Tanya: XVIII. It is written (p. 485) ...in Likutei Amarim.(p. 487).
When R. Moshe, son of the Alter Rebbe, was between eight and eleven years old, he was studying the passage in Gittin 67a lauding the virtues of the sages. There R. Shimon bar Yochai said, "Learn my midot." R. Moshe was in doubt about the meaning of that last word, since there is Rashi's interpretation, "my teachings," and the simple meaning, "traits of character."
At that moment the Alter Rebbe came in and said, in the chant he habitually used: "The Torah given us is all fine character-traits. Even the punishments there, are in truth acts of kindness and goodness. The two interpretations are one, and interdependent. There can be no fine character-traits without Torah; there can be no Torah without fine character."
Exactly the same incident happened to the Tzemach Tzedek, when he was between eight and eleven.
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