The Story of the Rebbe Rashab’s Passing – Part 2

The story of the Rebbe Rashab’s passing was meticulously recorded by R. Moshe Dovber Rivkin in Ashkavta D’Rebbe and is now presented in English for the first time.

The story of the Rebbe Rashab’s passing, and the months preceding and following it, was recorded in the sefer Ashkavta D’Rebbe. The book was written by Rabbi Moshe Dovber Rivkin, a tomim who was the Rebbe’s personal attendant during the time leading up to the histalkus, who recorded in great detail the Rebbe Rashab’s conduct and sayings.

The story has not been translated for the first time by Hatomim Hashliach Shmuel Kesselman of Yeshiva Gedolah Melbourne in honor of 100 years of Beis Nissan.

For part one, click here.

To download the English booklet, click here.

To download the Hebrew original, click here.


Monday, 25 Adar.

The Rebbe awoke, and I washed his hands. He recited Birchas Hashachar and drank what appeared to be milk or coffee.

8:00 AM: Prof. Zavadski arrived. He examined the Rebbe for quite some time, and then walked from the Rebbe’s bedroom into the Rebbe’s office. The Rebbetzin and the Rayatz were there, and the professor told them that in his opinion the Rebbe was suffering from a severe form of typhus. The situation, in his opinion, was critical due to the Rebbe’s age. I stood near the Rebbe’s bed and listened in to the conversation. The Rebbe himself could not hear the conversation, all he could hear was the sound of the voices. The Rebbe realized that the Rebbetzin and the Rayatz were badgering the professor with questions. He turned to me and joked, “They are harassing him with their questions like the snake’s oven[1].” The professor returned; the Rebbe turned to him with uncertainty filling his eyes and asked “Nu?”. Prof. Zavadski said, “As of now, I cannot determine what will be. However, do not worry, you will yet be healthy.” Prof. Zavadski then went on his way.

Dr. Landa returned and performed yet another lengthy examination. He said, “I am sure that Prof. Zavadski is mistaken. I see no symptoms of typhus.” He then proceeded to make light of the professor’s diagnosis. His comments calmed us very much.

About an hour later, a laboratory doctor arrived and performed many tests. He took blood from the Rebbe, etc.

The Rebbe said he wished to daven Shachris. The Rayatz had left to go daven himself, so I alone aided the Rebbe. I tied his Gartel on, gave him his glasses and held the Siddur before him. He said the tefilos and Korbonos up until Hodu while lying down. I then took a pillow and propped it beneath him so that he would be half-sitting half-lying down, and placed his Talis on him. Wrapping the Talis with the many stringencies that the Rebbe usually practiced was difficult for me and taxing for him. Once the Talis was on, I suggested to him to rest for a minute from the exertion of putting on the Talis, and he did. I placed his Tefilin on, and he davened. He stopped after Shimusha Raba, and would continue with Rabbeinu Tam’s at Mincha time. He drank coffee and milk, and dozed off.

4:00 PM: The Rebbe wanted to daven Mincha. We placed his Rabbeinu Tam’s Tefilin on him, and he completed Shachris. After he finished Shachris, I heard him reciting random chapters of Tehilim but I could not make out the words. I did hear him say aloud (Tehilim 23;4), “Even if I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” He raised his voice, and completed the verse, “For you are with me.” He then began Korbonos for Mincha, recited a few verses from Tehilim chapter 27 and davened Mincha.

Towards evening, a Dr. Mirski arrived to remain at the Rebbe’s side together with Dr. Lazinski. He too, remained with the Rebbe until the Histalkus.

The family suggested to the Rebbe, that his bed be moved from his room to his office which was bigger and roomier. The Rebbe refused without reason. Later, we discovered that he did not want to remain lying in bed in the presence of holy books and Chassidus manuscripts. Even when the Rayatz offered to place sheets over all the bookshelves, the Rebbe refused.

11:00 PM: The Rebbe davened Maariv, drank something, recited Shema and went to sleep.

The chassidim of Rostov declared Monday as a day of fasting and prayer. They read the Parshah of “Vayechal,” and recited much Tehilim.

During the course of the week, 10 chassidim gathered each night at the home of R’ Yaakov Heber. They remained awake all night, reciting Tehilim with great concentration and fervor. They poured out their souls and begged Hashem to heal the Rebbe. Amongst them were, R’ Yitzchok Yoel Rafelovitch, R’ Shmuel Gurary, his brother R’ Nosson Gurary and their children.

Tuesday, 26 Adar.

Early morning: The Rebbetzin asked the Rebbe, “How do you feel? Did you sleep well?” The Rebbe answered, “I slept sufficiently.” The Rebbe’s morning schedule was similar to Mondays, he washed Nettilas Yodayim with our assistance, recited Birchas Hashachar, etc. However, it was evident that the Rebbe was even weaker, and he required more assistance for everything he did. Dr. Landa returned and repeated his opinion that it was not typhus. He suggested slightly different forms of treatment than the day before but as a whole did not change much.

The Rayatz again suggested that the Rebbe’s bed be moved to his office at least for an hour or two, to allow the bedroom to be cleaned and aired out. The Rebbe agreed; the bookshelves in the office were all covered, and the Rebbe was carried in while lying on his bed.

When it came time for the Rebbe to put on his Talis, I suggested to the Rebbe that he use his Shabbos Talis. It was cleaner, and the doctors had warned him to maintain optimal hygiene standards. He said, “The Shabbos Talis is heavier,” paused, and then said, “but nu, bring it to me.” From that day, he davened only wearing the Shabbos Talis until he was eventually buried in it.

I had a personal matter to deal with, and the Rebbe (who knew about it) instructed me to go and take care of the matter. The Rebbe davened while still in the office in a similar fashion to the day before with the Rayatz at his side. Meanwhile, his room was cleaned.

By the time I returned, he had finished davening, and I found that the Rashag had taken my place.

2:00 PM: We carried the Rebbe back to his room. He began to cough, and the Rayatz said to him, “Father, you are coughing.” The Rebbe said, “Indeed, the light does not rest in the vessel properly[2].”

The Rebbe davened Mincha in a similar fashion to Monday, and again recited extra verses and prayers that I could not make out.

That night there was not much change, the Rebbe davened Maariv without a Siddur and prepared to sleep. The Rebbe’s sleep was fitful.

Wednesday, 27 Adar.

Early morning: The Rebbetzin asked the Rebbe if he had slept through the night, he answered, “Nu, another night of suffering has passed.” That morning, the Rebbe’s schedule was similar to Tuesday.

9:00 AM: Prof. Zavadski arrived and immediately summoned Dr. Landa to join him. The professor noticed that the Rebbe’s general state of health had improved slightly but he was weaker. The doctor advised that dry “bunkes[3]” be administered, as well as other medication.

The Rebbe wanted to daven and I went to find his regular red Siddur. He called out to me, “Bring my old Siddur.” (The “Old Siddur” was the Siddur with the Rebbe’s commentary on Shaarei Tefilah written in the gloss. Previously, the Rebbe only used that Siddur on special occasions. The year that he said Kaddish or on a day that he observed a Yartzeit as well as on Rosh Hashonah and Pesach. The Siddur was later bequeathed to the Rayatz, as stated in the Rebbe’s will.) I brought him the Siddur, and from that day on he used only that one. He davened Shachris in a similar fashion to Tuesday.

Later that day, the Rebbe turned to the Rayatz and said “It would be preferable if you leave this room.” The Rayatz immediately obeyed and exited the room, but he remained standing right near the door. A moment later, the Rayatz could not control himself and walked right back in. The Rebbe turned to him and said again, “You should not be here.” The Rayatz responded in a pleading voice, “Father, why do you want me to go away from here? Why can’t I remain near you?” The Rebbe answered, “This is how it must be. We do not know the nature of my illness and you have a weak heart. Your mother too, should not be here.” (The Rebbe’s intention was that if he had indeed contracted typhus it would be highly contagious. Those with heart conditions needed to be careful not to come in contact with the sick.) The Rayatz responded, “Father, it is not as bad as you make it seem. You have not contracted typhus. Hashem will protect us. I want to remain in your presence.” The conversation ended at that.

That evening the bunkes were administered as per the instructions of the doctors. The Rebbe davened Maariv without a Siddur. The night passed in an uncomfortable manner, the Rebbe’s sleep was sporadic. He continuously would fall asleep for a few moments and wake up, and from moment to moment he appeared weaker and weaker.

Thursday, 28 Adar.

Thursday morning: Prof. Zavadski returned and noted that the Rebbe’s condition had significantly deteriorated. Dr. Landa came after him and calmed us slightly compared to the grim diagnosis of the professor. However, Dr. Landa too, was highly concerned about the Rebbe’s weakness which had deteriorated. The professor instructed that the Rebbe receive camphor[4] injections five times per 24 hour period. Practically, the injections began to be administered on Thursday night. The doctors also instructed to place about 30 dry “bunkes” on the Rebbe’s body near his lungs, as well as 8 “bunkes” that would draw blood.

11:00 AM: The “bunkes” were administered. Even though the treatment pained the Rebbe greatly (as he later told us), he gave no indication of any pain, not even a sigh escaped his lips.

Following the treatment, the Rebbe rested, drank some coffee and prepared for davening. The Rebbe was weaker than he had been the day before, and the doctors had instructed us not to touch the areas of his body that had come under the “bunkes”, so donning the Talis and Tefilin was a challenge. Nevertheless, Hatomim Yaakov Aizik Balanter and myself assisted the Rebbe, and he davened.

Throughout the course of the day, the Rebbe appeared sicker and sicker. The situation seemed dire indeed.

An additional, expert doctor was brought in to remain at the Rebbe’s side around the clock. Dr Rabinowitz was his name. He arrived late afternoon and remained until the Histalkus. He too was tremendously devoted to caring for the Rebbe and was completely selfless. He amongst all the others, held a strong affinity for the Rebbe.

From Thursday and on, it was difficult for the Rebbe to sit up or even turn himself without assistance, he was too weak. Furthermore, the doctors warned him not to exert himself and not to move at all.

The Rayatz summoned Yehoshua Folik Gurary, his brother the Rashag, and myself, and appointed us as a Beis Din. In the presence of the Beis Din, he made a legally binding pact that he accepted upon himself certain acts of tzedaka with the hope that Hashem would heal the Rebbe.

10:00 PM: The Rebbe was asleep. I sat in the Rebbe’s room together with Yaakov Aizik Balanter, and Dr. Landa would occasionally walk in and out. Suddenly, the Rebbe awoke and began to speak as if he was in the middle of a discussion. Yaakov Aizik and myself approached the Rebbe’s bed to hear what he was saying. These are the words we heard, “One surrenders to Hashem at an essential level, his entire existence becomes nullified in a manner that is beyond intellect. The reason being: When the essential light of Hashem shines, automatically one surrenders their entire self at the deepest level. That is what the Possuk says, “To you Hashem, my soul will soar,” this regularly occurs when one davens on Shabbos.” The Rebbe then concluded, “I am at that level, right now.” He then continued speaking but it was difficult to make out the words. We did however hear him say, “Understanding and contemplation. When one contemplates with a wide berth of understanding, he becomes totally nullified. The ego and selfishness of his soul are destroyed.”

When Dr. Lazinski heard him speaking words of Torah which was forbidden for him, primarily because the doctors did not want him to exert his mind with deep thoughts. The doctor interrupted the Rebbe, saying, “Rebbe, now is not the time for you to say Torah, now you must sleep. When you are healthy, you will teach Torah.” The Rebbe responded, “Indeed, that is why one must be healthy,” the Rebbe went quiet and went to sleep.

Three people heard the Rebbe saying the words “To you Hashem my soul will soar” myself, the Rashag, and Yaakov Aizik. We were thunderstruck and our hearts fell within us; I began to sense doom, however, we did not tell a soul.

Later that evening, the Rebbe turned to Dr. Mirski and said, “Lazinski sits here, takes me by the hand, and says ‘do not think about certain things.’ He does not warn me to avoid things that are forbidden to think, but he encourages me not to think about certain matters in the present situation. [However, he does not understand,] for me, saying [Chassidus] is different, [i.e., Chassidus will not negatively influence my health, on the contrary].”

11:00 PM: The Rebbe davened Maariv without a Siddur. Throughout the night, the Rebbe appeared weaker and weaker, and it was evident that he was critically ill. The camphor injection was administered three times over the course of the night.

Friday, 29 Adar.

8:00 AM: The Rebbe appeared weaker than Thursday. Prof. Kastarian arrived to treat the Rebbe. He joined Dr. Landa, Rabinowitz, Lazinski and Mirski. Following a careful examination, the professor gave his verdict. He told us that the Rebbe was indeed in grave condition, but he sided with Dr. Landa that it did not seem to be typhus. He warned the Rebbe not to exert himself or move at all.

I washed the Rebbe’s hands while he remained lying down, and he remained in that position throughout Birchas Hashachar. I held the Siddur open before him, and he did not move at all. Besides for the fact that he was too weak to move, we would not let him.

10:00 AM: The Rebbe asked for his Siddur; he wanted to daven. I held the Siddur open in front of him, and he began to say Korbonos. As he davened, I could see that the activity was taxing his strength terribly. I wanted to interrupt him so that he could rest for a moment, but I was afraid to do so. However, immediately, I said to myself, “I do not care what happens to me, I will not be a foolish chossid[5], I must ask him to rest for a moment.” So when he reached Ketores, I leaned in and said, “Rebbe, would you like to stop for a moment and rest a bit?” He immediately consented because he could feel the negative affect the effort was having on him. He was given some tea to drink and injected with camphor, but it was evident to everyone that his strength had abandoned him.

I entered a side room to consult the Rayatz how we should proceed with preparing the Rebbe to daven. The issue; the doctors had strongly warned the Rebbe not to strain himself or move and placing the Talis and Tefilin on him would necessitate movement and exertion. Especially, due to the fact that the Rebbe was meticulous about how the straps should be wound around his arm and arranging them in the desired fashion would require much exertion. We could not make a decision, even though halachically due to his weakness and illness he was definitely exempt from both Talis and Tefilin. Eventually, the Rayatz decided to ask the Rebbe to, at least, shorten his davening. The Rayatz walked back into the Rebbe’s room and said, “Father, you need to shorten your davening. The doctors do not want you to move too much.” The Rebbe did not respond, but he clearly heard what the Rayatz had said.

A few moments later, the Rebbe said to me, “Berel, bring me my Siddur.” I thought he wanted to continue saying Korbonos, and although I wished he would rest more, I had to obey. When I brought the Siddur, the Rebbe indicated to turn to the back of the Siddur. I realized that the Rebbe wanted to look into the halochos of davening regarding someone that is critically ill and immobile[6]. I began to turn the pages slowly, stalling for time; I knew that a Halachic investigation would tax his mind which was forbidden for him. I hoped he would forego his plan of figuring out the halachah himself and leave it to others. I did not ask him which page to turn to, I just began turning pages. He suddenly stopped me and said, “Bring me a Shulchan Aruch Admur Hazaken volume 1,” [evidently, he had decided to deduce the halachah from the source, in Shulchan Aruch].

I walked out of the room, and I immediately turned to the Rayatz and asked what to do. He advised me to not return to the Rebbe’s room but rather to remain outside. A few moments later, the Rebbe turned to the Rebbetzin and asked, “Where is Berel?”

She answered, “He will probably walk in any minute.” After a considerable chunk of time, the Rebbe realized that I was abstaining from returning and giving him the Shulchan Aruch. He turned to the Rayatz and said, “Tell Berel to look into the Shulchan Aruch, infer the halochos of how one who is very ill should daven, and then inform me of his conclusion. I will rely on his decision.” I stood right outside the door and overheard the conversation. The Rayatz walked out and repeated the dialogue to me. We were unsure how to proceed. We were afraid that if we tell the Rebbe that halachically he is entirely exempt from davening, his spirits will dampen and his mind will be unsettled. On the other hand, to allow him to daven with his Talis and Tefilin would be dangerous, and the doctors would not approve of it. We did not know what to do, so we decided to stall for time. A few moments later, the Rebbe said to the Rebbetzin, “Please summon Berel.” She answered, “He is busy checking the halachah in the Shulchan Aruch.” A few moments later, the Rebbe asked for me again and the Rebbetzin again said that I was busy checking up the halachah. A few moments later the Rebbe asked again, with a very surprised expression, “Where is Berel, he is still busy checking up the halachah? I meant for him to investigate the possibility of a leniency not a stringency.”

The Rashag and myself, who were both standing outside the room listening in, realized that I had to walk in immediately. Clearly, the Rebbe was concerned about this matter, and delaying was not making him any calmer. I told the Rayatz that I would try to be as lenient as possible, and hopefully the Rebbe would accept my decision. I would forbid the Rebbe to wear Tefilin, for that involved the most exertion which the doctors had warned about, but as for saying words of davening, that was not so taxing and I would permit it. The Rayatz answered that under no circumstance would he allow that. On the contrary, the one thing that, in his opinion, the Rebbe must do is wear Tefilin.

Meanwhile, I was forced to enter the Rebbe’s room, and as soon as the Rebbe saw me he asked, “Nu? What [did you come up with]?” [My knees were shaking and] I began to mumble, stutter and stumble. I blurted out a few non-conclusive irrelevant half-sentences, “Generally, the most important part of davening is Shema and Shemona Esreh. Mideoirasa, one can fulfill his obligation of saying Shema by just reciting the first line, and with regards to Shemoneh Esreh, even someone that is busy or travelling can suffice by reciting Havinenu[7]. Although, in the rainy season, we avoid saying Havinenu, one may still suffice with a shortened tefilah, comprising the first three and last three Brachos of Shemoneh Esreh.” I stopped speaking, and thought to myself, “I will not even mention Pesukei Dezimrah.” Almost immediately, he asked, “What about Pesukei Dezimra?” I answered, “I believe that Boruch She’omar, one chapter of Tehilim, and Yishtabach would suffice.” He listened to everything I told him. I had not mentioned one word about the Tefilin, I decided that if he would ask about Tefilin I would do everything possible to make sure that he would not wear them. Again he immediately grasped what I was thinking and asked, “What about Tefilin?” I began to mumble, “I believe that Tefilin is like all other Mitzvos, and for a critically ill person even Shabbos and Yom Kippur are violated.” I did not finish the verdict. I had thought to say, “and since the doctors have forbidden you to lay Tefilin, you are exempt.” Before I had a chance to say those words, the Rayatz interrupted me and said, “No father, you may certainly lay Tefilin.” The Rayatz called Dr. Mirski, and whispered in his ear, “Tell the Rebbe that he may wear Tefilin.” Dr. Mirski turned to the Rebbe and said, “Rebbe, I permit you to wear Tefilin.” The discussion ended there, as there was nothing more I could say, the doctor had permitted it. I did however add, “But Rebbe, we will tighten the knots of the Tefilin for you, you are not to assist us at all,” and he agreed.

I brought his Siddur, opened to Boruch She’amar and held it open before him. He recited it and I turned to Ashrei; I thought that the one chapter of Tehilim he would choose would be that one, (as stated in Shulchan Aruch). However, he did not begin saying the words so I understood that he would prefer a different chapter. I turned to Hallelu Es Hashem Min Hashamayim, he nodded and began to read. I then pointed at Yishtabach which he recited also.

I put down the Siddur and said, “Rebbe, now we will put on your Tefilin.” The Rayatz and I wound the Tefilin on him, he did not assist us at all. It was a very difficult task because we tried as hard as possible not to move his body at all. I then took the Siddur and pointed to the Bracha of Yotzer Oir, [even though we had not discussed whether he should recite Birchos Krias Shema, I was sure that he would like to say at least the opening short Bracha]. He recited the first paragraph of Shema, the first 3 and last 3 Brachos of Shemoneh Esreh. Interestingly, he also recited the Brachos of Velamalshinim and Veliyurashalayim, he recited them quietly and without Hashem’s name. As soon as he concluded Shemoneh Esreh, we removed the Tefilin and left him to rest.

Over the course of the day, the camphor injection was administered many times. A Dr. Tatarski joined the medical team that day. During the course of the afternoon, the Rebbe asked me on numerous occasions what time it was.

6:30 PM: The Rebbe said to me, “Berel, go and have a look on my desk, there is a calendar. Check what time Shabbos begins.” I went to check, and astonishingly, that very moment was exactly the minute that Shabbos began. I returned to his room and told him as such. He said to me, “Please call the Rebbetzin.” I went to call her and found that she had just lit Shabbos candles. The Rebbe said to her, “I would like to have my nails cut in honour of Shabbos.” She answered, “Now, it will be difficult for you, soon, with Hashem’s help, you will be healthier, and then we will cut them.” The Rebbe responded with an exasperated and doubtful tone of voice, “Sunday…?” As if to say, who knows what will be by Sunday. The Rebbe then turned to the Rebbetzin and said, “Now is the time to light Shabbos candles.” She responded, “I have just done so.”

9:00 PM: Dr. Abramowitz came to administer the leech treatment. He prepared it and proceeded to place 3 leeches under each of the Rebbe’s ears. When we, who were all standing around, saw the blood flowing out, our hearts melted and we cried bitterly. We could not contain the feelings anymore. The doctor removed the leeches and wrapped the Rebbe’s head in bandages. The image was heart-breaking, we could not control ourselves and we cried and cried. However, we made sure that the Rebbe did not see us so emotional.

Throughout Shabbos, we did whatever was necessary to improve the Rebbe’s health and comfort. We did not refrain from touching and moving Muktzeh objects. The Rebbe noticed this, but did not comment. We gave him coffee to drink and let him rest. He slept sporadically and appeared even weaker.

Later that night: I went to sleep on a bench in one of the side rooms of the Rebbe’s house, and Yaakov Aizik took my place at the Rebbe’s bedside. The Rebbe began davening Maariv in a loud voice, even though already then, it was difficult for him to speak. Once he had finished davening, and had taken the medication that the doctors prescribed for the evening, the Rebbetzin asked, “Can I give you some coffee to drink?” and she placed some of the liquid on a spoon and offered it to him. The Rebbe refused, [as he had not made Kiddush yet].

Soon after, Yaakov Aizik too went to sit down in a nearby room and dozed off, leaving the chossid Tzvi Hersh Gurary to tend to the Rebbe. Yaakov Aizik was dozing off and he heard the Rebbe calling him, “Yaakov Aizik…” he immediately came running in to the Rebbe’s room. He asked, “What is it, Rebbe?” the Rebbe said, “Kiddush.” Yaakov Aizik asked, “Would you like to make Kiddush on tea or coffee?” the Rebbe answered, “on a Kezayis of challah.” Yaakov Aizik consulted the doctors and they permitted the Rebbe to eat a Kezayis of dry challah soaked in coffee. The Rebbe then asked Yaakov Aizik to call the Rebbetzin but she had fallen asleep for a few moments, (she had barely slept the entire week). The Rebbe inquired, “Has she heard Kiddush?” and when the response was confirmed as positive, the Rebbe agreed to make Kiddush without her.

The Rebbe’s hands were washed, and the soaked challah was handed to him. He recited Yom Hashishi quietly and Hamotzi out loud. He began reciting the Bracha of Kiddush and stopped 2 lines in, at the word Hinchilonu. He was silent for a few moments and said, “Nu,” Yaakov Aizik thought that the Rebbe had finished Kiddush, so he said to the Rebbe, “Do you want the challah?” and the Rebbe did not answer. Yaakov Aizik realized that the Rebbe had not finished Kiddush, so he said, “You are up to the word Hinchilonu,” and the Rebbe said again, “Nu.” Yaakov Aizik realized that the Rebbe wished to complete Kiddush, so he asked the Rebbe, “Would you like to finish Kiddush?” and the Rebbe motioned in the positive. So Yaakov Aizik began reciting the words of Kiddush from where the Rebbe was up to, leading the Rebbe word by word, and the Rebbe repeated after him until the end of the Bracha. The Rebbe said a few more words following the Bracha, and then said the Bracha of Hamotzi again and ate the Kezayis. We did not hear him recite Birchas Hamazon.

Following which the Rebbe turned to Yaakov Aizik and said, “Kerias Shema.” Yaakov Aizik asked, “Should I read it to you?” and the Rebbe nodded. Yaakov Aizik led the Rebbe word by word through the first paragraph of the Shema. Dr. Lazinski then said, “Enough Rebbe, it is time for you to sleep.” The Rebbe said, “I will recite the paragraph that brings protection,” and he turned to Yaakov Aizik and said, “Nu.” Yaakov Aizik asked, “Would you like to recite the second paragraph of Shema?” the Rebbe did not answer. Yaakov Aizik asked again, “Would you like to recite Hamapil?” and the Rebbe nodded. Yaakov Aizik recited word for word of the Bracha, and the Rebbe recited the Bracha in an undertone. However the phrase, “Illuminate my eyes, lest I sleep until death” was recited by the Rebbe in a loud voice. The Rebbe then went to sleep. He would sleep for a few moments at a time and wake up, the night did not pass smoothly.

To be continued.

[1] The reference here is to a story mentioned in Bava Metziah 59B, where the sages argued with Rabbi Elazar regarding the status of purity of a certain type of oven. The Gemara writes, that the oven was called the “snake’s oven” because the Sages surrounded the topic with so many questions, just as a snake coils around its prey.

[2] A Kabbalistic reference to an unbalanced relationship between G-dly energy and the acceptor of energy.

[3] Cupping therapy is an ancient form of alternative medicine in which a therapist puts special cups on skin for a few minutes to create suction. People get it for many purposes, including to help with pain, inflammation, blood flow, relaxation and well-being, and as a type of deep-tissue massage.

[4] Camphor (Cinnamomum camphora) is a terpene (organic compound) that’s commonly used in creams, ointments, and lotions. Camphor oil is the oil extracted from the wood of camphor trees and processed by steam distillation. It can be used topically to relieve pain, irritation, and itching.

[5] This expression is a reference to a statement in the Gemara. The Gemara describes an individual who avoids doing a kind act to another person, out of fear of transgressing an Avairah.

[6] At the back of the Siddur Torah Oir, one can find the section called “Derech Hachayim,” containing many halachos of davening.

[7] A one-paragraph abbreviation of the Shemoneh Esreh.

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