Above all, Reb Avrohom was renowned for his
unparalleled dikduk beTorah uvemitzvos. An
initial example is that, although the minhag of
the other Rebbes in Poland was to daven nusach
Sefarad, R' Avrohom chose to use nusach
Ashkenaz, claiming that it was more correct.
As a baby in his crib, his mother noticed that he would
place both hands on his head and cry incessantly. His
mother suspected that her holy child wanted to cover
his head. A small hat was knitted to fit his head until
he grew old enough to wear a regular yarmulke and
this calmed the baby.
As he grew up he was extremely particular to follow the
Shulchan Oruch to the letter. Since it is written
that a person should not indulge in laughter, in
sadness over the churban Beis Hamikdosh, there
was never a sign of a joke on R' Avrohom's face.
Rabbi Meir Shapira zt"l related that R' Avrohom
would write the name Amolek on a paper and rub it
out once a day in fulfillment of the command to blot
out the memory of Amolek.
Rabbenu liked to have his coffee piping hot. Once, when
Rabbi Avrohom and his son were served a steaming cup,
the father drank and signaled to his son that he too
may drink. Rabbi Avrohom's son refrained, saying,
"Es kocht — it's boiling" (literally, it's
Rabbi Avrohom admonished him, "How can you say
something contrary to the Torah? The gemora says
that a kli sheini can't boil and you're saying
Subsequently, his son met the holy Rebbe of Kotsk. The
latter asked him to tell him a chidush from his
father, and the son related the above incident. "Nu!"
exclaimed the Rov of Kotsk in delight. "Who can be
compared to the Rov of Tchechenow, whose every limb is
So sensitive was Rabbi Avrohom to every nuance in the
Torah that all his powers of deduction and judgment
went according to the Torah's criteria. A distinguished
gentleman brought his new son-in-law, a learned
talmid chochom, to Rabbenu in order to show the
Rebbe the chosson he had chosen for his daughter.
For a while, the Rabbi and the young man spoke on a
Torah topic. Then, in the course of the discussion, the
latter said, "But the Rambam differs from the
Immediately, Rabbeinu ended the conversation and showed
the man out. His father-in-law, eager to hear
compliments concerning his new son-in-law, went in to
Reb Avrohom in anticipation, but was sorely
disappointed. The Rebbe answered him with a few
monosyllables and then changed the subject.
The Chelkas Yoav tells us that only years later, when
this young man strayed from the correct path R"l,
did everyone understand R' Avrohom's lack of
The Amshinover Rebbe of America zt"l would
recount an amazing incident. Once on Rosh Hashana, the
ba'al tokei'a began to blow the shofar. Reb
Avrohom signaled to him that he didn't hear a sound.
With shofar in hand, the man moved closer to the
Rebbe and proceeded to blow again. Yet again Reb
Avrohom shook his head and put his hand to his ear to
signify that he was unable to hear the sounds of the
shofar. The matter was later looked into and it
was discovered that the man was not a pious and devout
Jew as everyone had thought him to be.
Rav Yisroel Yitzchok Riesman zt"l repeated a
story he had heard from his father. In Tchechenow it
was customary for the Rabbi to check the lungs of every
animal that was slaughtered. Once before Pesach when
Rabbi Avrohom was checking the lungs of an animals, he
commented, "Tzu shein (Too nice)." Because of the
unusual reaction, the Beis Din called in the
butcher. After probing, they found that the lungs were
from a firstborn calf whose mother had been sold before
the calf was born, but not in accordance with the
halacha. Therefore, the calf was forbidden. It
was duly buried as stated in the din, as
admiration for Rabbi Avrohom of Tchechenow abounded.
From a far-flung little hamlet, a Jew came to Rabbi
Avrohom of Tchechenow complaining that he found it
difficult being the only Jew in the entire village. The
loneliness was unbearable.
"Is a Jew then ever alone?" remarked Rabbi Avrohom.
"Doesn't he always have Abaye and Rovo to accompany
The Divrei Shmuel of Slonim reminisced how in his youth
he wished to become acquainted with R' Avrohom's
derech avodoh. He stayed for six weeks in
Tchechenow and in that short time managed to learn all
of Shas, "which I'm sure is only due to the
koach haTorah and holiness of the Rov of
During his time, the technique of silver- or gold-
plating utensils was discovered. Immediately, poor
Yidden availed themselves of the opportunity to
adorn their Shabbos tables with candlesticks that
looked like silver yet were not as costly as the solid
silver which they could not afford.
The family of R' Avrohom, too, wished to buy a silver-
plated candelabrum lichvod Shabbos, but Rabbeinu
adamantly refused. These candlesticks were a lie,
pretending to be silver and in reality a cheap metal.
"Better to have real copper candlesticks than false
silver ones," he claimed.
Also a novelty in his time was the soda drink. Once the
bubbly, effervescing beverage was brought before Rabbi
Avrohom. When he didn't drink it, those present told
the Rebbe that the soda must be drunk as soon as it is
poured or else all the gas escapes and it loses its
"I see," replied R' Avrohom slowly. "If this drink
decides when I'm going to have it, then I don't want it
Pushing the glass away, he stated firmly, "A person
must be the one to make the decision when to drink, not
the drink itself!"
Chassidim relate that an old man once came to
Tchechenow looking for the Rebbe. He had heard so much
about Reb Avrohom that he wanted to see him with his
Walking into the Beis Hamedrash, he was just
about to ask somebody to show him who the Rebbe was,
when he was startled by a thunderous voice behind him.
There at the door to the shul stood a venerable
old man crying in a mighty roar, "Toshev enosh ad
dakoh vatomer shuvu bnei odom." The trembling Jew
had no need to ask who the Rebbe was.
In 1943, World War II was raging. Somehow, word reached
the Jews of Tchechenow that included in the Nazis'
diabolical desires was a plan to dig up and desecrate
the grave of Reb Avrohom of Tchechenow.
An emergency meeting was convened with all the
roshei hakehillah and chevra kadisha in
attendance. After much deliberation, they decided to
take on an awesome and dangerous task for the sake of
In the dead of night a small group made its way to the
Jewish cemetery. With trembling hands they set their
shovels to the task. With copious tears, begging
forgiveness from Reb Avrohom, they painstakingly dug up
the area surrounding the holy tziyun in order to
transport the Rebbe's remains elsewhere. Clod after
clod of earth fell in muffled thuds as they came closer
to the body. Suddenly, a flash of white stunned them.
The Rebbe's tachrichim were a pure white,
unsullied by the years in the earth. More, his holy
body had remained completely intact.
Shaking in awe, they lifted the body and, reinterred
him in the new Tchechenow cemetery. When the Nazis came
to do their evil work, they didn't realize that they
were tampering with a hollow grave and R' Avrohom's
true tziyun is safe to this day.