When the Mitteler Rebbe‘s widow, Rebbetzin Shaina, suggested her granddaughter as a shidduch for the Rebbe Maharash, the Tzemach Tzedek asked what dowry she was offering. The Rebbetzin replied, “I will give forty years of eishes chaver kechaver – the wife of a tzadik being equal to the tzadik himself!”
Entering a shul in dire neglect, Reb Meir of Premishlan suddenly exclaimed, “Ma nora hamakon hazeh! This is no other than the house of Hashem!” To his students’ bewilderment, he explained that sadly only a shul goes so neglected.
A brilliant maskil in Chassidus and a remarkable oived, Reb Pesach Malastovker earned the jealousy of others who cast a spell of machshavos zaros upon him. The Alter Rebbe gave him an apple and removed the spell.
A talmid and dear friend of Reb Hillel Paritcher, Reb Betzalel Azaritcher was an esteemed chossid and shadar of the Tzemach Tzedek. Yet, he felt unworthy when he did not recognize the shepherd boy.
Climbed up to the Alter Rebbe‘s second-floor window, R. Yekusiel Lyepler cried out, “Rebbe! Cut out my left side! I can’t deal with him!” From that moment on, he became a different person and his neshama shone intensely – in surprising moments.
In something that was unusual for his time, Reb Avraham Ber Yirmiya’s of Babroisk merited as a little boy to visit the Tzemach Tzedek in Lubavitch. His incredible account captures life in Lubavitch in the eyes of a young boy.
R. Shmuel Betzalel Sheptel, known among chassidim as Rashbatz, was a prominent chossid of many Rebbeim, the melamed of the Frierdiker Rebbe, and later a mashpia of Tomchei Temimim in Lubavitch. His sayings and meshalim guided generations of chassidim.
A wealthy chossid who lived in the capital city of Petersburg, R. Shmuel Michel Treinin was a supporter and activist for the Rebbe Rashab. But when he proudly showed the Rebbe his huge factory, the Rebbe reminded him whose davening brought it.
Ahead of his wedding, a young R. Nochum, was called in by his grandfather, the Alter Rebbe, who tried to discourage him from getting fitted with a collar of the latest fashion, and promised him Gan Eden – but only if he really meant it.
Reb Pinchas “Reizes,” so named after his mother-in-law who supported his becoming the Alter Rebbe‘s chossid, was a wealthy chossid and devoted choizer. When the Alter Rebbe would sometimes fall to the floor in dveikus, he would drop near him to catch every word.
A mashpia, menahel and a secretary for the Frierdiker Rebbe, Reb Chatche Feigin was a towering intellectual and a courageous leader. He had a keen discernment for sincerity and he raised his students to be discerning themselves.
A legend of Tomchei Temimim, R. Shmuel Groinem Esterman was the first and foremost mashpia in Lubavitch. His insights and stories set hundreds of talmidim in the ways of Chassidus, and continue to enlighten today.
Living in the shadow of one of the greatest chassidim of all time, R. Sholom R. Hillel’s was himself an impressive chossid and oved. But one comment from a villager did more for his avodas Hashem than the Chassidus that he learned from his great mashpia.
One night, the Alter Rebbe came with a candle to see how the chassidim slept. R. Moshe Vilenker woke up bewildered and asked the Alter Rebbe, “What is a neshama? What is Elokus?” The Alter Rebbe told him to go back to sleep, but later said a maamar on the topic.
A successful diamond merchant, R. Monyeh Moneszhon was told by the Rebbe Maharash to learn one maamar four hundred times straight. He locked himself in a hotel room and did that, and he came out a changed man.
R. Yehoshua Lein of Nevel, who served as a rosh yeshiva, rov and schochet, was given a seder in learning by the Rebbe Rashab. When asked when to learn them, the Rebbe advised him to delay it until later in the day, so he would carry around that obligation.
An orphan from a young age, R. Avrohom Levik Slavin came to Lubavitch at age 14, and was placed in the senior Zal. Sent by the Rebbe Rashab to Georgia, he traveled through mountainous regions educating the locals, and he refused to leave his post even at fear of arrest.
A respected tomim and chozer, R. Avraham Baruch Pevzner was sent by the Frierdiker Rebbe to serve as a rov and mashpia in Minsk. When the KGB confiscated the Rebbe’s picture during a search of his home, he went after them to get it back.
A chossid of the Rebbe Maharash, Rebbe Rashab, and Frierdiker Rebbe, R. Yehoshua Eliyahu Volosov was a generous baal tzedakah beyond his means who was moser nefesh to keep the Kharkov shul and mikvah open under Communism.
R. Shneur Zalman Slonim, a grandson of Rebbetzin Menucha Rochel, joined the Rebbe Rashab and his family on a trip to the Crimea. Before leaving, he was told not to let the Rebbe think Chassidus, which he did with a clever trick.