R. Hayyim Haykl ben Samuel of Amdur (d. 1787), hasidic leader in Lithuania. At first hazzan in Karlin, and a teacher in the little town of Amdur (Indura), near Grodno, he was attracted to Hasidism through R. Aaron the Great of Karlin. Hasidic sources relate that he subjected himself to excessive fasting and self-mortifications before he made the acquaintance of R. Dov Baer, the Maggid of Mezhirech. Becoming one of R. Dov Baer's most prominent disciples he founded a hasidic center in Amdur after the death of his teacher in 1773. A profound thinker and an enthusiastic and fearless propagandist of Hasidism, Hayyim was the hasidic personality most hated by the Mitnaggedim in Lithuania in the 1780s, and was a considerable factor in the outbreak of a second round of polemics between the two factions in 1781. He is described in somber tones in the literature of the Mitnaggedim, especially in the writings of R. David of Makow. In Shever Poshe'im (in M. Wilensky, Hasidim u-Mitnaggedim, vol. 2, 1970) he and his associates are discussed with scorn. The Mitnaggedim persecuted him to such an extent that Hayyim was compelled to leave Amdur for a while and to stay in a village. He was undeterred by these persecutions, however, and continued to lead his congregation as zaddik until his death, bequeathing his position to his son Samuel.
R. Hayyim taught that God is infinite and men cannot comprehend Him. However, there is much latent power man's intellect and by losing his own sense of being, he can be drawn nearer to and be united with his source. Hayyim therefore preached a complete negation of the human will before the divine will. The observance of a mitzvah was interpreted as an act desired by God, and it is only this desire of God's which imparts validity to the mitzvah. It is also forbidden to serve God for the purpose of attaining the World to Come or other rewards. Hayyim is revealed as an extreme spiritualist: "We should forget ourselves as a result of our adhesion to Him." One should despise this world: "He who prays for his sustenance should be ashamed for doing so." If "I have set the Lord always before me, then I have no time to consider the events which befall me, for God surely knows of my needs better than I do myself." When a man stands before the Creator, all his limbs should tremble for fear of the Lord so that he does not know where he is standing, so much has he meditated on His essence. If, at that time, evil thoughts enter his mind, he should not repel them. On the contrary, this gives him the opportunity to elevate these thoughts to their source. If a man has sinned, he should rather endeavor to unite himself to the soul of the zaddik, as a result of which he will adhere to God.
הסכמות: ר' ישראל [ב"ר אשר פערלאוו], סטאלין (חתומים: ר' יו"ט שמחה ב"ר אברהם יעקב מלאהישין ור' אברהם אשר ב"ר שלמה, ג בשלח תר"ן);
ר' אהרן [ב"ר ברוך מרדכי פערלאוו], קאיידנאוו;
ר' מרדכי [ב"ר אברהם טברסקי], וולאדאווקי, ח תמוז תר"ן;
ר' יעקב ליב [ב"ר אברהם טברסקי], ב בלק תר"ן (חתום: ר' ישראל לעוויר טוב);
ר' אלימלך [ב"ר חיים מאיר יחיאל שפירא], גראדזיסק, ג בלק תר"ן' (חתומים: ר' בן ציון ב"ר אליהו חיים ור' פישל דוד);
ר' ישראל יהושע [טרונק], קוטנא, יד תמוז תר"ן;
ר' ירוחם יהודה ליב [פערלמאן], מינסק, יט מנחם-אב תר"ן;
ר' יצחק יעקב [ב"ר נתן דוד ראבי-נאוויץ], בייאלע, כב אלול תר"ן;
ר' יחיאל ב"ר שרגא פייביל [דאנציגער], אלכסנדר, יד תשרי תרנ"א;
ר' אברהם [בארנשטיין], סאכאטשאב;
ר' אלי' חיים מייזל, לאדז, ב מרחשון תרנ"א;
ר' צבי מאיר הכהן ראבינאוויץ, ראדאמסק, ד חיי [שרה] תרנ"א;
ר' אברהם ישכר הכהן [ראבינאוויץ], ראדאמסק;
ר' שמחה הורוויץ, לעכאוויטש, יח טבת תרנ"א.