1. The Rebbe Maharash’s Yahrzeit falls on the 13th of Tishrei, while the Yahrzeit of his father, the Tzemach Tzedek, falls on the 13th of Nissan. Since 13 is the numerical equivalent of the Hebrew word אחד, “one,” Chassidim described the above phenomenon with the verse, “One comes so close to the other one. No air shall come between them.”

The months of Nissan and Tishrei are both unique and share a connection with each other. Nissan is “the first of the months of the year,” while Tishrei is the “head of the year” in regard to the days. Similarly, the Rebbe Maharash and the Tzemach Tzedek both served as Nesi’im (the “heads” of the Jewish people) and shared a connection, the Rebbe Maharash becoming the Tzemach Tzedek’s successor.

The concept of “one” is also intrinsically connected to their service as Nesi’im. One is associated with “the one G‑d” as reflected in “the one nation.” A Nasi’s function is to bring out this oneness.

2. Despite the connection they share as Nesi’im, there is a difference between them. This difference corresponds to the difference between the services which characterize the months of Tishrei and Nissan in which their yahrzeits fall. The month of Nissan is connected with the service of Tzaddikim — when the Jews left Egypt their status was that of a new convert and our Sages state that a convert is like a new child, [i.e., all their previous sins were absolved]. In contrast, Tishrei is connected with the service of Baalei Teshuvah.

The services of the Rebbe Maharash and the Tzemach Tzedek each included both of these paths of service for as Nesi’im, their service was all-encompassing. Nevertheless, in particular, in relation to the people of their generation, their services were characterized by a contrast similar to that of Nissan and Tishrei. The Tzemach Tzedek’s service followed the pattern of the service of Tzaddikim and the Rebbe Maharash’s, that of Baalei Teshuvah.

The major thrust of the Tzemach Tzedek’s service was in the composition of texts: responsa and codes in the realm of Nigleh and many discourses in Chassidus which are relevant primarily to Torah scholars and people committed to the observance of mitzvos. Even though Pnimiyus HaTorah in general is connected with the service of Teshuvah Ila’ah and, in particular, the Tzemach Tzedek composed many discourses on the subject of Teshuvah, as a totality, his service can be seen as dealing with the preparation of Torah texts of an all-encompassing nature without a specific emphasis on the service of Teshuvah. In contrast, the Rebbe Maharash’s service centered on motivating individuals to Teshuvah. Indeed, there are many stories which demonstrate how his efforts stirred many individuals to this step.

This difference is also reflected in their names. The names, Tzemach and Tzedek,1 are both connected with Mashiach who is associated with the ultimate of the three services of Torah, worship [including both sacrifices and prayer], and deeds of kindness. (Mashiach also is related to the service of Teshuvah as our Sages declared, “The Torah promised that, ultimately, the Jews will turn in Teshuvah and... immediately, they will be redeemed.”)

In contrast, the name Shmuel relates to Shmuel, the prophet, who was given this name because “I have petitioned the L‑rd for him... and I have granted him to the L‑rd. As long as he exists, he shall be devoted to the L‑rd.” This is reflective of the service of Teshuvah which transcends all norms and accepted patterns. The service of the righteous represents the expression of G‑dliness within the natural order, while the service of Tzaddikim represents a transcendence of that order.

We see this in regard to Shmuel: Granting him to G‑d as a young child forever surely represents an abnormal pattern of service. This is particularly true in the case of Chanah, Shmuel’s mother. She waited so long for a child and when her wish was granted, she sent him away from home, dedicating him to G‑d.

The Rebbe Maharash’s approach of Lechat’chilah Aribber (“The world says: ‘If you cannot crawl under, climb over.’ I say, ‘At the outset, climb over.’ “) also represents a transcendence of the limits of the world. This service involves a realization that the world exists and follows the limits of the natural order, nevertheless, the person steps beyond those limits and goes Lechat’chilah Aribber. Furthermore, this approach is taken naturally, as part of the normal course of existence.

The approach of transcending the natural order is also reflected in the Rebbe Maharash’s approach to reciting Chassidus. He was the first to recite a series of Chassidic discourses (המשכים). Generally, the Rebbeim had recited Chassidic discourses in connection with the weekly portion or with a festival.2 They also composed texts. The concept of reciting a series of discourses, however, began with the Rebbe Maharash as part of his service of transcending the natural order, the service connected with Baalei Teshuvah.3

May we soon merit the fulfillment of the prophecy, “Those who lie in the dust shall arise and rejoice,” when “One comes close to the other one,” both the Tzemach Tzedek and the Maharash will arise with their followers and they together with the entire Jewish people, will unite with G‑d’s essence. This is particularly true in the present year, “a year of miracles.” May we reveal a miraculous approach to G‑d’s service and may this cause us to merit the miracle of redemption. May it be now, immediately.

3. Today is the Yahrzeit of the Rebbe Maharash, the day on which “all his service which he carried out throughout his entire life... is revealed and shines... from above to below and ‘brings about salvation in the depths of the earth.’ “ Because “one must always ascend in regard to holy matters,” each year, a higher dimension of this revelation is drawn down.

This is particularly true in regard to the Rebbe Maharash whose service was characterized by the approach of Lechat’chilah Aribber and, surely applies after his passing when, as the Alter Rebbe explains in Iggeres HaKodesh 27, the influence of a Tzaddik is no longer constrained by the limits of the body.

This year marks the 107th anniversary of the Rebbe Maharash’s passing in 5643. Following the Chabad custom of associating one’s years with chapters in Psalms,4 there is a connection to Psalm 107. This Psalm repeats the verse, “Let them give thanks to the L‑rd and [proclaim] His wonders to the children of man” four times. Our Sages explain that this is a reference to “the four that are obligated to give thanks,” one who recuperates from an illness, one who crosses the sea, one who is released from prison, and one who crosses a desert.” The Previous Rebbe relates that these four situations reflect all the possible experiences and changes that a person might undergo in his life.

The phrase “[proclaim] His wonders to the children of man” reveals a connection to the present year, תש"נ, “a year of miracles.” This connection reveals how the totality of our experience can be “wonders” and “miracles.” May this lead to the ultimate expression of thanks that will accompany the coming of Mashiach. May it be immediately, now.