Short Stories of The Rebbe’s Love of Torah




    Short Stories of The Rebbe’s Love of Torah

    From Beis Moshiach Magazine: One of the signs provided by the Rambam to describe a person who is “b’chezkas Moshiach” is “hogeh baTorah – who diligently contemplates the Torah.” For the Yom Tov of Zman Matan Toraseinu, we present a collection of short stories that illustrate the great love of Torah of the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach • Full Article

    By Menachem Ziegelman, Beis Moshiach Magazine 


    Everyone knows that on Simchas Torah, the Rebbe invested tremendous energies in leading the thousands of Chassidim who came from all over the world to be with him. The Rebbe raised the crowd higher and higher above the ground to heights of joy as he directed the great simcha.

    Every year, the night of Simchas Torah, between the farbrengen and the hakafos which began late at night, there was a break during which the large zal was rearranged and prepared for the hakafos. During these hours, the last of the tmimim would return from tahalucha to distant neighborhoods.

    Rabbi Ephraim Piekarski related that one year, during the break, after hours of the Rebbe farbrenging and prevailing over the great simcha, he dared to peek into the Rebbe’s room. He saw the Rebbe sitting with a sefer, immersed in learning.


    Rabbi Moshe Orenstein, rosh yeshiva of Tomchei Tmimim in Netanya, told a similar story:

    I spent Shavuos 5751 with the Rebbe. Those were three days in a row that were devoted to elevation of the spirit, learning and davening with the Rebbe: Shabbos and two days of Yom Tov.

    The Rebbe’s schedule was intense. Shabbos afternoon he held a long farbrengen in the course of which he said deep Torah sichos and did not rest.

    In the evening, the first night of Shavuos, the Rebbe learned all night as per the custom of learning the Tikun Leil Shavuos through the night.

    The following night, at midnight, the Rebbe went out to welcome the many Chassidim who returned from tahalucha to shuls around New York. The following day, the Rebbe farbrenged again and said sichos and deep divrei Torah until evening.

    Lemaan Yilmidu Chosson Kallah

    Motzoei Yom Tov one would expect the Rebbe to rest but no. That is when “kos shel bracha” began, with thousands of men passing by the Rebbe to get some wine from havdala. That took hours and ended at two in the morning after the Rebbe stood the entire time and encouraged the singing. Mind you, this was after the Rebbe was 89!

    Then came the moment that astonished me. At three in the morning, when “kos shel bracha” was over and the Rebbe finally returned to gan eden ha’elyon, something incredible took place. The curtain was slightly moved so I got a rare peek. I could see the Rebbe stride quickly to the bookcase, take out a sefer and stand and examine it. The Rebbe stood there, still wearing bigdei Shabbos and a gartel, and without taking a break for coffee or a rest, he went to learn. He could not restrain his tremendous longing and love for Torah study, like a child who spreads out his hands around his father and hugs him.


    Another similar story was told by Rabbi Yosef Tzvi Segal of Yerushalayim. R’ Segal went to the Rebbe for Tishrei 5721. Rosh Hashana was on Thursday and Friday, when people sleep less. Sunday and Monday night there was yechidus for guests throughout the night. The bachurim realized at some point that the Rebbe hadn’t had a regular night’s sleep in nearly a week!

    Some bachurim decided to keep watch and see when the Rebbe slept. There was a window from where you could see into the Rebbe’s room and only see the head. One of the bachurim looked through the window and heard the Rebbe learning with a tune and slowly, the voice got softer. The Rebbe had put his head on the desk. Seven minutes later, the Rebbe’s voice could be heard again.


    In the winter of 5727, R’ Yoel Kahn had yechidus in order to discuss preparing sichos for editing. The Rebbe said, “After I speak in public, I continue to be involved in those Torah topics and sometimes there are changes etc. and explanations are added.”


    R’ Nochum Avrohom Yakobovitch of Antwerp related the following:

    “It was the Shabbos before Shavuos 5707/1947 and it was extremely hot. After the Shabbos meal, the Rebbe entered the women’s section which was behind the shul, where there were no people, and he sat near the window wearing his hat and sirtuk and studied a sefer. The Rebbe did not budge for seven hours (summer days in Paris are long), until mincha.

    “I think that it was hemshech ‘V’Kacha’ of the Rebbe Maharash which had been printed then. It was incredible; there are no words.”


    The train between Paris and Warsaw left in the evening and would be arriving at its destination in the morning. From his seat, the gaon, Rabbi Moshe Mond, former Av Beis Din of Mikalaev, noticed a young man with a refined face, enter the compartment and find a seat. The young man sat down and immediately opened a small Gemara that he had with him.

    Another two men sat in that area and a fourth seat remained empty. After several stops, a woman came on. Her ticket led her to the fourth seat in the compartment. Calmly, without any external demonstrations, the young man got up and left. The area was open and there were other men, but it wasn’t to his liking.

    He walked to the end of the compartment and took a place standing in a corner. He went back to the Gemara he was holding.

    R’ Mond continued to watch the young man with great admiration which turned to amazement and then astonishment. The train moved and rattled and the young man was immersed in Abaye and Rava. An hour passed and another hour and yet another, and he remained in his corner.

    An entire night passed. The people in the compartment dozed off and woke up, chatted and were quiet. They took out food and drink from their bags and ate. The young man was still in his corner, swallowing up page after page. R’ Mond, one of the great Belzer Chassidim of the previous generation, became very curious about who this man was, yet he did want to go over and disturb him.

    Outside the sun rose. The train had crossed the border into Poland and it soon stopped in Katowitz. Passengers got off, other got on. The female passenger was one of those who got off. Out of the corner of his eyes, the young man saw this and returned to his place. Without stopping for a break, he sat down and opened his Gemara again as though he hadn’t just stood for ten hours throughout the night.

    The train entered the station in Warsaw at 7:30 in the morning. The young man got up and R’ Mond, who also stood up in order to get off, hoped he would find the opportunity to speak to this extraordinary young man and find out who he was.

    On the platform waited a group of dignified Jews. When the young man went out, they surrounded him and shook his hand warmly and politely. R’ Mond realized this was a distinguished person and he quietly asked one of the men who it was they had just welcomed.

    “Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the son-in-law of the Lubavitcher Rebbe,” the man said with a tone of awe and respect, awe and respect that R’ Mond could personally testify was well deserved.


    The gaon, Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik told R’ Chaim Ciment, shliach in Boston, about the Rebbe’s diligence when he lived in Berlin where they had both studied at the same time:

    “The Rebbe went everywhere with a Gemara or some sefer in his hand, even to professors’ lectures. He would listen to the beginning of the lecture and when he absorbed the gist of the idea he opened his Gemara and learned.

    “One time, the professor noticed this and was annoyed. He stopped the class and said, ‘Schneerson, can you please repeat what I said now?’ It was meant as a rhetorical question since he didn’t think the Rebbe would be able to repeat it. However, the Rebbe stood up and repeated what the professor said, word by word. The professor never bothered him after that.”

    * * *


    Dr. Hillel Seidman:

    When G-d blesses someone with talent, one might think it’s G-d’s blessing to make life easier. This, due to the fact that someone without superlative abilities needs to work hard in order to understand a difficult Tosafos, in order to remember a lot, which someone else with a good grasp and memory can achieve with less work. That’s what the ordinary person thinks. That’s even what pedagogues think.

    The Lubavitcher Rebbe thinks just the opposite. The Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson shlita. The Rebbe thinks that when G-d gives a person abilities, He gives him a special mission. The person gifted by G-d has a special obligation, to use his abilities for Torah and Judaism.

    G-d deposited a treasure with him not to make it easier for him but for him to sustain others, to pour forth spiritual abundance. He is a channel for G-dly influence. It’s a blessing as well as an obligation. He may not betray his holy mission, G-d forbid. He must use his great capacity to fill up with as much Torah, as much Chassidus, as possible, to be able to give to others. To be, as mentioned, mashpia.

    This approach, to people and their abilities, can clearly be derived from the words of the Rebbe to individuals as well as to the public, considering that even in public, he addresses each individual – and that is how each one needs to listen – and also, mainly, from the Rebbe’s personality and conduct.

    Mainly from his unusual diligence, starting from his youth. Because with a mind like this, with such a phenomenal memory, with such a quick grasp, he would already be a scholar without diligence. And yet, the Rebbe never relied on  his “good head.” He fulfilled not only “and delve in it day and night” but also “toil in Torah.”

    The Rebbe never relied on his quick grasp and his good memory. He made sure there would be what to grasp and what to remember. He did not suffice with grasping a topic “at first glance.” After understanding, he thought about it, delved, and reviewed. He does this till this day.

    There are four reasons for the Rebbe’s great toil in Torah:

    First, the learning, for himself and others, is avodas Hashem. How can serving Hashem be taken lightly or come easily?

    Second, the Rebbe is diligent by nature. In other words, he does not waste a minute. Every minute is full of content. At the same time, as paradoxical as this may sound, he is not “stressed” because he is not a slave to time; he controls time. He doesn’t have an empty minute but the minutes are not “filled” by outside factors to which he is their slave but rather he is the one who fills them with Torah and avodas Hashem, which to him are one and the same.

    Third, the things the Rebbe is involved with, whether learning, leading, administering the dissemination of Torah, or with people, are always deep and lofty and he is fully present in them to the nth degree.

    Fourth, the tremendous sense of responsibility which does not allow him to take anything lightly. He does not differentiate between small and big things according to the usual estimation, for sometimes great things are reflected in small things like the ocean in a drop of water; and great people are great not only with great things but in everything.

    Translated from a Yiddish article printed in “Di Yiddishe Heim” 5722

    * * *

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