My cousin, a Lubavitcher, says both zecher and zeicher (that is, both זֶכֶר with a segol and זֵכֶר with a tzeire) in "Ashrei". I noticed this when I visited him a good few years ago, and assumed it was minhag Lubavitch. In the intervening years I've prayed a bit more in Lubavitch synagogues and have never noticed anyone doing the same, so finally got around to asking my cousin why he does so. He replied that, although it's not in any Lubavitch sifrei minhag, the last Rebbe did it, so he does it.

My question is: Is he right that the last Rebbe did it? If so, is that a good enough reason (from the perspective of a Lubavitcher) to do the same? If not, why might someone; alternatively, if so, why doesn't every Lubavitcher?

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    Interesting point: Rav Yoshe ber Soloveitchik (The Rav in Y.U. circles) is reported to have done so as well by Rav Hershel Shachter.
    – Yahu
    Commented Mar 1, 2011 at 23:34
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    Rav Soloveitchik's minhag is indeed cited in this online siddur: aishdas.org/siddur_pg.pdf (see page 6 of the pdf which is marked as page 2 on the actual page).
    – C.K.
    Commented Sep 8, 2011 at 16:26
  • hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=27811&st=&pgnum=3
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 5, 2016 at 7:02
  • I'll check to be sure, but IIRC this has been printed in the מסורת הרב machzorim for RH/YK. cc @Yahu
    – MTL
    Commented Feb 9, 2017 at 15:51

1 Answer 1


There is a booklet called Minhagei Melech that purports to collect all of the Lubavitcher Rebbe's customs; it states (pp. 28 and 34) that he indeed repeated the word with both vocalizations.


  1. It's questionable how reliable these reports are (not just the ones in MM, but more generally, oral descriptions of what the Rebbe said or did); in some cases there are contradictory reports. (I don't know whether that's the case here, though.)

  2. There are practices that are known to have been specific to the Rebbeim, and not meant for the general public. (A few that I can think of: not saying tachanun on 7 Adar; reciting the Ashkenazic (longer) haftarah for Bereishis in a leap year; and giving shallach manos to a Kohen, a Levi, and a Yisrael.)

    Generally speaking, the official Lubavitch minhag follows what is written in Sefer Haminhagim (which underwent review by the Rebbe before publication, and much of which is based on his own earlier writings). In this case, Sefer Haminhagim has the correct vocalization as zecher with a segol; this comes from Hayom Yom (which the Rebbe compiled), entry for 11 Iyar. So even if he did say "zecher" with both vocalizations - in the absence of any evidence that this was meant as a template for others to follow, we might well assume that this was one of the Rebbe's private minhagim.

  • Can you elaborate on these "private minhagim"? They don't seem to be what one would call classic chumras. In fact, some of them seem kind of...well, odd (shaloch manos to kohein, levi and yisrael?). For a community with impressively uniform customs, I'm surprised that such a loophole existed.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 20, 2012 at 20:54
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    @DoubleAA: In Chassidic circles it is referred to as "Rebbishe Inyanim", something a Rebbe does personally for his own reasons, but is not instructing or expecting (or perhaps even wanting) his followers to do as well.
    – Menachem
    Commented Aug 8, 2012 at 21:15
  • @DoubleAA: see the 1st paragraph here, that the Chabad rebbeim had "public" vs. "private" minhagim, as Menachem said. Sometimes these go back to the customs of different communities. For example, in Lubavitch they didn't say Akdamus, but in Yekatrinoslav (where the Rebbe grew up) they did; the general Chabad minhag thus became not to say it, but the Rebbe himself used to say it in an undertone (and this Shavuos I was at a Chabad shul where they did the same). Other times, such "private" customs are based on ideas from Kabbalah, etc.
    – Alex
    Commented Jun 5, 2013 at 23:37
  • @Alex Thank you for the link, but my Yiddish is a little too rusty :) Does that work have a Hebrew or English equivalent? If not, don't worry about it.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 6, 2013 at 4:12
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    @DoubleAA: not that I know of, but it's short enough to translate: "Customs of the Rebbeim are of two kinds: (1) general customs, those that were publicized; (2) personal customs, those that they kept in private."
    – Alex
    Commented Jun 6, 2013 at 21:06

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