Original Letter from the Tzemach Tzedek Returned to Chabad

An original letter from the Tzemach Tzedek, written in his holy handwriting, was brought to the Rebbe’s room in 770 on Tuesday. 

By Anash.org reporter

An original letter from the Tzemach Tzedek, written in his holy handwriting, was brought to the Rebbe’s room in 770 on Tuesday. 

The letter was owned by the Frierdiker Rebbe and was part of his archives that were looted by the Nazis following their invasion of Poland. The archives were later taken by the Russian Government following their defeat of Nazi Germany.

These archives are separate from the famous ‘Schnerson Collection’ which was a collection of the Rebbe Rashab which was nationalized by the Russian Government. That collection was housed in the Lenin Library for years before being (partially) transferred to Moscow’s Jewish Museum. This collection, however, remained in the army archives and was only discovered approximately 25 years ago.

Since the discovery of the archive, Agudas Chassidei Chabad began working to have these stolen books returned as well.

This past week, an individual who had obtained a letter from these archives decided to return the letter to its rightful place – the Rebbe’s library in New York. The letter was for the most part unknown even to Chabad scholars, and the return was solely due to the goodwill of the individual who had obtained it.

On Tuesday, the letter was returned and brought to the Rebbe’s room in 770. Along with the letter is a handwritten note by the Frierdiker Rebbe with details about the letter.

Amazingly, the letter bears today’s date, the 17th day of Sivan. According to the Frierdiker Rebbe’s note, the letter was written in the year 5618 or 5619.


The letter is from the Tzemach Tzedek to Rav Shlomo Itkin, rov of the Ukrainian city of Oster. The Tzemach Tzedek writes that being that he did not receive any letters from his son, Rav Yosef Yitzchok, who later became Rebbe in Ovruch, he is attaching a letter for him and asks that Rav Shlomo deliver it to him.

Rav Yosef Yitzchak was born in the year 5579. His wedding to Rebbetzin Chana, daughter of Rav Yaakov Yisrael of Hornosteipel, who was later known as the “Cherkasser” and Rebbetzin Devorah Leah, daughter of the Mitteler Rebbe, took place in Hornosteipel on the week of Parshat Re’eh, in the year 5596. On that Shabbos, after the seudah, the Tzemach Tzedek delivered a ma’mar titled “Re’eh Anochi Nosen” in honor of his son’s marriage.

In the year 5619, Rav Yosef Yitzchak’s father-in-law compelled him to accept the leadership in the city of Ovruch, Province of Zhytomyr.

The Tzemach Tzedek wrote two letters to him during that winter, to try and persuade him not to become a rebbe in Ovruch. The first letter was written on the 16th of Shevat, and the second on Monday of Parshat Terumah.

The letter that was redeemed and returned to 770 was written on the 17th of Sivan, and the Frierdiker Rebbe writes that it was that same year, 5619, or the previous year.

VIDEO: Rabbi Shlomo Cunin thanks the individual who returned the letter

In keeping in line with the Rabbonim's policies for websites, we do not allow comments. However, our Rabbonim have approved of including input on articles of substance (Torah, history, memories etc.)

We appreciate your feedback. If you have any additional information to contribute to this article, it will be added below.

  1. Btw the letter was already printed in Beis Moshiach issue 245 (not from the original, but from a picture of the original)

  2. ב”ה
    the date the letter was written was יום א’ not יום ג’ as deciphered, (though there is reason to think that a ג was written,) 17 sivan in both of the above years was a sunday, (unless theres a mistake in deciphering the date that the צמח צדק wrote)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

advertise package