1. [In response to a remark by Rashag1 that “We now have a fine shul,” the Rebbe responded:] “…but a cold one.” [Rashag also related that once, when the Rebbe observed that one of those present was davening exuberantly,2 he commented:] “He really deserves a Yishar ko’ach!”3

2. In this era, when the present is so bitter, one ought to live with the past.

[Rashal4 asked whether this meant that one should learn from the past, to which the Rebbe answered:] That is something else. What is meant here by living with the past is something else. After all, every chassidisher individual has at some time in the past experienced a yechidus...”

One day, R. David Zvi [Chein] of Chernigov5 cried out, “Oy, Rebbe!” and fainted. When he came to, he said that he had recalled that when he was at yechidus with the Tzemach Tzedek at the time of his bar-mitzvah, the Tzemach Tzedek had rested his holy hands on his head and had blessed him. He also recalled other encounters with the Tzemach Tzedek at yechidus, and it was when they came to mind that he had fainted.

There are two statements of the Sages:6 “The measure in which blessing is given is more abundant than the measure of punishment,”7 and “The measure of goodness is greater than the measure of punishment.”8 [The conclusion of the present paragraph dictates that, unlike the above meanings of middah tovah and middas purannus in their respective sources, middah tovah should be understood in the present context to mean “a positive character trait,” and middas purannus should be understood in the present context to mean “a negative character trait.” Accordingly:] Everyone knows the effects (G‑d forbid!) of unworthy imaginings. Considering the above two quotations, therefore, how much greater must be the effect of a positive imagination!

3. What was once considered a disgrace, today serves as a rationalization. What was once shameful, today serves as an excuse. In days gone by, if someone was described as being This-Worldly,9 he would feel ashamed. Today, if someone is asked, “Why do you do such-and-such?” he answers, “This is what the whole world does.” This has become a rational explanation: “What can I do? This is what the world is like.” People today are embarrassed to be seen carrying their tallis and tefillin in the street, so they wrap them in paper or the like. After all, such a person considers himself to be well-mannered…

Every individual should impact his environment wherever he may be, wherever Divine Providence has brought him.

We’re not going so far as to talk about how many volumes of Midrashim and Shulchan Aruch are being bought nowadays – but even [unscholarly, laymen’s works such as] Tze’enah U’Re’enah used to be sold in greater numbers than Siddurim are sold nowadays.

4. [When the Rebbe was offered Mayim Acharonim in a silver vessel, he demurred, and related the following:] The Mitteler Rebbe once asked the Alter Rebbe: “What will be the function of Mayim Acharonim10 in the Future Era? – for that time will see the fulfillment of the Divine promise that ‘I shall banish the spirit of impurity from the earth.’“11 The Alter Rebbe answered that at that time, Mayim Acharonim will [still] be needed – for those who engaged in worldly matters, [albeit] in a pure manner.

[The Rebbe Rayatz concluded:] At that time, it will be possible to use a silver vessel for Mayim Acharonim.

5. A chassid once entered my father’s study and lamented the fact that he found it difficult to meditate at length12 in preparation for davenen.

My father responded: “What is meant by hisbonenus baarichus, meditation at length? It means reflecting on what one can be, what one must be, and what one is. And hisbonenus is exactly that.”