‘One More Day of Tefillin…’

Reb Zalman Dovid Amliner was an incredible oved and would practice intense iskafya. When his end was near he regretted it, since one day of tefillin was worth even more. But Chassidim had something to say about that.

Reb Zalman Dovid Michlin was one of the ovdim of Tomchei Temimim in Lubavitch. He was from the city Amlin and first learned in Potchep under Reb Yisroel Note Gnesin before arriving in Lubavitch.

His daily seder was to learn Chassidus for four hours and then begin to daven, which usually lasted about five hours. Reb Zalman Dovid knew two thousand maamorim before he began to daven ba’arichus. He worked on refining himself and practiced intense iskafya so that his desires would not disturb him from serving Hashem. He was a happy person, and a smile was always on his face.

He passed away at a young age in the year 5681 (1921) while in the resort town of Kislovotzk.


During the long summer days, Reb Zalman Dovid would daven longer, and by the time he finished davening, seder nigla was over. Thus, the mashgiach for nigla, Reb Yaakov Boruch Karasik, would not see him.

One day Reb Yaakov Boruch met him in the street and gave him a “sholom aleichem,” asking him in which yeshiva he learns. Reb Zalman Dovid explained his schedule. Reb Yakov Boruch reported this to the menahel – the Frierdiker Rebbe – who summoned him and asked him, “With which maamor do you daven?” Reb Zalman Dovid responded, “With the maamor the Rebbe [Rashab] said the last Shabbos.”

The Frierdiker Rebbe challenged him, “So tell me, what is the chidush in the second half of the maamor over the first half?” Reb Zalman Dovid explained while the Frierdiker Rebbe listened with an expressionless face, though from then on, no one bothered Reb Zalman Dovid.


During World War I, Reb Zalman Dovid, whose body was already weak from self-affliction, became very ill from severe hunger.

Realizing his end was near, he cried out, “What was the point of all the sigufim if as a result I have to return my neshama above where there are no physical mitzvos! Putting on tefilin one more day is worth more than years of self-torment! If I would have known that this would be the result, I would have forgone all of the iskafya just to be able to do practical mitzvos for just one more day!”

When Reb Dovid Horodoker heard this lament he commented, “His words are indeed true, but to reach that recognition one must do avoda and iskafya for many years…”

For sources, visit TheWeeklyFarbrengen.com

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