Dear fellow bochur,
It all started the other week during a conversation I had with you. Discussing the Farbrengen which took place the night before, I asked you what makes the Rebbe’s demand of drinking no more than four l’chaims different from all His other demands which he expects from us, his chassidim?
To which you answered me, ‘Drinking is such a different category. It’s so different, you don’t really get what the Rebbe meant. It’s a Farbrengen so it’s fine. It’s not stam having a l’chaim.”
This struck me hard. What exactly do you think the Rebbe meant?
The Rebbe gave us many horaos that we live by on a daily basis, in addition to basic halacha. We have Chassidus before davening, Tzedaka before davening, Chitas, Rambam, Mivtzoim, Tahalucha to name a few.
I don’t remember “Ad D’lo Yada” being a Chabad minhag for Shabbos afternoon or for any chassidishe yomtov for that matter, or having to send your suit or kapota to the dry cleaners as a result of heavy farbrenging.
What I do know is that the Rebbe spoke not saying more than 4 l’chaims over 10 times over the years and only on rare occasions did he remove the limitations of four l’chaim for that particular instance.
The Rebbe clearly stated that if you have more than four l’chaims while under forty years of age, you shouldn’t consider yourself one of my chassidim. In fact, the Rebbe kept speaking about this as recently as 5751.
What is lost on me is what do I not understand by these clear words and instructions that others do? What is it that makes it so different than saying Tehillim on Shabbos Mevarchim or helping a Yid put on Tefillin?
The fact the Rebbe spoke so strongly against it, should cement the point even stronger into us. So please don’t claim to blame the Rebbe for your drinking habit (and especially your behavior and language you use following the drinking).
The next time you are asked why you drank more than 4 l’chaims, please be honest. Say, ‘I know the Rebbe said no more than 4 l’chaims, but it is a weakness that I’m struggling with and want to defeat.’
I will be the first one to admit that I don’t wake up on time for Chassidus, and miss out on Mikvah on some mornings, and I would rather chat than learn during Seder, or forget to say Shmah at night. These are weaknesses and I’m struggling with.
What I don’t dare to claim is that they are not important or that the Rebbe didn’t really care about them. That is wrong to you, to me and to the Rebbe. If you need help, speak to a Mashpia or a reliable adult to help you with the issue. But don’t mix Chassidishkiet into it.
Looking forward to many more inspiring farbrengens which help us grow in our Avodas Hashem to hasten the coming of Moshiach Tzidkeinu, may he come speedily in our days!
Yossi, your fellow bochur who cares about you and the words of our Rebbe