Stories: Love a Fellow Jew – Preparation for Prayer/Classified – Lost & Found


CR MDS Free Translation
Leibel Estrin Bitzalel Malamud

Love a Jew – Preparation for Prayer

When the Previous Rebbe was already living in America, he once led a fabrengen (Chassidic gathering) on the 12th day of Tamuz, the anniversary of his release from Soviet imprisonment. It was also the anniversary of his bar mitzvah. At the beginning of that fabrengen, the Previous Rebbe declared that when a person makes a lechayim (a toast, lit: “to life”) he should have mind a blessing for his family. Similarly, the Alter Rebbe taught that when Chassidim assemble and say lechayim, they should not only have all the Chassidim in mind, they should include every Jew in the world.

kabbalah hassidic storiesAt that same fabrengen, the Previous Rebbe told a story that took place at his bar mitzvah. His father, the Rebbe Rashab, invited him to ask a question. He asked “Why do we declare ‘I hereby accept upon myself the positive mitzvah to love another like myself’ directly before the morning prayers, rather than in the morning blessings, since it is such a fundamental principle in the life of a Jew?”
The Rebbe Rashab answered that when a child asks for things from his father, he first provides his father with a measure of nachas (joy/pride). The greatest nachas for a parent is when his many and disparate children live together in a spirit of brotherly love; each one loving the other like he loves himself. Therefore, before we ask our Heavenly Father to fulfill all of our needs, we accept this mitzvah on ourselves at the beginning of davening.

In general, a bar mitvah boy celebrates the ability to free himself from the rule of the evil inclination who declares, “I have been in residence here since the time of birth.” The G-dly inclination assumes residence at the time of bar mitzvah; therefore, the Zohar states in the name of the G-dly soul “I was born today.” [The day of the Bar Mitzvah]. This is the connection between the Rebbe’s release from prison and his bar mitzvah. Both occurred on the day when the G-dly soul was given the power to be
released from the domination of the “Old and foolish King” [the evil inclination].

The story of the Rebbe’s question and his father’s answer on his bar mitzvah serves to support the teaching of the Alter Rebbe. Furthermore, it emphasizes the greatness and strength of Jewish unity through the bond of love. This bond even includes those in unknown and faraway climes.

Jewish existence, our Rebbe points out, is one with the existence of Torah [as is known, the six hundred thousand letters of the Torah each represent an individual Jewish soul]. Torah teaches that the individual letters that make up each word have an inner connection with the other letters in that word, especially in the realm of holiness which represents unity. How much more so when the word is
lechayim [”to life”] whose inner intention is unity [as the Alter Rebbe taught].

Separation is the opposite of life. Regarding the passing of Sarah, our mother, who died in Chevron, the Zohar states, “When the four elements are unified [chevron], life exists. The opposite of life occurs when the four elements fall into disunity. At that point, the soul leaves the body, and the body returns to dust. An even more profound separation can occur if the Jewish people are not united.
This can be learned from the verse in the Torah, “(When) you are bound to Hashem your G-d (by being bound to each other); you are all alive today.”
[B’Halosecha 5727]

Classsified – Lost and Found

When I came to Liazna, related Reb Aizel of Hommel, there were older chassidim there who had
been chassidim of the Magid and Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Horodok. They used to repeat a
teaching of the Horodoker.”Love a Jew and Hashem will love you, do a good thing for a Jew and
Hashem will bring you close.” Reb Aizel continued that with this chassidic teaching, they lived for
decades. When the Alter Rebbe came he gave them their neshama. He explained to them that
what they were living with up until then was only the body [of a chassid], and a healthy body is
essential, but chassidus is the chachma and bina (the intellect) which crowns that body with a crown of light.

Bitzalel says… “Hashem gave me the Rebbe and the Rebbe gave me Hashem”
“Our Rebbe says that we should tell the nations that the land of Israel is ours as a gift and an inheritance from our Father the King and Creator of the universe”

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