Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Har Nof Massacre: Torah versus Terror and Tears versus Tumah

As I sit and write these words I cannot get the morning’s current events out of my head, the shock and the horror, the pain and the anguish to hear yet again once more of a cold blooded Terrorist attack in Yerushalayim Ir HaKodesh. We have had just too much bloodshed too many holy kedoshim attacked, injured and killed R”L. More orphans and mourners, and more tears and heartache.

JEWISH TEARS
The Ohr Yitzchok of Radvil points out that when  Esav wept (27:38) that he lost the Bechorah the Midrash says that because of his tears he merited all the good that he has . Rav Yitzchok of Radvil says that Rav Shmelka of Nikolsberg asked, why do Esav’s tears count for so much? Have we the Jewish people not shed countless tears over our plights and tragedies? Why don’t our tears cancel out Esav’s, like in the laws of kashrus where there is bitul be shishim ? He answers that when two things are similar, min be’mino, then they are not batel, they do not cancel each other out. Esav cried because he was denied the goodness and pleasure of this world. We too cast our tears and cry for the same reason, therefore the tears are the same and they do not cancel each other out, they are min be’mino and are not batel. However  says Rav Shmelka, if we would cry for the end of the exile, for our spiritual needs, for the sake of the holy Shechinah for Hashem Who is with us in exile Imo Anochi BeTzara (Tehillim 91:15) then our tears would be oif a different character and nature and one would cancel the other.
The Ohr Yitzchok disagrees however and he says an amazing thing: The nature of our crying is different. When Esav cries it is a form of protest against Hashem. Why don’t I have this when I deserve it! Why are You denying me what I have rights to?! Even when Esav was granted the goodness of this world look what he uses it for and does with it, what a chillul Hashem. Thus his entire cryin g and tears are of a different nature then ours. When we cry we are not protesting, it is out of our pain that we know we are unworthy and undeserving, we cry because we know we could be better. Thus surely our tears are ayno mino, since they are of a different nature they must cancel out Esav’s. May our tears drown his out and overcome them and bring our redemption.

TORAH TRUMPS TERROR
And Esav went to Yishmael and took Machlas the daughter of Yishmael ben Avraham as a wife. (28:9) The Modzizter Rebbe explains that Esav and Yaakov had similar pedigrees. Their yichus was equal as the children of Yitzchak and Rivka and as grandchildren of Avraham. Esav sought to overcome this and tip the balance in his favor by marrying Yishmael’s daughter. Since Ishto keGufo, since a wife is like oneself (Berachos 24a), he sought thereby to gain an extra bond between himself and his yichus to Avraham.  How did Yaakov overcome this dual bond? He reasoned as follows: What was Avraham’s greatness? Torah! I will therefore attach myself to the root of Avraham’s success by Torah study and therefore the commentary to this pasuk finds a hint that Yaakov hid himself in the Yeshiva of Shem and Ever for 14 years. The way to overcome the unholy bond of Esav and Yishmael is through Yeshiva and Torah. By attaching ourselves to Torah we can trump their “yichus,” and overcome their bond. When the nations surround us and support our greatest enemies and champion cold blooded terrorism over helpless innocent Jewish blood and victims our answer must be Torah and more Torah! Only through our Torah do we triumph.

Rav Avraham Shmuel ben Rav Aharon Goldberg HY"D Z"L
Rav Aryeh  ben Rav Shlomo Kupinsky HY”D Z"L
Rav Kalman Ze'ev ben  Rav DovBer Levine HY"D Z"L
HaRav Moshe ben Rav Yitzchak Twersky HY”D Z"L
hnt

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

SIMCHA Happiness and Joy

It is with great pleasure and joy that I announce my latest Sefer - The Joy of a Jew a book all about simcha
please enjoy the Introduction,
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ao9xJAmn_spB8PNxZ8yK-oHh6PC3JBX4BZGaC2NHX0U/edit?usp=sharing
The good new: the manuscript is done and it was just sent to the editor last week.
The bad news: so far I still need sponsors/dedications to get it edited/typeset/designed & printed.

Intro To Simcha – Who does not want to be happy? Don’t we all wish to be happy? Society around us searches for happiness, that elusive promise of bliss, joy and good feelings. Yet many of us are unhappy, it seems like there are more and more cases of depression each year and more and more people walking around unhappy, depressed and even heaven forbid suicidal, sick of life, without hope living dark bleak lives.
Why are so many people unhappy? Wealthy, healthy, successful people; people with families, people with homes, cars, yachts, mansions, beautiful people, people with careers, people with top positions within their social spheres, actors and actresses, sports players, movie stars, rock stars, musicians & pop artists, painters and sculptors, people with money and people with influence and positions of power; among all of these people who seem to us as successful and are known as those have “made it” in life, many of them are sad, depressed and disillusioned. The question is why?! What is “missing” why are they unhappy, what are they lacking and what can they and we do to be happy?  Within these pages I hope you will find some answers.

This small sefer is the Jewish companion to another book already in progress which is aimed at the general public and is written in a language, style and message appropriate for a more universal approach to Simcha and Joy for all peoples everywhere. Anyone interested in helping further this upcoming  book and the simcha project is urged to contact us for more information.


CHIZUK for the coming NEW YEAR

Rav Chaim Vital, the foremost disciple of one of the greatest Kabbalists of all times, the holy Arizal writes: (Shaar HaGilgulim Chapter 38 pg 62b, also cited in Sefer HaChezyonos known as Shivchei Rav Chaim Vital)
"I once asked my master and teacher (the Arizal) of blessed memory, "How can you tell me that my soul is so great?! . . .Why, the smallest of the previous generations were such great pious and righteous saints and tzadikim that I do not even reach their ankles!" He (the Arizal) answered me: "You should know that the greatness of a soul is not measured based on a man's actions or deeds, but rather it is measured according to the time and place he lives in, in that generation. Even a very small act in this generation, is equal to many great mitzvos in other generations, because in these generations the darkness of the husks and shells of impurity known as the klippos is very great and very strong to no end, which was not so in previous generations."

http://torahdownloads.com/shiur-1005152.html

Preparation for Rosh HaShana thru Teachings of Chassidus - shiur

R’ Tal Moshe Zwecker will present a shiur:

Preparation for Rosh HaShana - Teshuva Tefillah and Tzedaka - New Perspectives thru the teachings of Chassidus.


The shiur is in English and is free.

Sunday, Sept 21, Elul 26) at 8:15pm (following Maariv at 8pm)
Beit Knesset Netzach Menashe, Rechov Reuven 16, in Sheinfeld, Beit Shemesh


This shiur begins a series of weekly Sunday night classes, please join us if you can

New Free MP3 Downloads of Shiurim on Chassidus and Emunah


New Free MP3 Downloads of Shiurim on Chassidus and Emunah

http://torahdownloads.com/s-276-rabbi-tal-moshe-zwecker.html

LeIlluei Nishmas:
Yehuda Aryeh Mond Z"L
thanks to kind generosity of The Yehuda Mond Foundation of Ahavas Torah for hosting these shiuruim

To dedicate a class or sponsor a shiur for a zechus, for the neshama of a loved one, a yahrzeit, refuah sheleimah, or lehavdil for a family simcha or other occasion please be in touch via email

Kesiva VeChasima Tova


Monday, June 9, 2014

Noam Elimelech and Returnity in Portuguese

Noam Elimelech and Returnity in Portuguese

thanks to my friend Reb Gilson Rodrigues de Arruda. Editor of Journal Mitzvah, Brazil, selections from Noam Elimelech and Returnity are now available in the Portuguese language as part of his mitzvah journal publication:

Jornal Mitsvá

http://jornalmitsva.blogspot.com/
spread the word as Chassidus spreads to Brazil and beyond

Friday, May 9, 2014

Following is the link for 
Parshas Behar.


With wishes for a peaceful and uplifting Shabbos.
Me'Oros Ha'Tzaddikim | meoroshatzaddikim@gmail.com
Monsey, NY 10952

Copyright © 2014. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Shalom uBracha I will imy"H be next week on a speaking trip in Hendon London from Thursday through Sunday, if anyone will be in London and would like to stop by to hear the shiur, meet me and or purchase any seforim or just to say Shalom Aleichem would be happy to meet any of you on my list that reside in the UK I will be giving a shiur Thursday night at 62 brent street in Hendon. The shul where I will be davening on Shabbos is Nishmas Yisroel at 4 Brent Green which is across the street. I will imyh be giving a shiur on Pirkei Avos before Mincha and during Shalosh Seudos

Monday, April 7, 2014

Download New Free Jewish Torah Apps

Download New Free Jewish Torah Apps


Friday, March 28, 2014

segulah from the Kozhnitzer Maggid to recite three well-known stories for Nissan

There is a segulah from the Kozhnitzer Maggid to recite three well-known stories (reproduced below) related to Pesach, (usually on the Shabbos when we bless the new month of Nissan). The segulah is that the stories will bless the Jewish people with an abundance of provisions and necessities for the upcoming Pesach.

Three Stories that are a Segulah for Parnassah for Pesach

1.) A certain Jew was selling brandy before Pesach, to provide for the upcoming holiday expenses. He went from country to country, but at one border, the guards seized his barrel, since he lacked the proper licenses. The Jew quickly traveled to the Rebbe Reb Meilech and poured out his heart. The Rebbe Reb Meilech told him to tell the guards to taste the contents of the barrel; it was only water. The Jew did as the Rebbe had told him. They were surprised to find that the Jew was telling the truth! They returned the barrel to him, but then he went back to the Rebbe, crying: "Now how can I provide for my family for the holiday? The barrel of brandy was my only way of earning a livelihood and now it's full of water!" The Rebbe Reb Meilech told him to taste the contents of the barrel. To his delight, it was full of brandy once again! And the Jew had all the neccesities for Pesach in abundance!

2.) A king lost his ring. He proclaimed that he would pay a handsome salary to everyone who searched for it. There was a poor Jew who had no money for Pesach. His wife advised him to take up the king's offer. So he joined in the search, and with the money he earned, he bought all the necessities for Pesach. This Jew was also a generous fellow; he invited many guests for the seder that year.

Among the king's advisors was a wicked anti-Semite. On the seder night he went to the Jew's home and peeked in through the window. When he saw the Jew eating and drinking and not searching for the king's ring, he saw his chance. He quickly went back to the palace. "Your Majesty," he said. "You've been fooled.

I'll show you!" The king followed his advisor to the house of the poor Jew,and peered in the window. There was the Jew at a table full of guests, eating and drinking like a king! Still, the king was loath to think ill of his Jewish subject. He told the advisor, "This Jew is probably interrogating these men to see if they know the ring's whereabouts."

This Jew's custom was that at "Dayenu," he would recite each verse and all the guests would respond, "Dayenu." It so happened that the advisor's name was none other than Dayenu. Just then, they all answered in chorus "Dayenu!" The king's advisor paled.

The king understood this to mean that his trusted advisor had in fact stolen the ring. He commanded his royal guards to seize the advisor and jail him, and he confessed to the crime. And the Jew had all the neccesities for Pesach in abundance!

3.) There was a certain Jew who worked hard for his landlord, the poritz. One day, the poritz said, "It's lucky for you that I support you. Otherwise, you would starve!" In his simple faith, the Jew answered, "What are you saying? There's a G-d in Heaven and He provides for all His creatures. If the poritz won't serve as G-d's agent, G-d will find me another."

The poritz angrily banished the Jew from his property. This occurred right before Pesach. This poor Jew now had no money to buy the necessary provisions. The poritz had a huge treasury where he kept all his gold. He would go in from time to time to count and polish his coins. He would spit on each coin and then polish it till it shone. The poritz' pet monkey would go with the poritz into the treasury and watch him. He saw his master put the coins close to his mouth; he thought that the poritz was eating the coins! Monkey see, monkey do. The monkey copied his master. It stole alone into the treasury and feasted on the gold coins. The monkey ate so many coins that it died.

When the poritz came into his treasury and saw the dead monkey, he didn’t realize the cause of its death. His anger had not abated, and he commanded his servant to throw the monkey into the Jew's house, to teach him a lesson. "If I don't provide for him, no one will!" The servant threw the monkey in through the window. When it landed, its stomach burst and all the gold coins came pouring out. Then the Jew was able to buy an abundance of provisions for Pesach.

On the seder night, the poritz sent his servant to see how the Jew was suffering without food. But the servant reported that the Jew's house was full of food and drink. The poritz later sent for the Jew and asked him from where he'd had money. The Jew told the poritz how someone had thrown a dead monkey into his house and that hundreds of gold coins had burst from it. The poritz then admitted, "Now I truly see that it's Hashem Who provides for us all." And the Jew had all the neccesities for Pesach in abundance!

May you all be blessed with abundant resources for a Freilicha and Kosher Pesach, May your tables abound with guests who enlighten your seder with gems of Torah, May you and your children and your children's children not know from want all of your days, May your seder table be blessed with the visable revelation of Eliyahu haNavi in preparation for the coming of Melech Moshiach.

Amen.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

So why did you go ?

Someone captured a photo of me at the Prayer Rally aka Million Man March on Jerusalem
by the bridge ameitarim








Many people who know me know that I never attend protests, I just dont go. So many of them were surprised to hear and "see" that I went to this one.

Well the truth is at first I didnt intend to. But as the day wore on and "everyone" was going I felt left out and when my boys came home and said Tatty, how come youre not going when all the gedolim said to? I felt that for the sake of good chinuch alone I should show them that their Tatty listens to our rabbis and accepts their authority and I like Jewish unity and this was a prayer rally not a demonstration and so I went.

I am glad I did.

There was tremendous unity and it was very moving to be a part of such a presence, there was electricity on the air. We said Tehillim, Selichos and davened.

And we also sent a message saying united we stand, together diverse yet as one. We are am Yisroel in Eretz Yisroel only because the Torah has kept us alive through galus, and no Mr Netanyahu, Benet or Lapid can take that away from us.

The arab cab driver who drove me for 20NIS from Har Hertzel towards the Jerusalem Gates asked me to what purpose I was going, and so I told him, they have decreed against us all, "and what can this rally do?" he asked me, I answered him, pointing my finger up towards Heaven and said, "we are helpless we cannot do anything only He can help us, only He can rescind or cancel this decree, and so we have to ask Him, we have to pray." He nodded seriously and said, "You are right I agree."

He gets it.
 
btw
Well by now about 20 some odd people asked me if I had seen myself in this magazine/blog/website etc etc
and yes thanks I have by now

The funny thing is that I actually saw many reporters they didnt look particularly religious so I had no idea to what use and under what headlines and with what captions the photos they were snapping away would be used for so I kept ducking behind my pamphlet of Tehillim, but I guess they caught me anyway when I was unaware!




The gigantic crowds

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

knock knock knockin on heaven's door . . .Lizensk 2014

Just got back from Lizensk, (lezajsk) Poland where I spent the day  knock knock knockin on heaven's door . . .
davening, praying and reciting Tehillim at various kivrei tzadikim.

It was a real form of closure for me actually this time around, as I sat down in the bus from Rzeszów Airport and the driver a youngish local in his twenties turned on one of the local rock music radio stations. As I sat excited to reach my destination, the tzion of the heilige tzadik the Rebbe Reb Melech, I was assaulted by rock music to which the Yiddish murmurs and mumbles of discord around me replied

"Vos far a niggunim iz deis?!" what kind of strange niggunim/music is he playing? as Axl Rose singing Guns N Roses "Knocking on Heaven's Door," poured out of the speakers, it hit me . . .
that was exactly what I was here to do. I had come to knock, knock on heaven's door, to ask Hashem to open the Shaare' tefillah and Shaarei Dima that cannot be ever locked.

The effect was a kind of coming full circle, a kind of personal closure for me.
Here in Poland on the way to the Rebbe Reb Melech, on the way to knock on Heaven's door,
and I thought to myself, no one else on this bus but me has any clue what that song means or what he is singing!

Thats when it hammered the message home, no matter what my origins, upbringing or influences, so long as I could uplift myself to the right place and channel it all to the right direction thats what it was meant to be. . .
whatever nitzotzos, whatever sparks (if there were ever any) have been released, I came to knock on heaven's door by the Noam Elimelech, and be answered and poel a yehusha for all those who sent me on my trip and sponsored my way.



Imprints

The same kind of weird irony struck me as I walked back from the holy tzion of Rav Tzvi Elimelech author of Bnei Yissaschar in Dynow. As I walked back instead of walking back through the beis hachaim for some reason that only Heaven dictates, I walked out of the gate and walked up the dark path on the left.



As I walked towards the entrance on my right bordered by the high cemetary fence I noticed something on the ground. Here in Dynow Poland lay a plastic bag emblazoned with the Hebrew logo Steimazsky, the Israeli bookstore and I thought to myself, how funny that wherever we all go we all leave some imprint something of ourselves behind. It can be a piece of trash like this Steimazsky bag discarded by some Israeli pilgrim come like me to daven here by kivrei tzadikim, it can be a song, knock knock knocking on heaven's door. . .what kind of imprint will you leave behind? thats the question to ask ourselves . . .

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Irena Sendler

sendlerMany Jewish organizations throughout the world honor the Chasiday Umos HaOlam, the righteous among the nations but specifically referring to those non-Jews who risked their lives to help Jews survive the Holocaust.  Unusually, a Polish woman who saved over 2500 children in the Warsaw ghetto was first identified and honored by a group of Kansas city public school students who discovered, researched and compiled her story into a unique project which they named "Life in a Jar."
The story of Irena Sendler was almost unknown until the schoolgirls embarked on their mission to ascertain the verity of the events and let the world know about Sendler's selfless acts of bravery.
Irena Sendler was a non-Jewish social worker who joined the Polish underground, Zagota, in 1939 following the Germans invasion of Poland. Zagota specialized in helping Jews escape the Germans and, as part of the effort, Sendler obtained a pass to enter the ghetto as a "specialist" in infectious diseases.
Sendler quickly realized that the Nazis intended to murder all of the ghetto's Jews. She began to smuggle children out of the ghetto, sometimes through sewer pipes that ran under the city and at other times through the Old Courthouse that sat on the far edge of the ghetto. She also sedated young children and carried them out in toolboxes or hid them under tram seats which ran out of the ghetto.
Many of the children that Sendler saved were orphans, but others had families and Sendler had to convince their parents to allow their children to be taken out. "I talked the parents out of their children" Sendler later recounted.
Once the children had been removed from the ghetto, Sendler and her associates located families who were prepared to take the children into their homes for safekeeping. This act was punishable by death but Sendler was able to find homes for all of the children. Sendler documented the children whom she saved by writing their names and hiding places on scraps of tissue paper which she then buried in jars in her garden. She hoped to reunite the children with their families after the war or, if not, at least with the Jewish community. 
Irena Sendler was captured by the Nazis in 1943 and tortured, but she never revealed any information about "her" children. Zagota members were able to bribe a German guard to release her and Sendler lived out the last years of the war in hiding.
Irena kept a record of the names of the kids she smuggled out and kept them in a glass jar, buried under a tree in her back yard. After the war, she tried to locate any parents that may have survived and reunite the family. Unfortunately most had been gassed at Treblinka.
Although Sendler managed to save an amazing number of Jewish children, her deeds and the deeds of the Zagota members, were not publicized until the 1990s when a school project, "Life in a Jar," exposed the incident. Since that time the project has continued to grow through the funding of a Jewish philanthropist and other researchers.
In 2007 Irena was up for the Nobel Peace Prize. She was not selected.  Al Gore won, for a slide show on Global Warming.  He picked up his prize after arriving on a private jet.
Mrs. Sendler passed away in 2008 at 98 years old, clearly one of the righteous among the nations.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Fwd: Kedushas Levi

please enjoy excerpts from the upcoming MeOros Kedushas Levi on Bereishis and Noach


A Tzaddik, or righteous person makes everyone else appear righteous before G-d by advocating for them and finding their merits.

(Kedushas Levi, Noach Bereishis 7:1)


The Ways of Hashem are Sweet

Hashem called the light "day"...

(Bereishis 1:5)

Our Rabbis state in the Midrash (Bereishis Rabbah 2:5) regarding the verse "Hashem called the light 'day,' " that "this [refers to] the actions of the righteous Tzaddikim. 'And the darkness He called "night" ' — these are the actions of the wicked. Which actions does He prefer? The verse gives the answer: 'Hashem saw that the light was good' (Bereishis 1:4)."

This midrash is perplexing. How can we doubt which actions Hashem would prefer?

We can answer by paying close attention to the Rabbis' holy words. They did not say, "Light — these are the righteous" and "Dark — these are the wicked." Rather they said, "This refers to their actions." Rabbeinu Yonah explains this idea in his commentary to the Mishnah, in the ninth chapter of Berachos (54a): "[The Mishnah says:] ' "Serve Him with all your heart" (Devarim 6:5) — with both inclinations, with the good inclination and the evil inclination.' How can someone serve [Hashem] with his evil inclination? This is how: because the attribute of the good inclination is to desire and pursue peace and draw Bnei Yisrael with goodness and pleasantness to serve Hashem, while the attributes of the evil inclination are anger and hatred. The evildoer utilizes his anger and hatred to oppose the will of his Creator, to hate and rage against those who serve Hashem. However, the righteous Tzaddik utilizes this very same negative attribute of the evil inclination to serve Hashem — to hate and rage against those who transgress His will. This is what it means to [serve Hashem] 'with both your inclinations.' "

Based on this, we can explain [our verse], "Hashem called the light 'day.'" It refers to the actions of the righteous Tzaddikim. They utilize their attributes only for good, to draw other Jews close in a pleasant manner with gentle words of mussar and rebuke that the heart can accept so that they will leave the path of evil. "And the darkness He called 'night'" — this refers to the actions of the wicked. This does not refer to the wicked themselves, who are not at all desirable, but rather to their actions, which are full of hatred and anger that they utilize for evil intent. Hashem looked at their actions — because with these actions they could serve Hashem and break away from their wicked efforts. Instead, the wicked must be forced to repent against their will; Hashem takes vengeance against them until they are subjugated and pushed to the ground and repent and say, "I shall go and return and repent" (Hoshea 2:9).

Since both the attributes and actions of the wicked and the righteous can be used to serve Hashem, we can now understand how the Midrash can ask, "Which actions does He prefer?" The answer is that even though [the attributes of the wicked can be utilized to serve Hashem], He prefers the actions of the righteous Tzaddikim, since they draw the entire world close to serve the Creator in a pleasant manner, and not through anger, until all repent and return to Him.

Therefore it says, " 'G-d saw that the light was good' — this refers to the actions of the Tzaddikim," that they utilize the goodness [in His service, and not the negative attributes]. Thus the verse states the reason: "ki tov — because it is good [and pleasant]." [Hashem prefers the actions of the Tzaddikim] because Hashem's ways and His attributes are goodness, and He desires that everyone will draw close to Him through goodness, as the verse says, "Its [the Torah's] ways are ways of pleasantness" (Mishlei 3:17).


The Delight of a Mitzvah Waters the Garden

And a river came out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it divided into four tributaries.

(Bereishis 2:10)

Our Rabbis say, "Be as careful with an easy mitzvah as with a difficult one, since you do not know the reward given for mitzvos" (Avos 2:1). This means that we cannot fathom the pleasure and delight that HaKadosh Baruch Hu receives from our performance of a mitzvah, but we can understand one thing [about the reward for mitzvos]: that is the shefa and sustenance we receive from performing a mitzvah, which provides an opportunity from HaKadosh Baruch Hu to perform another mitzvah. When HaKadosh Baruch Hu sees how much we desire to do a mitzvah, [He sends us more] opportunities to perform mitzvos and study Torah, like when a father sees that his son understands a piece of wisdom. This spurs the father to ask his son a question to elicit more words of wisdom.

This is the meaning of "A river came out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it divided into four tributaries [literally, 'heads']." [These tributaries or heads symbolize] the brain, which has four areas, since the third portion of the brain is actually divided in two, and the river symbolizes the shefa, which "comes out from Eden." The word eden hints at pleasure and delight [based on the Hebrew word ma'adan]. Thus the verse is hinting that we receive shefa due to HaKadosh Baruch Hu's delight [in our mitzvos]. And [we receive the shefa] in order "to water the garden" — this is referring to the fifty-three sedarim of the Torah [since the word for "garden," gan, equals 53 in gematria] — "and from there it divides into four tributaries [or, literally, heads]." The shefa enters man's intellect, which he can then utilize to understand new and novel interpretations of the Torah and perform many more mitzvos.

This is why the mishnah above says, "Be as careful with an easy mitzvah as a difficult one..." In truth, this statement does not make sense, since we do not know the reward for mitzvos, so how can we call one more difficult than another? It seems to me that "easier" refers to those mitzvos that can be done over and over again, such as Torah study, since if one misses the opportunity to do it at one moment, he can do it another time. And "difficult," refers to those mitzvos that can only be done once a year, such as sukkah [since if he misses the opportunity, he can't perform it again until the coming year]. Based on what we said above, we can now say that one must be as careful with an "easier" mitzvah [even though he knows he will soon have another opportunity to perform it] as with a difficult one [since we cannot fathom the pleasure and delight Hashem derives from our mitzvah performance].

Two types of Tzaddikim:
Those Who believe in themselves and those Who are too humble

These are the generations of Noach; Noach was a righteous man, perfect in his generations...

(Bereishis 6:9)

Let us analyze Rashi's comment [on Bereishis 7:7]: "Even Noach was among those of little faith." How could this be true? As we see here, the Torah testifies regarding Noach that "Noach was a righteous man, perfect in his generations" (Bereishis 6:9). Also, [if he was so righteous] why didn't Noach pray to Hashem to nullify the decree [against that generation]?

There are two types of Tzaddikim who serve the Creator. There is the Tzaddik who serves the Creator and desires nothing more; he believes that he has the power to run the higher realms and worlds, controlling them as he wishes, as our Sages teach: " 'A Tzaddik rules through the fear of Hashem' (Shmuel II 23:3) — who rules over Me? [says Hashem]. The Tzaddik. HaKadosh Baruch Hu decrees, and the Tzaddik nullifies the decree for the greater good" (Mo'ed Katan 16b).

The other type of Tzaddik also serves the Creator, but he is exceedingly humble and considers himself lowly. In his heart he thinks, Who am I that I should pray to nullify a decree? And so he doesn't pray to nullify [any decrees].

This is the meaning of the Gemara's statement "Nevuchadnetzar desired to sing and praise [Hashem] — he disparaged the songs and praises of David HaMelech" (Sanhedrin 92b). It is not clear what the word ginah, "disparaged," means in this context. However, based on our explanation above it makes sense. Nevuchadnetzar was wicked and evil, and he destroyed our Holy Temple the Beis HaMikdash. But he understood that the righteous have the power to transform the divine attribute of strict justice into mercy. He was worried that a righteous Tzaddik would pray that the Beis HaMikdash should be rebuilt. He therefore said [regarding Hashem], "He does as He wishes with the hosts of heaven and earth" (Daniel 4:32) — that He does as He wishes regarding the higher realms and the Tzaddikim are unable to abolish decrees. Therefore our Sages say, "Nevuchadnetzar desired to sing and praise [Hashem] — he disparaged the songs and praises of David HaMelech." Nevuchadnetzar desired to sing songs of praise that were the opposite of David's praises. David said, "He fulfills the will of those who fear Him" (Tehillim 145:19) — that Hashem runs the worlds according to the will of the righteous Tzaddikim [meaning that Hashem does the will of the Tzaddikim, who fear Him], and the wicked Nevuchadnetzar had the opposite intention, as we explained.

Even though Noach was a perfect Tzaddik, he considered himself small and lowly. He did not believe in himself, that he was able to abolish the decree. On the contrary, he thought of himself as no better than the rest of his generation. He thought, If I will be saved by entering the ark, and I am no more righteous than any of them, this must mean that they, too, will ultimately be saved. This is why he did not pray on behalf of his generation.

This then is the meaning of Rashi's comment that Noach was among those of little faith. Noach considered himself small and insignificant; he lacked faith in himself as a perfect, flawless Tzaddik who could abolish the decree. He did not consider himself important at all.

This is also the meaning of the verse "I will destroy them from the earth" (Bereishis 6:13) — I will do as I will, because there is no Tzaddik to abolish my decree, and therefore I will destroy them from the earth. And later it says, "I will establish My covenant with you" (Bereishis 9:9) — even though there is no Tzaddik praying to nullify decrees, I will establish this bris with you.

Self-Sacrifice for Kosher Food Cancels the Decree

Once, the Berditchever perceived that there was a terrible decree hanging over the heads of Klal Yisrael, and he went and immersed himself in the waters of the mikveh. He was on the way to pray to rescind the decree, when he passed a Jewish woman carrying a small package of meat and cursing her miserable lot under her breath.

"Why do you utter such oaths?" the Berditchever asked her.

"And why shouldn't I? I lead a poor and wretched existence, and my cupboards are bare! We hardly have any food, but at least for Shabbos I am able to buy a little meat to give my family some nourishment. That wretched butcher gives me little meat for a great sum of money, and half of it is bones!"

"So why don't you go to another butcher?" asked her the Berditchiver.

"What difference will it make?" she spat bitterly. "They are all the same!"

"Why don't you go to a gentile butcher then? Why, I bet you could get some treife meat for next to nothing. If you are so poor, buy some treife meat. It is much cheaper!"

The poor woman had no idea who this old man was, but one thing she knew: he must be either wicked or crazy. "You old fool!" she berated the Berditchever. "Even if I knew that I would starve to death, Heaven forbid, I would rather die of starvation than eat treife food!"

Hearing this, the Berditchiver turned away and left, and immediately pled his case to the Ribbono shel olam to cancel the decree, for now he had a good argument to bring before the court.

"Master of the world! Even a poor simple woman would rather sacrifice herself for You than eat treife!"

With this argument, he succeeded in rescinding the decree.





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Kol Tuv,
R' Tal Moshe Zwecker
Director Machon Be'er Mayim Chaim Publishing
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Fwd: The Passing of the Berditchever


in honor of the Yorzeit of the Kedushas Levi - isru chag sukkos

The Passing of the Berditchever

When Rav Yitzchak of Neschiz married the Berditchever's granddaughter, the Berditchever said that under no circumstances could he promise to support the young couple for more than four years. This was quite a surprise to all, since it was customary to support a young couple for longer. It was only when the four-year period was over that everything became clear. At that time, Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev passed away.1

Not long before the Berditchever's passing, a wealthy Jew living in Berditchev was involved in a dispute with Rav Levi Yitzchak. This wealthy man had invited the Rav Yechiel Michel of Rachov (another tradition says that he was from Morchov) to serve as a rav in Berditchev. When the Rachover arrived, the townspeople were certain he and Rav Levi Yitzchak, who currently served as rav in official capacity, would clash in a difference of opinion.

It seemed that things might come to a head at a bris to which both rabbis had been invited. Since the Berditchever had decreed that all circumcisions were to be conducted in the shul to honor Eliyahu HaNavi, they brought the baby there for the bris. The shamash misunderstood his instructions and instead of inviting just one of the rabbis to the bris, he invited both of them, the Rachover and the Berditchever, to the Bris.

Both rabbis lived close to the shul, one to the right of the building and one to the left, and both set out for the bris at about the same time and ended up arriving simultaneously in front of the shul. This was their first meeting face to face in Berditchev, and each stood at the doorway, waiting to allow the other to enter first. They stood there in silence for some time until finally one of the guests came out and said, "Let the Berditchever go in first since he was the rabbi here before," and so the Berdicthever entered the shul first.

After the bris, the two rabbis parted ways, but it was clear from this incident that the Berditchever respected the Rachover as a great individual. Theirs was a relationship where reproof was out in the open while their precious friendship was kept hidden from the public eye. Nonetheless, the local populace knew of their affection for each other.


When the Berditchever grew ill and bedridden, the Rachover also took ill. The Berditchever passed away that night, and the funeral was scheduled for the next day. That morning the Rachover called over his son Rav Asher and chastised him for concealing the news that the Berditchever had passed away. "Why didn't anyone tell me that the rav has passed away?" he said. "In any case, I knew it in my own way."

They admitted to him that indeed the Berditchever had left this world. The Rachover asked his son to tell Rav Yisrael of Pikov, the Berditchever's son, that when they carried the bier the funeral procession should pass by his home since he had urgent matters to tell the Berditchever. His son promised, and when the funeral procession passed by, he descended from his sickbed and approached the Berditchever's bier. He whispered into Rav Levi Yitzchak ear, speaking at length. None of what he said was audible to anyone except for the last words he spoke, a quote from a verse: "Count for yourself seven weeks" (Devarim 16:9). Seven weeks to the day that the Berditchever passed away the Rachover rav left this world as well.3

There is a tradition from the Maggid of Petriva and Rav Yisrael of Vizhnitz that Rav Levi Yitzchak passed away right after Sukkos. They related that the Berditchever grew weak after Yom Kippur, and his condition was life-threatening. He prayed that he might live a little longer so that he would merit to fulfill the mitzvah of waving the four species, which he yearned and waited for all year long. His prayers were answered and he lived until Isru Chag (the day after Sukkos). He passed away on the night of the twenty-fifth of Tishrei.4

When news spread of his passing, one of the chassidim of Rav Baruch of Mezibuzh rushed to tell his Rebbe the news of the Berditchever's passing. Rav Baruch was known to criticize Rav Levi Yitzchak's ways, and the chassid thought he was bringing "good" news. Instead, Rav Baruch practically fainted and began to cry and wail in distress.

He admonished the harbinger of such terrible news. "Don't think that when I spoke against Rav Levi Yitzchak I did so in order to diminish his stature or blemish his honor! Rav Levi Yitzchak rose to the loftiest levels, to the highest spiritual realms above that of even the ministering angels, and I was afraid they would harm him in their jealousy. Therefore I used trickery and guile to hide my intentions and pretended to belittle and mock his holy ways to silence their jealous accusations."5

When Rebbe Nachman of Breslov talked about the passing of Rav Levi Yitzchak, he said, "Even the average individual should feel the loss of a Tzaddik such as Rav Levi Yitzchak. Everyone now feels that there is something lacking in the world. There is a depressed mood everywhere. One might feel it in his business, which no longer runs as smoothly as before. Another might feel it in his bones, which somehow seem displaced. If your eyes are truly open, you will see that world has become dark, for a great light has been extinguished in the world. A great candle's light has been snuffed out and the world has filled with a great darkness."6

"The Berditchever said before he passed away that when he arrived in the next world he would not rest nor give any other Tzaddik respite rest until he succeeded in bringing Mashiach." Thus spoke Rav Avraham Yehoshua Heschel of Apta and Mezibuzh on the day he left this world. Before he passed away, the Apter Rav cried and wailed about our bitter exile. Why does Mashiach ben Yishai tarry so long? That is when he mentioned the Berditchever's promise. "However," he concluded, "when he ascended on high, they showed him such lofty spiritual levels and engaged him in such magnificent supernal chambers that he grew distracted that he forgot his mission.

"I, however, will not forget!"7

Notes:

1. Zichron Tov, Mei'Avodas Hashem 13, p. 16.

2. See the story in Vayeira entitled "In Honor of Eliyahu" above and the tradition of Rav Shalom Gutman of Yas that corroborates this ruling of Rav Levi Yitzchak.

3. Kisvei Rav Yoshe 32, p. 144; Eser Oros 3:40.

4. Toldos Kedushas Levi (Munkacz) 8:103; see also Sichos HaRan 196.

5. Toldos Kedushas Levi (Munkacz) 8:108; Eser Oros 3:22.

6. Toldos Kedushas Levi (Munkacz) 8:105; see also Sichos HaRan 196.

7. Otzar HaSippurim, vol. 18, p. 25.





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Kol Tuv,
R' Tal Moshe Zwecker
Director Machon Be'er Mayim Chaim Publishing
Chassidic Classics in the English Language
www.chassidusonline.com
chassidusonline@gmail.com
Phone: 972-2-992-1218 / Cell: 972-54-842-4725
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