1. With Heart and Mind. An honest man pays his debts, so let us complete the talk begun on Shabbos about the body and the soul of Chassidus.1

The body of Chassidus is the middos that it generates. Thus, [for example,] today’s Tanya reading2 says: “Therefore, my beloved and dear ones, I beg again and again that each of you exert himself with all his heart and soul to firmly implant in his heart a love for his fellow Jew….”

The first time that my revered father taught me that epistle, he did so briefly, but the second time he explained it at length. He told me3 that when in that passage the Alter Rebbe writes, “Furthermore, I earnestly ask of my esteemed listeners (maalas’chem)…,” he was not addressing an elite of “esteemed listeners”: he was addressing chassidim. Thus, when he wrote, “I earnestly ask of my esteemed listeners,” he was appealing to them: “Call forth your esteemed qualities (maaloseichem)!”

That sentence continues: “not to cast aside my words (שלא להשליך דברי אחריכם), the speech that I have set out… (אשר ערכתי שיח).” The former phrase alludes to a teaching that is radiated in a transcendental manner – makkif; the latter phrase alludes to a teaching that is implanted in a focused manner – pnimi.

The Alter Rebbe then cites the teaching of the Sages,4 “And be humble of spirit before every man,” and adds: “without exception, for it is a true statement and a correct proverb that every man is better than his fellow.” [That is the plain meaning of the last phrase (מתוקן מחברו). In that phrase, however, the Rebbe Rashab saw the following subtext:] “Every man becomes better through his fellow.”

In one’s fellow one should see only his positive qualities. One should see that person’s faults only in order to know what needs to be corrected within himself. Above all, one should see that fellow’s positive qualities. Although they may be covered and hidden, they are present in everyone. Hence, if one doesn’t find them, the fault lies in the seeker, not in his fellow. If a person digs and doesn’t find water, that doesn’t mean that there’s no water underground. It’s there for sure. He simply hasn’t dug deep enough. So, too, if a person digs deep enough, he will certainly discover positive qualities in his fellow.

[So much for middos, the body of Chassidus.]

And what is the soul of Chassidus?

The Alter Rebbe demanded of his chassidim avodas halev, the Divine service of the heart. The Mitteler Rebbe demanded of his chassidim avodas hamo’ach, the Divine service of the mind.

Avodas halev means toiling in the heart and with the heart. Avodas hamo’ach means toiling in the mind and with the mind. In order to appreciate the meaning of avodas halev one should study Shaar HaTeshuvah, Shaar HaTefillah and Derech Chayim.5 To appreciate the meaning of avodas hamo’ach, one should study the Siddur6 and Imrei Binah.7

2. The Rebbe is Coming. On Hoshana Rabbah, it was the custom of our Rebbeim8 to give their children a light flick with the hoshaanos. To those who were over eighteen they would do this three times on the shoulder, and they would say, Gevuros memusakos.9 Younger children would be flicked one time more than the number of their years at the time.

Late in the afternoon of Hoshana Rabbah, the whole family would enter the sukkah to receive a blessing from the Rebbe of the time. On that occasion they would say the berachah: leishev basukkah and partake of mezonos, and sometimes they would wash their hands over bread.

On Hoshana Rabbah in the year 5627 (1867), when my father was almost six years old, he entered his father’s sukkah together with his brothers, R. Zalman Aharon and R. Menachem Mendel, and his sisters, Mussia and Devorah Leah. The Rebbe Maharash told them: “On this day, exactly a hundred years ago, the Alter Rebbe saw the Baal Shem Tov – while awake – for the first time.”

When the Alter Rebbe first arrived at Mezritch, he was in doubt as to whether he should remain there. Once he decided to stay, he decided to be an attendant, a meshares, of the Maggid of Mezritch.

What does it mean to be an attendant? Wherever his Rebbe is, that’s where he is. Even though Yehoshua is described in the Torah as “one of the select individuals”10 surrounding Moshe Rabbeinu, he made himself Moshe’s attendant. In Parshas Mishpatim it is written,11 “And G‑d said to Moshe, ‘Ascend…and I will give you the tablets of stone and the Torah and the mitzvah….’ Moshe and Yehoshua his attendant arose, and Moshe ascended the Mountain of G‑d.” Rashi there comments: “I do not know what Yehoshua was doing here. I understand it to mean that the disciple accompanied his master until the point….” (Ramban, in his commentary on the same passage, did know what Yehoshua was doing there.) In Parshas Ki Sisa12 it is written, “And G‑d spoke to Moshe face to face…, and Yehoshua his attendant did not depart from the tent.” On this verse Rashi does not say, “I don’t know what Yehoshua was doing here,” because in this verse he did know what Yehoshua was doing there – yet in the other verse, in Parshas Mishpatim, Rashi said, “I don’t know!”

From this we learn that the function of a meshares is to be wherever his Rebbe is.

On Hoshana Rabbah, 5527 (1767), as the Maggid of Mezritch entered the sukkah and the Alter Rebbe followed him, the Maggid said: “Lock the door so that no one will come in. Don’t allow your spiritual emotions to flare up.13 Keep them moderate14 – and not in a mode of makkif but in a mode of pnimi. The Rebbe is coming.”15

3. A Tzaddik in Hiding. For a long time the Alter Rebbe had hard feelings towards R. Yissachar Dov, the Maggid of Lubavitch. Even though he had studied under him for a year-and-a-half, and in the course of that time R. Yissachar Dov had visited the Baal Shem Tov, he had never taken the Alter Rebbe with him. The Alter Rebbe’s father, R. Baruch, had visited the Baal Shem Tov twice – once before his wife became pregnant and once afterwards. The Alter Rebbe’s mother, Rebbitzin Rivkah, had also visited the Baal Shem Tov.16

She once gave her great-grandson, the Tzemach Tzedek, a long and detailed account of how the Baal Shem had (so to speak) hidden himself, so that the Alter Rebbe should not meet him.