Mar 13, 2018
Grandmother's Gift Was Priceless

A visitor at Chabad in Massachusetts told of handwritten manuscripts his grandmother gave it. It turned out to be a priceless gift.

It was Erev Yom Kippur at Chabad at the Four Colleges in Amherst, Massachusetts, when one of the guests (a parent of one of the student regulars at Chabad) posed an interesting question. “Rabbi, do you know much about Chabad history?”

“I was a bit puzzled by the question, not sure what to expect,” says shliach Rabbi Shmuel Kravitsky.

The guest explained that many years ago when he began becoming frum, his grandmother had given him a gift; an heirloom that had belonged to their family for years and was sitting in his grandmother’s attic. It was an old collection of handwritten manuscripts that somehow, were connected to Chabad teachings. “I have this collection. If you think they’d be of interest to you, I’d like you to have a look at them,” the guest concluded.

When Rabbi Kravitsky ultimately saw the manuscripts, he recognized that they indeed must contain maamorim of the Chabad Rabbeim—preserved in notebooks known as “bichelach.” But did they actually possess historical value? Were all these maamorim already published previously?

Rabbi Kravitsky decided to call the Library of Agudas Chassidei Chabad and find out. Members of the editorial staff of Otzar HaChassidim at the library seemed skeptical that they’d come upon a treasure, explaining that it’s difficult to ascertain the value of the “bichel” without seeing it in person. Rabbi Kravitsky decided he’d have to bring it in for evaluation.

“In the meantime,” says Rabbi Kravitsky, “busy everyday life on shlichus took its course, and the bichel sat in my house for a few months, from Tishrei time until the month of Teves.”

But then, something drastically changed. The Chassidisher Derher magazine for the month of Teves showed up in the mailbox.

“We subscribe to the Derher magazine, and I had the latest issue laying around in my house. Then my friend, Rabbi Shaya Rose from Toronto came to visit with us for Shabbos. Rabbi Rose pointed out to me an interesting article in the magazine about the Rebbe’s major initiative of printing all of the maamorim that heretofore were only available in manuscript. The Rebbe constantly asked people to send whatever bichelach they found in to the library, and profusely thanked anyone who assisted in this regard. (Wellsprings unleashed—Derher Teves 5778, p. 14.) My friend was strongly encouraging me throughout the entire Shabbos that I really need to bring the bichel to New York.”

Taking to heart what he said, Rabbi Kravitsky brought the bichel to New York at the next opportunity, in time for Yud Shevat a few weeks later.

“Our family went to the Ohel together, and I had my son Yosef bring in the bichel to the Rebbe. Then we headed to Crown Heights and brought it to the library.”

Upon further examination, Rabbi Eliyahu Matusof of Otzar HaChassidim realized that he had come upon a treasure. The bichel contained a never-before-seen maamor from the Tzemach Tzedek!

In time for Purim, the maamor was published (along with two other previously unpublished maamorim).

Rabbi Kravitsky is amazed and grateful to have played a part in this monumental accomplishment, one that the Rebbe referred to as “pidyon shvuyim,” redeeming a holy object from captivity and bringing it home. “And it was thanks to the article in the Derher magazine that I realized how important this really is…” he concludes.

Read the full article HERE.

Subscribe to A Chassidisher Derher magazine for the full Derher experience HERE.

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Opinions and Comments
an amazing shliach
Shmuel Kravitsky is a real chassid proof is he doesn't know it!!
(3/13/2018 8:47:05 PM)
Where can the new maamar be found? The Rebbe urged that when a new maamar is published we should actually sit down and learn it.
(3/13/2018 9:08:37 PM)
Who was the guest?
Yasher koach to the guest and his Grandmother. She must be very special to have been able to have these manuscripts in her possession.
(3/13/2018 9:46:47 PM)
Amazing story
Reb Shmuel is a real chosid
(3/13/2018 11:55:41 PM)
Beautiful!!!Thank you!
What is the story behind these manuscripts???
Can they be translated into English so more people may learn Them?
(3/14/2018 5:44:43 AM)
A new maimer? Unbelievable!
Such zechus!
(3/14/2018 1:42:12 PM)
Where can we see it?
Can you post a link please?
(3/14/2018 2:40:33 PM)
Where can we get the maamer?
Please post a link! Thank you.
(3/14/2018 5:54:22 PM)
Rabbi Kraavittzy should translate them!
It would be amazing if the good Rabbi would translate the Maamar into english, perhaps as part of Chassidic Heritage Series.
Kol HaKavod,
Raffi from sunflower
(3/14/2018 7:05:40 PM)
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