Day 30 of the Omer

בִּימֵי רַבֵּנוּ הַזָּקֵן הָיָה שָׁגוּר בְּפִי הַחֲסִידִים הַפִּתְגָם: דעֶר שְׁטִיקעֶל בְּרוֹיט וואָס אִיךְ האָבּ, אִיז עֶר דַיינעֶר ווִי מַיינעֶר. וְהָיוּ מַקְדִּימִים מִלַּת “דַיינעֶר" — דַיינעֶר ווִי מַיינעֶר.

In the Alter Rebbe’s time, there was a saying common among his chassidim: “The piece of bread that I have is yours just as much as it is mine.” And they would say “yours” before “mine.”1

Living as a Chassid

Chassidic communities have never allowed ahavas Yisrael and self-sacrifice for one’s fellow Jew to remain mere abstract ideals. Rather, they maintain an ongoing endeavor to imbue their lives with actual ahavas Yisrael.

In one of his letters,2 the Rebbe Rayatz describes the incident that motivated a saintly scholar by the name of R. Mordechai3 to make his first visit to the Baal Shem Tov. He had been visiting a village of simple, G‑d-fearing Jews, when two of the Baal Shem Tov’s students arrived on a mission to collect money to ransom Jews who had been thrown into a dungeon after failing to pay rent to their local squire. True, R. Mordechai was moved by the eagerness and zeal with which the chassidim carried out the Baal Shem Tov’s request. But what inspired him more was the conduct of three women whose husbands were out of town at that time. Though they were not approached by the fundraisers, and they were far from wealthy, they refused to be left out. They also wanted a share in the mitzvah the Baal Shem Tov had given the community. The tears they shed while begging for the opportunity to give money to help their fellow Jews motivated R. Mordechai to journey to Mezhibuzh.

And from that day to this, the love and care that chassidim show their fellow Jews is a magnet that has drawn many searchers to the way of life taught by the Baal Shem Tov.