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The Fork in the Road

The Fork in the Road


When Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi (1745-1812, founder of Chabad Chassidism) neared his twentieth year, he decided — with the consent of his wife, Rebbetzin Sterna — to travel to a center of Torah learning and service of G‑d.

At that time Vilna and Mezeritch were the great Jewish capitals of Eastern Europe. Vilna was the seat of Rabbi Eliyahu, the famed Gaon of Vilna, and Mezeritch was the hometown of Rabbi DovBer (the "Maggid"), leader of the Chassidic movement.

Related Rabbi Schneur Zalman: "I debated as to where I should go. I knew that in Vilna one was taught how to study, and that in Mezeritch one could learn how to pray. To study I was somewhat able, but of prayer I knew very little. So I went to Mezeritch.

"The Almighty blessed me with making the right choice. I became a devoted disciple of our Rebbe's and, upon my return to Vitebsk, I guided my students in the teachings of Chassidism, which were well received by them."

Told by the sixth Lubavitcher rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn; translation/adaptation by Yanki Tauber.
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Anonymous Indianapolis December 24, 2017

the Baal ha Tanya was a very great man Reply

Gary Burke Canada May 8, 2013

Born in Mezeritch My father, born in Mezeritch, emigrated to Canada in 1921. Reply

Anonymous October 21, 2012

My uncle Wow. The 'Vilna Gaon' was my great, great, great etc. uncle. His brother and "assistant pilot" (i.e. right-hand man), was my great, great, great etc. grandfather. Brilliant. Reply

Nancy from NYC NY, NY January 21, 2011

Prayer I prayed for almost the first time for help. I prayed with the help of this web site. I just wanted to say my prayers were answered. Thank you for helping me to pray. Reply

Eric Sander Kingston North Hollywood, CA September 15, 2009

PRAYER Very interesting. The comment on the difference between prayer and study. Until one gets deeply into it, you don't realize the depths, and commitment, of prayer. Reply