A Sichah of the Rebbe Rayatz

My father recited the maamar entitled Heichaltzu twice in the year 5659 [1898], on Simchas Torah and on Shabbos Parshas Noach. The discourse had a very beneficial effect.

In those months there was a movement among a group of Torah-observant individuals about whom my father commented, “It is clear that they will pose a greater danger to Jewry than the non-religious.” This was one of the reasons that prompted the above maamar.

On the Friday of the week of Parshas Noach [i.e., on the eve of the Shabbos on which Heichaltzu was repeated], my father, not feeling well, did not deliver a maamar. Instead there was a gathering of chassidim in my home, which began before candle-lighting and lasted for hours. In the course of this farbrengen I repeated the maamar [of my father] of Shabbos Parshas Bereishis (beginning with the words,1 “These are the chronicles of the heaven and the earth”). It was decided that the next morning we would pray at an early hour and partake of a Kiddush , and I would still be able to attend the Shabbos meal at my father’s table.

The Kiddush began at noon. At 1:30 the door opened suddenly and my father entered you can imagine our reaction! and said, “I have come to you for Kiddush.”

Among those present was a chassid called R. Leib Schneerson2 from Velizh. He was assuredly a G‑d-fearing man and devoid of personal ambitions, but also a hard man, lacking compassion especially to simple folk, to whom he showed utter contempt. There was a major controversy raging at that time in Velizh, and R. Leib took part in it ruthlessly. And my father, for the second time, recited the maamar entitled Heichaltzu.3

The source of this discourse derives from the Alter Rebbe, who recited it in the lifetime of the Maggid. That was in the year 5528 [1768], when the Alter Rebbe began to ride to Mezritch; until that time he used to walk to Mezritch, and return home in a wagon. This was his custom until the Maggid said to him, “You should not waste your energies on external matters. You will need strength; you will have a hard task.”

When the Alter Rebbe then left Mezritch, he travelled through Smorgon, a town beset by internal strife. Its residents were out-of-town alumni of the local yeshivah who, marrying girls from local families, remained resident in Smorgon. Learned as they were, they used to afflict the local rabbi with all sorts of queries and no rabbi could long bear it. And in Smorgon the Alter Rebbe recited a maamar based upon the teaching of our Sages (Yoma 9b) , “The earlier generations, because their sins were not hidden, the date of the end [of the exile] was not hidden; the later generations, because their sins were concealed, the date of the end [of the exile] was concealed.”

The Rebbe’im each had certain maamarim which they used to recite once every two or three years for the purpose of purifying the air of the world. One such discourse that the Alter Rebbe used to recite was Heichaltzu (published in Likkutei Torah4 though without the glosses); the Mitteler Rebbe the maamar beginning Yafah Shaah Achas (whose contents echo the first ten chapters of the maamar beginning Hinei Kol Echad VeEchad Omer Elokai Neshamah , which is found in Derech Chayim ;5 the Tzemach Tzedek the maamar entitled Mah Tovu in Likkutei Torah ;6 my grandfather [i.e., the Rebbe Maharash] the maamar entitled Mi Kamochah ;7 my father [i.e., the Rebbe Rashab] the maamar entitled VeYadata , which was first delivered in Moscow, [in the winter of] 5657 [1897].8