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We’re used to hearing Chassidim speak almost endlessly in praise of their Rebbeim, but for the Rebbeim to glorify chassidim is less common. In that vein, the Previous Rebbe’s conclusion of his essay “Fathers of Chassidus” stands out as unique.

I was seventeen years, three months, and fifteen days old last Motzoei Shabbos, when I heard the story and recital of the chassid Reb Gershon Dov. I saw many chassidim during my childhood; I have seen many chassidim, masters of intellect, masters of avodah, and men of good character, during my youth. I listened to their stories, and observed their conduct.

For the past three years, I have been privileged to be close to my holy father, the Rebbe. He drew me close with his righteous right hand, and related to me a large store of previously unknown facts about the lives of the greatest chassidim who are now in Gan Eden, and (may they be spared in life) those who are still alive and famous today (may G‑d bless them). But only in the chassid Reb Gershon Dov did I discern a heart broken as a piece of pottery, and a person who held himself as humbly as the dust of the earth.

A Rebbe was marveling at a chassid! Indeed, this is the theme of the entire second portion of the essay. The first portion of the Previous Rebbe’s manuscript highlights primarily the direction given us by the Rebbeim. This portion relates how chassidim took these directives to heart, becoming models of Divine service.

Herein lies a lesson for us: The guidelines given us by the Rebbe — and the previous Rebbeim — are clear. What is necessary is for us simply to take them to heart. And then with Mashiach’s coming, the Rebbe can point at us and proudly say: “See the crop I have produced.”

May this take place in the immediate future.

Eli Touger

Pesach Sheni, 5759
Jerusalem

Translated from the classic columns of HaTamim by Shimon Neubort
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