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Thursday
Jul182019

Face To Face With The Rebbe, Six Times Over 

Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Zaltzman, shares his personal notes and stories from his 6 Yechidus meetings with the Rebbe.

In issue 1171, we published the private notes of Rabbi Y. Y. Zaltzman from the first three of his six personal yechidus encounters with the Rebbe. Here is part two. We greatly thank Rabbi Zaltzman for sharing these private moments he had with the Rebbe with the Beis Moshiach readers. 

***

 – HOW TO OVERCOME ARROGANCE –

Before his seventeenth birthday, R’ Yosef Yitzchok had yechidus again.  This time, he received specific guidance for a number of issues.  At that time, his parents in Eretz Yisrael had begun to receive draft notices from the army requiring him to report for army duty, so he also asked for a blessing to resolve his issues with the army.

YECHIDUS, SUNDAY, 25 SHEVAT 5733

As pertains to the birthday, you will likely carry out the birthday customs.

As far as reviewing (by heart) [the first] twelve chapters of Tanya and the Introduction, this is a very great thing and you should do it in a manner of “I was an example to the multitude,” so that your friends should review this too.

And in connection to what you write that you are an arrogant person and in everything you think you are a big person, there are two eitzos (recommended approaches) for this:

One eitzah is to review by heart the beginning of chapter 41 of Tanya, where it says “and behold Hashem stands over him… and gazes upon him and examines his kidneys and heart if he is serving Him properly. So when it falls in by you [the thought] that you are a big person, you should think about the idea that “and behold Hashem stands over him… and gazes upon him and examines his kidneys and heart if he is serving Him properly,” then the arrogance will go away automatically.

The second eitzah is, as is brought in a number of places, also in the Laws of Talmud Torah of the Alter Rebbe, “A person should always engage in [the study of] Torah and [the observance of] mitzvos (even though it be) not for its own sake.” So when the yetzer hara (evil inclination) will confound you with this [thought] that you are a big person, you should answer him: In fact it is so that I am a big person, and that is why I have to learn like someone big, with diligence and effort, and perform mitzvos in an enhanced way. And when the yetzer hara will see that you are using it for holiness, he will leave you alone.

As pertains to hiskashrus, as is known and says in a number of works of Chassidus, also in HaYom Yom, through learning the maamarim that I learn, and learning Chitas, Chumash with Rashi as I learn, as a result we will be mekushar bound together (this will help for hiskashrus).

As pertains to the army, the Eibershter should help you that you should be successful in all of that.

You should fulfill mitzvos in an enhanced way.

After that yechidus, he went to the Israeli consulate in New York and was granted a release from the army.

 – TO LEARN THE MAAMARIM OF THE REBBE –

During that period, until the famous sicha of Purim 5736, people did not start wearing tefillin of Rabbeinu Tam right away from their bar mitzva.  When a bachur would reach (about) age eighteen, he would ask the Rebbe if he should start putting on Rabbeinu Tam tefillin.  Since in 5734, R’ Zaltzman went into yechidus as he was approaching his eighteenth birthday, he asked the Rebbe about this in his note.

Additionally, since the Rebbe had told him in yechidus the previous year to “learn the maamarim that I learn,” he asked the Rebbe what that meant in practical terms.

YECHIDUS, 25 SHEVAT 5734

As pertains to the birthday, you will likely carry out the birthday customs.  And you should have success in the learning of Nigleh and Chassidus, until then and from then, and you should grow to be a Chassid, yerei shamayim and lamdan. And your parents should have nachas from you.

As pertains to Rabbeinu Tam, it is a proper thing.

As pertains to maamarim that I told you about, you should discuss it with the mashpia of Chassidus and tell him what I told you.

And you should have success.

Following the yechidus, R’ Yosef Yitzchok asked the mashpia in Morristown, Reb Meilich Zwiebel, and he explained to him that the intention was that he learn the maamarim of the Rebbe shlita and apply them to himself.

As is well known, at the farbrengen of Shabbos Bereishis 5735, the Rebbe announced that he was stopping the practice of Anash and the tmimim to come in for yechidus before their birthdays. The Rebbe explained that this was because this system of yechidus, to enter before every birthday, did not have the desired effect on those who came in etc.  At the time, the bachurim spoke among themselves about the fact that they had not sufficiently fulfilled the directives of the Rebbe from the yechidus of previous years.

That being the case, the next private yechidus to date of R’ Zaltzman, was before his wedding in 5740.

 – TO LIGHT UP THE ENVIRONMENT –

In the summer of 5739, R’ Yosef Yitzchok was in the Holy Land and became engaged to his wife, from the Lifsh family of Kfar Chabad.  The date of the wedding was set for Rosh Chodesh Kislev 5740.  Since the bride-to-be was in Eretz Yisrael, he went in for yechidus before the wedding alone.

YECHIDUS, TUESDAY,
NIGHT OF 2 MARCHESHVAN

You should be successful in the final preparations for the chasuna in a Chassidishe manner.

The chasuna should be in a good and auspicious time, and it will be with great success.

And you together with “bas gilcha” [i.e. marriage partner; the exact term has multiple meanings] should build a Jewish home on the foundations of Torah and mitzva, an eternal edifice with a blessed generation of upright ones, a Chassidishe home, and you should also illuminate the surroundings with the “candle of mitzva and Torah of light.” From strength to strength.

The Eibershter should bless you, each of you and both of you together, that the preparations for the chasuna should be in an appropriate manner and in a successful manner, a Chassidishe manner, a healthy manner.

And the chasuna should be in a good and auspicious time, and it should be an eternal edifice on the foundations of Torah and mitzva and the light-source of Torah which is the Torah of Chassidus.  And it should be luminous for you, through making it luminous around yourselves, and spread the “candle of mitzva and Torah of light,” with a blessed generation of upright ones, blessed in gashmius and ruchnius.

And you should go from strength to strength. And we will hear good news.

 

YECHIDUS FOR WEALTHY DONORS TO THE MACHNE ISRAEL DEVELOPMENT FUND

Over the years, R’ Zaltzman had the privilege of bringing a number of wealthy Jewish donors to the Rebbe for yechidus under the auspices of the Machne Israel Development Fund. He graciously shared two anecdotes from those encounters:

 – 1 –

We set out on shlichus on the eighth day of Chanuka 5741, to work with Jews who had emigrated from Russia to the Toronto area.

In the beginning, we worked out of the central Chabad House. In the year 5746, we bought a property and on 19 Menachem-Av 5747 we inaugurated a new Chabad House for Russian-speaking Jews.

In 5749, I traveled to the Rebbe for the yechidus of “Machne Israel” with a wonderful couple who supported the work of our Chabad House, American Jews by the name of Singer.

When their turn came to pass the Rebbe, I approached together with them. To my utter surprise, they asked for a blessing from the Rebbe for me.

Mr. Singer: We want to ask for a blessing. We want to expand the synagogue for Russian-speakers in Toronto.  Rabbi Zaltzman wants to buy a new synagogue that is not far from where he is, since the current synagogue is now too small.

The Rebbe: (from the Yiddish): The way it appears in Russia, Jews will be coming from there very soon; from Russia, out of the country in general, and most likely a portion of them will settle in Toronto, since they already have relatives or good friends there.

Therefore, the earlier that you will finish making the building, you will be able to say that much earlier that it has already become tight (for space), and we need to have a second building.

I was in shock.  The Rebbe was saying an open prophecy!

Later on, when the Iron Curtain fell and hundreds of thousands of Jews left Russia, many thousands of them came to Toronto, and today there are close to fifty thousand Russian Jews in and around Toronto!

Currently, there are ten shluchim and branches of the Chabad House for Russian Jews, and they do not have enough manpower to reach and work with all of them.

 – 2 –

In Adar 5751, I came together with a Jew by the name of Leonid Sigalov, may he rest in peace.  He was an affluent Jew, who maintained a warm connection with us and donated generously to the Chabad House.

During the flight to New York, I told him that when we pass by the Rebbe he will have a few “personal moments” when he will be able to speak with the Rebbe, and that he should write a note with his question and request now, in advance.

He told me that he had nothing to ask and everything was fine.  He was only interested in seeing the Rebbe.  I did not relent and reminded him about his health problem that he had recently told me about; the problem in business that had recently cropped up; and another problem that he had in his family.

He agreed, and when we got to the hotel in Manhattan, he sat down and wrote a letter specifying the three aforementioned requests.

We came to 770. After the sicha, we waited on line for our moment.  When we approached the Rebbe, I presented him to the Rebbe in Russian to indicate that the Rebbe should speak to him in Russian, the language that he understood.

The Rebbe began to speak to him in Yiddish… I listened to what the Rebbe was saying, and I heard the Rebbe responding to all three questions, from the third to the first, while the letter was still in Leonid’s hand.

When the Rebbe finished speaking, Leonid turned to me and calmly asked me to translate what the Rebbe said.  I was struck dumb.  I was very much in shock.  To translate the Rebbe’s words, while standing in front of him?  The Rebbe looked at me and smiled, and then turned to Leonid and repeated his own words – this time in Russian.

The Rebbe finished speaking.  Leonid turned to me and said, “I told you that I don’t have to write.” I was in shock. We are standing in front of the Rebbe! I didn’t know where to bury myself. I told him that since the letter contains the names of the people for whom he requested blessings, he should give it to the Rebbe.  The Rebbe again looked at me and then at him, and give a very wide smile.

He handed it to the Rebbe and we exited.

When we walked outside, I could see that he was totally shaken. We immediately went to Mishulovin (Merkaz Stam on Kingston Ave) and bought a pair of tefillin, which he committed to putting on every day!

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