A series of classes on the life of the Alter Rebbe given at Yeshivas Chovevai Torah, beginning in Adar 5773/2013.
Class One. The Alter Rebbe’s illustrious ancestry, the seventh generation from the MahaRaL of Prague. The family emigrated eastward where the Yiddishkiet was stronger. Reb Schneer Zalman, the Alter Rebbe’s father’s father chose to be a Milamed; his wife Rochel and her origins. Their two children Reb Boruch and Devorah Leah. When their parents die young, Devorah Leah decides to never leave Vitebsk while Reb Boruch vanishes at the age of fourteen.
Class Two. Reb Boruch and Rebbetzin Rivka’s engagement and marriage. The child is slow in coming. A Neshama Chadasha takes 24 months. What to do when the child is born. The celebration of 18 Elul 5505, the Ba’al Shem Tov’s birthday and the Alter Rebbe’s birth. That Tishrei was entirely joyous. The various instructions of what to do with the child. His upsherenish, his meeting the Baal Shem Tov and the secrecy. The celebration and Bracha on his 3rd birthday.
Class Three. His Upsherenish, his moving to Lubavitch, Reb Yosef and Reb Yissochar Ber of Lubavitch, his genius. In 5560 he marries Rebbetzin Sterna, the daughter of the Nagid Reb Yehuda Leib Segal and relocates to Vitebsk. What he does with his dowry and what he expects his talmidim to do. His daughter Fraida.
Class Four. In Mezritch: Tefilla and Torah also, his decision to stay, he learns who and what his Neshama is. Class Five. 1) The Alter Rebbe’s return from Mezritch was not marked favorably by his wife’s family, 2) He is forced to move back to Liozno, 3) The visit of 5528 (to Mezritch) and writing of the Shulchan Aruch.
Class Six. The Alter Rebbe and the Vilner Gaon, the two attempts at meeting him and more. Once as a Nistar during the Maggid’s life and then again with prearrangement afterwards (along with Reb Mendel Horodoker/ Vitebsker). In the Alter Rebbe’s lexicon, the GRA was the ‘Chossid’. Chasidei Talak.
Class Seven. 1) The Maggid passes away. 2) He promises the Alter Rebbe a son and teaches him the Kabbalah to all the minhagim around a birth and Bris, 3) He tells him that his life will be hard, but he and the Baal Shem Tov will help from heaven, 4) Stories, 5) Reb Avrohom the Malach, a Rebbe for a few years until his passing.
Class Eight. The Alter Rebbe and Reb Mendel Horodoker, the trip to Eretz Yisroel and the return.
Class Nine. The Alter Rebbe returns from his effort at going to Eretz Yisroel, resettles in Liozna. The Chadurim and the Takanos Lionzna.
Class Ten, Chabad (1) This class introduces our discussion of what ChaBaD Chassidus is. It is the idea of Chassidus in a Pnimyus (internalized way).
Class Eleven, Chabad (2) Torah in ChaBaD vs. ChaGaS. internal vs. external fire.
Class Twelve, Chabad (3). More on ChaBaD and Poilin. Shirayim Shalom, Torah difference.
Class Thirteen, Chabad (4).
Class Fourteen. 5542-3: The meeting and Vohlin. The Alter Rebbe is severely criticized by his fellow Talmidei HaMaggid and is deeply hurt by it. He reacts by doing more to spread Chassidus. Reb Levi Yitzchok Barditchiver’s story. His ouster from Pinsk. The visit to the Alter Rebbe , His refusal to participate in the Cherem. The curse.
Class Fifteen. The year 5552. The Kitrug, Shavuos, Devorah Leah and her sacrifice. Rosh Hashana 5553, The Levaya and the Tzemach Tzedek.
Class Sixteen. The Tanya. This class (begins) explores the history of the Tanya, and its four stages: 1) Yechidus, 2) Ma’amarim, 3) Manuscript, ‘kuntreisim, 4) The printed Tanya. This class has some detail on Yechidus.
Class Seventeen. Introduction to the Alter Rebbe’s arrest. The Vilner Gaon’s passing, Sukkos 5658. Hirsh Ben Baruch; the first arrest looked worse but the second one was in fact worse.
Class Eighteen. The GR”A passes away, setting the stage for the arrest. Hirsh Ben Baruch, wrote Shavuos time 5558. The ‘Vulfer’.
Class Nineteen. The Arrest, he escapes returns, is taken. Shabbos on the side of the road.
Class Twenty. 1) Visit of the Czar 2) Cross Examination and questions and answers, 3) Kidush Levana 4) Visit of the Ba’al Shem Tov and the Maggid of Mezrirch.
Class Twenty One. 1) Translating the Alter Rebbe’s written responses, the Shliach in Vilna, 2) Released on 19 Kislev, 3) Reb Nota Nutkin’s apartment three hours worse than fifty three days, 4) 20 Kislev.
Class Twenty Two. The second arrest. The celebration wasn’t complete until after the release the second time. Meeting some great Misnagdim
Class Twenty Three. 5561. The death of Czar Paul, Leaving Petersburgh, Liadi,the expansion of Chassidus.
Class Twenty Four. The Liadi period. 1) Stories. 2) The Zlobiner Chassunah, 3) New decrees.
Class Twenty Five. The dispute with friends is the hardest: 1) Reb Avrohom Kalisker, 2) Reb Boruch of Mezibuz.
Class Twenty Six. Disputes with friends cont. 3) The Apter Rebbe, 4) Reb Mordechai of Tchernubil.
Class Twenty Seven. The war of Napoleon (1). The dispute among Tzadikim who should win. The hatred the Alter Rebbe had for Napoleon. Pesach 5572 Reb Mendel Riminover, Reb Naftoli of Ropshits and the Matzos. Leaving Liadi, Rosh Hashana and the Shofar, the Russians escaping, Pienne his Histalkus More next time.
Class Twenty Eight. The war of Napoleon and the Alter Rebbe’s Histalkus (1). The Mitteler Rebbe’s reaction. The Rebbetzin Fraida’s reaction. Two Baalei Tshuva fifteen years after he passed away. The three Tzadikim tried again in 5575 and what happened.