When Moshe Chaim reached twelve years of age, his grandfather, R. Refael, visited his little town and told his parents that as a preparation for his BarMitzvah, Moshe Chaim should stay with him in Samarkand and learn Torah. “Fortunately,” said Moshe Chaim, “my first teacher was R. Binyamin Malachovsky. He taught me the Hebrew alphabet and how to read, as well as a little Tanya. I was also taught Tanya by R. Moshe Nissilevitch. There were many other Chassidic Jews living in my grandfather's courtyard, including R. Berel Yaffe, the Boroshansky family, the Nissilevitch family, and the Malachovsky family, and I was greatly influenced by the chassidic atmosphere in the area.”

Young Moshe Chaim became good friends with R. Moshe Nissilevitch’s children, Lazer and Chaim. When his father came to Samarkand to visit him, he saw how happy his son was in this new chassidic environment. He was inspired by his son’s enthusiasm, and he decided to try to find work in Samarkand so he could relocate his family there. In 1959, the family moved to Samarkand.

Moshe Chaim remembers an incident that took place at the time he was staying in his grandfather's courtyard that demonstrated to him the power of a chassidic education. His friend Lazer Nissilevitch was talented in many areas: He had a beautiful voice, and he enjoyed singing cantorial music, especially that of the High Holiday liturgy. He also enjoyed photography, and when he was able to save up some money, he bought himself a camera, as well as a violin.

His father was not pleased by any of this - neither by the cantorial music, nor the camera, nor the violin. The boy tried to convince his father of the importance of the camera, saying that he would be able to photograph Chassidic discourses and manuscripts that were not in print, but R. Moshe did not accept these rationales. As an educator and a man with long-range vision, he saw it as the first step leading downhill. In those extraordinarily precarious times, R. Moshe felt that commitment to Judaism could only be sustained by a pure, almost single-minded devotion to its cause: Those who kept Jewish life alive in Soviet Russia were people who were willing to die for it, and to sacrifice absolutely anything else for it. R. Moshe was trying to impart this spirit of sacrifice to his children, and ultimately, he felt that a side-passion for the arts would distract from it. At any rate, the debate ended when the camera and violin disappeared - in the outhouse.

Lazer was very upset over his losses. As it was, his childhood was difficult, stressful and even frightening. He did not attend public school, and it was dangerous for him to be seen walking around during school hours. Every knock on the door would send him scurrying for cover. His music and his photography could at least distract him from these constant anxieties. And now, his father had buried his most precious treasures in sewage.

Moshe Chaim, who was a witness to all these goings-on, was forever impressed by the remarkable chassidic upbringing that was so apparent in R. Moshe Nisselevitch’s son. For despite his great disappointment, Lazer loved and respected his father and listened to whatever he told him. He swallowed the pain of his losses and accepted his father's decision.