1. R. Pinchas of Korets1 used to refrain from visiting the sick. He explained himself by saying that a sick person has a grossness of spirit,2 and that he fulfilled that mitzvah by attending to people who are sick spiritually.3

[Rashag then asked: “Does the teaching that one who visits the sick relieves him of a sixtieth of his illness4 apply likewise to visiting those whose illness is spiritual?”]

[The Rebbe answered:] Yes.

2. [Again Rashag asked: “Did the Alter Rebbe already think about his own approach to Chassidus in the lifetime of the Maggid?”]

[The Rebbe answered:] The answer must be Yes, because we are speaking of a whole progression, stage by stage, and such a process cannot happen all at once. However, one must also say that the Alter Rebbe articulated his school of thought only after assuming the nesius,5 because only at such a stage can there be an innovation. This is alluded to in the expression of the Sages about “things that are given from Heaven.”6 What was given from Heaven was the permission to reveal.

3. [The same questioner then asked: “Did the Alter Rebbe write down teachings of the Maggid?”]

[The Rebbe answered:] That I do not know. It is certain that other disciples of the Maggid did take notes. For example, Toldos Yaakov Yosef7 often states, “This I heard from my mentor.” Similarly, the Maggid recorded teachings of the Baal Shem Tov, as in his Maggid Devarav [LeYaakov] and Ohr HaTorah. As to the Alter Rebbe, I do not know if he wrote down teachings. In any event, all of the above-mentioned notes are brief, because in those days there was no tradition of speaking at length.

4. The Tzemach Tzedek used to keep his distance from the classic works of Chakirah,8 and his maamarim and other works cite only Rambam and Ramban.

Once, while Maharil9 was burrowing among the books in his father’s unlocked cabinet, he lighted upon a book entitled Derech Emunah.10 After it had been in his hands for a few days, he asked his father for permission to copy it for himself.

The Tzemach Tzedek replied: “Do you really want to make a choker of me?! I can swear to you that if I hadn’t needed it for Stern,11 I wouldn’t have written it.”

My father once composed an explanation of the writings of Ralbag and an explanation of the Kuzari, and eventually burnt them in my presence. The Rebbe Maharash had also made some jottings, but they are too brief to yield information.

5. Meals in the home of the Tzemach Tzedek followed a certain order: sometimes all of his sons ate at his table, sometimes only some of them. Once, when Maharin12 – an unsophisticated individual – was there, he asked his father: “Why is it that among the chassidim of Volhynia there are mofsim, but not in our circles, neither with my great-grandfather,13 nor with my grandfather,14 nor today?”

The Tzemach Tzedek replied: “What could be a greater mofes than the fact that a mortal mind is able to grasp that ‘in His presence, everything is as if non-existent?’15 The spiritual beings in the World of Atzilus envy and delight over the fact that a mortal mind is able to grasp that ‘in His presence, everything is as if non-existent!’ ”

6. [The Rebbe Rayatz then related that when he was born, {his grandfather} the Rebbe Maharash said: “He will be a Rebbe.”] Once when I was little, I fell. My grandfather picked me up, sat me on his lap, and put his lightweight hat on my head. For that, I am grateful to him.