Part Three – Rabbi Dov Ber becomes the new Rebbe

Several weeks passed and Rabbi Yosef was already becoming accustomed to his new profession. His route was from the city of Beshenkovitch to all the surrounding towns. He made it his rule never to hurry in his travels. At night he would stop at an inn and study Torah and when he would arrive at his destination he would stay the whole day and devote himself to Torah study. He did this for a year until he became quite accustomed to his situation.

Now, after the passing of our holy Rabbi, our lord, master and teacher, the Alter Rebbe, on the fourteenth day of Tevet, 5573 (1812), his son, the Mittler Rebbe (The Holy Rabbi Dovber of Lubavitch, the second Chabad Rebbe) stayed for some time in the city of Kremenchog, in Little Russia. His son-in-law, Rabbi Menachem Mendel, the author of “Tzemach Tzedek” and his household, lived temporarily in the town of Haditch, where the Alter Rebbe was interned. The remainder of the Alter Rebbe’s family settled in the town of Romen near Haditch.

For a three month period there was a great arousal amongst the Chabad Chassidim throughout Russia. The Chassidim of Little Russia and the Ukraine gathered in several central cities and elected representatives to be sent to our lord, master and teacher, the Mittler Rebbe, to request of him to establish his residence in one of the cities of Little Russia.

In the meantime the Chassidim of White Russia also gathered in several central cities and elected representatives to be sent to our lord, master and teacher, the Mittler Rebbe, to request that he return to White Russia, the land of his birth, and establish his residence there, in a town of his liking.

The representatives of White Russia were victorious over the representatives of Little Russia and after the holiday of Shavuos of the year 5573 (1813) our lord, master and teacher, the Mittler Rebbe, left Kremenchog and established his residence in White Russia.

The Mittler Rebbe traveled from city to city and from place to place for a period of three months until he arrived in the city of Vitebsk. Upon his arrival in each place he spoke the words of the Living G-d (Chassidic Discourses) and was received with great honor, not only from the Jews but also from the government officials and the local police. They had received instructions from the office of the interior minister to honor Rabbi Shneuri greatly, being that he was the son of Rabbi Baruchovitch of Liadi who had done much for the good of Mother Russia during the Napoleonic wars. The government of Russia recognized his contribution to the war effort and requested that his son, who had filled his rabbinical post, be honored accordingly.

The Mittler Rebbe chose the town of Lubavitch to be his permanent residence. On the Shabbos of Parashat Tavo, Rabbi Dovber, the Mittler Rebbe, was in the city of Liadi, and on Monday of the week of Parashat Netzavim-VaYelech, the eighteenth day of Elul of the year 5573 from Creation (1813) our lord, master and teacher, the Mittler Rebbe, entered the town of Lubavitch to make his residence there.

This day, in which the Mittler Rebbe deemed it fitting to establish his holy residence in the town of Lubavitch is engraved for good memory in our family and in the memory of all the Chassidim of Chabad, being that the eighteenth day of the month of Elul coincided with the birthday of the holy Baal Shem Tov, the founder of the Chassidic Movement.

The coming of the Mittler Rebbe caused a tremendous impression throughout all of White Russia and Lithuania and many multitudes of people streamed to him from all the towns and townlets. Lord Tchekovsky, whose domain included the town of Lubavitch and all its adjacent villages, commanded the manager of his estates to bring lumber and to build houses for the Rebbe and his family.

The Chassidim of White Russia strengthened the fund for the settlers of the Holy Land and the fund for the Rebbe’s household. Furthermore, they imposed a tax upon all the Chassidic synagogues of White Russia to support the hospitality of all the many guests that came to see the Rebbe.

From month to month, during that winter the good name of the Mittler Rebbe spread throughout the cities of Lithuania and White Russia and the number of pilgrims to the town of Lubavitch constantly increased. The joy of the Chassidim of White Russia and Lithuania knew no bounds.

By the time that the Mittler Rebbe had resided in Lubavitch for a year, many of the elder Chassidim who had been amongst the first followers of the Alter Rebbe, had come to visit the Mittler Rebbe and were very impressed and satisfied with him. This made a fantastic impression on the Chassidim of White Russia and Lithuania.

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