I would like to note that I relate these tales as I recall hearing them from my uncle. Other reliable sources may relate the same stories with slightly divergent details. Though the nuances may vary, the essence of the stories remains the same.

The famed R. Hillel Paritcher was considered to be a Chassidic intellectual and a saintly man, possessing an innate fear of heaven. He was utterly devoted to the Mittler Rebbe and the Tzemach Tzedek, the two Chabad Rebbes of his day. Chassidim related that the Tzemach Tzedek once stated that he had two and a half Chassidim, by which he was understood to havemeant that R. Hillel was the “half Chassid.”

People asked the Tzemach Tzedek in wonder, “Can it really be that the Rebbe calls R. Hillel only half a Chassid?” To which the Tzemach Tzedek replied, “The other half is Rebbe!”

R. Hillel Paritcher was exceedingly stringent in observing the laws Pesach by avoiding even the slightest trace of bread, to the extent that as a guest in the home of the Tzemach Tzedek for Pesach, he would bring along his own utensils to use. Moreover, when cooking at the stove, he would take the extra precaution of placing a brick beneath his pot, instead of laying it directly on the stovetop. When the Chassidim questioned what seemed to be his overly cautious behavior, and asked him, “R. Hillel, even in the Rebbe’s kitchen you put a brick under your pot?!” he replied: “If I was eating directly from the Rebbe’s plate, that would be fine, since ‘no sin can befall a tzaddik’, but as long as I'm eating from another plate, I can never be sure . . ."

As per the directive of the Tzemach Tzedek, R. Hillel spent a large quantity of time traveling to the Jewish agricultural colonies of the Charson district, in present day Ukraine, to teach Chassidus to the local simple Jewish farmers. R. Hillel once asked the Tzemach Tzedek what benefit there was in reviewing Chassidic ideas before simple Jews with such limited comprehension that they understood nothing. The Rebbe responded that he should continue reviewing Chassidus aloud before them, since their soulsunderstood it. Ever punctilious with his religious observance, he would take along a group of ten men to enable him to pray with a minyan throughout the journey. He himself was a Levi, and he always made certain that one member of the group was a Kohen so that along with him, the minyan would include a full complement of the three classes of Jewish people.

Although R. Hillel of Paritch was younger than R. Isaac of Homil by about fifteen years, once, when farbrenging together, R. Isaac requested of R. Hillel to deliver a Chassidic discourse.

R. Isaac was considered an extraordinary scholar with a sharp clarity and mastery in both the hidden and revealed aspects of Torah knowledge. Thus, R. Hillel asked, “Am I the scholar with the good head?” R. Isaac replied, “Since these are qualities I possess naturally, and not through my own efforts, it doesn’t count.”

R. Isaac was also renowned for his extraordinary self-discipline, and was recognized for the lengthy periods of time he spent in devout, focused prayer. Thus R. Hillel persisted, “Do I pray at length?” R. Hillel's many travels and his efforts to daven with a minyan made him unable to pray extensively. R. Isaac dismissed this quality of his as well: Nu, what can I do? I have the free time.”

R. Hillel did not concede: “Did I serve the Alter Rebbe?” Of the two, only R. Isaac had had an association with Alter Rebbe, and he could not deny this reality. He stood up, placed his hand upon his forehead and declared in his customary sing-song, “I thank you, Hashem, for having merited to serve the [Alter] Rebbe for nineteen years."

One Sukkot festival, R. Mordechai Yoel constructed R. Isaac’s sukkah for him. While covering it with foliage overhead, R. Isaac instructed him to affix more and more of the leafy covering to the point that R. Mordechai Yoel was astonished by its sheer quantity. R. Isaac noted his surprise and, in that signaturetune, said, “I covered the sukkah for the [Alter] Rebbe, and when he saw my work he would tell me in his customary tune, ‘Dense, denser!’ ” Then R. Isaac lifted his hand and concluded, “I cannot do otherwise!”

I do not recall from whom I heard this, but apparently it was R. Mordechai Yoel who recounted a powerful story that occurred after the passing of the Alter Rebbe. The custom at the annual 19th of Kislev farbrengen - commemorating the Alter Rebbe's liberation from Czarist imprisonment - was that the younger Chassidim would invite the distinguished elder Chassidim to sit at the head of the table, and have them talk about what they had observed during their time in the Alter Rebbe’s presence. When the years passed and the elder Chassidim passed on, they discovered a simple old Jew who had also seen the Alter Rebbe. They put him at the head of the table and asked him to relate what he knew of the Alter Rebbe. The simple man was at a loss for words. He said l’chaim, and then he began to proclaim with a burning intensity and fervor that shook his frail body: “Der Rebbe . . . Oy, what a Jew he was . . . Oy, what a Jew he was . . . Oy, what a Jew he was . . ." Each time he repeated the phrase his voice escalated, until he began weeping, as he continued to wail, “Oy, what a Jew he was . . .” The Chassidim present at the farbrengen related afterwards that this simple Jew, using no words at all, portrayed the Alter Rebbe in the most effective way, and even better than his predecessors had.

After repeatedly hearing about the astounding greatness of the Maggid of Mezeritch, a certain individual decided to travel to the town of Mezritch to hear what he had to offer. When he heard the words of Torah uttered by the Maggid, he was so overwhelmed with excitement and inspiration that he honestly felt that the Maggid may not have actually been human, but was rather some fiery angel of G‑d. In awe and reverence, he approached the Maggid and let his fingers brush against the Maggid's sleeve. As the tips of his fingers hit against the flesh of an arm underneath the garment, he felt assured that he was, indeed, a man of flesh and blood.

Fraidka, the daughter of the Alter Rebbe, was a very righteous, pious woman and was loved dearly by her father. In fact, on many an occasion, her father would deliver a Chassidic discourse exclusively for her. It happened more than once that when the Mitteler Rebbe wanted to hear Chassidus, he would ask his sister Fraidka to request of their father to speak words of Chassidus.

Fraidka once requested that she be buried beside her father. The Chassidim heard her request, but they considered it improper to bury a woman together with the Alter Rebbe, despite her greatness. However, they refrained from making a decision on the matter. Before her passing, the Chassidim heard her whisper faintly: “Elokai! The soul that you gave me is pure. You created it, You formed it, and You blew it into me. Tatteh - father - are you waiting? I’m here!” With these words reverberating softly across the room, she passed on. The Chassidim then understood that indeed, she ought to be buried next to the Alter Rebbe.