Why would an optimistic and revered Talmudic scholar, a man of legendary spiritual sensitivity who directed a vast educational network, choose to sleep in a cemetery?
Reb Avrohom Drizin, better known from the name of his Russian hometown as Reb Avrohom Mayorer, was a fearless general in the silent army of self-sacrificing chassidim who defied Joseph Stalin by operating a vast network of underground chadorim and yeshivos throughout Communist Russia.
Already at the age of 29, he would elude the dreaded NKVD, the anti-religious Secret Service, and sometimes spend a bitter winter night trying to get a wink of sleep among the gravestones.
Yet even the constant threat of interrogation and firing squads never clouded his sunny attitude to life, nor deterred him from sheltering colleagues hounded by the authorities.
Since he was a man of many qualities, he is also widely remembered for seemingly unrelated characteristics – for his strong mind, his compassionate heart, his meditative davening, and his energetic learning and teaching of nigleh and Chassidus.
Above all, his memory is lovingly revered by the earnest listeners who attended his candid and informal farbrengens: they were magnetized and inspired to action by his softly-spoken charisma.
A first biography of him in English, “A Father to So Many Chassidim,” written by his grandchild Moshe Yosef Rubin, and edited by Uri Kaploun and Rochel Chana Riven, tells the story of his rich and fruitful life.
This book, richly seasoned with anecdotes and fascinating photographs, is not only the professionally-crafted biography of a master spirit and a colorful personality.
Beyond that, because Reb Avrohom Mayorer operated at the seething vortex of Jewish resistance to the religious oppression of those times, this book serves as a unique full-color documentary film, both factual and moving, alive with the sights, the sounds and the savor of Chabad-Lubavitch life in a vanished world.
“A very, very interesting read about what seems to have been a very special and clever chossid,” Eli from Washington Heights wrote in a review on 1800eichlers.com. “(It) gives the reader a walk through Lubavitch history throughout the 20th century.” he added.
The book is typographically tasteful, beautifully bound, and includes a glossary and index. It was published in honor of the recent Bar Mitzvah of Yossi Drizin, a great grandson of Reb Avrohom.