10.

[R. Abba David Iskasya now resumed his account of what R. Hillel of Paritch had said back in 1844:]

“One of the venerable chassidim who accompanied the [Alter] Rebbe on that journey [in 1811], my distinguished mentor, R. Zalman Zezmer, clarified for me both the principles and the details of the above discourse. He discussed how a man may erringly consider himself to be at a lofty spiritual level, though when he examines all the details of his dispositions and attributes and meditates upon them, he recognizes his failings. This explains the sequence of stages within the above teaching of the Sages: ‘An adam — a man who thinks — ‘should always incite his Good Inclination against his Evil Inclination.’ A person who is really at this level, knows himself: he knows that he is not at the level of a tzaddik nor at the level of a Beinoni nor at the level of one who serves G‑d with intellectually-aroused love and awe. He wishes he could simply be a fearer of sin, constantly keeping in mind the day of death when he will no longer be able to correct his actions nor regret his past; and what remains is ‘this day, to do them.’

“For three years the teaching that I then heard from the [Alter] Rebbe stirred me from within, and in Elul of the year 5575 (תקע"ה; 1815) I visited the [Mitteler] Rebbe in Lubavitch. For three years I toiled to refine my body and all my organs so that they should attain the level of being truly good, and not only right. First of all, avodah can be considered proper only when the body is good, and not merely in the right by virtue of various excuses. Besides, when one departs this world and arrives at the World of Truth, time is precious: it’s a pity to waste it on judicial proceedings involving trivial matters.”1

11.

My father the Rebbe [Rashab] now commented: “With the elder chassidim, every word and every movement reflects their very essence.

“At the time that my father [the Rebbe Maharash] began to deliver the series of maamarim known as Mayim Rabim,2 he once told me at yechidus: ‘R. Aizik of Homil is a maskil; R. Hillel of Paritch is an oved.3

“‘Haskalah and avodah are two distinct worlds, and maskil and oved are two distinct people. That’s how it was ever since the day the world was created. Along came the [Alter] Rebbe, and joined these two worlds and these two people.

“‘R. Aizik is a remarkable maskil who devises parables that strike the precise core of whatever concept he is explaining — and he is also an outstanding oved in the divine service of the heart.

“‘R. Hillel is a servant of G‑d with his very body: his body itself feels what it should do and how this should be done. Just as the brain is a vessel for the intellect and the eyes are a vessel for vision, and so on, so is R. Hillel’s body a vessel for whatever has to be done. At the same time, he is a remarkable maskil who clarifies the profoundest concepts by means of explanations based on sturdy foundations.’”

12.

The big clock at the south wall chimes 1:30 a.m., but R. Yosef the Meshares says that it is slow; he prefers to believe the rooster that crowed an hour ago. He is right: any minute now the morning star will rise, so we say the Grace After Meals.

The morning star rose as we left my grandmother’s home, and the air was fresh. For over an hour we stood around and sat around in the courtyard, repeating the talks and the narratives that we had heard at the table. Then they all went off — apart from R. Abba Persohn — to immerse in the mikveh, and I went to sleep.

At 7:00 a.m. when my father came home from the mikveh, he handed me the maamar beginning Zimna Chada that appears in Sefer 5619 (תרכ"ט; 1869). He told me to study it a few times, and then between Minchah and Maariv he would review it with me just as he had delivered it.4

After [the morning] davenen, when most of the worshipers had gone home and only a few remained (including R. Yaakov Koppel Zeligson, R. Shlomo Chayim the Shochet, and my teacher R. Nissan), three elder chassidim sat together in the room adjoining the zal and exchanged narratives — my teacher R. Shmuel Betzalel, R. Abba Persohn, and R. Shmuel Gurevitch.5 Some of them I had already heard several times and had recorded in my Diary. Others I had either never heard before, or had heard in less precise versions.

Time won’t allow me to record them in detail, so I’ll just jot down a few notes for memory’s sake.

13.

R. Abba Persohn recollected:

(a) The chain of causes and events by which his father-in-law’s father-in-law, R. Zalman Vilenker,6 became a chassid. A seudas mitzvah with his friends in which he celebrated the fact that he had been privileged to have been struck for the cause of Chassidus.

(b) A chassid called R. Shimon Menashe, his voyage to the Holy Land, and the blessing he was given for long life.

(c) The story of a chassid called R. Shlomo Raphaels,7 one of the outstanding scholars of Vilna, a man of noble character and warm emotions, who underwent self-sacrifice for Chassidus and chassidim.

(d) An aged chassid by the name of R. Chaim Shmuel of Kreslava: Five times he visited the Maggid of Mezritch, who gave him his blessing that he should live to see a fourth and a fifth generation engaged in Torah and Chassidus. After he brought his grandson’s grandson to the local cheder to begin his schooling, he passed away at the age of 116.

* * *

Here are some of the things that this R. Chaim Shmuel of Kreslava heard during his visits to Mezritch:

(i) Our mentor the Baal Shem Tov8 was born in 5458 (תנ"ח; 1698), a year whose Hebrew letters spell the word נַחַת (“peaceful contentment”). He “came to know his Creator9 at the age of three,” and for the next 33 years remained unknown. (This number is hinted at in the word גַּלְעֵד.)10 When he was 36 years old his identity as a tzaddik became revealed, and for 26 years he headed the Holy Brotherhood [of chassidic disciples].

(ii) In the years of his anonymity the Baal Shem Tov dressed like a villager and was always in the company of simple and ignorant people. He fortified their unsophisticated faith and habituated them not to learn from their gentile neighbors, but instead to guard their tongues from slander, gossip and curses.

(iii) He would hand out nuts and apples to little children in order to accustom them to recite blessings before eating, and would respond Amen with intense rapture.

(iv) In those years he would often place his holy hand on the hearts of children and bless each one: “May you grow up11 to be a warm Jew!”

(v) For six years the Baal Shem Tov refused to become revealed; for this, six years were deducted from his lifetime. He passed away on a Wednesday; a mnemonic of this is to be found in the phrase referring to the fourth day of Creation12 [as יוֹם שֶׁנִּתְּלוּ הַמְּאוֹרוֹת — “the day on which the luminaries were suspended (in the heavens),” which the Alter Rebbe once paraphrased in this context] as נִטְּלוּ הַמְּאוֹרוֹת — “the luminaries were taken away.” He passed away on the First Day of Shavuos in the year 5520 (תק"ן; 1760), at the age of 61 years, eight months, and eighteen days.

(vi) At the extremely joyful festive meal on Lag BaOmer of that year, the Baal Shem Tov expounded the verse, וְאָהַבְתָּ אֵת הֲוָיָ-ה אֱלֹקֶיךָ — “And you shall love13 the L‑rd your G‑d.” He explained that the numerical value of וְאָהַבְתָּ (“And you shall love”) is twice the value of אוֹר (“light”). This in turn is the numerical equivalent of רָז (“secret”), whose mirror image is זָר (“a stranger”). I.e., the spiritual task of tzaddikim is to reveal the secret [Divine spark] which is present even in a [seeming] stranger [to Divinity]. This revelation generates light — through the fulfillment of וְאָהַבְתָּ (“And you shall love”), which is twice the value of אוֹר (“light”), alluding to the two directions or modes of [Divine] light: אוֹר יָשָׁר (lit., “direct light”) and אוֹר חוֹזֵר (lit., “reflected light”). When regarded as units (mispar katan), the three digits that indicate the numerical value of the three Hebrew letters that spell אוֹר (“light”) total nine. Twice this equivalent of אוֹר comes to 18 [alluding to the second mode of light].

“And in 18 days,”14 he concluded, “I will behold the sublime אוֹר חוֹזֵר (lit., ‘reflected light’); as it is written, וְהָרוּחַ תָּשׁוּב אֶל הָאֱלֹקִים אֲשֶׁר נְתָנָהּ — ‘And the spirit will return15 to G‑d, Who gave it.’ Moreover, רוּחַ אַיְיתֵי רוּחַ וְאַמְשִׁיךְ רוּחַ — ‘The spirit evokes spirit16 and draws forth spirit,’ with a new light that will shine until the coming of the King Mashiach.”

(vii) The Maggid of Mezritch remarked that the 26 years of the Baal Shem Tov’s leadership correspond to the numerical value of the Four-Letter Divine Name Havayah, and to twice the numerical value of אֶחָד — “One” [as in the verse, Shema Yisrael...].17

(viii) During one of his visits to Mezritch, R. Chaim Shmuel of Kreslava watched how the Alter Rebbe conducted himself and how he waited on the Maggid; he observed the affection that the Maggid showed him, and the reverence with which he was regarded by his colleagues18 of the Holy Brotherhood.

Incidents involving the Alter Rebbe which R. Chaim Shmuel recalled from his visits to Mezritch:

(1) The Maggid delivered two teachings — on the verse, שְׂאוּ מָרוֹם עֵינֵיכֶם (“Raise your eyes aloft”),19 and on the mishnah, אֵין עוֹמְדִין לְהִתְפַּלֵּל אֶלָּא מִתּוֹךְ כּוֹבֶד רֹאשׁ (“One should stand up to pray20 only in an earnest frame of mind”) — but the Alter Rebbe was the only one among the disciples who fully grasped them.

(2) On a certain halachic query involving a sircha, a blemish in a lung of questionable kashrus, the Maggid deferred to the Alter Rebbe’s ruling.

(3) The Maggid once convened a beis din whose task was to rend a dire verdict of the Heavenly Court against a certain desperately ill individual. The beis din comprised the Maggid, the author of Pri HaAretz,21 and the Alter Rebbe.

(4) One Friday evening the Alter Rebbe ate the portion of fish22 which the Maggid had prepared himself (as the Maggid did every erev Shabbos and erev Yom-Tov).

(5) The Malach23 used to speak of the Alter Rebbe in the most laudatory terms.

(6) During R. Chaim Shmuel’s first visit to the Alter Rebbe at Liozna in 5537 (תקל"ז; 1777), the Alter Rebbe reminded him of an incident involving the saintly R. Meshullam Zusya of Hanipoli. On Shabbos Parshas Emor, 5530 (תק"ל; 1770), in the course of a discourse on the verse, נֵר הֲוָיָ-ה נִשְׁמַת אָדָם — “The soul of man is a lamp of G‑d,”24 the Maggid interpreted the verse to mean that the soul of a man teaches him.

The Maggid then went on to illustrate: “...just as the saintly R. Zusya grasps and knows a certain topic in Tractate Arachin by virtue of his soul.” R. Zusya did not hear these words. When he realized that the Maggid was speaking and he did not hear he was deeply distressed, and questioned all his colleagues of the Holy Brotherhood about what had transpired.

(7) The background to the above incident: The most formidable Talmudic scholars of the Holy Brotherhood — including the author of Sefer Haflaah,25 his brother, R. Shmuel Shmelke,26 and the aged author of Toldos27 [Yaakov Yosef] — were once debating a certain problematic text in Tractate Arachin. R. Zusya edged his way into the group in order to listen in. When he discovered to his grief that he could not follow the train of their argument, he asked them to show him the printed text. He took the Gemara to his lodgings and wept bitterly: “L‑rd of the Universe! You created Zusya and You gave him a soul. Zusya wants to taste the sweetness of Your holy Torah!” And, except for scant rations at night, he fasted for three days.

Meanwhile, after the above scholars had vigorously debated this thorny text for a few days, they entered the study of the Maggid in order to propose their reasoned solution. Some of the other disciples went in with them; among them — R. Zusya. After listening to their polemics for two hours, the Maggid leaned his head on his arms and for some time remained in a state of rapturous dveikus. When he finally opened his eyes he gazed upon the faces of his disciples. Turning to R. Zusya, he asked: “And how do you propose to untangle this text?”

R. Zusya replied: “Zusya is no scholar; in scholarship, Zusya is poverty-stricken. Zusya cried and entreated G‑d to let him taste the sweetness of the Torah’s reason. So this is how I read this text:...”

And then, from memory, R. Zusya analyzed and clarified that entire legalistic text. His scholarly colleagues were amazed.

The Maggid’s comment: “The soul of a man teaches him.”

14.

The recollections of my teacher, R. Nissan Skoblo:28

(a) R. Nissan’s father-in-law, R. Pesach the Melamed, slept in a room adjoining the room of the Tzemach Tzedek for the few months in the summer of 5602 (תר"ב; 1842) during which he taught the Rebbe’s son, the Rebbe Maharash.29 At 3:00 a.m. one night he heard the Tzemach Tzedek saying Tehillim: גַּם צִפּוֹר מָצְאָה בַיִת, וּדְרוֹר קֵן לָהּ — “Even the sparrow30 has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself.” And then he heard how the Tzemach Tzedek said aloud: “The smallest bird that You created has a place, but You alone, the greatest of the great, have no place.” The Tzemach Tzedek then sang the Alter Rebbe’s Niggun of Four Themes, and for the next two hours studied Tractate Bava Kama.

(b) R. Nissan’s paternal grandfather, R. Chaim Yehoshua, was born in Bichov to a family of misnagdim. Since his father supported himself by hiring out his flourmill near Slutzk, he moved there with his family. After a few years of conscientious study in a local yeshivah, his son Chaim Yehoshua transferred at fifteen to one of the yeshivos in Minsk, where his studious habits were exemplary. At this time there was vigorous opposition to the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov. The ire of the Lithuanian scholars was aimed especially at the Maggid of Liozna31 who, throughout Lithuania, spearheaded the dissemination of the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov and his disciple the Maggid of Mezritch. Moreover, he had attracted many prominent scholars to the customs of “the Sect.” Loyal to their irate teachers, the yeshivah students at large slandered “the Sect” and its leaders.

One day, word reached the young Chaim Yehoshua that the Maggid of Liozna was due to visit Minsk and was going to engage in a disputation with those who maligned his teachings. All around him, in readiness for this confrontation, outstanding scholars devised elaborate legalistic problems with which to trap the visiting leader of “the Sect.” From the moment the Alter Rebbe arrived,32 they and their teachers surrounded him with their questions, and for hours on end, day after day, for a whole week, he stood at the bimah in the local beis midrash and answered them. To their amazement, in the course of his documented responses he quoted all the relevant texts — Gemara, Rashi, Tosafos, Rambam and Rosh — from memory, verbatim.

When his turn finally came to pose questions, no one could answer. And when he was asked for the answers he replied that these could be heard from the foremost students at his yeshivah in his hometown. In brief, sixty of the most gifted students of the Minsk yeshivah accompanied the Alter Rebbe to Liozna. It was as a direct result of this news that soon reached Vilna, that it was decided to excommunicate the chassidim and their leaders.

(c) R. Nissan’s grandfather R. Chaim Yehoshua lived in Minsk for five years, until in 5546 (תקמ"ו; 1786) he married the daughter of R. Yosef Moshe of Drivin, who supported him throughout fifteen years of study. During this time he drew close to the chassidic community.

In 5563 (תקס"ג; 1803) he visited Liadi for the first time. The Alter Rebbe gave him his blessing for a son; at that time he had three daughters. A year later R. Nissan’s father, R. Yosef Beinush, was born — a robust and talented child, taught by educators who were chassidic in character and in practice. When he was twenty, he married the daughter of R. Avraham the Melamed from Liadi.

* * *

In between all these stories I took a look in the beis midrash to see what was going on there. What I beheld was something beautiful. My father the Rebbe [Rashab] was seated in his place at the south-eastern wall, his tallis over his head down to his chest and his left hand resting on his thigh. Occasionally he clicked the thumb and middle finger of his right hand in time with the meditative melody that he was quietly singing to himself. R. Chanoch Hendel sat on a bench near the table at the south wall with his tallis over his shoulder, a few words of prayer alternating with a few notes of song and a few contrite tears. Another chassid, R. Meir Mordechai Tchernin,33 sat at the northern wall near the middle window. The edge of his tallis rested on his head, but his face could be seen as he prayed with eyes closed. Three young married students — R. Moshe Zarchi, R. Mendel Beshes and R. Nachum Chona Henyes — were standing near the basin at the door, ears and mouths wide open, listening. Standing at the table where the Torah is read, R. Dovber from Cholopenitz34 was reading Tehillim and melting into tears. His son, Mendel the Meshares, was sitting on the bench next to the stove at the right of the entrance from the room that adjoined35 the main beis midrash,36 studying Chumash with Rashi.

From time to time, in the middle of a story, one of the elder chassidim [with whom I sat in the cheder sheni] would pause: he had heard my father singing quietly to himself in the course of his davenen. Together they listened and were stirred, sometimes to the point of tears, by the sound of a soul pouring forth its sweet longing.

15.

One of them, R. Yaakov Koppel [Zeligson], wept at the memory that this sound recalled: “Now we can plainly see the truth of what the Rebbe [Maharash] said on Yud-Tes Kislev, 5637 (תרל"ז; 1876), to myself and to my uncle, R. Aharon Chozer.

“That year, Yud-Tes Kislev fell on Tuesday. On the preceding Shabbos, which was Parshas Vayishlach, the Rebbe [Maharash] delivered the maamar which begins with the words, Katonti MiKol HaChassadim,37 and which contrasts the Chessed of Avraham and the Chessed of Yishmael. We committed the maamar to memory by repeating it as a group, and in the course of the three days until Yud-Tes Kislev the Rebbe [Rashab] repeated it aloud 18 times. When I asked him why he repeated it so much more than usual — three times in the course of a Shabbos, and in winter on Motzaei Shabbos as well, apart from once daily throughout the following week — he gave no reply.

“On38 the evening which inaugurated the festival of Yud-Tes Kislev, the Rebbe [Maharash] left his study and joined the assembled chassidim for only a short while. He discussed the relative merits of the days of the month, which are ‘world-days’39 (velt-teg), with the days of the week, which are ‘Torah-days’40 (Torah-teg). He commented that in that year the festival of Yud-Tes Kislev fell on the same ‘day of the parshah41 as it fell in the year of the [Alter Rebbe’s] liberation — 5559 (תקנ"ט; 1798). The Rebbe [Maharash] then began to sing the Alter Rebbe’s celebrated Niggun of Four Themes, and gave a sign that his [older] sons, R. Zalman Aharon and today’s Rebbe,42 should join in. When his youngest son43 heard them singing he edged his way in through the crowd and sang with his brothers, loudly and jubilantly. The Rebbe [Maharash] was seated with eyes closed, tears trickling down his white cheeks. When the melody came to an end he gave his parting blessings to those assembled and urged us to partake of the mashke and refreshments that had been prepared.

“We then sat down to repeat and memorize his sichah together. R. Yaakov Mordechai,44 who was then quite a young chassid, explained that ‘world-days’ signify ‘the small days of the middos,’ while ‘Torah-days’ signify ‘the days of mochin.’

“Today’s Rebbe pointed out that [in the language of Chassidus] יוֹם (lit., ‘day’) denotes revelation. Accordingly, ‘world-days’ signify the avodah of prayer and ‘Torah-days’ signify avodah as applied in practice.

“R. David Hirsch,45 one of the prominent chassidim present, queried this. He argued that ‘Torah-days’ are loftier than ‘world-days,’ whereas avodah as applied in practice belongs to a lower level than the avodah of prayer, which is avodah in one’s heart. It would thus appear more appropriate that ‘Torah-days’ refer to avodah in one’s heart, while ‘world-days’ refer to avodah as applied in practice.

“In response, today’s Rebbe said that from the scholastic point of view R. David Zvi was right: ‘Torah-days’ should refer to avodah in one’s heart, while the ‘world-days’ should refer to avodah as applied in practice. However, he argued, there are authoritative maamarim that make it clear that whatever derives from a loftier spiritual source in the universe ultimately reaches further down in the universe; as it is taught, ‘The beginning [of the loftiest levels of creation] is wedged46 in their culmination.’ It is likewise taught that ‘the final act was the first to appear in [G‑d’s] thought,’47 just as the innate superiority of physicality will become evident in the Time to Come. He concluded that when one meditates upon these concepts with superrational sensitivity,48 it becomes apparent that ‘world-days’ signify avodah in one’s heart — contemplating how to refine the world and uplift it. By the same token, ‘Torah-days’ signify practical avodah, through which the superiority of physicality will become manifest when the innermost reasons underlying the Torah will be revealed by our Righteous Mashiach, speedily and in our own days.

“As these two views were being debated by those present, two local butchers, R. Chaim Meir and his brother R. Avraham, came in and approached the rabbanim among us with a halachic query involving the kashrus of a recently-slaughtered animal which they were in the process of examining. My father and the other rabbanim began to consider their question.

“The Rebbe [Maharash] had instructed my father to consult with him on every major query in this area. Since my uncle, R. Aharon Chozer, was present when the Tzemach Tzedek had once handed down a ruling on a similar query on the authority of his grandfather, the Alter Rebbe, he accompanied my father to the study of the Rebbe [Maharash] when he put the question to him. My uncle added that R. David Zvi Chein had likewise heard of the Alter Rebbe’s ruling on this subject from his father, R. Peretz. In response, the Rebbe [Maharash] called for R. David Zvi and asked him to repeat firsthand what he had heard.

“When the Rebbe [Maharash] had dealt with that subject, he asked my father and uncle how the chassidim at the farbrengen had spent the past two hours and what they had discussed.

“My uncle reported that while reviewing the Rebbe’s sichah they had debated the meaning of ‘world-days’ and ‘Torah-days.’ One speaker had explained that ‘world-days’ signify a revelation of middos while ‘Torah-days’ signify a revelation of the first three intellective attributes known as Chabad; the second speaker had argued that ‘world-days’ signify avodah in one’s heart, while ‘Torah-days’ signify avodah as applied in practice; the third held that ‘world-days’ signify avodah as applied in practice, while ‘Torah-days’ signify avodah in one’s heart.

“The Rebbe [Maharash] looked straight at my uncle and said: ‘The second explanation comes from a person with a finely-tuned sensitivity in avodah.’ And after a pause he added: ‘It was probably given by my middle son; he has a subtly-tuned sensitivity in understanding the concepts of Chassidus in general, and most particularly in avodah. When he sings a niggun, in every phrase he apprehends and expresses the spiritual mindset of the composer and the soul of the niggun.’”

16.49

It is already after 2:00 p.m. and my father is still in the middle of Birchos Yotzer. As he meditates, he is softly singing one of the old niggunim with its three familiar themes.

The first theme depicts a chassid meditating upon a Divine concept in stage after stage of increasing profundity. The second theme echoes his exhilaration at the intellectual enlightenment that he has attained. The third theme discloses his intense yearning for an expanse that is boundless, for a height that is infinitely sublime.

And as the hoary chassidim in the adjoining room strain to hear this niggun that solemnly accompanies my father’s prayers, his voice strikes a chord of holy awe in their listening hearts.

17.50

These are the memories that my teacher the Rashbatz shared with his colleagues:

(a) The manner in which the Tzemach Tzedek used to daven on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur.

(b) The melody to which he used to sing the words, אַשְׁרֵי אִישׁ שֶׁלֹּא יִשְׁכָּחֶךָ, וּבֶן אָדָם יִתְאַמֶּץ בָּךְ — “Happy is the man51 who does not forget You, the son of man who holds fast to You.”

(c) An account of how a chassid by the name of R. Yerucham of Dalhinov was healed by listening to the prayers of the Tzemach Tzedek.

(d) A description of the davenen of R. Yehudah Leib and R. Chaim Shneur Zalman, sons of the Tzemach Tzedek.

(e) The davenen of the Rebbe Maharash.52 Unlike his brothers, he did not have his own house of worship; he prayed alone in the early morning, but every day visited the small minyan of the Tzemach Tzedek to join in the congregational responses of Barchu, Kedushah, and so on.

* * *

The recollections of R. Shlomo Chayim the Shochet:

(a) His father, R. Yaakov Leib the Shochet, had heard from his father, R. Zvi Hirsch the Shochet, a description of how the Mitteler Rebbe used to daven in private, sometimes to the accompaniment of a whispered melody.

(b) There was a chassid [of an earlier generation] called R. Yaakov Leib (the father of R. Zvi Hirsch of Yanovitch), who was one of the first close disciples of the Alter Rebbe. The Mitteler Rebbe related to him with especial warmth, and told him of two visions that he had experienced:

(i) A teaching that he heard from the Baal Shem Tov — when awake, not dreaming — in the study of his father, the Alter Rebbe, in Liozna, in the year 5553 (תקנ"ג; 1793). The teaching expounded the verse, יוֹרְדֵי הַיָּם בָאֳנִיּוֹת — “Those who go down to the sea53 in ships.”

(ii) On Yud-Tes Kislev, 5559 (תקנ"ט; 1798), the actual day of the Alter Rebbe’s liberation, during Minchah (at which the aged R. Meshullam Yaakov of Tchashnik led the prayers), the Mitteler Rebbe saw the Maggid of Mezritch, who told him: “Your father, the Nasi, now left prison. He is undergoing anguish, but will soon be free from that as well.”

18.

It’s now 8:00 p.m., and I’m now reading all that I’ve written over the past six hours. Though my toothache has been very painful I have tried to keep my suffering under control. Now I have to stop writing, because soon people will be getting together for a farbrengen at the lodgings of R. Abba Persohn, who is visiting.

(Only this far was released for publication.)