The Chossid Who Resolved that Tomorrow Would be “Gur Andersh”

Though he suffered many hardships, Reb Gershon Ber Paharer was always thankful for the good things that happened to him. A great chossid, he would resolve every night that the next day be different than the one that passed.

Reb Gershon Ber’s father passed away while his mother was pregnant with him, and he was named after his father. A short time later his mother passed away as well and he was raised by his relatives. Eventually, he was taken in by his uncle Reb Abba der Lebediker, a chossid of the Alter Rebbe who brought him close to the ways of Chassidus.

In the year 5609 (1849), Reb Gershon Ber met Reb Hillel Paritcher and became his talmid. Reb Gershon Ber became a mekushor to the Rebbe Maharash and then the Rebbe Rashab. The Rebbe Rashab appointed him as a shadar to the cities in the Kherson region where he would collect money and chazer Chassidus.

His son-in-law was the mashgiach in Lubavitch, Reb Volf Levitin, and his grandson, the mashpia Reb Shmuel Levitin.


Once, Reb Gershon Ber sat with his fellow chassidim and expressed his gratitude to Hashem for all that had passed over him:

“As a child under my mother (his father had passed away before he was born), my life was surely good. Then, after my mother passed away, my uncle took me in, and that too was good. Then, my uncle passed away and the community took charge of me, and was also good.

“When I grew older, the community handed me over to a craftsman to learn a trade (craftsmen were known to treat their apprentices harshly), and that was good as well. Then, I became one of the yungeleit who served Reb Hillel Paritcher, and that is surely good. After that, I became a melamed and I earned a living, and that’s good (melamdim were actually paid a meager salary and lived very poorly). Finally, I merited to become a Shadar for the Rebbe Maharash and the Rebbe Rashab, and that is definitely good.

“I must therefore not be ungrateful R”L, and I should rejoice and thank Hashem for His kindness and mercy.”

In Pahar, there lived a chossid of the Mitteler Rebbe and the Tzemach Tzedek by the name of R. Meir. He demanded the highest standards of authenticity in Chassidus and avodas Hashem, and was known for his sharp tongue. R. Volf Levitin, the Mashgiach of the yeshiva in Lubavitch who was married to the daughter of R. Gershon Ber Paharer, remembered R. Meir well.

R. Gershon Ber was sent to Pahar by R. Hillel Paritcher to serve as a mashpia while he was still a young man. Once, when R. Gershon Ber repeated a maamar, R. Meir commented that he says it as though he’s playing notes from a musical box. He meant that R. Gershon Ber had not fully internalized the Chassidus he was repeating.

When R. Shmuel Levitin, the son of R. Volf and grandson of R. Gershon Ber, shared this story at the Frierdiker Rebbe’s table, the Frierdiker Rebbe laughed hard, since he held R. Gershon Ber in high regard.


Reb Gershon Ber was acclaimed for relating stories.  During his visits in Lubavitch, the Frierdiker Rebbe, then a young boy, would spend time listening to him gush forth tales and teachings of elder chassidim.

After one such evening with Reb Gershon Ber, the 17-year-old Frierdiker Rebbe penned a diary entry:

“It is 2:00 A.M.  Outside rain pours heavily.  I pleaded with Reb Gershon Ber to stay in my home until morning.  He agreed.  I went to my room to contemplate what I had heard that night.

“Is there a pen and scribe who can adequately describe the profound impression I have from Reb Gershon Ber?  From his stories of elder chassidim, both of their personal lives as well as the way they interacted with the simple pure-emunah folk, followers of the ways of Chassidus…

“I look at the face of Reb Gershon Ber, the well-known maskil.  He is distressed about his spiritual situation, which in his mind, leaves a lot to be desired.

“I write the following in order that it should be as a witness for days to come:

“On this past Motzoei Shabbos, I heard stories and talks of Reb Gershon Ber.  Throughout my youth, I have seen many Chassidim.  I have seen maskilimovdim, and baalei middos tovos.  I have heard their stories and watched their conduct.  For three years my father has been acquainting me with the wonderful and hidden gifts from the lives of great chassidim of the past, and (may they be separated for good and long life) of today.  Of all the chassidim, Reb Gershon Ber is unique.  In him I see the quality of a broken and crushed heart; broken like a shard of earthenware (“tzubrochen vi a kinenle”) and ‘botel’ like the dust of the earth.

“While still sunken in my thoughts, a deep cry reaches me.  I listen as Reb Gershon Ber reads Krias Shma She’al Hamita.  He is saying the “ribono shel olam”; “shelo ashuv od lehachisecha, velo e’eseh hara be’einecha”…  May I not return to anger You anymore, nor do what is evil in Your eyes.


Each night, after reciting Krias Shma She’al Hamita, as he rubbed his head with his yarmulke, Reb Gershon Ber would resolve, “Morgen vet zain gor andersh!” Tomorrow will be completely different!


The chossid Reb Mendel Gurary was once traveling by train to his hometown, Krementchug. The trip was days long and he was desperate for company, so he set about searching the cars for a Yid with whom he could converse.

After some time, he spotted a figure in the corner wrapped in a blanket. Sensing that this was what he was looking for, Reb Mendel approached the figure and lifted the blanket. Sure enough, inside was the eminent chossid Reb Gershon Ber Paharer HaGadol, the talmid of Reb Hillel Paritcher. He was awake, but deep in thought, meditating on some concept in Chassidus.

Reb Gershon opened his eyes and exclaimed to the chossid in front of him, “Yungerman, yungerman! Remember to tell your children that Hu levado ve’ein zulaso – There is nothing else but HaShem.”

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