At the conclusion of Yom Kippur, after Reb Chayim completed his prayers in the grave diggers’ beis hamedrash and the congregation had recited Kiddush Levanah, he went to visit Reb Mordechai in the large beis hamedrash. There, the evening prayer was finished, but Reb Mordechai still stood in the side-room, reciting the Neilah prayer.

Several minyonim of Jews, young folk as well as elderly, had remained to listen to Reb Mordechai’s davening. These were Reb Mordechai’s staunch adherents, and on no account could they bring themselves to leave the beis hamedrash.

When Reb Chayim arrived, he was quite pleased to discover that Reb Mordechai was still davening. All day long on that Yom Kippur he had felt the urge to go to the large beis hamedrash to see and hear Reb Mordechai’s davening. Reb Chayim greatly desired to daven in the same beis hamedrash, under the same roof, as Reb Mordechai. He now possessed some knowledge of Kabbalah, and was aware that it is both advisable and beneficial to pray together with a tzaddik under the same roof. However, since he had been davening in the grave diggers’ beis hamedrash for many years, he had refrained from changing his custom.

Reb Chayim observed the manner in which Reb Mordechai stood reciting the Shemoneh Esreh, his tallis soaking wet with tears and perspiration. From time to time, Reb Mordechai’s warm breath and whispered murmuring could be heard. Reb Mordechai did not shout, he prayed silently, but occasionally he would raise up his hands, followed by a muffled sob, and then silence.

“Receive us before You in perfect teshuvah,”1 Reb Mordechai recited aloud. He then began humming a prayerful melody that stirred them all, and they began to weep silently. “There is no limit to the burnt offerings we are obligated to sacrifice,” Reb Mordechai exclaimed in a tearful and quivering voice, as he began to beat his head with his fists, accompanied by profound weeping.

Reb Mordechai then continued praying silently for some time, finally uttering the words, “All is vanity!” After another period of silence, Reb Mordechai began to sing a melody filled with longing, but with a joyful note to his voice, “You have set man apart from the very beginning, and authorized him to stand before You.” It appeared that Reb Mordechai was coming out of his trance. He seemed more energetic, and his davening was more plain.

The assembled Jews understood that Reb Mordechai would soon finish davening, and they did not want him to know that they had been listening to his prayers. Therefore, they went out into the beis hamedrash and sat down at a table near the southern wall, where candle fragments still burned in the Yom Kippur lamps.

Reb Chayim also went into the beis hamedrash, where he began to explain to the Jews how great Reb Mordechai was, and what a gaon he was (for he knew the Babylonian Talmud thoroughly and was also quite familiar with the Jerusalem Talmud, Medrash, and Zohar). He was also an accomplished kabbalist, having studied for several years under the tzaddik of Podolia and Vohlynia, the miracle-worker known in those parts as the Baal Shem Tov.

Reb Chayim then told stories of the Baal Shem Tov that he had heard from Reb Mordechai. Just then, they heard Reb Mordechai reciting “Shema Yisrael” They were overwhelmed by the verses, “Hear O Israel...,” “Blessed be the Name...,” “The L‑rd is G‑d,” and “Next year in Jerusalem!” which took Reb Mordechai a very long time to recite.

Reb Mordechai then davened the weekday Maariv service; although this was an ordinary weekday prayer, Reb Mordechai spent a long time on this davening, while Reb Chayim continued speaking with the Jews. The Jews observed Reb Chayim’s appearance and listened to his speech, scarcely believing that this was indeed Reb Chayim Porush.

They had known Reb Chayim since he had first arrived from Resasne, but he had now become a different person: he conversed with people in normal fashion, and he told wonderful stories. They could not believe their own eyes and ears; this couldn’t possibly be the same Reb Chayim Porush they had known, for even his facial features were different.

When Reb Chayim heard Reb Mordechai going into his private quarters, he followed him. Meanwhile, the Jews began discussing among themselves the changes that had come over Reb Chayim, all because of the Maggid. When Reb Mordechai and Reb Chayim entered the beis hamedrash, and Reb Mordechai noticed the assembled Jews, he joyfully wished them “A good year,” and went outside to recite Kiddush Levanah.

Reb Mordechai was overjoyed to discover that none of the Jews had yet said this prayer, for he now had the opportunity to bless the new moon with a minyan. At the end of Kiddush Levanah, Reb Mordechai placed his arm over Reb Chayim’s shoulder and Reb Chayim’s arm over his own shoulder; he instructed the other Jews to do the same, and they began dancing to a joyous melody.

Reb Mordechai was a wonderful singer, and possessed great musical talent. During his stay at the Baal Shem Tov’s court, he had learned all the melodies that were sung there. The Baal Shem Tov himself was a great singer, and he possessed a rare voice; he could alter the range of his voice at will (professional singers and cantors have a name for this ability). Having a unique talent for music, he would sing often.

The Baal Shem Tov considered singing to be a form of avodah. Singing touches the soul; it causes an outpouring of spiritual energy and gladdens one’s spirit. All of the Baal Shem Tov’s disciples — as well as all the members of the Holy Fellowship of the Mezricher Maggid’s disciples — used song while worshipping G‑d in the chassidic tradition.

The dance lasted for a long time, but eventually Reb Mordechai discovered that Reb Chayim had not yet broken his fast, and that the other Jews were still fasting too. Reb Mordechai was disturbed by the fact that his dancing and singing had caused Reb Chayim and the other Jews to prolong the discomfort of the Yom Kippur fast, and so he went into the beis hamedrash to recite the Havdalah.

On the way, Reb Mordechai mentioned that for several years it had been his custom at the end of Yom Kippur to recite Havdalah over absinthe (a strong, bitter liquor brewed from an extract of certain plants), and he dispatched someone to fetch him some absinthe. Meanwhile, he and Reb Chayim went into his private chamber.

Everyone was very impressed by the changes in Reb Chayim Porush’s conduct. Previously he had led the life of a recluse, never conversing with other people unless they approached him to discuss a question in Torah study. No one had ever seen a cheerful expression on his face — even on Simchas Torah he would hide his face in the mantle of a Torah scroll. When he was given a scroll for Hakkafos on the eve of Shemini Atzeres, they would wrap a tablecloth around him together with the Torah scroll. Then, he would stand there with his head and his face encased in the Torah cover, to avoid looking at anyone outside his immediate vicinity.

With the tablecloth tied around himself and the Torah — in token of the Talmudic expression,2 “This one (Reb Chayim) fulfilled everything written in this one (the Torah)” — Reb Chayim would rock back and forth three or four times while standing in his place. This was sufficient for him to be able to say that he had danced in honor of the Torah and in honor of the festival of Simchas Torah.

Following this, the gabbai would untie the tablecloth and return the Torah scroll to the ark, while Reb Chayim was led into the side-room. Only then would he remove the Torah cover from his head and face. He would remain quietly seated in the dark at his usual place until someone came to take him by the hand and lead him home.

But now, this same Reb Chayim Porush was conversing with people and looking directly at them; why, he had even become a dancer!

Now Reb Chayim had experienced the wonderful High Holy Day period, and he had heard Reb Mordechai davening Neilah. The Jews whom he met in the beis hamedrash told him that from the time Reb Mordechai had stood up to recite Al Cheit after Minchah on the Eve of Yom Kippur, he had remained standing until he finished Maariv, about an hour before daybreak. Only then had Reb Mordechai sat down for a while, deep in thought. Afterwards, he had begun his preparations for davening; an hour after daybreak he had stood to begin davening, and he had recited all the prayers without taking a single break (other than an aliyah to the Torah) until that moment. All this, along with the dancing after Kiddush Levanah, made a profound impression on Reb Chayim. Upon entering Reb Mordechai’s quarters, he tried to say something to him, but was unable to speak.

Reb Mordechai perceived that Reb Chayim wished to say something, but was hesitating. Reb Mordechai too, had something he wished to say to Reb Chayim. Reb Mordechai had decided that now, after Yom Kippur had ended, was the appropriate time to deliver the Rebbe’s message to Reb Chayim. But upon noticing that Reb Chayim had something to say, he decided to wait until after he heard Reb Chayim’s remarks (for Reb Mordechai was a patient person by nature, and he always preferred to wait, and to think everything over carefully).

Reb Chayim felt quite shallow and insignificant, for he already had begun to comprehend how mistaken his ways had been until now, and how great a service Reb Mordechai had done him. Therefore, he now held Reb Mordechai in the highest esteem. After Reb Mordechai invited him several times to speak his mind, he found the courage to say that he wished to hear the message that Reb Mordechai had brought from his own holy Rebbe, the Baal Shem Tov.

“I think,” said Reb Chayim, “that the night following Yom Kippur is an appropriate occasion for receiving such a holy message. I have resolved that if you — Reb Mordechai — agree that this is the proper time, I will continue fasting until after I hear the holy words that the saintly Baal Shem Tov sent to me.”

Reb Mordechai was very pleased that Reb Chayim had acquired such a refined notion — that the Rebbe’s message can be received only on such an occasion, and while one is still fasting; (i.e., the Rebbe’s holy words should be heard while the aura of the Holy Fast Day still persists). Reb Mordechai detected a change in Reb Chayim: not only had he exchanged his coarse attributes for refined ones, he had also become fit and ready. Reb Chayim was now an appropriate receptacle to acquire the Rebbe’s ways.

Reb Mordechai began thinking to himself. Only now did he realize how difficult his assignment was, and (moreover) how great his responsibility was. The rule is that “A person’s agent is considered as equivalent to the person himself,”3 and he was, after all, the Rebbe’s emissary. But in carrying out his assignment, there was always the possibility of erring. Being a great Torah scholar, Reb Mordechai quickly reviewed in his mind all the passages in the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds where the topic of agents is discussed, the duties and obligations of an agent, and the differences between an agent and a servant. And thus he remained for some time, deep in thought.

Reb Mordechai pictured to himself an exact image of the Rebbe’s holy face, and clearly called to mind the Baal Shem Tov’s appearance and the sound of his voice when the Rebbe had spoken to him the words of the message. His face became red, and a great excitement overcame him. He stood up and declared, “These are the holy words that the holy Rebbe the Baal Shem Tov entrusted to me. I now transmit the message word-for-word and letter-for-letter as I received it from the Rebbe”:

To Reb Chayim, say that if he comes to me I will give him a program of study of Zohar and Medrash that will expand his emotional capacities.

Reb Mordechai had musical talent, and he did his best to transmit the words in exactly the same tone of voice that he had heard from the Rebbe. He repeated the message [in this manner] three times in succession.

Reb Chayim detected a genuine prophecy in the message the holy Baal Shem Tov had sent him. “This great tzaddik must be a mind reader,” he thought. He stood transfixed with wonder; an aura of ecstasy surrounded him and he radiated joy.

Upon seeing Reb Chayim’s utter delight, Reb Mordechai was deeply moved, for he now knew that he had successfully completed his mission. He seized Reb Chayim by the hand and began to dance with him.

He was sure that the Rebbe the Baal Shem Tov was aware that the message had been transmitted to Reb Chayim, and that the Rebbe saw the great joy that Reb Chayim had derived from the message. Reb Mordechai began to contemplate how the Rebbe the Baal Shem Tov sees everything and was undoubtedly pleased by Reb Chayim’s being drawn to his ways. Reb Mordechai started singing a joyful, yet poignant melody and he danced ecstatically, completely forgetting that they had not yet said Havdalah.

In the homes of the townspeople and the young folk who had not yet come home from the beis hamedrash, families began to wonder anxiously why the menfolk were not home yet. Thus, more people gathered, and the news spread through the town, to all the homes where people were still awake, that something was happening in the large beis hamedrash.

No one knew exactly what was taking place. Some said that the maggid was preaching a sermon, while others said that Reb Chayim Porush and other scholars had come to the maggid for a ruling on some serious matter of Jewish Law. All this caused some commotion in town, so that in several homes where they were already sleeping, people awoke.

The man whom Reb Mordechai had asked to fetch the absinthe for Havdalah was a leading citizen of the city. Though not much of a scholar himself, he was a very G‑d-fearing individual, who held Torah scholars in high esteem. He was quite wealthy, owning a large warehouse right in the middle of the marketplace, as well as several grocery stores, and he lived in a large, well-furnished house.

Being a person of means and of good reputation, he had managed (with G‑d’s help) to marry off five of his daughters to sons-in-law who were fine Torah scholars, with excellent intellectual abilities and the best character traits. Even their mother-in-law (who was famous in her own right throughout the vicinity for her hospitality and for befriending every sad soul) used to say that such wonderful and refined young gentlemen are not easily found.

Two of these young folk were opponents of the maggid, and more than once, there were harsh words among the brothers-in-law about him. The other three young men were the maggid’s adherents. They enjoyed his sermons immensely, and managed to take home some lesson with regard to their actual conduct from every one.

This could not be said about the two eldest brothers-in-law. They respected the maggid’s genius, and would approach him quite often to discuss Torah study. Afterwards, they would review between themselves the intricacies of the maggid’s reply, but they nevertheless disliked him. Deep in their hearts they remained misnagdim, and they harbored a secret hatred. But since they were good people, this hatred went undetected. All that the family knew was that the two older sons-in-law were not quite as fond of the maggid as were the three younger sons-in-law.

When this man (his name was Sholom Ivansker, a great-uncle of Reb Berel Ivansker, who was the father of Zalman Leib4) came home to get the absinthe for Reb Mordechai’s Havdalah, all his children — daughters, sons-in-law, and unmarried children — surrounded him and wished him, “A good year!” His wife told him that the children had refused to say Havdalah or break the fast until he arrived, but she had compelled them to eat something.

“I gathered that you were at the maggid’s, and I assumed that you would not leave until the maggid went to bed,” she said. She placed the silver Kiddush-and-Havdalah goblet before him, while one of the children brought the wine and another one brought the Havdalah candle and the besamim.

“No,” said Reb Sholom, “I only came to fetch Havdalah supplies for the maggid and for Reb Chayim Porush. The maggid finished davening Neilah only a short while ago, and what a davening that was!”

With great enthusiasm, he began to describe how the maggid had davened Neilah, and how Reb Chayim Porush, along with many others (several of whom he mentioned by name), who had remained in the beis hamedrash, had listened to the maggid’s davening, which was followed by Maariv. When Reb Sholom told of the maggid’s Kiddush Levanah and the dancing afterwards, they all remained seated or standing in amazement.

“Then,” said Reb Sholom, “the maggid mentioned that it has been his custom for some time to recite Havdalah after Yom Kippur on absinthe, so I came home to get some absinthe.”

“Now you tell me,” exclaimed the wife, “did you have to trouble yourself personally (may you be well, may we all have a good year)? Couldn’t you have delegated someone else? Have you forgotten your own importance (may G‑d be praised for it, and may it not attract an evil eye, and may the mention of it bring us more luck)? You head a household that distributes much charity, (may the mention of it cause no harm). It is a household full of Torah and nobility. And yet, you personally ran home to fetch Havdalah supplies for the maggid!

“Although I am no more than a mere woman, I was (thank G‑d) privileged to see people of moral stature, including my own father (may he rest in peace), and my uncles, who were famous geonim. I don’t have to tell you about it, for you remember well that my mother (may she rest in peace) swore us to secrecy and divulged to us the well-kept secret of the holy ways in which my father conducted himself. You yourself told me that his conduct resembled that of one of the great tzaddikim of old, and that the holy Gemara describes how one of the greatest Rabbis hid himself so that he could observe this tzaddik’s conduct. But,” she concluded, addressing the last remark to her children and sons-in-law, “although I have known some very great people in my time, I have never seen such a great master of humility as your father.”

“Well,” said Reb Sholom, “you are indeed a woman of real stature and virtue. That being the case, you won’t mind furnishing some food and Havdalah supplies for all the men who are still in the beis hamedrash, as well as giving me a little absinthe; quickly now, for it’s late and I’m in a hurry!”

Hearing that their father-in-law was returning to the beis hamedrash, the sons-in-law went along. The two older sons-in-law were quite annoyed — they said nothing, but in their hearts they resented the maggid. Reb Sholom, his sons-in-law, and two unmarried sons went to the beis hamedrash bearing the Havdalah supplies and the food for breaking the fast.

When they arrived, several minyonim of men were still sitting or standing around the table at the south wall in passionate conversation, repeating the stories they had heard Reb Chayim Porush telling earlier: the stories about the great tzaddik of Podolia-Vohlynia, known in that region as the Baal Shem Tov.

Upon hearing the maggid’s singing, the crowd in the beis hamedrash began moving into the side-room (where the maggid’s quarters were partitioned off). A few of the younger folk ran out of the beis hamedrash into the back alley, where the windows to the maggid’s chamber were located. There they could see what was happening in the maggid’s private room.

The side-room was quite large — narrow, but very long — but so many people crowded themselves inside that the thin wooden partition of the maggid’s quarters began to cave in, and the door flew off its hinges. But Reb Mordechai and Reb Chayim were so deeply immersed in their fervent dancing that they remained unaware of all this.

Part of the crowd pressed into the maggid’s room, as the pushing and crowding became worse by the minute. All those who saw the uniquely ecstatic slow dance and the deeply absorbed look on the dancers’ faces, and heard the rapturous and joyful melody, were mentally and emotionally drawn into the dancing, even as they stood fixed in their places.

Suddenly, the shammes young son, who had been sleeping on a bench in the side-room near the maggid’s wall, awoke and began screaming hysterically that he was being squashed to death. At that point, Reb Sholom Ivansker announced that he had brought the Havdalah supplies, and the dance ended.

Reb Mordechai and Reb Chayim entered the beis hamedrash to recite Havdalah. All those who had not yet done so now said Havdalah, and helped themselves to the food that Reb Sholom’s son Hirshel had brought. Being in high spirits, Reb Mordechai summoned several young men and bochurim whom he knew to have good voices, and he began to teach them a niggun. He explained that immediately upon the conclusion of Yom Kippur one must begin preparing for Sukkos. Since Sukkos is “the Festival of Rejoicing,” the holiday should be graced with elegant song.

They had been singing for quite some time when Reb Mordechai reached a high level of excitement and began to deliver a fiery lecture on the subject of “a mitzvah done without its inner intent is like a body without a soul.”5

In concise terms, Reb Mordechai explained to them what avodah is all about; for without avodah, all the Torah that they studied and all the mitzvos that they did amounted to no more than lifeless corpses.

“A vast cemetery!” declared Reb Mordechai, looking at the young scholars, including Reb Sholom Ivansker’s sons-in-law, and particularly at the foremost scholars among them. “A vast cemetery filled with the corpses of your dead pages of Gemara is what you’ve built up in the World of Truth. You lead the sages of the Talmud around bound up in the chains of your vanity and arrogance.

“The only thing any one of you is concerned with is that people acknowledge that you are right; each one desires to be known as the foremost scholar; none of you cares about the true essence of Torah — that the Torah is the Word of G‑d. How much longer will this sinful situation continue? Young fellows,” the maggid cried out in a tearful voice, “take pity on yourselves and on your own souls that have entered your bodies to perfect the world around you.

“[It is written]:6 ‘Bathe yourselves and purify yourselves, ... study well, seek out justice.’ [The meaning is] ‘bathe yourselves’ — wash away your haughty spirits; ‘purify yourselves’ — become cleansed of your arrogance; ‘study well’ — put your soul into your study; ‘seek out justice’ — apply whatever you study in judging your own conduct, and determining whether your behavior conforms to the character traits demanded by the Torah you are studying.”

Reb Mordechai related how the Baal Shem Tov had sent a great scholar and tzaddik, the Rabbi of a large congregation, to a butcher, to learn the trait of fearing G‑d; another great scholar and tzaddik, who had lived a solitary and chaste life for many years, was sent to the shammes of a beis hamedrash to learn the trait of humility.

“The Rebbe,” said Reb Mordechai, “is very fond of the simple Jews, with their unpretentious davening and Tehillim. The Rebbe, the Baal Shem Tov, says that the most unsophisticated Jew is an eternal, untapped treasury of faith and trust in G‑d, and possesses the finest character traits.”

All the while Reb Mordechai was speaking, Reb Chayim sat and wept silently. Reb Mordechai’s lecture comparing mitzvos without their inner intent to a body without a soul affected him greatly. Having sat for so many years in the grave diggers’ beis hamedrash, and having attended so many funerals (may we be spared), an image of the faces of several corpses had remained engraved upon his mind. Now when Reb Mordechai compared study without vitality to a corpse without a soul, and he spoke about the cemetery of the dead pages of Gemara that they had studied, Reb Chayim was deeply moved.

In his imagination he pictured the cemetery for the pages of the Gemara, and a chevrah kadishah of angels performing the funeral rites for the dead pages. As Reb Mordechai continued speaking, Reb Chayim, lost in the crowd and crammed among the people, continued to weep. The more Reb Mordechai spoke words of arousal, the more bitterly Reb Chayim cried. When Reb Mordechai reached the part about “take pity on yourselves and on your own souls, that have entered your bodies to perfect the world around you ... bathe yourselves ... purify yourselves,” Reb Chayim began weeping violently; this made a deep impact upon all who were present in the beis hamedrash.

Most of the people assembled in the beis hamedrash took special delight in Reb Mordechai’s stories about how the Baal Shem Tov held simple Jews in such high esteem, and even sent great scholars to simple Jews so they could learn good character traits from them. The Baal Shem Tov’s saying, that “Every Jew, even the most unsophisticated, is an eternal untapped treasury of innocent faith and trust in G‑d,” became etched in everyone’s mind and heart.

Suddenly, Reb Mordechai remembered where he had been at that same time a year earlier, and he began singing a passionate niggun, one of those that were regularly sung at the Baal Shem Tov’s table. This particular niggun was called the “Search and Find” niggun. It consists of three movements, and each movement contains three themes. The first theme of the first movement of the “Search and Find” niggun depicts a mood of solitude, creating an image of someone sitting isolated in a field deeply hidden among the mountains, next to a blue stream of running water. In the distance, at the other end of this valley, appears a rocky precipice upon which a few sparse trees grow; here, the singer sits alone and sings his song of solitude.

The second theme depicts a mood of introspective meditation; the solitary singer becomes more introverted, debating with himself and subjecting himself to rigorous self-examination. The longer he sings, the more deeply introverted his thoughts become; he is dissatisfied with himself, and begins to discover certain flaws in his own character. Now comes the third theme, in which the singer breaks into weeping — at first silently, but becoming progressively more intense.

The niggun’s second movement also contains three themes; although they differ in sequence and key, they possess a common motif: a song of searching and of longing. This movement creates an image of a person searching for some elusive object for which he longs. Suddenly, he perceives a ray of hope, a promise that he will eventually find the thing for which he seeks and craves; but this ray of hope evaporates, for it turns out that the object is not what he was hoping for after all. Once more, he becomes submerged in melancholy, until finally he finds the thing he has been seeking.

Then comes the niggun’s third movement, also containing three themes. The overall mood of this movement begins in a joyous mode, with a beat that make one lift his feet to dance. As the niggun progresses, the beat becomes faster and more fervent, reaching a fiery crescendo that leaves the singer panting for breath. The music now consists of only a few isolated notes issuing forth from the depths of the heart, creating the impression of musical notes chasing after and desperately trying to keep up with the rapidly moving, feverishly dancing feet, and evoking images of the impassioned but content faces of the dancers.

This was the niggun that Reb Mordechai wished to teach the young folk and bochurim. To everyone’s amazement, they assimilated the whole niggun after the first three repetitions, and by the fourth time the young folk were singing the song correctly by themselves. Some of the bystanders were able to join in with a few bars of the melody. When they came to the third movement, Reb Mordechai took hold of Reb Chayim and began to dance with him in earnest, requesting that everyone present join them in the dancing.

[Several generations later,] Reb Berel Ivansker related that whenever Hirshel, the son of Reb Sholom Ivansker, told the story of what happened in the large beis hamedrash on that night after Yom Kippur, it was a pleasure to listen. In spite of Reb Hirshel ben Reb Sholom’s advanced age, he would demonstrate the brisk steps with which Reb Mordechai and Reb Chayim had danced while singing the third movement of the “Search and Find” niggun.

Everyone was astounded that Reb Mordechai and Reb Chayim were able to dance for so long, and with such a quick step that their slippers barely touched the floor. They were especially amazed by Reb Chayim’s performance, for he was no more than skin and bones. It was obvious that they were possessed by some supernatural power. Everyone else, including the youngest, had collapsed like bundles of straw, and they lay there drenched with perspiration, without a drop of strength remaining, but Reb Mordechai and Reb Chayim were still dancing. Their faces were flaming red, their eyes shut, and their hot breath — along with extremely rapid panting sounds — issued from their mouths. Finally, Reb Chayim began to waver and drop, and a few of the bystanders caught him and led him to a bench to rest.

Reb Mordechai managed to continue dancing a bit longer, but then he emerged from his deveikus and inquired what time it was. Upon learning that it was almost two o’clock in the morning, he sighed and went into to his private room, saying that it was time to recite Tikkun Chatzos.

The men who came to the large beis hamedrash for Chatzos had arrived quite some time earlier. It struck them as very odd to find the maggid busy singing, for they were aware of no occasion for joy that would warrant such singing; nevertheless they did not presume to begin saying Chatzos before the maggid finished dancing. A short while later the maggid reentered the beis hamedrash, took off his slippers, and began saying Tikkun Chatzos. Before the Tikkun Chatzos was finished, the chevrah Tehillim members were already beginning to gather in the large beis hamedrash.

Whenever Reb Mordechai recited Tehillim with the simple Jews, he would do so with an especially joyful delight. By nature, Reb Mordechai was a very deliberate person, and he hated doing anything in a hurry, especially when it came to davening or study. Tehillim too, he recited very slowly, paying attention to the meaning of the words. Quite often, he would pause and meditate over their inner significance. But that was only when Reb Mordechai said Tehillim by himself; when he said them with the chevrah Tehillim, he drove himself to keep up with them.

From time to time Reb Mordechai would look at one or another of the Tehillim Jews with a benevolent and loving glance. When doing so, he would say to himself, “These are the same simple Jews whom the Rebbe the Baal Shem Tov calls the ‘timeless untapped treasury of innocent faith and hope.’ ”