At the time of the Tchechnover's birth his father, the
Divrei Yechezkel of Shinova, was in Eretz Yisroel. His
mother took her newborn son to her father-in-law, the Divrei
Chaim of Sanz, who promised that this baby would in time
illuminate the world.
His father the Divrei Yechezkel would often comment of his
son, "Er iz mein ganze chiyus! (He is my whole life.)"
Rabbeinu's holy custom was to fast on the Fridays of the
Shovevim weeks. Towards the end of his life, when his
strength was waning progressively, he still would not
deviate from his minhag and insisted on fasting.
Rabbeinu's family would daven hurriedly and rush to
make Kiddush to minimize the Rebbe's fast.
On one such Shabbos, the Rebbe had already raised the silver
kos in order to make Kiddush, when the clock
struck six. Rabbeinu, who was makpid not to make
kiddush between six and seven o'clock, refused to proceed.
However, since he had already filled his cup with wine and
raised it to begin reciting Kiddush, out of respect
for the mitzvah of kiddush he did not wish to put down
the kos. In his weakened state, Rabbeinu stood for an
entire hour, kos in hand, so as not to show disrespect
for Kiddush. (Let us remember as the Rebbe surely did,
the halacha in Shulchan Oruch 183 that it is
osur to speak when one is holding a kos shel
In the sefer Siach Zekeinim, an awesome story is
brought. The Tchechnover was scheduled to undergo an
operation on an arm that had been paralyzed, whereby the
bone and muscle would be separated. The doctors were about
to anesthetize their patient when Rabbeinu refused to be put
to sleep. They insisted that the human body and mind could
never withstand the terrible pain of this operation. But
Rabbeinu was adamant, promising he would not move throughout
While the surgeon maintained his ground and refused to
operate, the other doctors went to the local chemist to
fetch certain drugs they needed. In the course of their
conversation with the pharmacist, they mentioned the
predicament they faced with the Rebbe who resisted
anaesthesia. The pharmacist heard them out and smiled.
"If the Rabbiner says he can withstand it," he assured them,
"you can take his word for it."
For lack of a better choice it was decided that they would
go ahead, acceding to the Rebbe's will, at least to witness
the pharmacists prophecy. Indeed they beheld how the Rebbe
remained awake throughout the operation, yet kept his word
and did not flinch.
His talmid HaRav HaKodosh Reb Itzikel of Pshevorsk
zt"l told of the Shabbos he once spent in Tchechnov.
On Friday night, with the joy of Shabbos radiating from his
saintly face, the Rebbe was singing pleasantly Eishes
chayil, when all at once, upon reaching the words,
"Gemolas'hu tov velo ro," he stopped abruptly and
turned white as a sheet.
After a few minutes break the Rebbe explained his strange
A man once came to the Ropshitzer Rov zt"l, admitting
that he had led a sinful life up to then and wished to
repent. The Ropshitzer responded with a deep sigh,
"Nebich, nebich, what did the Ribono Shel Olom
do to you that you repaid Him with such evil?"
Hearing the gentle but pointed rebuke, the man fainted.
The chassidim at the Tchechnover's tisch
understood the meaning of his words. The song Eishes
chayil alludes to Hashem Who tells us, "Gemolas'hu tov
velo ro," Hakodosh Boruch Hu has bestowed on us so much
good. How dare we repay Him with sinful deeds?
Reb Itzikel concluded his story, "There was such a great
stir of his'orerus among those of us present at the
time, I only wish I could once more in my lifetime
experience a similar awakening to teshuvoh as I felt
On an erev Shabbos, an individual asked Reb Itzikel
advice pertaining to something that would take place after
Shabbos. Reb Itzikel quoted the Tchechnover Rebbe as having
said that one does not answer a shailoh on erev
Shabbos for motzei Shabbos because during the interim
Shabbos one receives new seichel.
The Rebbe was totally upright in his pesokim, never
veering from the truth. A chossid, Reb Avrumtche
Langental a"h told that he was witness to a din
Torah between two wealthy Yidden, one of whom was a close
chossid of the Tchechnover. It turned out that the
chossid lost the case, and he was considerably hurt —
after all, this was his Rebbe. However the Rebbe made things
clear when he said to him, "I don't need you as a
chossid. If you had a haveh-amina that coming to
me for the din Torah would ensure that you win,
remember I don't have to buy chassidim. I am wholly on
the side of the Torah."
The baal tefilloh for the Yomim Noraim in
Tchechnov related how the Rebbe gave him mussar prior
to the tefillos on Rosh Hashanah.
"Reb Yaakov, do you know why you were chosen to daven
before the amud? If you think it's because you are
a choshever person — there are many who are more so
than you. Due to your yichus? There are greater
yachsonim than you here.
"Look at the shofar that we are going to blow today,
Reb Yankel. Is the shofar choshuv, or a
descendant from an illustrious lineage? Of course not. The
shofar has been chosen because it carries sound. You
too have been chosen for your pleasant-sounding voice."
Thus, after having been rid of the slightest trace of pride,
the baal tefilloh was ready to begin.
Rabbeinu always delighted in pointing out that he had still
merited to see his grandfather the holy Divrei Chaim of
Sanz, for the Tosafos in Bava Basra (Daf 59 Amud 1)
bring that if someone is a talmid chochom and his son
and grandson are too, then Torah will never leave all his
generations — and this is only if all three actually meet.
In the year 5659/1899, with his father the Divrei
Yechezkel's passing, most of the chassidim became
followers of the Tchechnover. The latter led them until the
year 5670/1910, when he fell dangerously ill. Subsequently,
the Rebbe was nistaleik on motzei Shabbos 20th
of Teves 5674/1914.
Zechuso yogein oleinu.