Chapter 2 – His Childhood
Once, in the summer of 753 (1993), before the prayers he spoke about his childhood, and he fired us up so much that afterwards we prayed with shouting and great kavana (concentration and intention). He said that H”Y gave him many presents from the time he was little, that he did not desire this world at all. At that time the modern, who go in short clothing, began to proliferate, but he waited to become of age and wear a long garment. They suffered from poverty, he said that poverty is a great gift, because from a full stomach it is hard to serve Hashem; one sleeps a lot, and specifically from the poverty he saw the vanity of this world. At night he would go to sleep, but it is necessary to eat, and much time was left (without food) and he had only a piece of bread. When he saw someone saying Psalms with Kavana, he would say, “fortunate is this person, he is committed to the ultimate purpose!” He himself experienced great delight in every word of his prayer and of the Psalms that he said, and this was one of the presents.
When he prayed in the synagogue, he would pray with all this strength and kavana, as though he was alone, and one of the elders (who was very miserly) gave him a large coin every day, until he amassed a sum and he asked his mother to buy him a siddur 'kol-boa' – that has in it all types of supplications and prayers – from Jerusalem. He also told us that he would get up at night to serve Hashem, and the house was hot like a cave, and he would like a candle with benzine, in order to study, and in his house --- they were extremely poor – they were very grieved by this, for they saw that before Shabbos they were very deficient in benzine in order to cook etc.. Until they made electric lights outside, and he rejoiced greatly then, for now he would be able to pray and learn the night for free.
Blossoms of the Spring
R' Yisroel told someone to reach out to his (this person's) family through letters, just as he (Saba) had done with Shazar, taking Rabbainu's books and quoting them in letters of outreach.
R' Yisroel once called one of the friends on Shabbos and said to him, “Behold I authored Blossoms of the Spring, this is not a simple matter.” This was like saying that this book was not a simple copying from the books of Rabbainu that anyone could have done, so the matter needs study.
Love of Friends
Once, someone told R' Yisroel that he sees that it is very difficult to make peace between the friends. R' Yisroel replied, “I remained alon, all of them (all my friends) deserted me, very good” etc..
Once, R' Yisroel turned to two friends and asked them if they were friends, good friends. And he said that the main point of friendship is to find the truth.
On the last Rosh Hashana he said to someone: We should merit to have a true chevra (group of friends).
To someone whose friends conflicted with him and didn't speak with him, he said: We didn't come to this world for friends, just to serve Hashem – to fulfill the Torah and the mitzvos.
Once, at the end of his life, he said: I searched the whole world, I didn't find a friend. So someone asked him, “How does one merit to be your friend?” R' Yisroel answered: The main thing is to pray with a fiery heart to merit to draw close to Rabbainu in truth (and in this way it is possible to merit to be his friend, that was the implication).
To someone who lived alone, in a place without friends, R' Yisroel said: Your friend is the Likutay Tefilos.
He said to someone that is good to be friends with someone who donates a lot of money for the publication (of Rabbainu's teachings). Once, someone wanted to give charity to one of the friends because he heard of his plight, and someone (else) convinced him that it would be better to give it to R' Yisroel (-for the publication). So when he agreed and came to R' Yisroel with the donation, R' Yisroel responded with unwillingness and doubt, and in the end he (R' Yisroel) said to him: Fine, give to so-and -so and mentioned the name of the friend in plight (all of this without them having told him anything about the matter, because it was clearly visible to anyone who looked truthfully, that everything was revealed before him).
He asked someone to ascertain that he was friends with someone who desired to learn a lot, and learned a lot every day.
Once, someone took enjoyment, in his mind, that R' Yisroel chastised his friend, and after a few minutes R' Yisroel turned to him privately and said to him: you are not in order.