“With My Yisroel I Won’t Argue!”

A chossid of the Alter Rebbe from his early years in Liozna, R. Yisroel Yafeh of Dubravna was a talented baal menagen. When the Alter Rebbe went to rest during the Zhlobiner chassuna, he played his violin outside the door, inspiring the Rebbe to recite a maamar until 7 am.

R. Yisroel Yafeh of Dubravna was a chossid of the Alter Rebbe from the early years of his nesius in Liozna, and was the head of the menagnim by the Alter Rebbe. After the Alter Rebbe’s histalkus, R. Yisrael would travel to R. Aharon of Strashele, and in his later years to the Tzemach Tzedek. His kesavim in Chassidus were published in a sefer titled She’eiris Yisrael.


Once, a group of the Alter Rebbe’s talmidim entered the Rebbe’s room to learn at the designated time and found him upset. He began to bemoan the fact that people were troubling him about their physical problems, disturbing him from Torah and davening. Moreover, how could he answer them when it was only the neviim who knew such information.

The students all stood silently, but R. Yisroel, who was the youngest among the students, spoke up. He quoted proofs from various tannaim who engaged in public matters, but the Alter Rebbe rejected all of his arguments. At last, he mentioned the Rambam who engaged in healing the sick and dispensing advice. And about the concern of bittul Torah, we see that despite the disturbances, the Alter Rebbe managed to author incredible works.

Hearing this, the Alter Rebbe stood up from his place, went over to R. Yisroel and pat him on the shoulder, and said, “With my Yisroel I won’t argue!” and he laughed.


R. Yisroel was an expert musician and would often play by the Alter Rebbe. At the great chassunah in Zhlobin, when the Alter Rebbe went to rest after the chuppah, he stood near the door and began playing on his violin. The Alter Rebbe opened the door and invited him to play for him inside, and he then recited a maamar beginning with the words, “And it was as the as the musician played, the hand of Hashem came upon him.”

When the Rebbe’s meshares heard that the Rebbe was saying Chassidus, he quickly ran to the various guesthouses to call the chassidim. The Alter Rebbe then continued saying Chassidus until 7 am.

For sources, visit TheWeeklyFarbrengen.com

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