Weekly Story: Creating a Portrait
by Rabbi Sholom D. Avtzon
In the parsha of two weeks’ ago, Rashi informs us of the importance of seeing the face or at least a picture of a tzaddik. When Yosef saw the image of his father, it gave him the strength to elevate himself to a higher level.
Indeed, we know that after Yud Shevat 5710, the Rebbe advised many to carry a picture of the Frierdiker Rebbe in their wallet. Seeing him or his picture adds vigor to the persons’ avodas Hashem.
If this is such an important aspect of a chossid’s life — and even necessary to some chassidim — why, when it comes to the Rebbe Maharash, are there no pictures of him from which to become inspired?
This question can also be asked concerning the Mitteler Rebbe, of whom we don’t have a picture either. The Rebbe explains in a sichah that since the Mitteler Rebbe put himself into the Chassidus he taught, through learning his maamorim we can “visualize” him.
We can apply this thought to the Rebbe Maharash as well. Through connecting to his teachings, we can visualize him even without a picture.
It is said that a picture is a thousand words. Envision the quality and beauty of the picture that is comprised by over one hundred thousand words. Yes, this comprehensive biography encompasses his entire life in many aspects: his teachings, actions and niggunim.
About the picture on the cover of the over 550 page book biography of the Rebbe Maharash , which is ready to go to print.
One of the most famous teachings of the Rebbe Maharash is his motto of lechatchilah ariber, which (as will be explained in the Overview) brings out his very essence. Therefore, the cover depicts the musical notes of his song of lechatchilah ariber as the background. Imposed on that is a copy of his handwritten manuscript of the maamar Mi Chamocha, which he said eleven times during his short nesius of seventeen years. This maamar explains his philosophy of lechatchilah ariber (as will be elaborated upon in the Overview). The cover also displays a picture of a golden pocket watch, representing his tremendous wealth, to the extent that he sometimes wore two such watches.
In honor of the auspicious days around Hei Teves, you have the ability to help it become published. Please feel free to contact me at avtzonbooks@gmail or at 6462357104 to discuss the sponsorship possibilities, which entitle you also to receive the book as soon as it comes from the printer.
Sponsorship begins with $100 for a single line with your name, and gradually goes up to $500 for a half page etc.
Thank you for your encouragement and support.
L’zechus on the occasion of the birth of my granddaughter Aidela bas Chana l’arichus yomim v’shonim tovos.
Sholom DovBer Avtzon
Rabbi Avtzon is a veteran mechanech and author of numerous books on the Rebbeim and their Chassidim. He is available to farbreng in your community.
 I am aware of the picture on the Internet that is ascribed to be the Rebbe Maharash. However, that is incorrect: It is merely a black-and-white photocopy of an artist’s picture of the Frierdiker Rebbe, who looked extremely similar to the Rebbe Maharash, that portrait is hanging in the reading room of the Rebbe’s library.
When the Frierdiker Rebbe visited Eretz Yisroel in 5688 (1927), he traveled through Alexandria, Egypt. There he was met by an elderly chossid, who brought him some fruit. Upon seeing him, the chossid fainted. He later explained: “As a youngster, I saw the Rebbe Maharash, and the [Frierdiker] Rebbe looks exactly like him. That is why I fainted.”
The Rebbe notes that when one looks at a picture of the Frierdiker Rebbe, to a certain extent he can visualize the Rebbe Maharash as well.
 However, unlike the Mitteler Rebbe, who lived in a time when photography was not as prevalent, with the Rebbe Maharash photography was an option, and it was intentionally not done (or the pictures that were taken were not publicized).
 Toras Menachem 5744 vol. 1, p. 539.