Stories & Memories of Rabbi Zalman Baras

By: Rabbi Gershon Avtzon March 10

Heartfelt Letter: Zalmy, Ayeka!?

Dear Zalmy,

It is through many tears, and a shaking hand, that I write this to you. I simply cannot believe that the Yeshiva just escorted you on your final journey. While your destination, and place in Gan Eden, is guaranteed; Your presence is already missed deeply.

Over the years, many people have asked me what my relationship with you is. To some I answered that you were my friend since kindergarten, your Mivtzoim partner of 15 years, while to others I said that I was your employer. In truth, I really always looked at myself as your student.

From you, I learned (or at least saw an example):

How to love each Yid and Talmid without conditions. How to treasure family and friends. How to live Chassidus and truly serve Hashem. Deep Hiskashrus and anticipation for Geula. Unlimited optimism about life and “the future of Lubavitch.” How love and structure blend as one in Chinuch, How to connect with my own children. How to gain the respect of all groups of Yidden without compromising your principles.

To sum it up: What it means to be EMES! There is an expression: “Truth will never go out of style, because it is never in style!” You did not care about the style of the times, you only cared about Emes and it showed and impacted all around you. The Hayom Yom of today: “My revered father, the Rebbe [Rashab], once said: “A Chassid creates an environment.” That is you”!

Dearest Zalmy: They do not need people of Emes in Olam Ha’Emes, we need you here with us in the world of Sheker. You were the moral compass for hundreds of people. Whether we were your classmates or teachers, we are all your students. I know it is against your nature to demand and scream, but please do so – in front of the Kisei Hakavod – on our behalf!

I can’t wait to continue the Farbrengen that never seemed to end every time we spoke………

With love and tears,


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