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Unread 01-23-2002, 04:21 AM   #1
Tzemach
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How to Drink Like a Chassid Nowadays

by Rabbi Noam Wagner

Question: Everyone knows the g'zera the Rebbe decreed about drinking mashke. The Rebbe limited saying l'chaim to four small cups which together do not even total up to a reviis. Nevertheless, sometimes we farbreng in a sincere and pnimiyusdike way, full of simcha and life, and we feel that we simply must take another small cup in order to be further inspired. Being warmed up can bring someone to accept upon himself good resolutions to increase his connection to the Rebbe and to dedicate himself more to the inyanim of the Rebbe, etc.

Perhaps we could be so bold as to suggest that the additional cups are in the category of "pikuach nefesh." Do we have to be particular about the g'zera in this instance? Can't we apply the rule here that pikuach nefesh pushes off the entire Torah?

THE SOURCE
OF THE G'ZERA

In the same way we approach every mivtza of the Torah and every Rabbinical injunction, so must we approach every teaching and takana of the Rebbe MH"M. Namely, we must fulfill them first with "naaseh," we will do, and only then with "nishma," we will understand. Even if we will never understand why we were so commanded, we will continue to fulfill these directives out of kabbalas of and with simcha.

If there is any confusion in the matter, the source of this confusion is undoubtedly our limited intellect, which offers reasons to distinguish

between one situation and another, giving rise to misguided conceptions of the holy teachings of the Rebbe.

The limitation placed on drinking mashke has been characterized by the Rebbe specifically as a g'zera (on Shabbos Parshas Chukas 5751): "Chuka chakakti, g'zera gazarti." A decree is in essence beyond the realm of reason. Who are we to interject our intellect in an area that is not within our ability to fathom?

The Rebbe also said that "this is the touchstone of hiskashrus," and, "Whoever thinks that we did not mean him, he should know that we specifically mean him."

THE REASON
FOR THE G'ZERA

Although the Rebbe defined this issue as a g'zera, the Rebbe did not leave it solely in these terms. Everyone who studies the words of the Rebbe detects a detailed and deliberate teaching on this topic. The Rebbe does not cover up the way the earlier generations drank mashke. Rather, the Rebbe speaks about it and objects to this behavior in our generation. For example, there is the famous letter on this topic from Igros Kodesh (Vol. 7, page 58 - free translation):

"In my opinion, the current situation differs from the situation of previous generations, when it was a widespread custom to drink mashke in abundance, in two ways:

a) The ability is now given to Anash, through the availability of numerous basic maamarim and sichos which the listeners can understand, for their conduct to be inspired without the need for much mashke; just a little will suffice.

b) Since in most recent times we are all required to spread the wellsprings of Chassidus outward, there is the possibility that an overabundance of mashke could greatly interfere...

My first statement is supported by something I once heard from the Rebbe, my father-in-law, in Riga, who said, "Ich bin itzter (and the meaning of `itzter'[now] was not for that time only, but for those years since then, when they began to minimize the consumption of mashke) vi noch a bisele mashke." (I am now as though after a little mashke.) The Chassidim are drawn after the Rebbe, my father-in-law, and his intention in saying that he is now as though after a little mashke is to instruct all the Chassidim and give them the ability to be in that condition."


THE SOLUTION FOR BEST
ADAPTING TO THE G'ZERA

The best solution to coping with the feeling that one must have more mashke at a farbrengen in order to be inspired is given by the Rebbe himself. The Rebbe certainly knows that at times a Chassid feels he needs a little more mashke to be further inspired (for certainly the g'zera is not only to prevent indulgence and clowning around, r'l?), and in the

above letter (and in other places) the Rebbe makes it clear: Today we don't need what the earlier generations needed. We were given maamarim and sichos which provide the strength to act, and through them one can attain sufficient inspiration. In addition, in our time all Chassidim are in a state of being "as though after a little mashke." In simple words: Review another sicha, another thought from the Rebbe in the farbrengen, and you will become more warmed up.


The Rebbe once replied to one of the Tmimim in yechidus who asked for special permission to drink more than the limit, as "it would help me in the ruchniyusdike avoda": "Why do this in a gashmiyusdik and crude way? You can do this by learning a lot of Chassidus!"

When we are acquainted with the words of the Rebbe on this matter, it should not occur to us to categorize drinking more than the permissible amount of mashke as pikuach nefesh. If there are any circumstances here of pikuach nefesh, it's exactly the opposite - p ikuach nefesh to avoid drinking more than the limit. Drinking endangers one's connection to the Rebbe. How ludicrous is the thought that disobeying the teachings of the Rebbe will connect a Chassid more to the Rebbe...

Out of ahavas Yisroel it is fitting to put the transgressor of the takana, r'l, in his place. We have to explain to him in words that come from the heart that the way to be connected to the Rebbe is by observing the takanos of the Rebbe. Certainly the words will enter his heart and do their job.

Rabbi Aharon Eliezer Tzeitlin adds: The significance attributed by the Rebbe to the observance of the takana of mashke is proven by the following story - in which I was directly involved.

When I was learning in yesihiva in Montreal, a few Tmimim, including myself, made a farbrengen (in the winter of 5733 [1973]) and drank 4 big cups of mashke - not within the Rebbe's limit. When the mashpia, R' Yitzchak Meir Gurary, found out about it, he called me over and asked, "How could it be that you transgressed the g'zera like that? Didn't the Rebbe say that whoever transgresses the g'zera cannot go on shlichus?" The words entered my heart because our whole ambition was to merit to be a shliach of the Rebbe, and here I was endangering my shlichus myself. Therefore, immediately at the first opportunity I wrote to the Rebbe and requested a tikkun. I went to 770

close to Yud Shvat, and when I came to the secretariat, Rabbi Binyomin Klein gave me an answer from the Rebbe about the note I had written: "He should learn 3-4 maamarim of my father-in-law by heart; at the very least, the contents. Askir al ha'tzion."

I immediately asked (through the secretary) if I am ready to go on the shlichus of the Rebbe to Australia. [At that time, the Rebbe chose the ones who went and asked them for their consent.] As you know, the answer was in the affirmative.

It seems to me that perhaps all of this (asking for a tikkun, etc.) restored my z'chus at the last minute to go on shlichus.
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Unread 01-23-2002, 04:27 AM   #2
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FriendofChabad wrote:

Is there a written source for this? I would like to look it up. For example, did the "4 shot maximum" have a context? To whom was he speaking? etc....

Lubamessimaniac wrote:

<<There's a kuntress entitled "mashke", as well as MANY sichos on the idea. I'll try to get the sources soon, bl"n. And he was talking to everyone - the only people who are allowed to take more than four shotglasses are those aged 40+, and, the Rebbe added, don't think you can fool me by kuntzim! (I think that refers specifically to those people who change tables ["different farbrengen"] or down four mugs of mashke ["the Rebbe said four!"] etc.

<<The Rebbe even went to the extent that he said that anyone who disobeys this gzayra should not go on tahalucha! Mivtza tfillin is a Mitzva mideoraysa, so he can't stop people from doing that. But tahalucha is "the REBBE's inyan", and people who go against "the REBBE's gzayra" should not take part in the Rebbe's inyan. Pretty wild... Again, that was in the Kuntres Mashke, but I don't have it with me now.>>

Rebyoel wrote:

<<The only people who are allowed to take more than four shotglasses are those aged 40+>>

Source: Shabbos Parshas Shmini 5723

<<don't think you can fool me by kuntzim! (I think that refers specifically to those people who change tables ["different farbrengen"] or down four mugs of mashke ["the Rebbe said four!"] etc.>>

Source (specifically small (1 Oz.) cups): Shabbos Parshas Devorim 5740; 12 Teves 5747.

<<The Rebbe even went to the extent that he said that anyone who disobeys this gzayra should not go on tahalucha! Mivtza tfillin is a Mitzva mideoraysa, so he can't stop people from doing that. But tahalucha is "the REBBE's inyan", and people who go against "the REBBE's gzayra" should not take part in the Rebbe's inyan. Pretty wild... >>

This sichah is from 5 Sivan 5728

More Sichos: 2nd Day of Shavuos 5728 (No Chochmes or Pshetlach . . Even Habochen if he is holding in the Klamke) / Shabbos Parshas Chukas 5751 (Especially for "Shpitz Chabad") / Shabbos Mikeitz 5745 (You can drink a 5th cup - but water...) / Private Yechidus 27 Sivan 5737 (Even on Purim and Simchas Torah) / Parshas Noach 5727 / Parshas Shemini 5723 (I don't want to speak about Purim...) / 12 Tamuz 5747 / Shabbos Shemini 5725 (There were never any "Heteirim")

L'chaim!
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Unread 01-24-2002, 09:59 PM   #3
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Has the Lechaim situation gone too far?

I think that lots of pple. have taken the mashke business too far. Yes, it's good to farbreng, and mashke is an essential part of a Chassidishe Farbrengen, but unfortunately, not too many pple.are on the Madreiga of acting appropriately when they end up drunk.
Each person knows themselves, and for what reasons they are drinking. Too open up in a chassidishe manner is one thing, for personal pleasure is another entirely. Getting drunk and acting inappropriately because of it with the excuse of a Chassidishe Farbrengen lowers what a farbrengen stands for.
Farbrengen=Bittul and NOT personal pleasure.
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Unread 01-26-2002, 09:10 PM   #4
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It depends where - in my yeshiva I only once saw bochrim drunk at a farbrengen that wasn't on Purim. (Obviously, this wasn't the cream of the crop, neither were they drunk because the mashpia got them drunk...) Bikitzur, although it may well be a problem, the solution is the Hanhola of the yeshiva. Do they make it into an ikkar inyan? Or is it a secondary? Or does it have its respected place in the farbrengen, with the stress on the word respected? It is up to Hanhola to set the tone.
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Unread 01-27-2002, 06:03 PM   #5
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4 Lchaim - NO MORE

The Rebbe made a "Gzeirah" (the way the Rebbe called it) that we are to drink NO MORE than 4 Lchaims and even that only by a Farbrengen or time of Simcha (i.e. Chasuna, Yom Tov...).

It is very clear from the Rebbes Sichos on this matter that it is strictly against his will for us to get "Shikur" by a Farbrengen.

The exception is someone over the age of 40.

The Rebbe even made it clear that there are no games here to play and that he means 4 "Keletchkelach" (small 1 ounce cups), and that it shlould total no more than a "Reviis" (approx. 4 oz.).

The Rebbe actually once mentioned in a Farbrengen that this "Gzeirah" goes in the category of "Chok Vlo Yaavor", meaning it is something that may not make sense to our limited minds, and yet we have to fulfill it in the way of a "Chok".

(Example why its hard to understand: Different ppl can handle different amounts... For one guy 4 cups is nothing, for another it could make him completely drunk...)

However, there is a well known Vort from Reb Mendel Futerfas (cannot verify the source) that if The Rebbe said No More than 4, it means also NO LESS than 4!

There was once someone who wanted to print a Kovetz of all of the Sichos that the Rebbe said about NOT drinking Mashkeh etc. and they say that the Rebbe was not happy with it (source unverified,If anyone knows more on this topic please comment).
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Unread 02-01-2002, 09:43 AM   #6
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mashke

I have right in front of me "Kuntres Kooloy Mashke" - 35 pages full of sichos, letters etc from the Rebbe about the severity of drinking too much mashke.
My son brought it from Toras Emes in Yerushalayim.
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Unread 02-10-2002, 02:00 AM   #7
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Hi-

I once heard by a Farbrengen (don't quote me) that the Rebbe said that if a Mashpia tells you to drink more then 4, then you can (I've never actually come across this in any writings).

Another exception from this rule are the Russians, I heard from the source directly that the Rebbe said that this Gezaira was not for the Russian Chassidim.

All the best,
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Unread 02-10-2002, 04:15 PM   #8
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BLEWbavitch, did you ask if it also applies to the descendants of those Russian Chassidim, which is a LOT of the Lubavitch of today?
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Unread 02-10-2002, 09:06 PM   #9
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Hi-

ABsoLEWtly not, only to those that were fortunate/unfortunate to have been or are in the Former Soviet Union, they are the only ones the ones that suffered.

All the best.
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Unread 02-11-2002, 06:49 AM   #10
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I've seen a Yeshiva where they take the Gzeira extremely to heart.

When you are given Mashke you are asked how many l'Chaim's you want pored (no more than 4 of course) and once you reach the 4 you can forget about seeing anything more.

It's something that should be adopted by other places as well. I really hate seeing people reacting to L'chaim in the wrong manner...
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Unread 02-12-2002, 08:20 AM   #11
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What about Purim does the 4 Lchaim sitch apply then as well???
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Unread 02-18-2002, 03:23 PM   #12
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<<What about Purim does the 4 Lchaim sitch apply then as well???>>

1) The Rebbe once said that he is staying out of this one, as it is a Halacha (but... see number 2)

2) There is a Sicha where the Rebbe speaks about "ad delo yoda" how one should be getting "drunk" on Chassiddus.
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Last edited by BLewbavitch; 02-19-2002 at 09:49 PM.
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Unread 02-18-2002, 07:18 PM   #13
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yes, but on purim people dont drink in order to loosen up-they drink bc there's a mitzvah of ad dilo yada.
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Unread 02-19-2002, 06:32 PM   #14
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Ad D'lo Yada can be achieved by sleeping too.
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Unread 02-21-2002, 09:19 AM   #15
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Before I went to Russia for Purim one time, i asked my mashpia - Rabbi Zalmanov in Kfar Chabad, about how i should handle myself in Ukraine. Over there people poshut do not understand the idea of holding back. Once the bottle is open you have to finish it! He told me that the Rebbe said that the gzayra was not for 'mayaver mesech barazel' (the other side of the iron curtain). He did not tell me his source for this, and knowing Rabbi Zalmanov....
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Unread 02-21-2002, 03:07 PM   #16
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Already mentioned by BLEWB.. IN POST#5
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Unread 02-21-2002, 04:51 PM   #17
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ahem, Russian chassidim are not synonymous with bachurim going on shlichus today
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Unread 02-21-2002, 05:47 PM   #18
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Jude,

<<ahem, Russian chassidim are not synonymous with bachurim going on shlichus today>>

I think his point was: (the underlined section)

<<He told me that the Rebbe said that the gzayra was not for 'mayaver mesech barazel '>>

Not on the subject of bochurim being on the same plane as the chasidim of old.
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Unread 02-21-2002, 06:18 PM   #19
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ah - but now you have a name to pin it on!
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Unread 02-21-2002, 08:30 PM   #20
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if you check up in the kitzur shluchan aruch (siman 142), where it discusses the dinim of purim, it says that if someone knows that getting drunk will lead to them being mizalzel in a mitzvah or just general kalus rosh, they should be careful not to drink.
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Unread 02-22-2002, 02:53 AM   #21
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In Sefer Haminhagim (page number 74) "festive joy" it states: "Though the Torah ordains that one should rejoice on Yom-Tov, one should certainly not become intoxicated, and the like; as Rambam writes with regard to Simchas Yom-Tov, "One should not over-indulge in wine (Hilchos Yom-Tov 6:20-21. See also Shulchan Aruch, end of section 529) and so on (From the introduction by the Rebbe to Kuntreis No. 100.)
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Unread 02-22-2002, 11:01 AM   #22
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the mosoch ha'barzel no longer exists ...
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Unread 02-22-2002, 04:09 PM   #23
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<< the mosoch ha'barzel no longer exists>> You'd actually be surprised how much of an effect it still has!
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Unread 02-24-2002, 07:13 AM   #24
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Quote:
the mosoch ha'barzel no longer exists ...
it doesn't???? i think someone forgot to tell people on the other side of it!

have you ever tried going through customs into Ukraine? sure, things have got easier, there are moisdos ein sof now, but as some of the shluchim in smaller cities will testify, there are stil plenty of problems.........
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Unread 02-24-2002, 05:39 PM   #25
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PURIM

In ths spirit of purim. and talking about "G'zeira" - I once heard That R Mendel Futerfas used to say the the Gzeira Ayuma Of Mihu Yehudi and the Gzeira Ayuma of Mashke shoul be Nisbatel.
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