The Maamar that Messed Up President Ford’s Speech

Lahak has yet another Yud Alef Nissan surprise: Sefer Maamarim 5735 that includes all 45 maamarim from that year, including the Rebbe’s maamar that derailed a speech by President Gerald Ford.

Lahak has yet another Yud Alef Nissan surprise: Sefer Maamarim 5735 that includes all 45 maamarim from that year, including the Rebbe’s maamar that derailed a speech by President Gerald Ford.

The Rebbe’s nesius became ‘official’ when the Rebbe delivered the very first maamar on Yud Shevat 5711, ‘Basi Legani.’ From then on, at almost every single farbrengen, the Rebbe delivered a maamar — and sometimes two. There were also instances in which the Rebbe delivered a maamar on its own, not in the context of a farbrengen.

However, these farbrengens typically took place only on Shabbos Mevorchim, Yom Tov, Yoma D’pagras, and the Shabbosim which were close to them. But in 5735 (1975), the Rebbe began a new approach: he began to occasionally hold farbrengens, complete with the delivery of a maamar, on regular weekdays.

Lahak has just announced the release of Toras Menachem – Sefer Hamaamarim 5735, the 26th volume of the series, which includes all 45 maamarim from that year. In the index, you will find maamarim from Chof Cheshvan, Zos Chanukah, 15 Shevat, Rosh Chodesh Adar, Rosh Chodesh Iyar, Lag B’omer, 16 Tammuz, Erev Rosh Chodesh Av, 15 Av, and Rosh Chodesh Elul. On some of those dates, a farbrengen had never previously been held, and it was definitely the beginning of a new tradition. It is obviously beyond our purview to explain the Rebbe’s intentions, but this was, no doubt, a new moment in the spreading of the wellsprings of Chassidus.

In a preface to the book, a rare, lengthy ksav yad is pictured, containing the basis of the Basi Ligani maamar that year.


On the first eve of Rosh Chodesh Iyar that year, the Rebbe held a surprise farbrengen. That Thursday, before traveling to the ohel, the Rebbe informed the members of the secretariat that there would be a farbrengen upon his return — but that they should not publicize the matter. In the meantime, the Rebbe instructed that bread for hamotzi and mashke be prepared for that evening. The bochurim in 770 noticed that the Rebbe wore a silk kapote to the Ohel — a rare occurrence in those years.

It was only after Maariv, at 8:35 PM, that the Rebbe allowed the announcement to go out: a farbrengen would be held in 15 minutes, and the Rebbe would be washing his hands for hamotzi — an extremely rare occurrence for a weekday farbrengen.

At exactly 8:50 PM, the Rebbe walked briskly into the room, sat down at his place, washed his hands for hamotzi, and asked that two niggunim be sung: mimtzrayim and ana avda. He then instructed that the maamar niggun be sung (one can hear Reb Yoel starting this niggun on the audio recording), and at exactly 9 o’clock — as the crowd was still singing! — the Rebbe looked at the clock and began to say, “Uvroshei Chodsheichem…”

The shocked audience immediately stood up; you can hear the noise of the benches on the audio recording.

At that same moment, in Washington DC, President Gerald Ford (known for his antipathy for Eretz Yisrael) began to deliver a dramatic speech to the nation, one which dwelled on foreign affairs, relations with the Soviet Union, the nuclear race, the state of the Middle East, and several matters which negatively impacted the Holy Land.

The address, which began at exactly nine o’clock, suddenly took a surprising turn: the broadcast began to experience significant technological difficulties, and the television networks failed to broadcast the speech to most locations…

To listen to the nigunim and the beginning of the maamar, click here.

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.

Leave a Comment

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

advertise package