Newly uncovered documents from the archives of Rabbi Meir Harlig list the bochurim who gave money as ma’amad – to support the Rebbe. One line at the top of the list reveals an additional, fascinating detail.
By Anash.org reporter
Ever since the times of the Alter Rebbe, one of the ways chassidim expressed their hiskashrus was by giving ma’amad – funds to support the Rebbe and his family. Recently uncovered lists from the Rebbe’s nesius are a window into how this practice continued, and a unique connection that bochurim had.
The custom of ma’amad was established by the Alter Rebbe when his Rebbe, Harav Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk traveled to Eretz Yisrael with a large group of chassidim in 5537 and encountered financial difficulties. The Alter Rebbe, who had begun his leadership of chassidim throughout Russia, mobilized to their aid, establishing ma’amad, and enacting that every house have a designated pushka and that every family had to make regular donations.
Since then, Chassidim continued giving ma’amad for the Rebbe, the Nasi of that generation. Each subsequent Rebbe encouraged the custom, including our Rebbe, who strongly urged chassidim to send ma’amad to the Frierdiker Rebbe.
Generally, ma’amad was used to support the Rebbeim, their families, and their chotzer, to be spent at the discretion of the Rebbe.
When our Rebbe accepted the nesius, the practice developed into two separate funds. The first was ma’amad l’beis chayenu – which was used to support the Frierdiker Rebbe’s Rebbetzin, daughter and son-in-law, to support select elderly chassidim such as Reb Shmuel Levitin, and the other general expenses.
The second fund was ma’amad al cheshbono haprati shel Cha”k Admu”r Shlit”a – which was given directly to the Rebbe to use at his discretion.
The second, more personal ma’amad, was not something that just any chossid could choose to give to. The Rebbe did not accept this ma’amad from most chassidim, with a few notable exceptions.
Newly discovered documents from the archives of Rabbi Meir Harlig open a window into this practice.
The lists, which were prepared by Reb Meir, who collected the ma’amad from the bochurim learning in 770, list the name of each bochur who gave, their mother’s names, and their last names, along with the sum they donated.
Three such lists were discovered, from Tishrei 5729, Cheshvan 5738, and Cheshvan 5741 respectively. Reading through them, one sees the names of chassidim, rabbonim, shluchim, and mashpi’im, who were then bochurim in 770 giving a dollar or two from their limited funds to the Rebbe.
On top of each list is a line that gives an idea of the unique connection that bochurim had with the Rebbe. The header of each list states “A list of students from 770 who are giving to the Rebbe’s personal account.”
Although the Rebbe did not take personal ma’amad from most chassidim, many who would have jumped at the opportunity, when it came to the bochurim, who were just giving a few dollars, the Rebbe accepted their funds and allowed them to give it to his personal account…