But first, a video clip about Reb Aryeh
Reader: Am I crazy on these?
This paragraph reads like a cute joke. It first contrasts RAL to Chassidim to complement RAL, implicitly acknowledging that Chassidim/Rebbes are models of devotion to G-d.The writer/translator/editor/? uses the very same catalyst of Chassidim as a footstool to catapult and exalt RAL’s pious status far beyond that of a Chosid or Rebbe, effectively disparaging Chassidim as lesser models of Yiddishkeit than RAL.
So he was more than a Rebbe and more than a Chossid? A Rebbe is not a model Jew? A Chossid is not a model Jew? Let's change our personal paradigms by word substitution in order to appreciate the silliness of the paragraph:
This was no ROSH YESHIVA leading devoted followers in the ways of MUSAR. He was himself a thorough CHOSSID, educated and living outside the world of MUSAR. Nor was he an ILUI, producing wondrous CHIDUSHIM (although there were CHIDUSHIM in his life).(OK SO FAR BUT HERE IS THE PUNCH LINE:))
He was something more, something greater. He was an extraordinary model Jew. This next one could be an editorial mix up but the Frierdiker Rebbe is dissed by omission……read on:
Halfway down the next page, where it starts "AT THAT MEETING," it attributes a life changing message coming from either the Frierdiker Rebbe or Rav Kook because they were the only ones in the room, and R. Aryeh didn’t say which one actually said it, but its logical that the Rebbe said it, yet the editor places Rav Kook’s name in parenthesis as the one who gave R. Aryeh a life changing message. I don’t get it; R. Aryeh, his long time friend Rav Kook who he visiting with, get together with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, the ICON of mesiras nefesh for a once in a life time meeting, and from this meeting R. Aryeh learns from his old time friend instead of the Rebbe? And the Rebbe taught him nothing? There is no doubt that R, Aryeh meant the Lubavitcher Rebbe. The best I could say is that this is an editor slip up.
The paragraph above describes two pious brothers, talmidim of the GRA, who wander the country side teaching Torah to children and country folk. Given that this story is:
1) placed next to the story that disses the Lubavitcher Rebbe, and
2) having read the other quoted paragraph disparaging Chassidim,
3) given that this is not the nature of the talmidim of the GRA, and
4) that the story only lists the first names of these talmidim with no other evidence,
It seems that this story is likely a fabrication in an effort to prove and promulgate that the GRA is the progenitor of Ahavas Yisroel and the true Baal Shem Tov. The upshot is that if the GRA is the true BESHT, then the Lubavitcher Rebbe has no real tradition, and is cut down at his roots. Add to that the previous story on the page; the FR doesn’t even register as a somebody with a current message since RAL ‘learned’ from Rav Kook instead of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
Ad Kan the Reader. It seems like somewhat of a stretch, even to me.