Friday, December 4, 2009

Yud Tes 19 Kislev Yorzeit of the Mezritcher Maggid

Rav Dov Ber the Maggid of Mezritch and the Ba'al Shem Tov's successor was the Rebbe of Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev
Please enjoy sample selections from the upcoming MeOros Kedushas Levi

Reb Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev became the rav of Pinsk in the year 1771, taking the place of the Toras Yekusiel. At that time a great gathering of misnagdim — the opponents of Chassidus — was held in Shklov. They made many false accusations against the chassidim so that soon the situation in Pinsk became too difficult for Reb Levi Yitzchak to bear. It was under the backdrop of the gathering in Shklov that Reb Levi Yitzchak received the letter that would be the cause of his mentor's premature passing.

Reb Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the author of the Tanya and the Shulchan Aruch, was in Mezritch learning with the Maggid. One Shabbos, nine other students of the Maggid arrived: Reb Shmuel Shmelke of Nikolsberg and his brother Reb Pinchas, the author of Hafla'ah, Reb Nachum of Chernobyl, Reb Levi Yitzchak, Reb Zev Wolf of Zhitomir, the holy brothers the Rebbe Reb Elimelech and Rebbe Zisha, Reb Leib, and Reb Shlomo of Karlin. Reb Shneur Zalman was the youngest among them; most were already serving as rabbis of various towns and cities.

While they were there, a letter arrived from Pinsk. It was from Reb Levi Yitzchak's wife. Her letter described the suffering his family had to endure at the hands of the misnagdim. (Some say they were even chased out of town so that a new rav by the name of Avigdor would take Reb Levi Yitzchak's place. Others say that the family actually showed up at the Maggid's residence.)

Reb Levi Yitzchak's colleagues were greatly distressed by the news. They decided that they would have the letter read before the Maggid during the Shabbos meal, for they considered the matter quite serious. Since Reb Levi Yitzchak was directly involved in matter, he was the obvious choice to read the letter for the Maggid.

While Reb Levi Yitzchak read the letter out loud before his Rebbe, the Maggid remained silent and did not utter a word. (According to some versions, he reread the letter at each meal, yet received no response each time.) The Maggid's disciples wondered at this, and on motza'ei Shabbos they gathered together to decide what to do. Perhaps the Maggid's silence, they speculated, was a sign of acquiescence that it was up to them to decide how to handle the affair. They took a vote on whether to issue a ban of excommunication against the misnagdim. But in order to do so, they needed a quorum of men for a minyan, and they were short one man. They decided that they must convince Reb Shneur Zalman to join them though they knew it would be difficult to persuade him to do so without the Maggid's permission.

Reb Shmuel Shmelke had an idea. They sent Reb Zisha to Reb Shneur Zalman to ask him if issuing cherem in such a situation was permissible. If he would answer yes, they would ask him to join them. If no, they would try to think of something else.

In the end, Rebbe Zisha convinced Reb Shneur Zalman to join them, and they placed a ban of excommunication against the misnagdim and the people of Pinsk for persecuting the chassidim and Reb Levi Yitzchak and his family.

Midnight had long passed when the Maggid's students returned and went to sleep in the Maggid's dormitories. But Reb Shneur Zalman could not sleep; he was feeling uneasy about the night's events. He felt that something was wrong. As he took his place on a small three-cornered pillow by the wood-burning stove, he felt that somehow the Maggid must know what they had done.

Sure enough, he could hear the Maggid's footsteps, a distinctive sound since he suffered from a sickness that had affected his legs and Reb Shneur Zalman could hear the Maggid's crutches bumping on the floor. Curious to find out what his Rebbe would do, Reb Shneur Zalman feigned sleep. Through slitted eyes, he saw his Rebbe enter with a candle in hand and look in the face of each of his disciples. When he reached Reb Shneur Zalman, the Maggid said, "Ribbono shel olam! Master of the world! This llittle Yid lying here on this little pillow will be the Rebbe of all the provinces in Russia?"

His voice woke the sleeping students. They washed and stood up, and Reb Shneur Zalman did likewise.

"My children," the Maggid said to them, "what have you done?"

"We could hold back no longer!" they cried. "How much can we suffer? We had no choice."

"I knew there was a great danger, and it was not for naught that I did not act! Now it is too late, for by this act you have lost your head and your leader. But you have been rewarded with one success — that from now until the end of time, whenever there shall be a disagreement between the chassidim and their opponents, the chassidim will emerge victorious."

So it was that in that year, the year 1773, on the nineteenth of Kislev, we lost the great refined light of the holy Tzaddik, the Maggid of Mezritch.

Kol Tuv,
R' Tal Moshe Zwecker
Director Machon Be'er Mayim Chaim
Phone: 972-2-992-1218 / Cell: 972-54-842-4725
VoIP: 516-320-6022
eFax: 1-832-213-3135
join the mailing list to keep updated about new projects here:

Selections from upcoming MeOros Kedushas Levi for18 Kislev Rav Baruch of Mezibuz Yorzeit zya

18th of Kislev is the Ba'al Shem Tov's grandson the holy Rebbe Reb Baruch of Mezibuz's Yorzeit
Please enjoy a few selections from upcoming MeOros Kedushas Levi for18 Kislev Rav Baruch of Mezibuz Yorzeit zy"a

When the Berditchever Rejoices, All the Angels Rejoice

One Shabbos, the Berditchever was visiting Reb Baruch of Mezibuzh. In the morning, after he had made Kiddush, Reb Baruch returned to shul to observe how the Berditchever, who was still davening, prayed the mussaf service. Just as Reb Baruch entered the shul, he heard Reb Levi Yitzchak yelling, "Kesser!" with such great excitement that he leaped up and jumped onto the cantor's podium!

Upon seeing this, Reb Baruch called to his attendants, "Quick! Hand me a gartel!" but there were no prayer sashes in the immediate vicinity. Reb Baruch wrapped a towel around his waist in lieu of a belt and recited the Kedushah of Kesser together with the holy Berditchever.

Later Reb Baruch explained that when he entered the beis midrash, he saw the entire host of angels from heaven gathering together to recite the Kedushah together with the holy Berditchever. He asked for a gartel so that he could join them.

A different time Reb Baruch told his students regarding Reb Levi Yitzchak's remarkable devotion to prayers, "When the Berditchiver rav recites the blessings of the morning Shema and says the words 'who fashions servants and ministering angels and whose servants and ministering angels all stand at the summit of the universe,' all the angels come down from on High and advocate on behalf of the Jewish people."


The Tchortkover Rebbe would often relate the following story:

Reb Moshe'le from Zhvill, the son of Reb Yechiel Michel of Zlotchov, was once visiting the Rebbe Reb Baruch of Mezibuzh. At that time, the chassid Reb Yaakov Mohilliver, who was known by his nickname Reb Yakovka, was also visiting Reb Baruch. Reb Yakovka was the court jester and would entertain Reb Baruch by acting out the antics of the holy Reb Levi Yitzchak of Berditchever, how he would bow and prostrate himself during the shofar blowing or during the lighting of the Chanukah candles. The Rebbe Reb Baruch would laugh out loud at these performances, and it appeared as if he was making fun of the holy Berditchever.

Reb Moshe'leh of Zhvill was present at Reb Baruch's Shabbos table when Reb Yakovka performed his comedy act, mimicking Reb Levi Yitzchak's bowing and gestures that he would make when he served the Creator. Reb Baruch laughed so hard it seemed that his stomach would burst! But Reb Moshe'leh was beside himself with anguish. How could anyone in the world could laugh and make fun of such a Tzaddik as the holy rav of Berditchev?

The scene replayed itself at each of the Shabbos meals: Reb Yakovka acted out different antics of the Berditchever's holy avodah, and Reb Baruch did not stop laughing during the entire meal.

Reb Moshe'leh's hair stood on end and he felt chills run through his body as he observed the travesty going on before him. He could find no explanation for Reb Baruch's shameful behavior.

Although he had originally planned on spending another Shabbos in Mezibuzh, he immediately decided against it. On Sunday, he came to take his leave of Reb Baruch and return home. "Why are you in such a hurry? Stay a little longer. Spend another Shabbos with us," Reb Baruch entreated his guest.

Reb Moshe'leh could not contain himself. He burst out with a pained heart, "How can you make fun of the holy Berditchever Rav whom I know to be a saintly man of G-d!"

"Another good Jew who does not know what he is saying!" Reb Baruch exclaimed. "For several years now the holy Berditchever has in mind all the kavanos that the kohen gadol had in the Beis HaMikdash when he prays. In order to preempt the prosecutions of the satan, I have no choice but to mock and belittle the Berditchever's avodah. This nullifies the prosecutions of the satan and hastens the redemption and the rebuilding of the Mikdash. I know the truth in my heart, that the holy rav of Berdichiver is great and awesome. My laughter is solely to cancel the satan's evil intentions."


Eating with the Berditchiver

Once the Berditchiver was visiting the holy Rav Baruch of Mezibuz. Rav Baruch was known to be extremely sensitive, fussy and exacting. Every detail had to be just right. Rav Baruch would also get angry if he was disturbed. The Berditchiver wanted to sit at Rav Baruch's table and eat a meal with the holy Ba'al Shem Tov's grandson and so he asked him: "Reb Baruch Leyb, my love! I wish to sit across from you so that I do not disturb you with my gesticulations and motions!" Rav Baruch was greatly pleased since he did not wish to say this and make such a request himself.

Therefore when the attendants set the table for the meal, they set the table width-wise instead of lengthwise. So that although the Berditchiver and Rav Baruch were at opposite ends of the table they would not seem to be seated so far away from each other.

Rav Baruch sat on one side of the width and the Berditchiver sat opposite him on the other side. When they had pronounced the HaMotzi blessing over the bread, the Berditchiver was seized with a great fiery passion and in his excitement he called out: "Rav Baruch Serdtse!" (As was his custom to call Jews by this slavic term which means My heart! My beloved!) As soon as he said the word Sertse, he leaped up onto the table next to Rav Baruch. Off course he caused all the dishes and glasses to smash and break and come crashing down from the table. This was the Berditchiver's behavior when he was enraptured with dveykus! (Eser Oros 3:9, Devarim Areivim p24-25)


One of the chassidim of the Rebbe Reb Baruch of Mezibuzh rushed to tell his Rebbe the news of the Berditchever's passing. The Rebbe Reb Baruch was known to criticize Reb Levi Yitzchak's ways, and the chassid thought he was bringing "good" news. Instead, Reb 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 Reb Levi Yitzchak I did so in order to diminish his stature or blemish his honor! Reb 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."

That chassid did not live out the year.

Kol Tuv,
R' Tal Moshe Zwecker
Director Machon Be'er Mayim Chaim
Phone: 972-2-992-1218 / Cell: 972-54-842-4725
VoIP: 516-320-6022
eFax: 1-832-213-3135
join the mailing list to keep updated about new projects here:

Selections from the upcoming MeOros Kedushas Levi for Yud Tes 19 Kislev

The 19th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev is celebrated as the "Rosh Hashanah of Chassidism." It was on this date, in the year 1798, that the founder of Chabad Chassidism, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi (1745-1812), was freed from his imprisonment in Czarist Russia. More than a personal liberation, this was a watershed event in the history of Chassidism, heralding a new era in the revelation of the "inner soul" of Torah.

Just before the Alter Chabad Rebbe Rav Shneur Zalman of Liadi was taken away, after his arrest on false trumped up charges of subversive and rebellious activities against the government his brother-in-law, R. Israel Kosik, approached him and asked for instructions.

"You," said the Rebbe, "go immediately, and I mean immediately, to Petersburg. Go, just as you are now, without any hesitation. Someone else should go to Berditchev to inform R. Levi Yitzchak, that he may intercede and pray." The Rebbe's order was carried out. Losing no time R. Israel Kosik left for Petersburg, in the very same clothes he was wearing. In order to carry out the Rebbe's order and leave in haste, he did not return to his hometown in Babinovich to obtain a passport, but instead he borrowed one belonging to a friend.

Someone else left for Berditchev, but in all the excitement and haste the man forgot to note the name of the Alter Rebbe's mother, which was needed for the kvittel and the petition known as a Pidyon Nefesh. Arriving in Berditchev he informed Rav Levi Yitzchak of all that had happened to the Rebbe. In hearing the account of the occurrences, the Berditchiver fell to the floor in agony and cried bitterly.

He then asked the emissary whether the Alter Rebbe was upset. Receiving an affirmative answer, he inquired further, whether he was deeply upset or merely superficially. "It would appear that he was upset only superficially," replied the emissary. "I noticed that he forgot to take along his house slippers, but he did not forget to take his Tallis and Tefillin with him." Rav Levi Yitzchak was very impressed by this reply and commended the man's power of observation saying "Der Litvak Kukt Gut," which means the Lithuanian observes well.

He then asked for the name of the Alter Rebbe's mother. The emissary did not know what to answer since in his haste to arrive at Berditchev he forgot to ask for the name. He had remembered that he did not know the name, but was then already far on his way and afraid to return because the element of speed had been stressed so much.

There was a Chumash on the table. The Berditchiver opened it, and the first verse he saw was in Parshas Miketz (Bereshis 42:1-2) "And Yaakov saw that there was 'shever' (food) in Egypt." Said Rav Levi Yitzchak: "The word shever is an acrostic for Shneur ben Rivka." When someone asked the Berditchiver if it could not be Rachel which also begins with a Reish, he answered that the word Shever contained two letters from the name Rivkah, both a Reish and a Beis. And so it was indeed. The Rebbe himself, sometimes signed his name "Shneur ben Rivka."

(Beis Rebbe I p28; Rabbeinu HaZaken p.42; Tiferes Beis Levi p16-17)

Another version of the story that was recorded by the Lubavitcher Rebbe:

Before the Alter Chabad Rebbe, Rav Shneur Zalman of Liadi was incarcerated on false charges he sent a Pidyon Nefesh, a letter of petition to Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev through Reb Yaakov Smilianer. The letter said: "To awaken heavenly mercy and try an attempt that all my thoughts will be actualized from their potential state with no spiritual injury or bodily harm." He told Rav Yaakov that he should read this Pidyon Nefesh so that "the letters will the be engraved in your memory."

When Reb Yaakov reached Berditchev he saw that he had lost the letter of petition. When he came before Rav Levi Yitzchak he recited the contents of the lost letter of petition from memory, since they were "engraved in his mind," since the Alter Chabad Rebbe had asked him to memorize it.

Rav Levi Yitzchak asked Reb Yaakov what Rav Shneur Zalman's mother's name was and Reb yaakov Smilianer did not know the answer.

Rav Levi Yitzchak lit up his Lilke (a long pipe that many Rebbe's once smoked) saying: "With this pipe I could burn up all of Petersburg!"

Reb Yaakov responded: "Berditchiver Rav! Our Rebbe is a Russian Rebbe, he represents the attributes of Chaba"d – Chochmah – Wisdom, Binah – Insight and Daas – Knowledge." (Meaning that he does not need to resort to miracles.)

Rav Levi Yitzchak gave him a good look and said in jest, "See what a Russian chassid is like?! For him even a Rebbe without a mother is fine!" (Since he did not remember the Alter Chabad Rebbe's mothers name.)

Rav Levi Yitzchak went to the mikvah, with Reb yaakov following him. When Rav Levi Yitzchak had finished immersing and he came out and washed his hands he said: "Now I know that there is food - shever in Egypt!" (based on Bereshis 42:1-2) Yes there is hope because there is shever in Egypt (since it spells Shneur Ben Rivkah).

(Shaarei HaMoadim #26 p140-141)

Upon his release from prison, the Alter Chabad Rebbe wrote three letters: one to R. Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, one to R. Baruch of Mezhibuz, and one to all the Chassidim. In these he informed them of his release.

This is the text of his letter to Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev (Original Attached) :

"Behold I have received a blessing and I shall return one as well to my honored and beloved, the great Rabbi and genius, pious and ascetic the master Rav Levi Yitzchak, and to all those who take shleter in his shade, the shadow of wisdom. May you all have life forever especially his precious children may they live.

Whereas I was drawn by G-d, who uplifted me to inform the humble and the upright of heart of joyous tidings - "Rejoice in the L-rd, O you righteous," (Tehillim, 97:12) and praise the name of your G-d who acted towards you miraculously in unlimited degree. I shall recount and tell that which defies description - how G-d acted wondrously and magnificently on earth, made wondrous and great His great and holy Name which publicly became magnified and sanctified, especially in the eyes of all the officers and people in the provinces of the king; in their eyes too this matter is considered so exceptionally wondrous that they reacted and said 'this must be from Hashem, for it is wondrous in our eyes.' (Tehillim 118:23) It is for a sign that G-d is with us and there is none other beside Him.

Behold, who am I that G-d took me so far, that through so lowly a person as myself the name of Heaven was magnified and sanctified?! It must then be because the principal battle was that they had in essence undertaken to wage war against the teachings of the Ba'al Shem Tov, his disciples and their disciples. And it was G-d's will to favor us in the merit of the Holy Land and its inhabitants - this stood by us and in our support and will stand by us in every time of need, to bring us freedom and salvation, to widen unto us that which is narrow and to deliver us from agony, and to raise our horn in the Glory of G-d, the L-rd who forever sits On High and rejoices in His Creation, if it shall please Him so.

It ought to be mentioned, that this day upon which Hashem was with us, is the day on which it was twice said 'it is good,' - the 19th of the Hebrew month of Kislev, the great anniversary of the passing of our holy rabbi and teacher, of blessed memory; (The Maggid of Mezritch's yahrzeit) and as we read in Sefer Tehillim the pasuk 'my soul was freed in peace,' (Based on Tehillim 55:19 "He redeemed my soul in peace from battles against me, because of the many who were with me.") before I even began the next verse - I departed in peace, and I hereby conclude with peace from the G-d of peace.

These are the words of your beloved friend, who constantly prays for your welfare,

Shneur Zalman, the son of R. Baruch of blessed memory." (Igros Kodesh Admor HaZaken Letter #38 p97-99)

Kol Tuv,
R' Tal Moshe Zwecker
Director Machon Be'er Mayim Chaim
Phone: 972-2-992-1218 / Cell: 972-54-842-4725
VoIP: 516-320-6022
eFax: 1-832-213-3135
join the mailing list to keep updated about new projects here:

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Blessing of HaRav Yaakov Meir Shechter Shlit”a


ברכתו של כ"ק אדמו"ר הרה"צ רב יעקב מאיר שכטער שליט"א ראש ישיבת שער השמים

אור לי"ז כסלו תש"ע

נכנסתי בקודש פנימה עם הספר מפניני נועם אלימלך וגם עם דוגמת הספר מאורות קדושת לוי

וקבלתי ברכת "ברכה והצלחה" - וקבלתי רשות לפרסם בשו שכל המוציא ועוסק להוציא ספרי הצדיקים לאור שהוא כדוגמת שימוש צדיקים ומה יכול להיות יותר גדול מלשמש צדיקים

ואמר לי ג"כ שהדפסת ספרים מביא אור גדול לעולם

The Blessing of HaRav Yaakov Meir Shechter Shlit"a Rosh Yeshiva of Sha'ar HaShomayim

Thursday December 3 2009

I entered the Rabbi's inner sanctum and showed him the sefer MiPeninei Noam Elimelech and a sample of the MeOros Kedushas Levi, where he blessed me with blessings of success in my endeavors.

He also allowed me to publicize the following in his name:

Whoever publishes and works on the seforim of the Tzadikim, it is as if he is tending to them and doing Shimush. What could be a greater thing than meriting to tend to and do Shimush with the Tzadikim.

He also said to me that whoever helps print seforim is brining great light into this world.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thursday Today (November 26th) the 9th of Kislev is a very special time

Subject: הנה! זה הגיע! תזכורת לנצל את העת רצון של:

This coming Thursday Today (November 26th) the 9th of Kislev is a very special time where the gates of Tefilas are wide open and Hashem is hearing, accepting and answering our prayers! Like the Ramban wrote: "the 9th year on the 9th month at the 9th hour of the day is a time of happiness and grants from Hashem". and you should know, adds the Chesed L'avraham, "this time is very appropriate for success and is a pipeline to bring upon ourselves abundance and redemption."
This very special moment only comes around once every 7 years so we must get ready for it and take advantage of the opportunity granted to us from Hashem. Therefore it is important we take the time to pray and ask Hashem for all we need and desire in a clear and detailed way. In order to do so, we must prepare ourselves and put on paper what is the most important to us so that we can ask it clearly on this very special moment.
 May Hashem grant all our Tefilas and bakashos hakol l'tov
please when you Daven to Hashem have Klal Yisrael in mind for
yeshua,bracha,hatzlacha,refuah,parnasa,shalom,shalom bayis,nachas,teshuva,and for Hashem to take us out of this Galus we are in AMEN!!!!
 Israel from 1:43pm to 1:56pm
 New York from 2:07pm to 2:55pm
 Los Angeles from 2:15pm to 3:03pm
 Miami from 2:44pm to 3:42pm
 Chicago from 1:56pm to 2:47pm

בשורות טובות

להוי"ה הארץ ומלואה תבל ויושבי בה
יום חמישי ט' לחודש כסליו ה'תש"ע
חבר וידיד הי"ו
בספר 'ברית מנוחה'
שהאר"י הקדוש כותב עליו: 'שכל דבריו ברוח הקודש'
"השנה התשיעית, והחודש התשיעי, והיום התשיעי, והשעה התשיעית,
היא שעת רצון מיוחד ומסוגל מאוד,
והיא שעה המוכנה להצלחה,
כי הוא צינור לכל השפע,
וכל הנולד בו עולה למלוכה"
היום בין השעות: 12.50 ל: 3.00
ולכל השיטות ב- 13 הדקות שבין: 1.43 ל: 1.56
זהו השעה התשיעית, של היום התשיעי, לחודש התשיעי,
וגם השנה התשיעית... (כי כך נקראת שנה זו בתורה, כי היא השנה השנייה שאחרי שנת השמיטה...)
אל תהיה בטלן!!!
תנצל את השעה הזאת עם כל דבר רוחני:
תפלה... לימוד תורה... עשיית מעשה חסד... עמידה בניסיונות...
דע את אשר לפניך!
ועורר בכך את הרצון העליון של הבורא ומנהיג היקום לבוא לעזרתך בכל תחום
(לרבים השואלים:
גם בארצות הברית השעה התשיעית - לפי חישוב השעות הזמניות - הם די דומות לארץ ישראל
עם סטיות קטנות של כמה דקות לכאן ולכאן...)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Authors' Book Fair - Thurs 10th Dec

I will be present imy"h at the Authors' Book Fair - Thurs 10th Dec

We are pleased to announce the 1st Annual Beit Shemesh Authors Fair
               In memory of Charles H. Bendheim

To be held on:
Thursday 10th December 2009
Starting at 7.30pm
Menorat Maor Shul
Nachal Hamaor, Ramat Beit Shemesh Alef

This will be a wonderful opportunity to meet with local authors and buy their works.

Come meet:
Rabbi Chagai Bar Giora
Rabbi Jonathan Duker  The Spirits Behind the Law: The Talmudic Scholars
Rabbi Ari Enkin  Dalet Amot: Halachic Perspectives ; Amot Shel Halacha: Halachic Insights
Rabbi Yehonasan Gefen - The Guiding Light
Gita Gordon - South African Journeys, Flashback, Mystery in the Amazon, Scattered Blossoms
Rabbi Karmi Gross - Mekor Habracha
Rabbi David Guedalia Berach Dodi A Multi-Faceted Approach to Verse, Chok LDavid Talmudic Readings in the Tradition of Darchei HaGemara
Rabbi Shalom Hammer - The Family Parsha Book; The Eibshitz Hagadda
Shoshana Kesner - Oh Baby! A guide to the  4th trimester
Dov Krulwich - Harry Potter and Torah
Rabbi Moshe Lichtman - Eim HaBanim Semeichah; An Angel Among Men; A Question of Redemption; What's the Purpose? ; Kitzur Messilat Yesharim (Hebrew)
Rabbi Dov Lipman - Discover, Timeout
Rabbi Zvi Miller - Ohr Yisrael: The Classic Writings of Rabbi Yisrael Salanter; Thirty Days to Teshuva; Living Mussar Every Day; The Salant Birchon; Windows of the Soul: Practical Guide to Controlling Your Eyes
Rabbi Yaakov Montrose - Halachic World vols. 1 and 2; Yoshev Ohalim
Rabbi Chaim Perlmutter -  Grow With Gemara - A Hands-On Guide to the Study of Gemara; Tools for Tosafos - A guide to the study of Tosafos; Gemara Wisdom - Bava Metzia - A collection of articles concerning the moral aspect of the Torah monetary laws as they are taught in the Gemara
Rabbi Moshe Pinchuk - Kankanim (A Multifaceted Approach to Biblical Episodes), An Intro to the Study of Talmud Yerushalmi
Riva Pomerantz - Green Fences; Breaking Free
Rabbi Natan Slifkin - The Challenge of Creation; Sacred Monsters; Perek Shirah: Nature's Song; Man and Beast
Rabbi David Spektor
Penina Taylor - Coming Full Circle:  A Jewish Woman's Journey through Christianity and Back
Rabbi Tal Moshe Zwecker - MiPeninei Noam Elimelech
Kol Tuv,
R' Tal Moshe Zwecker
Director Machon Be'er Mayim Chaim
Phone: 972-2-992-1218 / Cell: 972-54-842-4725
VoIP: 516-320-6022
eFax: 1-832-213-3135
join the mailing list to keep updated about new projects here:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

In the beginning . . .Noam Elimelech ...

I met and drew close to the Clevelander Rebbe Shlit"a of Ra'anana, Israel when I was 18/19 and learning for a year post high school in eretz yisroel. I had relatives in Ra'anana and I was searching for a Chassidus that was English speaking (I didnt know Yiddish at the time) accessible (I didnt want to be one of thousands for whom the Rebbe would have 5minutes if I was lucky) and had some connection to the path of Chassidus I was already interested in (Galicianer as opposed to Chabad/Breslov/Polish etc).
Hashem sent me all three and more when I met my Rebbe. Cleveland an offshoot of Nadvorna is a small Chassidus. I know the Rebbe personally and over the years I have spent countless hours learning with him, eating with him, dancing with him, living with him, laughing with him, crying with him and just basking in his presence and observing his ways close up front and personal.
My Rebbe's family also comes from Czernowitz as does my own and as for English he is fluent.
Anyway when I was going back to the USA the Rebbe sent me to his only brother-in-law the Sulitza Rebbe shlit"a of Far Rockaway. I became a fixture in their home, and spent countless Shabboses with the Sulitza Rebbe. Although they have very different outlooks and personalities I grew and learned much from them both.
I noticed that while the Sulitza Rebbe was always learning, and his seforim shtib - the room covered floor to ceiling in sifrei kodesh had many volumes. I only saw three seforim besides a Siddur on his table. Gemarrah, Zohar and "Noam Elimelech."
In fact when the Rebbe visited Yerushalayim in his small dirah in Sanhedriah I usually saw him learning Noam Elimelech.
I knew that Noam Elimelech was one of the classic chassidic works. But that was it... I myself was busy trying to study Baal Shem Tov on the Torah and Degel Machene Ephraim. Eventually I picked up a copy of the old Rashi script offset Cracow printing in America in a seforim store that sold it to me for about $5 or $7.
It sat on my shelf and waited. I met my wife, we got engaged and my kallah bought me gifts. A Kedushas Levi, A Toldos Yaakov Yosef and a few other seforim joined the shelves. The Noam Elimelech waited quietly.
It was when we helped move old seforim from my wife's basement that a small hand held (legible) copy of Noam Elimelech (with a section of stories from Eser Oros reprinted in the back) became mine as well.
We were married we moved to Israel and I was learning full time in kollel in Ra'anana. And...I had begun to study Noam Elimelech.
At first I was very dissapointed. The sefer did not move me and I found the Hebrew very poor and Rabbinic lacking the style and grammar of a Ramchal or Beer Mayim Chaim. But even more so I could not see the commentary as plausible. It did not fit the words and the connections seemed forced at best. It was a difficult sefer and after learning it once or twice I put ot on the side.
Time passed we moved to Ramat Bet Shemesh and I studied one piece of Noam Elimelech and the idea intrigued me. I learned it over several times and wrote down some notes in English. As I began to study a little but each Shabbos I realized that despite the fact that the sefer was difficult there was something to be learned that was worth the effort.
I decided that I would attempt to study it in depth. Why Noam Elimelech? Well I knew two things:
1. I knew it was one of the major classics and it bothered me that I didnt know why.
2. I knew if the Sulitza Rebbe studied it, it must be profound since it was the only chassidic sefer I had ever seen him study at all!
I began to learn through the sefer one piece at a time from the beginning. Almost simultaneously I began to study the stories in Eser Oros about Rebbe Elimelech to find out who the author was. What I revealed was staggering to me!
Here was a sefer considered one of the holiest seforim in Chassidus and it had languished on my shelf for years. Here was a Rebbe who had taught, trained the major Rebbes and founders of Chassidus and perhaps given birth to the Galicianer Classic Chassidic court we know today and I knew almost nothing about it.
I studied through the Eser Oros and I found myself once again in the USA. In Moznaim in Boro Park where I had purchased the original old printing of the Noam Elimelech. I found a copy of Ohalei Tzadikim a collection that I was excited was back in print. And in it was Ohel Elimelech, one of the largest collections of stories, teachings and anecdotes of Rebbe Elimelech of Lizhensk. I bought it, and it accompanied me back to Eretz Yisroel.
Eventually I was to find my English notes becoming a translation that I considered publishing.
And the stories in Eser Oros and Ohel Elimelech would join them.
Finally afer studying the sefer for a few years it hit me. This was not a sefer meant to be a commentary on Chumash. It was meant to be a guide for Tzadikim on how to serve Hashem. Thats when the sefer took on a whole new meaning for me and has ever since.
The same thing was true about the Keser Nehorah Siddur but thats a different story for a different time . . .
Kol Tuv,
R' Tal Moshe Zwecker
Director Machon Be'er Mayim Chaim
Phone: 972-2-992-1218 / Cell: 972-54-842-4725
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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Rabbi Lazer Brody will be speaking in Cedarhurst tonight

I wanted to let everyone know that Rabbi Lazer Brody will be speaking in
Cedarhurst tonight, Wednesday night (Nov. 4th), at 7:00 PM at Rabbi
Spiegel's "Shteibel," located at 504 W. Broadway in Cedarhurst, near the
corner of Cedarhurst Ave. Men and women are invited.

Click on the following link for more information on Rabbi Brody, a video of
him speaking, and a full schedule of his speaking engagements while he's in
the New York area from Israel:

Also, if you happen to be an e-mailer, a tweeter, a blogger, or any other
"er," please forward/post/tweet/pass on this e-mail so that others can find
out about this opportunity.

All the best,
Kol Tuv,
R' Tal Moshe Zwecker
Director Machon Be'er Mayim Chaim
Phone: 972-2-992-1218 / Cell: 972-54-842-4725
VoIP: 516-320-6022
eFax: 1-832-213-3135
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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Other upcoming Yorzeits of Chassidishe Rebbes Tzadikim and Rabonim

Date of MarCheshvan
3 - Rav Yisroel ben Shalom Shachna Heilige Rizhiner
4 - Rav Kalonymous Kalmish ben Elimelech of Piaseczna Aish Kodesh
7 - Rav Meir ben Yaakov Shimshon Shapira Rosh Yeshiva Chachmei Lublin founder of DafYomi
9 - Rabbeinu Asher ben Yechiel R"osh on Shas (Rishon)
11 - Rachel Imenu
11 - Rav Menachem nachum ben Tzvi Meor Eynaim Czernoble
12 - Rav Zev Wolf Kitzes - Talmid of Ba'al Shem Tov
15 - Chazon Ish
17 - Menachem Mendel Kosov Ahavas Shalom
22 - Yissacher Dov ben Yehoshua Belz
30  - Tzvi Hirsch Rymanover
Kol Tuv,
R' Tal Moshe Zwecker
Director Machon Be'er Mayim Chaim
Phone: 972-2-992-1218 / Cell: 972-54-842-4725
VoIP: 516-320-6022
eFax: 1-832-213-3135
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Today is the Yahrzeit of the Aish Kodesh of Piaseczna who is an einikel of the famous Noam Elimelech - the Rebbe Reb Melech of Lizhensk

Today is Dalet (4) MarCheshvan the Yorzeit Hillulah of the Piaseczna Rebbe
(who is an einikel of the famous Noam Elimelech - the Rebbe Reb Melech of Lizhensk)

Rav Kalonymous Kalmish ben Elimelech zy"a the author of Aish Kodesh, Chovas HaTalmidim Hy"D
In his Sefer Mevo HaSha'arim Chap 7 he writes: (paraphrase)
The simple Jews and the average Jews the Householders
Not Just Like Leavs But Like the Flames of a Torch
"The job of the simple Jews and the householders in Chassidus is not simply to act like the leaves of a tree, which guard the fruit from harm and harness the sun's rays to produce food and sustenance so the fruit of the tree (the Tzadik) can blossom and grow. They are not there just to go to work and toil and support others. Rather they too are to be lit aflame with the excitement and enthusiasm of Chassidus and just as many small flames come together they then form a blazing torch whose light shines forth with a heavenly supernal fire and light of G-d. Then they are not only adding but aiding the Tzadik as well since they gain by drawing close to the simple and the householders."
Part of a Human Pyramid whose job at the foundation forms the base!
"In the Bais Aharon of Karlin he taught from Rav Shlomo Karliner the following parable: A king needed to reach a very high place to get an object from there and he did not posess a ladder that reached high enough. What did he do? He gathered several servants together and had them stand on each other's shoulders until the servant at the top was able to reach the object.
Now anyone who understand the parable cannot say that the servant on the very bottom is unnecassary?! Without him the entire group would collapse! The same is true regarding holiness We cannot grasp G-d's greatness without the 600,000 souls of the entire group of k'lal yisroel - the jewish people and although among them there are some simpletons without them even the most learned cannot grasp Hashem."
Kol Tuv,
R' Tal Moshe Zwecker
Director Machon Be'er Mayim Chaim
Phone: 972-2-992-1218 / Cell: 972-54-842-4725
VoIP: 516-320-6022
eFax: 1-832-213-3135
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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Power of a Jewish Soul - Rabbi Yisroel of Ruzhin Yahrzeit 3 Cheshvan

Related to Mishna Avos 6:9

 "If you gave me all the silver and gold and precious stones and pearls in the world I would not dwell except in a place of Torah."

The Power of a Jewish Soul ; A Precious Stone

Today Gimmel (3rd) of MarCheshvan is the holy Rav Yisrael of Rizhin's yorzeit.
"You are attired with light as a garment." Tehillim 104:2
The first Rizhiner Rebbe, Rav Yisroel of Ruzhin comments that this verse teaches us a deep concept. 
Every Jewish soul is a holy spark which there is none like it in the world even within the Tzadik. However his light is hidden. The parable is that: He is a diamond in the rough.

When a person first discovers a diamond in it's natural setting of rock and stone it looks like little more than a dark stone. It is dirty and doesn't shine from it's place nested in the wall of the mine. First it has to be chipped away and removed from the wall. Even then it looks nothing like a diamond. Then it must be scrubbed and cleaned. Even then it bears no resemblance. One must have it cut & polished and then when it is set in the proper setting of gold or silver it glows and its beauty and splendor truly shines.
This is the meaning of "You are attired with light as a garment." Tehillim 104:2 Hashem attires Himself with your own light as a garment.
It depends on just how a person treats his personal light, what does he do with his soul,
with his own diamond in the rough?
This is the secret of the verse in Shemos 10:23 All the Jewish people had light in their dwellings. "All the Jewish people have light," the only difference is "in their dwellings." Each setting can differentiate our light, if our diamond is polished and set in its proper setting it shines!
(Knesses Yisroel p6-7)
Might I add myself:
A Jewish person may be a diamond in the rough, they can be in a state where they are lowly and suffering, their life is dark and bleak.
Even in the darkest times a Jew must remember that he has a lofty soul, a diamond that can be cleaned and polished through Torah study and mitzvah observance.
Then his soul will truly shine with an otherworldly brilliance.
Related to Mishna Avos 2:13 "A Good Heart."
A Heart of Stone or Iron
A story:
Once Rav Yisroel of Rizhin visited Lemberg to receive the aid of some of the doctors for an ailment that he had. While he was there he went to meet Rav Yaakov Orenstein the Yeshuas Yaakov who was the Rav of the city. The Yeshuos Yaakov was no great lover of Chassidim and Rebbes however The Rizhiner was by then a famous and well known Rebbe whose chassidim numbered in the thousands. He expected that the Rebbe would speak to him in Torah learning and discuss some chidush a novel thought, interpretation or some question in Talmudic logic. However the Yeshuos Ya'akov was greatly astonished at what Rav Yisrael asked him:
"What are the rooftops of the city made of?" "Iron bands," answered the Yeshuos Yaakov. The Ruzhiner asked further: "Why are they made of iron bands?" "I suppose that is done to protect us from the threat of fire since they are inflammable," explained Rav Orenstein growing more bewildered with each question. "But if that is the reason, could they not have used bricks?" So saying the Rizhiner thanked him and left.
The Gaon the Yeshous Ya'akov could barely contain his mirth, this was the great Rizhiner? This was the conversation of a Rebbe that had so much fame and so many chassidic followers? The Rav of Lemberg could not believe it.
Rav Meir of Premishlan also heard about the Rizhiner's upcoming visit to Lemberg. He travelled there to see him, yet unfortunately he did not succeed, for when he arrived the Rizhiner had already left. Rav Meir of Premishlan began to ask around to find out what the Rizhiner had said and done while on his visit. When he heard about the episode between Rav Yisrael and Rav Orenstein the local Rav of Lemberg the author of the Yeshous Yaakov he said: "A pity that the Yeshuos Yaakov did not grasp what the Rizhiner said! He spoke great words of wisdom and he meant that: Just as the roof covers and protects the house, so must the local Rav of the city protect the entire city! The Rav must have a broken heart like bricks which can easily be broken, and not a heart of iron. In essence he was asking him why does he have a hard anger like iron?!"
(Knesses Yisroel p5-6)
Kol Tuv,
R' Tal Moshe Zwecker
Director Machon Be'er Mayim Chaim
Phone: 972-2-992-1218 / Cell: 972-54-842-4725
VoIP: 516-320-6022
eFax: 1-832-213-3135
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The Power of a Chassidic Tale - Rabbi Yisroel of Ruzhin Yahrzeit 3 Cheshvan

Today Gimmel (3rd) of MarCheshvan is the holy Rav Yisrael of Rizhin's yorzeit.

The Power of a Chassidic Tale

The holy Rav Yisroel of Rizhin once told the following story:
Once there was family who had an only son, he was a good boy and had fallen deathly ill. They went to the Ba'al Shem Tov seeking help, to heal him from this life threatening illness. The Ba'al Shem Tov made a wax candle and travelled into the forrest, he melted the wax and glued the candle to one of the trees. And he proceeded to make yichudim, mystical unifications of the Divine names, and  with G-d's help he succeeded in achieving salvation and saving the boy's life.
Later after the holy Ba'al Shem Tov left this world a similar incident occurred that involved his successor, my great grandfather the holy Maggid of Mezritch. He too went out to the forrest and lit the candle and made yichudim, however he did not know the Holy Ba'al Shem Tov's intentions and kavanos. Therefore he acted and relied on the kavanos that the Ba'al Shem Tov had previously had in mind. He said to Hashem "The kavanos that the Ba'al Shem Tov knew I do not know, however I am acting and relying on his previous actions and the kavanos that he had." His prayers were answered and the salvation took place.
Afterwards one day a similar situation presented itself to the holy Rav Moshe Leib Sassover. He prayed saying: "We do not know the location in the forrest, nor how to make such a candle, and what to do with it. We no longer know the yichudim and certainly not the kavanos. But I do know the story. I will relate the tale and Hashem will help and grant us salvation." He retold the story and the child's life was saved.
(Knesses Yisroel p12)
This is one of the stories that inspired me to keep adding Chassidic stories to the translations I do
Kol Tuv,
R' Tal Moshe Zwecker
Director Machon Be'er Mayim Chaim
Phone: 972-2-992-1218 / Cell: 972-54-842-4725
VoIP: 516-320-6022
eFax: 1-832-213-3135
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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Two Examples of the Kedushas Levi - Rav Levi Yitzchak of Bedritchev's novel Chiddushim in Halacha and Shas - Talmud Bavli

Two Examples of the Kedushas Levi - Rav Levi Yitzchak of Bedritchev's novel Chiddushim in Halacha and Shas - Talmud Bavli

- I -

In Orach Chaim in the Taz's commentary Siman 608:1:

The Tur writes regarding tosefes Yom HaKippurim – that is accepting Yom Kippur earlier and thereby adding time to the day, it is derived from a biblical verse that obligates one to add. However he did not cite from which verse. The Levush wrote that he meant the verse (Shemos 34:21) "You must cease and desist from plowing and reaping," and the Taz asked a question on the Levush's interpretation. The method that uses the derivation from that verse teaches us tosefes on every Shabbos and YomTov – namely that we accept Shabbos and YomTov early every time and thus add time unto those days [and not just Yom Kippur]. This is found in the Gemarra Yoma (81b). And if so why did the Tur not write regarding every Shabbos and YomTov that we need to add tosefes? Only regarding Yom Kippur does the Tur write that we are obligated in the law of tosefes namely adding time onto Yom Kippur [by accepting the day's forbidden activities] earlier [than nightfall]. This is his question. Study it there at length.

It seems to me with siyata di'shmaya, with the aid and help of heaven, to answer the question that the Taz asks on the Levush. That actually the Levush is correct in his understanding of the Tur, that the Tur does learn the law of tosefes Yom HaKippurim from the verse (Shemos 34:21) "You must cease and desist from plowing and reaping," and really one is obligated in tosefes on every Shabbos and YomTov. And the reason why the Tur did not write explicitly that one is obligated in tosefes on every Shabbos and YomTov is since he already wrote that there is an obligation of tosefes Yom HaKippurim and therefore one can derive the other obligation through logic. Normally on every Shabbos and YomTov by accepting them earlier there is no cancellation of another mitzvah, however by accepting Yom Kippur early he does cancel out another mitzvah. This is because our rabbis stated in Rosh HaShannah 9a-b and we rule so in Shulchan Aruch Siman 604:1 that it is a mitzvah to eat and to enjoy a large festive meal on Erev Yom Kippur. Study it there. Rashi in his Talmudic commentary to Rosh HaShannah 9b (sv Kol HaOchel) wrote similarly and he said: "Anyone who adds and eats and drinks more on Erev Yom Kippur is praiseworthy, since there is a mitzvah the more you eat." Study it there. Therefore by accepting Yom Kippur earlier and adding on the prohibition of eating and drinking as the Tur wrote (ibid) you cancel out the mitzvah of eating on Erev Yom Kippur, since there is a mitzvah to eat then and now that you are adding time to Erev Yom Kippur before nightfall to prohibit yourself from eating and drinking. You might have thought that therefore in the case of Erev Yom Kippur you should not add from the ordinary day onto the holy day, therefore the Tur needed to write that even so one should add, even though he will be canceling a mitzvah [of eating on erev yom kippur].

Based on this we have answered the Taz's question. Regarding Shabbos and YomTov [the Tur] did not find it necessary to write that one should accept Shabbos and Yom Tov early to add from the ordinary day unto the holy day. Since we can infer them based on logic from the law of tosefes on Erev Yom Kippur since in that case although we cancel a positive commandment to eat by adding time and accepting Yom Kippur early we still do so. And the Tur did in fact derive this law from the aforementioned verse (Shemos 34:21) "You must cease and desist from plowing and reaping," as the Levush had taught and on every Shabbos and YomTov you must also accept them early and add time of tosefes. (Study also the commentary of the Magen Avraham Siman 604:1 citing the Shelah, that even fasting for a dream – Ta'anis Chalom one may not fast on Erev Yom Kippur under any circumstances, since there is a mitzvah the entire day to eat, study it there. ) Study and be rewarded.

- II -

I have decided to write up whatever Hashem granted me to help answer the question of the Tosfos to Shvuos 25a (Tosfos s.v. Ini veHamar Rav Yochanan).

These are the words of Tosfos: "Now if you might think this oath was made forever, then this should have been said at the head of this chapter on page19b regarding an oath made by someone saying "that I shall not eat."

Tosfos answers that regarding [oaths regarding] eating, we wont make the mistake to think that he is taking an oath forever, and it is not necessary to explain that he meant only immediately.

Tosfos meaning is not understood, why does Tosfos assume that an oath regarding eating it is understood that he means immediately [and not forever]?

With siyata di'shmaya and the aid of heaven it seems to me to answer Tosfos question, since the Taz rules in Orach Chaim Siman 678:2 this is also cited in the Ateres Zekanim 1 that on Shabbos one is obligated by the Torah to consume bread, similarly on yomtov and erev yom kippur our sages taught in Pesachim (68b) that one is obligated to eat. If so we can say that one takes an oath that he will refrain from eating, he must mean that he only referring to this immediate time as tosfos wrote, since our sages taught in Shvuos (46b) that we do not assume a person is wicked, and if he had swore an oath that he will refrain from eating forever, then is there no more explicit transgression? Since he is swearing an oath that he will cancel a mitzvah. Since on Shabbos, YomTov and Erev Yom Kippur it is a mitzvah to eat, and si how can he swear that he will never eat again forevermore and cancel the mitzvah eating in Shabbos, YomTov and Yom Kippur?

Therefore regarding eating the Tanna who authored the Mishnah did not find it necessary that the oath was not taken forever, as tosfos wrote, since there are days when there is a mitzvah to eat.

However, this is not the case regarding sleep. Since there is no obligational mitzvah to sleep at any time. And this one of the reasons given by the poskim, that this is one of the reasons why we do not recite a blessing over sleeping in the succah. Since there is no specific obligation to sleep, rather if one wishes to sleep then he may only do so in the succah.1 Therefore we can clearly think that if he takes an oath "that I will not sleep," that he means forevermore. Therefore we asks "But R. Yochana says an oath that he wont sleep

(Study the commentary of the Ran 296a (10:1 sv Malkin Oso) his opinion is that he takes an oath not eat for seven days straight he does not eat immediately and they do not lash him immediately. Based on his opinion in understanding the Rambam (Laws of Oaths Hilchos Shvuous 5:20) regarding eating they do lash him immediately and he must immediately. Since he is actually canceling the mitzvah of "You shall greatly beware for your souls." (Devarim 4:15) Based on this opinion this is the question of the makshan (the Gemara's anonymous questioner) "How can this be? Rav Yochanan said etc." How can the Mishna imply that an oath that he wont sleep means forever, when rav Yochanan is of the opinion that he recieves lashes?! Since an oath forevermore in this regard is also an annulment of a mitzvah namely that of "You shall greatly beware for your souls." (Devarim 4:15) [since lack of sleep damages one's health this is seen as a direct transgression and annulment of this positive commandment to guard our soul and health scrupulously.] Since one cannot live without sleeping therefore they [Beis Din] give him lashes since he has [in essence] taken a false oath as Rashi explains (sv Malkin Oso) and he should go to sleep immediately. Since he swore to cancel a mitzvah and therefore the oath is not binding.)

This answers Tosfos question with siyata di'shmayah. Perhaps this is what Tosfos had in mind when they answered regarding oaths about eating that the Tanna did not need to explicitly declare that he is not taking the oath forever.


1. See O.C. 639 Nekudos HaKesef ibid; Tosfos Brachos 11b sv Shekvar.

Kol Tuv,
R' Tal Moshe Zwecker
Director Machon Be'er Mayim Chaim
Phone: 972-2-992-1218 / Cell: 972-54-842-4725
VoIP: 516-320-6022
eFax: 1-832-213-3135
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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mock Cover

Here is a Kedushas Levi Mock Cover
I hope to have a professionally designed one ready soon
The sefer is currently in editing with 50% done
Projected Publishing date 4-5 months away
For more info email me

Today is the 200th anniversary of the Yorzeit / Passing of the Kedushas Levi zy"a

Today is the 200th anniversary of the passing of ר' לוי יצחק מבארדיטשוב - Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev author of Kedushas Levi

The Holy Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev once traveled with his student rav Aharon of Zhitomir, author of Toldos Aharon together to the city of Lizhensk. There they stayed together with the Rebbe Reb Elimelech in his home. The Rebbe Reb Elimelech questioned the Berditchever saying to him, "Why are you stealing away all of my own students?" (This was because many great Torah scholars left the Rebbe Elimelech to study under the Berditchever.) The Berditchever answered Rebbe Elimelech with humility, "Vaymens Bin Ich Den? Ich Bin Zich Ayer Talmid Oych! - And just whose student do you think I am? I am also your student! Therefore all my students, are therefore your very own student's students!" With this humble answer he was able to placate and satisfy the rebbe Elimelech.

Afterwards the Berditchever continued on his way to attend to some matters while his students Rav Aharon of Zhitomir remained behind and continued studying in the Rebbe Elimelech's beis midrash. Rebbe Elimelech did not realize this, and when one night he walked in and found rav Aharon sitting there learning he was surprised and he asked Rav Aharon, "Why did you not go on and continue the travels with your Rebbe?" Rav Aharon answered Rebbe Eliemelch, "Mein Rebbe Ken Ich. Bin Ich Gebliben Ba Aych Zu Kenen! - My rebbe I know already. I remained behind to get to you as well!" Hearing this Rebbe Elimelech got all worked up. He seized Rav Aharon and began to shake him by the lapels of his clothing and declared, "Dayn Rebben Kenstu? Afilu Zein Zhupstze Kenstu Nisht Bifrat Im Aleyn! – You think you really know your Rebbe? Why, you don't even know his lapels let alone do you really know him and how great he is!"


קדושת לוי

200 שנה ימלאו הלילה לפטירתו של סנגורן של ישראל, רבי לוי-יצחק מברדיצ'וב זי"ע

In honor of the 200th yorzeit of לוי יצחק מברדיצ'ב - Rav Levi Yitzchok of Barditchov - the Kedushat Levi

When the Holy Rav Kalonymous Kalman Epstein of Krakow author of the Maor VaShemesh was but a young child the Holy Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev visited his town. The young boy hid himself beneath the holy Berditchever's tallis as children do, to see what the Rebbe was doing as he prayed. The manner and conduct of the holy and righteous tzadik left such an impression on Rav Epstein that from that point on there burned within him a holy fire!

When Rav Epstein grew up he became a well known student of the holy Rav Elimelech of Lizhensk. Rav Elimelech once met the Berditchever in Rav Epstein's company. When Rav Elimelech's prided himself on having such an illustrious and holy person as one of his own students, the Berditchever took a good look at the author of Maor VaShemesh. He then recognized on his face, that the holy Rav standing before was that same boy from years ago. "No, no," said the Berditchever to Rebbe Elimelech, "this one is one of mine! When he was but a five-year old and he hid under my tallis, the holiness and sanctity already left it's mark until he has reached his current level and stature."

(Both found in Sefer Avodas Levi p98)

Kol Tuv,
R' Tal Moshe Zwecker
Director Machon Be'er Mayim Chaim
Phone: 972-2-992-1218 / Cell: 972-54-842-4725
VoIP: 516-320-6022
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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Today is the Shpoler Zeide Yorzeit

Here are some stories and songs/niggunim:

Kol BaYaar

It is said that both the text and the moving melody of this supplication
were composed by the renowned righteous man Reb Arye Leib, one of the
followers of the Baal Shem Tov. He was known as the Shpoler Zeide having
lived in the city of Shpole in the Ukraine. He is remembered as a great
exponent of Ahavat Yisroel, the his love for fellow Jews. This melody was
chanted by the Shpoler Zaide before the midnight prayer bewailing the
destruction of the Temple, "Tikun Chatzot."

The text is divided into four stanzas. Each verse is sung in Hebrew, Yiddish
and Russian (a mixture of White Russian and Ukrainian). The first section of
the melody is sung with the text and the musical refrain, without words,
follows. Only the first verse is sung on this record in three languages. The
same melody may be used for each succeeding verse.

This soulful melody is a dialogue between the Almighty Father and His
children, the people of Israel. The Father looks for His children in the
Diaspora, Galut, and implores them to return home to the Holy Land. "Where
have you been that you have forsaken Me?" He inquires of His children, "Dear
children, please return home, I feel forlorn without you." The children's
answer is "But, Father, how can we return when there is a guard blocking the

Hupp Cossack!

This triumphant tune is associated with the a Chassidic Rebbe's
self-sacrifice in saving the life of a fellow Jew. The story: It once
happened that a Jew who had rented an inn from the local landlord had fallen
behind in his payments and was jailed. The landlord announced that on a
particular day this Jew was to be dressed in a bear costume and to compete
in a dance contest with the Cossacks. The Shpoler Zeide put his life on the
line and secretly took the place of this unfortunate Jew dressed in the
costume and won the dance. Eliyahu HaNavi taught the Zeida how to dance!
This is the song to which they danced.

The Birth of the "Shpoler Zeideh"

Kol Tuv,
R' Tal Moshe Zwecker
Director Machon Be'er Mayim Chaim
Phone: 972-2-992-1218 / Cell: 972-54-842-4725
VoIP: 516-320-6022
eFax: 1-832-213-3135
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Monday, September 14, 2009

Dveykus IV

And sometimes I close my eyes...

Someone once asked me how in the world could I concentrate with my eyes
closed, without looking in the siddur?

The truth is, I look in the siddur for most of davening, its only the
amidah, the silent shemoneh esrei where the conflict begins...

On the one hand we always say osios machkimos - the letters make one wiser.
There is a spirtiual light within the holy letters of the Hebrew language.
Especially if we see them written in Kesav Ashuri like in the Sefer Torah.

On the other hand, when I close my eyes, my concentration is so much
stronger, nothing to see and distract me. My mind begins to focus inward.
Sometimes I can see the letters in my mind. I draw them like glowing coals
in my mind's eye.

Other times I am free of letters, no letters just thoughts.

Still other times the kaleidoscope of images in my minds eye explodes with
brilliant colors, shapes and forms, full of the fire of prayer.

Some people close their eyes to escape and to stop seeing the world.
Some people only see the world for the first time truly, when they close
their eyes.

Like Rebbe Nachman's story about the Beggars, the Blind Beggar sees the
reality so much that he is blind to the falsehood of the physical world of

What do you see when you close your eyes?

Kol Tuv,
R' Tal Moshe Zwecker
Director Machon Be'er Mayim Chaim
Phone: 972-2-992-1218 / Cell: 972-54-842-4725
VoIP: 516-320-6022
eFax: 1-832-213-3135
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Sunday, September 13, 2009


Selichos - Forgiveness
The Tiferes Shlomo of Radomsk taught:

We know that all the Jewish souls are a G-dly portion from above. A person
should always be attached to his supernal roots in the higher worlds like a
branch is attached to the tree. However once a person veers off the straight
path of righteousness his sins and transgressions form a barrier that
separates him from G-d.

This is the meaning of the verse "because with You is forgiveness." It means
that we are parying and beseeching Hashem to forgive our sins in order that
we can once again be reunited "with You," attached in rapture and dveykus.
Then there will no longer be any barrier separating between us and Hashem.

Kol Tuv,
R' Tal Moshe Zwecker
Director Machon Be'er Mayim Chaim
Phone: 972-2-992-1218 / Cell: 972-54-842-4725
VoIP: 516-320-6022
eFax: 1-832-213-3135
join the mailing list to keep updated about new projects here:

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Your help please with a letter

I am in the process of applying to several grants and foundations to help me
produce more translations and sefarim as well to start the Jewish Heritage

If any of you have benefited directly or indirectly in any way from the Noam
Elimelech or other work I have done or am working on and you wish to help
please read on

If you would be so kind as to email me or send by traditional (snail) mail
how and why this work helped you, inspired you or why you believe in what we
are doing and please email or mail me your
recommendation/support/endorsement letters this can be helpful to me in
securing funding to make these dreams a reality.

Letters can be emailed to
or sent to
R' Tal Moshe Zwecker
10 Nachal Uriah St Apt 7
Ramat Bet Shemesh Alef, Israel

Thanks for all your help and support!
Wishing all of us a fruitful healthy and happy new year
Kol Tuv,
R' Tal Moshe Zwecker
Director Machon Be'er Mayim Chaim
Phone: 972-2-992-1218 / Cell: 972-54-842-4725
VoIP: 516-320-6022
eFax: 1-832-213-3135
join the mailing list to keep updated about new projects here:

Dveykus III - the mystic quest

Sometimes I choose the siddur:

Which Siddur?

OK I admit it, I have a problem. I collect siddurim. Which do I use? Almost
all of them. Depends on my mood or Mochin gadlus or katnus - small minded or
expanded consciousness.

Keser Nehora - Berditchiver Siddur - I have two of them I recieved from my
Rebbe himself.
Ksav Ashuris - Ashurite Torah Script Siddur - This handwritten siddur is
always on my Rebbe's shtender.
Shela HaKadosh Siddur - Bach's Haskama says if you daven from it your prayes
will be answered. The Sulitza rebbe shlita (whom I was close to when I lived
in the US) uses this.
Rav Yaakov Emden - Yaabetz Siddur - I have my Rebbe's old one, I use for
Kiddush Friday nights (has his wine stains) My rebbe uses this for special
occasions, Seder Night, Shofar Blowing etc.
Arizal Siddurim - these are full of Kabbalistic Yichudim and Divine Names
(my Rebbe uses them during Shaking of the Lulav).
Toldos Aharon's Siddur - Standard Nusach Sefard, small size clear print and
has Shem Havayah with Shiluv Adon"y and Tefillos from rav Arele and other
Biala Siddur - Also in Ashuri script, but printed as opposed to hand
written, easier to read, has interesting minhagim and commentaries
Ben Ish Chai Siddur and Lashon Chachamim - I used this one for years till it
fell apart and recite many of his tefilos
Avodas Elimelech - A siddur with Rebbe reb melech's commentray collected
from Noam Elimelech
Tzolasa D'Yisroel - A siddur with Baal Shem Tov's commentray collected from
many seforim

I switch off. But on a daily basis I use Keser Nehora - Berditchiver Siddur.
Sometimes I try to have in mind the kavanos.

Which Siddur inspires you?

Kol Tuv,
R' Tal Moshe Zwecker
Director Machon Be'er Mayim Chaim
Phone: 972-2-992-1218 / Cell: 972-54-842-4725
VoIP: 516-320-6022
eFax: 1-832-213-3135
join the mailing list to keep updated about new projects here:

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Chassidus Wiki

Please participate in adding your own articles and editing the dynasties
listings so we can create the online Chassidus encyclopedia together!

Kol Tuv,
R' Tal Moshe Zwecker
Director Machon Be'er Mayim Chaim
Phone: 972-2-992-1218 / Cell: 972-54-842-4725
VoIP: 516-320-6022
eFax: 1-832-213-3135
join the mailing list to keep updated about new projects here:

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Fw: Baal Shem Tov 1

My friend Reb BenTzion sent this to share with you all:


Chai Elul 5767


Birth of the Baal Shem Tov

Day that the Besht revealed himself

Birth of Shneur Zalman of Laidi, The Alter Rebbe of Lubavitch

Day that Menachem Mendel shlita, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, compiled HaYom Yom


20 or so years ago I was driving somewhere and listening to a cassette of The Basic Principles of Chabad Chassidus, by Rabbi Shloma Majeski.  He was discussing Hashchocha Protes, or G-dly direction in our lives, when he illuminated the point by mentioning that the Baal Shem Tov was able to see G-ds hand directing a leaf blowing in the wind.


Just then, as I was driving and thinking about that incredible image, a leaf blew right across the windshield of my car!


And I thought WOW!  If the Bescht were driving right now, he would have been able to see Hashem directing that leaf.  So I leaned forward to see better, looking for the hand of Hashem.


Since then, I try to see Hashem's hand in all that happens to me and those around me and to view life as directed down to the smallest detail by the Abishter.


But I had questions: Hashem doesn't have hands like we know them: the use of the word hand is only metaphorical, to allow us to begin to visualize and comprehend Hashem who is totally incomprehensible to us (see Tanya).  Yet the statement that the Baal Shem was able to see the hand of G-d also has to be taken at P'shat face value.  He WAS able to see the hand of G-d.  But how?


We learn that in the time of Moshiach, (not immediately, but during one of the phases of the process) we will be able to see G-dliness in everything around us: in a blade of grass, a pebble, a piece of paper.  We will be able to see the G-dly spark in ALL material objects.  But when it says that we will be able to see the spark in everything, it means EVERYTHING…from the macroscopic level where objects have discernable shapes (i.e. it's a rock) to the microscopic where we begin to see things on the molecular level.  And beyond that to the nano… and beyond that to the nuclear level…both materially and spiritually.


Imagine an infinite zoom microscope that is focused on a rock.  You first hold the rock in your hand, it looks smooth and round.  In the macro all you see is a smooth stone.  When you place it in the microscope, as you increase the magnification you begin to see a cratered, pitted surface made up of striated bands of color.  As the magnification increase and we delve into the microscopic depths of the rock we are opened up to worlds within worlds until we get to the nuclear level where the rock no longer exists, all we see are swirling protons and electrons.


Now take this imagery to the spiritual plane.


If we look at a finite macroscopic object, we can see the G-dly spark that illuminates the stone and therefore it exists.  But each level of spiritual magnification reveals yet again G-dly sparks, but of a different nature…down to the nuclear level which again shows G-dly sparks as to that level.


But EVERYTHING contains G-dly sparks, including the air we breathe and which surrounds us. 


If we place a molecule of 'air' into our infinite zoom microscope construct, at some level, that molecule of air will be indistinguishable from the previous molecule of rock.  Not only that, but the dividing lines between what is rock and what is air will also be indistinguishable both physically and spiritually.


And this is how I believe we can begin to understand the P'shat of the statement that the Baal Shem Tov was able to see G-ds hand in a leaf blowing in the wind.


The leaf and the wind, on the most fundemental of spiritual (and physical) levels, are ONE with G-d and intimately connected to our Creator.  His Hand is present in all things, physical and spiritual; therefore the Baal Shem Tov was able to discern the Hand of G-d.  And if we keep trying….


Bentzion Ziskind Meltzer

Chai Elul 5767

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