Prepared for Anash.org
It is known that the Rebbe Maharash was proficient in the art of safrus, writing sifrei Torah, tefillin and mezuzos. As the Rebbe writes in the Sefer HaToldos, Admur Maharash, “boki haya b’umnos d’kesivas STaM.”
The Rebbe goes on to write that the Rebbe Maharash wrote three megillos, one for each of his three sons: Raza, the Rebbe Rashab, and Reb Mendel.
The megillah written for the Rebbe Rashab was inherited by the Frierdiker Rebbe and is today found in the Aguch library. That is also the megillah that the Rebbe photocopied and published in the Sefer Hatoldos. It is also the megillah to which the Rebbe refers in Hayom Yom, when he writes that the megillah written by the Rebbe Maharash does not have all pages begin with the word HaMelech, as some have the custom. The Rebbe also writes that the Aseres Bnei Haman are written at the top of a column.
However, unfortunately, the Rebbe Rashab’s megillah is not quite in the Alter Rebbe’s ksav, for the following reason:
When the Frierdiker Rebbe came to America the megillah was in major disrepair, and the megillah was given to a sofer in Brownsville to be repaired. He was unfamiliar with the Alter Rebbe’s ksav, and so he “fixed” the places where he saw that the letters were not what they were “supposed” to be.
However, the megillah that was written for Reb Mendel was gifted by Reb Mendel to Reb Zalman Schneerson of Paris-Flatbush, a descendant of the Tzemach Tzedek, and a mekurav to Beis Harav. At the end of his life, Reb Mendel lived in France and was assisted by Reb Zalman, and Reb Mendel wanted to show his appreciation, as well as make sure that it stays in “the family.”
That megillah was later inherited by Reb Zalman’s son-in-law, Reb Eli Chaim Carlebach, and is now safeguarded by his wife Rebbetzin Hadassah Carlebach, and her family.
Reb Mendel’s megillah was never “fixed” or repaired and is in the original state, as it was written by the Rebbe Maharash. It is thus the only known perfect example of the Alter Rebbe’s ksav as it was written by one of the Rabbeyim.
Photos courtesy of Yeshivas Stam – Rabbi Fitz Rabin