He (Moses) threw the tablets from his hands, and broke them at the foot of the mountain (32:19)
Said G-d to Moses: Thank you for breaking them.
Said G-d to Moses… The first tablets contained only the Ten Commandments. With the second tablets I shall give you midrash, halacha and agadah…
- Midrash Rabba
Chassidim would often steal manuscripts ('ksovim') which their Rebbe had declined to make public, out of a tremendous thirst for his teachings. Once, during the years that Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok of Lubavitch lived in Warsaw, several of his chassidim succeeded in duplicating the key to his desk drawer. When the Rebbe left town for a few weeks they raided the drawer, took some manuscripts, and gave them to someone to copy. Because of this heist, these manuscripts survived the tragic fire which destroyed many invaluable ksovim.
Many manuscripts belonging to Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Lubavitch were also lost in a fire. Later, he said to his chassidim: "Gevald! Why didn't you steal! Had you stolen, something would have been saved…"
Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi actually wrote on one of his manuscripts: "A cherem (excommunication) in both this world and the world to come upon anyone who violates the privacy of this manuscript." This manuscript was also lost in a fire. When Rabbi Schneur Zalman later searched for a 'contraband' copy, his son Rabbi DovBer said: "But did you not write 'A cherem in both this world and the world to come'?" Replied Rabbi Schneur Zalman: "What has become of the self-sacrifice ('mesirus nefesh') for Torah…?"