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How did the Rebbe make his way through the hundreds of people dancing in 770? * How many nights in a row did he not go to sleep? * Letters home, written by R’ Tuvia Zilberstrom during his k’vutza year, describing some of the events of Sukkos 5735 in 770 with the Rebbe.

By RTuvia Zilberstrom


Erev Sukkos, 5735 – Here in Beis Chayeinu

Dear Family, for long days and good years,

Many greetings! We hope that the holidays are passing for you properly, with joy and goodness of heart.

Constantly, with every event that occurs here, I think to myself what a shame that our family is not counted among those that are present here, at least for this month; the seventh month that is sated and influences all the months of the year. This is literal even in the material sense, in that everything that we see and hear especially during this month gives strength and infuses all of those here with a spirit of life. And now, I am one of them.

After the Torah reading today, about thirty guests who first arrived yesterday made the HaGomel blessing. Afterward, all of Anash of Kfar Chabad went in to deliver the esrog (from Kfar Chabad) to the Rebbe, following which he gave a bracha to the residents of the Kfar in his room. After that, the shluchim from all over the world went in to receive the dalet minim, and R’ Chadakov was among them. Also the three people from Tzfas who are here received the full set of dalet minim. To some of them, besides telling them to take no less than four hadasim, he asked that they take an additional hadas for “b’samim.”

And now, to go back a bit from the last letter…

The pinnacle of Yom Kippur is, of course, the march at the end of the N’ila prayer, when the Rebbe turns to face the crowd and with his clapping indicates that complete victory is in our hands, after all the effort to conquer everything that obstructs and hinders during the preceding days. The special new development is that the Rebbe did not simply remain standing on the platform, but even got up on his chair that is on the platform, as the entire crowd danced along with him in place, with signs of victory visible on their faces.

At the conclusion of the holiday, he wished “Gut Yom Tov” three times, following which began the singing of “V’Samachta B’Chagecha.” In fact, the one thing that all of the guests could be heard saying was, “If we had only come for the march – Dayeinu.”

Surely, you also receive reports here and there about what is happening here. In the sichos [that the author would copy and send to his family], I have not been recording them at length lately, since they have started to publish them within one week, so that in two weeks Yossi will surely receive them at home by way of Irgun Talmidei HaYeshivos in Kfar Chabad.

Everything good and to hear good from each other,


Sunday, 20 Tishrei, Chol HaMoed Sukkos, 5735

Dear Family, for long years and good days,

I hope that the holiday was celebrated by you with joy, song and jubilation. Here, of course, there is no need to even mention or emphasize this issue, since in every stone and every corner of 770 it is felt that the holiday is in full swing. There are also those special times, when after the davening R’ Zushe Wilyamowsky stands at the ready on a bench. When the Rebbe gives the hand signal to begin, of course everyone joins the circle which always has at least a few hundred people dancing.

It was on the first days of Chol HaMoed Sukkos, when before Mincha and also before Maariv, they would be dancing in the shul, and then the Rebbe walked in. Obviously, a path opened between those who continued to dance in place, as his holy face shone. And so he continued on his way to the platform on which he stands, and before he even managed to put his siddur on the lectern, he suddenly turned to the crowd and standing erect he danced and clapped. It was literally the same feeling as at the time of Napoleon’s March, but this time with motions and sounds of joy, and the joy of the crowd was at its peak and broke through all boundaries.

The farbrengen of Sukkos did not yet take place. Of course, on 13 Tishrei all of the main issues of the time were spoken about, a “Sukkos’dige” farbrengen, which you surely heard by way of the broadcast. Either way, it has already been put out in print, and will certainly, very soon, be in the house.

The trucks with sukkas proudly standing on them circulate every day on the streets of New York and the surrounding areas, and display the victory that is ours when the Jewish people go out with their [lulavim and] esrogim in their hands, as per the well-known Midrash.

An important element here in these days is the farbrengens among Anash during Simchas Beis HaShoeiva [this was before the public dancing in the streets]. In every place, one can hear, see and feel if one only wishes to. As is known, the Mishna rules that “Chassidus brings to Ruach HaKodesh.”


Unique in type was the farbrengen yesterday in the Sukka by R’ Leibel Groner, from the secretariat of the Rebbe, along with R’ Mendel Futerfas, the mashpia. It is obvious that whatever Leibel tells over, he reveals one hand-breadth and covers up two or more. However, every word that one hears from a firsthand source is most enjoyable to hear. The following are some sample stories:

After Yom Kippur, the Rebbe asked Leibel if the daughters of a certain family (a respected family of Polish Chassidim) lit candles on Erev Yom Kippur. He answered the Rebbe that he had discussed it with them on Erev Yom Kippur, after the Rebbe asked that girls should light candles, since this a spiritual matter that is very urgent at this time. He had explained to them that all of the Rebbe’s proofs and explanations about [the innovation of] girls schools and from the ruling of the Shulchan Aruch etc., is only in order that people should be more receptive to it, but the reality of it is much more lofty.

He cited an example from the previous year [in the days leading up to the Yom Kippur War, when the Rebbe spoke repeatedly, citing the verse], “From the mouth of babes and sucklings,” when he also gave justifications at various times about why it is important to gather little children etc., and it almost seemed like the Rebbe was apologetic about it, but it was plain to see that there was a significance here that was beyond our understanding [as it eventually became apparent that these prayers helped assure our victory despite the terrible situation].

Therefore, so too now, the Rebbe is asking that girls should also light Shabbos candles, whether or not they are Lubavitcher Chassidim. [All this is what Leibel said in response to the Rebbe, about how he went about convincing that family that the daughters should light Shabbos candles]. The Rebbe answered him then and there: You are right, in that there is a higher idea involved in this, and please find out if they actually lit. He once again called that family, after Yom Kippur, and they told him, “Since you said it in that way, from now on they will light by us every Friday, on Erev Shabbos and Erev Yom Tov.”

Another story that R’ Leibel told over: There was a certain person who lived in a distant place and his wife was expected to give birth. There were complications during labor, and there was a real danger to life for one or both of them (mother and child). In such a case, the thing to do is call the Rebbe. However, this happened early Shabbos morning. He placed a call to the office of the secretariat, and of course there was no answer. He tried to call R’ Leibel’s house directly, but he of course did not answer, thinking that it was a wrong number (being that it was Shabbos morning).

Having no choice, the Chassid decided that he was giving over his mind to the Rebbe and in that way he would decide how to proceed. That is how he instructed the doctors what to do. Boruch Hashem, everything went well. On Motzaei Shabbos, he called the office of the secretaries and told the entire chain of events. The Rebbe sent out a response to this, and in the note he added the question, “Did this not occur at 5:05 in the morning?”

R’ Leibel picked up the phone and called that Jew (passed along the blessing), and asked him what time it happened. The fellow was surprised by the question, but answered that it was a few minutes past five in the morning.

A while later, that Jew was by the Rebbe for yechidus, and the Rebbe told him, “You were surely surprised by my question. However, you should know that they [i.e., the Rebbe] knew about the situation, they knew about the doubts, and they also knew about your decision. And that I am telling you this, although generally matters of Ruach HaKodesh are not told over, but due to a personal consideration – and here the Rebbe told the man what that was – I am telling you this.” That Jew was a “Poilishe Jew,” and he told this to Leibel in a state of complete amazement.

During the farbrengen in the sukka, R’ Leibel told another story. Recently, there was an occurrence that they needed to report to the Rebbe, but for a certain reason they did not tell the Rebbe. A while later, the Rebbe asked to clarify some details about this subject. R’ Leibel was surprised, but more than that he wondered to himself, if the Rebbe already knows everything, why is he asking to clarify the details. The Rebbe said to him (answering his thought question): For such things it is not necessary to use Ruach HaKodesh.

There was another story told of a woman who had the dreaded disease, and the doctors said to operate, but the Rebbe said under no circumstances. The doctors shouted and hollered, but the Rebbe remained firm. The family once again called the secretaries and said that the doctors said that she will be gone in two days. However, the Rebbe responded that it would be better to use medicinal means of treatment, and if the doctors don’t want, then the Rebbe is ordering them to remove her from the hospital and transfer her to another.

Obviously, they were surprised by this, considering that she was in a state in which moving her would entail real difficulty. In the end, since the doctors no longer wanted to treat her, they took her out of that hospital until they found another hospital with a doctor who was willing to take on her case. He treated her medicinally and in two weeks she was up and about in full health. Afterward, the family members said that when she found out about the disease, she told her family that they should ask the opinion of the Lubavitcher Rebbe and listen to whatever he says. And if he says not to operate, then chas v’shalom to operate, and that she would rather leave this world than defy the words of the Rebbe.

On a different occasion, someone went into the Rebbe “with a big mouth,” and he asked the Rebbe why we find that the sichos of the Rebbe Rayatz were said in brief, in contrast to the Rebbe whose sichos are spoken with great expansiveness etc. He then went on to tell the Rebbe that according to the order of the s’firos of the Rebbeim, the Rebbe is the s’fira of Malchus, and Malchus is also called “the Oral Torah” in the Zohar. Therefore, the Rebbe speaks at length in the manner of the Oral Torah. The Rebbe said to him in response: Nu, we are the s’fira of Malchus.

Meanwhile, we will end this letter here, due to the sanctity of the Moed [i.e., without a signature],

And may You spread over us the sukka of Your peace.


Sunday, Motzaei and conclusion of the days of loading up and the satiation of the Seventh Month, 5735

Dear Parents, for length of days and good years,

Much Peace and Blessing!

As has been said, now is the time to unpack the many packages that have piled up over the month, with all of the experiences and events which always contain new elements.

With this letter, I will obviously leave it to you to hear of the events of the month from the mouths of the many guests and shluchim who will soon be returning to Eretz Yisroel, both to Kfar Chabad and to Toras Emes. Therefore, I hope that Yossi will be able to receive and report to you, including the sichos and maamarim.

I saw that R’ Gershon Henoch Cohen took – meaning received – mashke from the Rebbe on Shabbos for the Baal HaTanya shul, and he also had Abba [R’ Aharon Mordechai Zilberstrom, who davened in that shul for many decades] in mind.

The simcha on Simchas Torah in 770 was extraordinary. This was after the Rebbe said in his sicha that by our Rebbeim, they saw with eyes of flesh, simcha that transcended measure and limitation. Along those lines, the motions of the Rebbe are very difficult to describe, with all of his strength and his entire body.

With all that, the following occurrence is all the more amazing:

The Rebbe left his room [to go home] after hakafos at about 4:15 in the morning. There was someone who did not feel well during hakafos [R’ Dov Parshan], and they had brought him into the nearby home of R’ Yehoshua Korik. The Rebbe stood on the street near that house for about three quarters of an hour, until about 5 a.m., as he waited for them to bring an ambulance and spoke to the doctor etc. This is completely beyond understanding, considering the time and the person etc. He only left for home at about 5 a.m., and at 9:30 the Rebbe was already back for Shacharis.

The following night he was with the crowd again until about 4:30, distributing Kos Shel Bracha, and the following night, Thursday night, the Rebbe went home at 6:30 in the morning, after a long night of yechidus. Of course, on Shabbos, in addition to the farbrengen, it is known that the Rebbe did not sleep. And on Motzaei Shabbos, the Rebbe returned especially to speak about Neiros Shabbos Kodesh for Jewish women and girls. Today, Sunday, it appears that again it will be a long night of yechidus.

The main thing is that the Rebbe should be healthy with full years, ever increasing. (It is worth noting the Midrash Rabba in Parshas Lech Lecha, “HaKadosh Baruch Hu said to him… I am going to bring the redeemer from your children, at the age of seventy-five years.” [The Rebbe was seventy-three at the time this letter was written.] It is also worth mentioning the source in the Likkutei Torah of the Arizal on Parshas VaYeitzei, according to which the final “deadline” is 5736.)

You will surely be able to hear more at greater length from the shluchim, as the Rebbe refers to them, “Shluchim of Melech Malchei HaMelachim HaKadosh Baruch Hu.” There were two sichos directed especially toward them, on Simchas Torah and Shabbos B’Reishis, aside from Shabbos Mevarchim Tishrei and on Rosh HaShana. Additionally, there was a special hakafa for them on Simchas Torah.

Just a few minutes ago, the Rebbe entered his room after he went out to see off the large group that is returning to Paris. The king in all his glory stood at the entrance of his royal abode, and as the bus began to move, the Rebbe’s lips were moving. Of course, they are all going back to once again conquer Paris with pride and the march of “HaAderes V’HaEmuna,” secure in the power of Moshe.

Meanwhile, I will conclude here, and as the Rebbe said to Dunin, “Moshiach is about to come etc.,” and to see each other,


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