He Soaked the Tanya with His Tears and Passed Away

At first a successful businessman, after losing his fortune R. Avremke Zhebiner became a respected chassidishe rov. Known for being R. Groinem’s mashpia, he didn’t leave this world before tearfully parting with the Tanya.

R. Avrohom Halevi Landau, known as R. Avremke Zhebiner, was a chossid of the Tzemach Tzedek and the Rebbe Maharash. He was a grandson of R. Zalmen Kurnitzer, who was the head of the city of Kurenitz and one of the great chassidim of the Alter Rebbe. At first, R. Avremke was in business in Kurenitz and was quite a gvir. When things turned and he lost his fortune, the Rebbe Maharash appointed him to be the rov of the city Zhebin.


R. Avremke was once asked why he chose to be the rabbi of such a small town as Zhebin, when he could have been a rabbi of a much more respectable city.

R. Avremke replied, “If I was interested in taking a position of rabbi, a more respectable community would have been my choice. But to me, the honor and power of a rabbinic position is undesirable, and so the smaller the community, the better.”


R. Groinem once came to know an esteemed individual who rose early each morning to lament the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash. R. Groinem asked his mashpia R. Avremke if he knew any chassidim who did this. R. Avremke replied that there are chassidim who do it, but they are particular not to let others know about it.

R. Groinem took it as referring to R. Avremke himself.


In earlier times, it was hard to get large amounts of wheat for matza that was guarded from the time of harvest (shmura). The common practice was to eat shmura matza only at the sedarim, and the rest of Pesach people would eat handmade matza that was made with non-shmura wheat.

When it was suggested to R. Avremke that he undertake the stringency of eating shmura for all of Pesach, he replied that he hadn’t yet reached that level.


Once, a kernel of wheat was found in a room that had been cleaned for Pesach, and R. Avrohom cried about it bitterly.


As rov, R. Avremke sat at the mizrach wall in shul, far from the bima. When he was called up for an aliya, everyone would stand up for him out of respect. Out of his humility, this bothered him very much and he would cover his face with his tallis. When he reached the age of seventy he stopped covering his face, saying that now they are merely fulfilling the Torah’s instruction to rise for an old man.


A city near Zhebin was in need of a rov. Many people came to try out for the position and the townspeople were considering hiring one specific person based on an excellent drasha he gave. However, there were some who felt that he was lacking in yiras shomayim. The townsmen were truly G-d fearing and turned to R. Avremke of the nearby town.

R. Avremke instructed them to check and see if this man has a Zohar in his seforim collection, as this would be evidence as to whether or not he is truly G-d fearing and worthy enough to be their rov. After looking into the matter they discovered that he did not own a Zohar and he was not hired.


Before R. Avremke passed away, he said to his talmid R. Groinem, “Pass me the Tanya, I would like to part with it.” When he took the Tanya, he sat up in his bed, opened the sefer with both hands, and cried so hard that the pages became soaked with tears.

After a while, R. Avremke said, “The Alter Rebbe said, that with the Tanya one can be a chossid like Avrohom Avinu!” R. Avrohom continued to weep, and then he handed the Tanya back to R. Groinem. He lay back down in bed and after a few moments passed away.

When R. Groinem would repeat this episode, he too would cry uncontrollably.

For sources, visit TheWeeklyFarbrengen.com

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