18 Elul: Events in the Jewish and Chabad Calendar

By Anash.org staff

Chai Elul is the yahrtzeit of the MahaRal of Prague, Rav Yehuda Loew, in the year 5369/1609. He was the great-great-grandfather of the Alter Rebbe. In “Hayom Yom” the Rebbe writes that he passed away on this day, having lived 96 years, and was interred in Prague.

Chai Elul is also the day that the novi Achiah HaShiloni, began to reveal himself to the Baal Shem Tov and teach him the secrets of the Torah. This was in the year 5484/1724. The Baal Shem Tov wrote in a letter that the first Parsha they learned was Bereishis. This went on for ten years, until, in the year 5494/1734 the Baal Shem Tov was revealed to the world.

On this day in 5508/1748, Reb Boruch and the Rebbetzin Rivka brought the Alter Rebbe to the Baal Shem Tov to have his upsherenish and to leave peyos. The Baal Shem Tov told them not to tell anybody where they had been. When the Alter Rebbe asked who was the man who cut his hair, his parents answered that it was “zeide.”

When they left, the Baal Shem Tov made a seudah for his talmidim and recited the ma’amar “ben sholosh shonim hikir Avrohom es boroi.” He told them: “The neshomoh from Poland that was here has just reached three years. At three years old he recognized his creator. He too will need to have great mesiras nefesh – like our ancestor Avrohom Avinu – to reveal to the world the derech avodah of achdus and hashgacha protis.

On this day in 5573/1813, the Mitteler Rebbe – who had been in Kremenchug in Ukraine since the passing of the Alter Rebbe on 24 Teves – moved to and settled in the White Russian village of Lubavitch. The Alter Rebbe had studied there as a child, under the tutelage of the Maggid Reb Yisochor Dov. Lubavitch was chosen because of its geographic location, being far away from the hustle of the city, as well as being a place that would conducive to learning and davening and tikkun hamidos.

Lubavitch would serve as the capital of Chassidus Chabad for 102 years, until the Rebbe Rashab was forced to flee during World War I.

On Chai Elul, 5657/1897, learning began in the newly founded Yeshiva in Lubavitch.

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  1. Sichos in English and many other sources write:
    The Upsherinish of The Alter Rebbe
    When R. Baruch entered the Baal Shem Tov’s study … he told the tzaddik that he and his wife had decided to bring their son with them for the following year’s Chai Elul. The [three-year-old] child would then have his first haircut and would be left with peyos. The Baal Shem Tov agreed, told the father to keep his child out of sight, and to see to it that he should be accompanied by his mother and by his aunt Devorah Leah. They were to arrive after morning prayers on Chai Elul, and as soon as he himself had cut the child’s hair in his study they were to leave incognito.

    … On Wednesday, Chai Elul, 5508 (1748), Rebbitzin Rivkah and her sister-in-law duly arrived in Mezhibuzh. As soon as the Baal Shem Tov had given the child his first training in leaving his peyos uncut, and had given him his blessing, he urged them to leave immediately and not to discuss between themselves where they had been. Finally, he wished them a good year and a safe journey home.

    The little boy kept on asking who was this man who had cut his hair and left him with peyos, and who had blessed him.

    “That was a grandfather,” replied his mother

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