanded that the bachurim go back to learning and said they should be tested and the marks submitted to him. As bachurim did you discuss this and come to any conclusions?

    The Rebbe spoke about preparing for Yud Shevat and that we were thirty days before. I can tell you that there were bachurim from the neighborhood that I didn’t actually know who came to our zal and sat and learned very seriously. They knew that the Rebbe would see their marks and that was important enough to them. Perhaps it was done out of fear but I think there was a tremendous desire to give the Rebbe nachas, out of the love of hiskashrus.

    Generally, the Chassidus seder began every morning at 7:30 and before that there was ‘mezonos’. There was always plenty of mezonos left over even after eight o’clock. At that time though, by 7:30 there was nothing left. It shows the seriousness; all, without exception, came early and sat down to learn. I remember this time as one that was very special. It didn’t end on Yud Shevat; it continued for a long time afterward.

    You could see, as with everything having to do with the Rebbe, that on the one hand, there was great simcha. On the other hand, the Rebbe insists on bringing it down into reality of actual learning. We see this with the Rebbe in other ways like, on the one hand, one can have the greatest dveikus and tremendous simcha. On the other hand, you need to learn Shulchan Aruch, se’if after se’if, learn the nosei keilim, learn for semicha, halacha l’maaseh and remind people to say a bracha acharona. On the one hand, the utmost in ohr. On the other hand, the utmost in keilim. This kind of joining of opposites can only be found in someone  bound with Atzmus and Elokus which bears opposites.


    Thirty-six years have passed since that glorious day. The day is celebrated in a greater way today whether in Torah study, buying books, farbrengens etc.

    Today, decades after that day, when those sefarim are in the library but other sefarim are still “captive” in other locales, what do you think the message of Hei Teves is for us?

    The main theme of Hei Teves is not just the ruling that the sefarim belong to Lubavitch but that the Rebbe is the Nasi. These two points are relevant today. The significance of this day is to live with the sefarim, which means to live with all the sefarim inside of which we find G-d, we find the Rebbe, and all the Rebbeim who infused the sefarim with their essence.

    There is the message of living with the Rebbe today too, and to educate children in this way whether by learning his teachings or watching a video of the Rebbe through which you feel the Rebbe and the loftiness that he projects. That’s what I think the double message of the day is: living with the Rebbe and living with the sefarim.

    I remember that at a farbrengen that took place in yeshiva in Kfar Chabad in 5746, the mashpia, R’ Moshe Naparstek said that shleimus ha’am and shleimus ha’aretz affect the Rebbe in his very essence but the sefarim are the Rebbe himself, which is why the joy was so great when we had the “Didon Notzach” of the sefarim.

    When you say that the Rebbeim infused themselves into the sefarim, what do you mean?

    We know that Hashem put His essence into the Torah; so too, the Rebbeim put their essence into their teachings. In addition, the Rebbe as Nasi took the Chassidus which had been said for two hundred years and more and turned them into sefarim accessible to all of us, to every Chassid. Thus we can, and must, connect to the Rebbeim; this is no small matter.

    Take for example the publishing of Hemshech 5672 of the Rebbe Rashab. It’s a series of deep maamarei Chassidus which, for years, were not published because of the loftiness of the teachings contained in them.


    My great-grandfather, R’ Avrohom Pariz a’h, worked with the Rebbe in his office (today known as “gan eden ha’elyon”) before the Rebbe accepted the nesius. I heard from my uncle, R’ Yossi Pariz what he heard from R’ Avrohom himself. In those days of working closely together the Rebbe asked R’ Avrohom to get the Rebbe Rayatz’s permission to print Hemshech 5672 which was not in circulation at the time.

    R’ Avrohom made the request but each time, the Rebbe Rayatz ignored the question. The Rebbe kept urging him to ask again.

    [Editor’s note: In a letter dated 25 Tammuz 5709 (Igros Kodesh vol.3 pg 153), the Rebbe writes regarding the publication of the Hemshech that he had permission to print them but needed the funds in advance since it would not sell enough copies to pay off the costs, and goes on to say that nobody is doing anything in this regard although he has been talking about it for four-five years. All of this indicates that there was permission and the only obstacle was the funding. On the other hand, even in subsequent years the Rebbe continued to delay the publication, as is well known. Obviously, some details are missing in this story, and there seem to be hidden matters involved here.]

    After the Rebbe accepted the nesius, R’ Avrohom asked the Rebbe to approve the printing, thinking now that it was in the Rebbe’s hands, it would happen. Since the Rebbe wanted it so much previously, he was sure the Rebbe would take care of it immediately. What actually happened is the Rebbe did as the Rebbe Rayatz, i.e. not responding and changing the subject.

    Then, in 5737, the Rebbe unexpectedly said the Hemshech should be printed, In general, during the Rebbe’s nesius he “squandered” the treasures, both in quantity and in quality, and printed all the manuscripts that there were. The Rebbe revealed to the world wondrous maamarim that are in the category of a real revelation of G-dliness.

    The Rebbe, with real mesirus nefesh, printed all the sifrei Chassidus including Hemshech Ayin-Beis for us and this was despite the fact that previously there had been many spiritual impediments. If the Rebbe made that effort for us so we would have these treasures, we surely have to learn them with great chayus!

    This, in my humble opinion, is what Hei Teves is about, strengthening the study of Chassidus, learning a lot of Chassidus, meditating upon Chassidus, davening with maamarim, rejoicing with them and, above all else, living with them. It’s important to know that these are the teachings of Moshiach, a taste of what we will learn in the Future. The Rebbe is going to say Chassidus, and not just say it but will show Elokus.

    Apropos of Hemshech Ayin-Beis, within the maamarim of our Rebbe there are more than a hundred based on Hemshech Ayin-Beis! In each maamar there are chiddushim, depth, tangible examples and additions, and so on.

    That year, 5747, you rejoiced by dancing for a week. How should we celebrate this year?

    I don’t understand the question. Obviously, with more learning of Chassidus!

    For example, someone who loves to learn Torah, then Simchas Torah or Shavuos is his day. He doesn’t need urging to rejoice on this day because he lives with the fact that on this day he received the Torah. So too, with a Chassid who rejoices on Yud-Tes Kislev. If you ask him why he is happy he will say it’s the Chag HaChagim, etc.

    So too, with Hei Teves – whoever is connected to learning Chassidus ought to rejoice on this day as the most natural thing to do. One who lives Chassidus, readily understands that this special day is not just a symbolic day but far more than that.

    In Chassidus it’s explained that every Shabbos and every Yom Tov a special light unique to that day shines. So too, on Hei Teves a special G-dly light shines. It’s a day of Didon Notzach, a day for learning Chassidus, a day when it was made clear to us after the terrible accusation that the Didon Notzach is for the Rebbe himself.

    Members of Kevutza 5747 at their annual Hei Teves farbrengen.

    Hei Teves can’t be viewed as a one-time historical event when someone rose and attacked the Rebbe’s nesius and the judge ruled such and such. No! Every year, the special light of this day shines anew and even greater.

    You see it; those born after Gimmel Tammuz and, all the more so, those born after Hei Teves 5747, can say better than I can what happened on that day, what the Rebbe said, where he stood, who stood next to him. They live it all. However, these are external aspects, while the inner aspect is a deeper connection to the teachings of Chassidus because this is the essence of the day.

    This day is a festive opportunity to live with the Rebbe anew, in a way not done until now.

    How do you understand that children and bachurim of today live the day so fervently?

    It’s because the Rebbe continues to lead us as always and even more so. We see how the light of the Rebbe continues to illuminate like before with tremendous revelation. There is no other explanation.


    “My wife gets the credit for preparing our farbrengen, providing quite a feast. Our children live with this all year.

    “Yesterday, two days before the farbrengen, the living room was emptied of furniture and were replaced with tables set for the farbrengen.”

    This tradition began on Hei Teves 5767 [the 20th anniversary] and has continued since then.

    The farbrengen begins with one of the participants reviewing a maamar of the Rebbe, someone else reviewing a sicha of the Rebbe, and then all of them talking about the day, strengthening learning Chassidus in general and the Rebbe’s teachings in particular. A lot of l’chaims are said. Nearly every year, the mashpia R’ Zalman Gopin, farbrengs with them.

    מרכז סתם

    You probably reminisce about those days?

    Actually not. We’re not journalists surveying those days. We live with it now.

    What’s the idea behind the farbrengen?

    In Chassidus it explains that every light has in it the aspect of how it was when it was still contained within the light source, except that afterward it left the source and became revealed as a light unto itself.  The same is true for us. Back then, on the original Hei Teves, we were bachurim in yeshiva ‘sitting at the Rebbe’s table’, like a light that is included in the light source. Later, everyone married, boruch Hashem. Some are on shlichus, some are working, and the light is distant from the light source and doesn’t feel the source as much. But when we farbreng together, we try to revive the memories and to go back to feeling as close as possible to the source of the light as before.

    Why on this day in particular?

    Hei Teves is obviously our special day from Kevutza 5747. Although every day we spent with the Rebbe was special, surely Shabbos and Yom Tov when we were able to farbreng with the Rebbe, no question this was the most important day. It’s our Yud-Tes Kislev as the Rebbe said on the first day after Hei Teves.


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