During the period between his first meeting with the Baal Shem Tov and his becoming leader of the Chassidim, Rabbi Dovber was appointed Maggid (preacher, mentor) of the communities of Meseritch and Koritz.

The year 5520 (1760) saw the passing of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov. His son Rabbi Zvi assumed leadership of the Chassidim and remained in that position for one year. On the day following the anniversary of the passing (yahrzeit), Rabbi Zvi addressed the assembled Chassidim, and upon concluding his discourse said: “Today, my father came to me and told me that the Heavenly Court had decided that I must relinquish the leadership to Rabbi Dovber.” All those present rose in respect and remained standing to hear Rabbi Dovber’s first discourse.

The Chassidic center now moved from Mezibush to Meseritch. Rabbi Dovber was to remain leader of the Chassidim for the next twelve years and under his leadership Chassidism struck its roots deeply and widely. The seeds which had been planted in Mezibush grew in Meseritch. Attended by a unique group of followers, compounding the greatest minds and spirits of the time, Rabbi Dovber externalized the creative, seminal thoughts and teachings of the Baal Shem Tov and formed them into a comprehensive system.

Within three months of the beginning of the Maggid’s reign a new spirit had been breathed into the Chassidic camp. Throughout Poland and Lithuania, the ranks of the Chassidim swelled. The already established centers in Volhynia and Podolia made their influence felt even more strongly than before, and Meseritch itself was a scene of constant activity.

The Maggid was a stabilizing force to his followers, directing their energies towards achieving the ideal combination of emotional excitement and intellectual restraint in serving G‑d.

Like the Baal Shem Tov before him, the Maggid preached that the love of your fellow Jew (ahavas Yisroel) is the key to true love of G‑d. “The meaning of ahavas Yisroel,” the Maggid declared, “is to love the worst sinner in the same way as the most righteous.”

He impressed this principle of love upon his followers, and molded it into a main factor in the Chassidic outlook. One of his closest disciples, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, addressed everyone as “my heart.”

In the autumn of 5533 (1772) Rabbi Dovber took to his bed. On Kislev 18, he summoned the members of the “Holy Society”, and said to them: “My children, always stay together and you will overcome everything. You will go ever forward and not back.”

On Tuesday, Kislev 19, 5533 (1772) Rabbi Dovber, the great Maggid of Meseritch, returned his holy soul to heaven. Thus ended an era. His task was accomplished.

A new line had not only been started, but set firmly on a solid foundation. It was now the work of others to carry it on.