Tuesday, December 25, 2012


There are two types of Teshuva first one must repent over the sins he
has done, and then one must also repent over the time wasted sinning
which could have been instead used and utilized in serving Hashem and
uplifting oneself to the highest heights!

Mahari (Rav Yehoshua) Belzer

In the place where Baalei Teshuva stand not even great Tzadikim can
stand there: (Gemarra Berachos) The meaning of the word Ba'al Teshuva
is similar to a Baal HaBayis - which literally means master of the
house, to be master over one's home is to be called a Baal HaBayis,
thus a true Baal Teshuva is one who has mastered the art of repentance
and return

Maharid (Rav Yissacher Dov) Belzer

Once a Rav asked Rav Yehoshua of Belz, who was just a young boy at
that time, why Shalosh Seudos was conducted in the dark (as was the
custom then in Belz and many Chassidic courts that Shalosh Seudos the
3rd Shabbos meal was held in darkness). "It does not make sense," he
asked the young lad, "all three meals on Shabbos correspond to the 3
patriarchs the Avos Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov, so Shalosh Seudos
corresponds to Yaakov who was known as the bechir haAvos the most
accomplished and complete of the patriarchs, why then is it not held
in the light as a joyful festive occasion such as that warrants and
befits it?!" "You are mistaken," answered the young Rav Yehoshua,
Shalosh Seudos is a time of great yearning and an auspicious time ripe
for repentance and Teshuva, when one repents and does Teshuva he cries
over his misdeeds, thus it is held in the dark so no one can see the
other cry."

Rav Yissacher Dov of Belz used to boast that every Shabbos there were
new guests welcome in Belz, one year Rosh HaShanna preceded Shabbos
and they were attached, Rav Pinchas of Ostila, the Belzer Rav's
son-in-law jokingly asked his father-in-law who the new guests for
Shabbos were this time? since obviously no one new arrived between
Rosh HaShanna and Shabbos? "You are mistaken," answered Rav Yissacher
Dov, Rosh HaShanna has just passed and everyone here has repented and
done Teshuva, the process of true teshuva and repentance transforms
us, thus everyone here is a brand new person, so as usual I am right,
there are always new guests on Shabbos in Belz!"

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Channukah from Keser Torah by Rav Meir of Berditchev

From the upcoming MeOros Kedushas Levi on Moadim
Children in their Father the King's Palace
The Turei Zahav in Orach Chaim Siman 670:3 asks why is the commemoration on Channukah for the miracle of the Menorah [by lighting candles] whereas there is no commemoration established for their physical salvation (that they achieved military victory) as there is on Purim?
It seems to me with the aid of heaven that this is no difficulty at all. In the Chovos HaLevavos in the Shaar HaBitachon he writes that surely a son who is always in his father's palace chambers and someone tried to murder him, that son has no fear at all since he is in his own father the king's palace.
When does he fear? Only if when someone attemots to harm him, he is standing outside his father the king's palace.
Based on this it makes sense, since during the time when Purim historically took place the bais hamikdash had already been destroyed and we were as children outside our Father the King's palace, then it makes sense why we commemorate their physical salvation. Even though the children were outside their father's palace nonetheless they were saved from death.
However historically during the time that Channukah took place the bais hamikdash was still standing, therefore there was no commemoration established for any physical salvation since they were as children standing in their father the king's palace since the holy temple was standing.
Therefore they had no fear of dying and so they made no commemoration at all except for the miracle of the Menorah to praise and offer thanksgiving to Hashem since they witnessed His miracle where He demonstrated His great affection for their mitzvos and their service which is the primary source of life for this world and the next, and this gladdens the Creator as my master, teacher and father (Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev) explained in his sefer Kedushas Levi (Purim third Kedushah) study it there at length. This is easy to understand.

(Channukah Vol I of Kesser Torah)
Kol Tuv,
R' Tal Moshe Zwecker
Director Machon Be'er Mayim Chaim
Chassidic Classics in the English Language
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Have a Freiliche Lichtige Channukah

Have a Freiliche Lichtige Channukah
From the upcoming MeOros Kedushas Levi on Moadim

Using The Light of the Channukah Candles

To explain with the aid of heaven the statement of our sages (Shabbos 21b) regarding the dispute about the Channukah candle, one opinion is that it is permitted to use its light and one opinion is that it is forbidden to use its light.

To explain this by way of a parable: There was a great king who visited the home of a pauper, naturally when a great king visits we see his honor and grandeur and wealth. Even the pauper is gladden and rejoices at seeing this display of the king's wealth and grandeur since he has never seen such a thing before him in his life. However if the pauper is wise then he does not rejoice over the king's wealth, realizing that to the king, this display of wealth is but a mere pittance compared to all the wealth he actually has, rather he rejoices at the opportunity to host the king as a guest in his abode.

So is our case, when the Creator does miracles for people, there are those who rejoice at the favor itself and for the actual miraculous act itself that was done, just like the pauper he rejoices at seeing the king's display of his wealth and grandeur, so does he rejoice at Hashem's loving kindness for doing him a favor. Then there are those who do not rejoice over the miracles, knowing that the Holy One created all of the worlds and has the power to do anything, but rather he rejoices over the miracles because through them it is demonstrated that Hashem clothes Himself in man by doing miracles for him, and this causes him to rejoice, since such a great and grand King dwells within him, clothing Himself in man, so to speak.

This is the meaning behind the aforementioned dispute, "One says it is permitted to use its light," this corresponds to he who rejoices over the fact that Hashem does miracles. He rejoices a joy connected to this world, being thankful for Hashem's favors, since this world exists for pleasure and benefit therefore his opinion is that it is permitted to use the light of the Channukah candle [which we light to commemorate the miracles]. "One says it is forbidden to use its light," this opinion corresponds to the one who rejoices in Hashem Himself, at his merit to have Hashem clothe His light in man, and he does not think of himself or any favors that he received, and since he is not thinking of himself or about this world at all rather he is thinking about the world above this one [the spiritual world], and there in that place there is no pleasure since "no eye has seen G-d," (Yeshaya 64:3) and therefore he is of the opinion that "it is forbidden to use or benefit from its light," (since the Channukah candle symbolizes the miracle and he does not derive pleasure or joy from the miracle but from Hashem's presence, he forbids use of the light for mundane things related to this world, since its light is set aside for a mitzvah , for a spiritual purpose and not for mundane use, just as he rejoices in a spiritual sense rather than a mundane one. Whereas the other opinion rejoices in the physical benefit derived from Hashem's miracles, therefore he permits using the Channukah light used to commemorate the miracle even for physical mundane activites.)

The Channukah War – Our Miracles

During Shemone Esrei we recite (in Birkas Modim) "regarding Your miracles which are with us daily."

It says "with us" specifically, this means that what we do causes Hashem to do miracles for us. As opposed to the next statement "and regarding Your wonders and favors which are with us all the time, evening, morning and afternoon," where the words "for us" are absent and missing from this statement because here we are not the cause, rather Hashem sends His abundant kindness so to speak with no need for an awakening from us here below.

I shall explain this to you with the help of heaven, the miracles during the Exodus from Egypt were done by Hashem due to His great kindness with no awakening from us down here below. However that is not the case regarding the miracles on Channukah which were somewhat caused through our actions as well, since Chashmonai and his sons fought the soldiers of Antiochus the wicked may his name be blotted out and erased from memory.

This is the reason why on Channukah we have the custom after lighting the candles to recite "VaYehi Noam," since that verse (Tehillim 90:17) says "and the work of our hands is due to us," which hints at the miracle of Channukah which is somewhat considered our handiwork due to the battles fought, nonetheless the verse concludes saying that Hashem "is the action of our hands," since the Holy One is the reason that our handiwork succeeded altogether that we emerged victorious and won the war.


Why is the Miracle of Channukah Distinct?

I asked the following question in my sefer Kedushas Levi1 which I authored: (Channukah 1st Kedusha; Purim 4th Kedusha #1) Why did our sages enact a commemoration for the miracle of Channukah, yet not for the miraculous victories of Gideon and Chizkiah?

A possible answer is that the downfall of Sancherib and Sisera both occurred during the time of Pesach as is mentioned in the Aggadah literature and the Midrashim (Shemos Rabbah 18:5; Poetic Liturgy Az rov Nissim – recited at the conclusion of the seder from the Hagadah Shel Pesach and in some communities on YomTov during the Amidah) [and therefore no additional commemoration is needed since there is already a festival in place to thank Hashem].

However is this is true, [that no additional commemoration is needed since Pesach suffices] why did the sages enact Purim as a commemoration to the downfall of Haman since he too was hung on Pesach as well?! (Megillah 16a; Esther Rabbah 8:7)

The answer is explained by the statement of our rabbis in the Gemarra Megillah (7a) "Esther sent a message to the sages asking them to establish her plight as a holiday for generations." Our sages surely would have established a commemoration eeven without her request in order to praise and thank Hashem. However the sage's reasoning was that since Haman was hung on Pesach, why establish a separate and distinct commemoration for this miracle? During this time we are anyway praising and thanking Hashem for the Exodus from Egypt. Therefore Esther asked them, "establish my plight as a holiday for all generations," and commemorate the month on which they drew lots, "the very same month which was transformed from anguish to joy," (Esther 9:22) and since the primary miracle of Haman's hanging was on the festival of Pesach, therefore she needed to ask the sages to establish her plight as separate and distinct holiday for all generations to come.

(See also KL Derushim on Purim sv Zehu Shebiksha this is why Esther asked to be established for all generations to come, where the KL explains that her request was that she not be simply included on Pesach [translator's note "as we in fact do with the custom to eat saplings on Purim to commemorate Chagai, Zecharia and Malachi's miracle, and to eat dairy on Channukah to remember Yehudis, both these miracles are included in another holiday and have no distinct holiday commemoration of their own."] And this is the meaning of the verse "the very same month which was transformed from anguish to joy," (Esther 9:22) Use this month to commemorate the miracle and do not include it in Pesach.)


  1. The original first printing of the Kedushas Levi printed by rav Levi Yitzchak himself was a collections of teachings and discourses on Channukah and Purim divided into chapters which Rav Levi Yitzchak named Kedushos – sanctities, describing the different levels and dimensions of sanctity for each of these miraculous holidays. The Kedushas Levi on the Torah and his discourses on the other festivals and holidays were printed later posthumously by his sons under the same title Kedushas Levi. Thus when the Berditchever refers in his writings to Kedushas Levi, he is referring exclusively to the work on Channukah and Purim.

How Many Candles Do We Light Above and Below?

On Channukah we light thirty six candles, and "through the actions of those down here below we awaken an action on high in response" (Zohar I 77b) and correspondingly on high there are lit also thirty six candles. If we add the thirty six physical candles to the thirty six spiritual lights which are lit on high we have a total of seventy two candles, which corresponds to the Divine name whose gematria is seventy two, Blessed is He.

(The Zohar teaches that the four letter Divine name Y"H"V"H known as the tetragrammaton can be written in one of four ways by spelling each letter out: Yud is written as Yud Vav Dalet, Hay can be filled with either Alef, Yud or Hay and spelled as Hay,Yud, Hay,Alef or HayHay. The same with vav. So that when the four letter Divine name is filled and spelled with Yuds its gematria is equal to seventy two. Yud is spelled: Yud Vav Dalet = 10&6&4 = 20. HayYud = 10&5=15, VavYudVav=6&10&6=22 , HayYud = 10&5=15, together they equal 72 which is the gematria of chessed – loving kindness. Ches=8, Samech=60, Dalet=4, together = 72.)

If we add the shamash, from each night [the additional candle used to light the others] then we have a total of forty four candles which we light on Channukah, and there are another forty four lights on high which correspond to these, so the total between the earthly candles and supernal lights is equal to eighty eight, the gematria of Pa"ch. This hints at the verse (Tehillim 124;7) "The Pach or trap broke and we escaped," the trap or Pach of Antiochus kingdom broke and therefore we light Pach, eighty eight candles above and below.

This is why the Arizal writes (Pri Etz Chaim Shaar Channukah Chap. 4) that the acronym spelled by the initial letters of the verse (tehillim 33:20) "My soul waits yearning for Hashem – Nafshi Chiksa LaShem," spells Nachal which is the gematria of eighty eight or Pach (Nun=50, Ches=8, Lamed=30 = 88) and so is the acronym of the blessing recited over lighting the candles "LeHadlik Ner Channukah," also spells Nachal which is the gematria of eighty eight, study it at length. The acronym of the blessing recited over the Channukah candles is equal to eighty eight alluding to the Pach or eighty eight candles which are lit above and below as we explained.


Channukah Miracles Bound by Time and Performed by Women

The reason why on Channukah and Purim we recite the blessing "who did miracles," and on Pesach a time when a miracle occurred as well we do not recite it. It seems to me that the reason is because the miracle of Channukah and Purim both occurred through a woman (Shabbos 23a; Pesachim 108b).1

It seems to me that sometimes Hashem performs supernatural miracles as He did in Egypt with the ten plagues and by splitting the sea, and sometimes He performs miracles within nature as He did on Channukah when [Yehudis] fed the enemy milk and he slept and she killed him.1 Similarly regarding Esther [the miracle was clothed in nature] since first Achashverosh favored Haman and afterwards Esther (Esther Rabbah Intro 9). We see that these miracles occurred within the bounds of time and nature.

This is the meaning of "He did miracles for our forefathers during those days in this time," this is true regarding Channukah [and Purim] whose miracles occurred within the bounds of time and nature. However the miracle of Pesach was supernatural and above time, therefore we do not recite this blessing since the miracle is supernatural and above the natural order of time.

This is why the miracles occurred through women, since they are the aspect of receivers, and Hashem is the giver and transmitter and the world is the receiver. We have already explained elsewhere that a miracle done within the bounds of nature and time is like a receiver as well and therefore it was performed by a woman who acts as a receiver.2


  1. On Purim it was through Queen Esther . The Ran in his commentary to Shabbos 23a (pg 10a in the pages of the Rif) explains that on Channukah, Yehudis the daughter of Yochanan fed the enemy fermented milk and cheese, and when he was drunk she decapitated him. See also Rema in his gloss to Shulchan Aruch O.C. 670:2.

The Story of Yehudis on Channukah (Shabbos 23a Ran [page 10a]).1

Generally speaking when the tzadikim wish to uplift the sparks they must sometimes transgress Torah prohibitions in order to do so as Gideon did (Temurah 28b-29a) when we relate that seven [our version of the text reads eight] things were permitted that night in regards to the altar the Gideon built (Shoftim 6:25-27).2 And the reason for this is because at that time Bnei Yisroel were worshipping idols and foreign gods and therefore when a tzadik wished to do some righteous act and raise and uplift them to Hashem he needed to act as they had acted in order to be able to break the klippos (the husks and shells of impurity).

Similarly regarding the miracle of Devorah, where Yael the wife of Chever the Kayni occupied Sisera and killed him as it says "he bowed and lay dead," (Shoftim 5:27; Nazir 23b; Hurayos 10b)2. And then at that time they were not worshipping idols, therefore there were no Torah transgressions similar to Eliyahu and Gideon (see Nazir and Hurayos ibid). The only thing they needed was to be redeemed and therefore it says "he bowed and fell dead." And that generation did not carry the sin of idolatry heaven forbid as is said in the Gemarrah (Megillah 14a) " 'And she sat beneath the date palm of Devorah,' (Shoftim 4:5) just as a date palm has only one heart so did the Jews in that generation have only one heart towards their Father in Heaven."

Regarding Channukah there was a redemption and therefore Yehudis fed him cheese, the wicked one desired her, and therefore she did what was needed to bring about the needed redemption.


  1. The story of Yehudis is mentioned in several primary sources among the Rishonim, see for example Rashi and Ran to Shabbos 23a, Tosfos and Meiri to Megillah 4a, who write that the miracle of Channuka was performed through a woman, named Yehudis (some say she was Yochanan Kohen Gadol's daughter) and that she fed the enemy leader milk until he was intoxicated and that she decapitated him. In Jewish Law the miracle is mentioned as well by the Rema on Shulchan Aruch O.C. Siman 670:3 that there is a custom to eat cheese on Channukah to commemorate the story of Yehudis who fed our enemy milk.
    The entire story is found in the apocrypha called Maaseh Yehudis. There she is known as Yehudis Bas Beeri, a leader of the Jewish resistance to the Greek King Eliporni who sought to concquer jerusalem with 120,000 men. She tricked the wicked king Eliporni into falling in love with her. He invited her to a feast and when they were alone and he was intoxicated by milk and wine she stole his sword and with two blows decapitated him, she handed his head to her maidservant and then reported her deed to the Jewish resistance. The enemy's morale was crushed at their leaders death and they fled. Thus the Jews were victorious thanks to her courage and cunning.

  2. The story of Gideon's altar was a special command that Hashem gave to Gideon to build an altar from idolatrous components and offer a sacrifice from animals that had been worshipped, set aside seven years, designated and fattened especially to be used for an offering to idolatry. Normally all these involve various prohibitions which the following Gemarra in Temurah enumerates, however, in Gideon's case Hashem directly commanded him to do this. Our text of the Gemarra in Temurah 28b-29a reads [this explanation and translation follows the commentary of Rashi and Rabbeinu Gershom] : "R. Abba Bar Kahana said eight things where permitted on that night (when Gideon offered sacrifices on that altar), [that are normally forbidden, and they are:] 1. That the offerings slaughtered outside the temple courtyard, 2. The offerings were offered at night, 3. That Gideon was a non Kohen, 4. That he did not use special vessels for the offerings. 5. That the vessels used had been used in serving the idol of the Asheira Tree, 6. That the Asheira itself was cut down and its wood used for the pyre, 7. That the offering itself was set aside for idolatry and 8. That it had been worshipped as an idol."

  3. Yael is praised for her self sacrifice in allowing the wicked Sisera to be with her in order to kill him and save the Jewish army and the entire nation thereby. The topic discussed in Nazir 23b and Hurayos 10b is that of Aveira LiShma – "R. Nachman Bar Yitzchak taught, Great is a transgression done LiShma – with pure and sincere motivations," is a difficult one. At best we should take note that all the examples quoted by the gemarra are of great tzadikim and tzadkaniyos and that we are not on their level and cannot ever try to imitate them, therefore while they may have needed to sin or transgress the Torah's laws and prohibitions, it was done to save the entire Jewish people.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Sandy Relief and Chessed Efforts

Make sure to tell all your Five Towns neighbors about the food and clothing distribution center at Shor Yoshuv and the Young Israel of Woodmere. They are setting people up with meals, linen and clothing, but not enough people know about it! Please spread the word to those without power or internet access. Thanks!

Please forward to your friends in NY/NJ who expect to be without power this shabbos.

The Silver Spring Community and others are seeking expressions of interest for another bus from the NY/NJ area to Silver Spring and its environs for this coming Shabbos. If there is interest, a bus will leave Friday morning with a return to the NY (or NJ) area on Sunday evening. Transportation will be free. Home hospitality and meals will be provided.

Please share this message by e-mail, social media, etc.

Send all requests to MDreliefshabbos@gmail.com with any questions or with the family name and the total number of people (adults and children) who would come if the bus were provided.

We will have more formal "registration" once we have identified the need. As with the last one, the registration will be thorough the Young Israel Shomrai Emunah website.

If you do not need transportation, we can still arrange hospitality.

Silver Spring residents who wish to host, we'll post a link for signing up when we've assessed the need. Well over 100 families volunteered to host last time.

Thanks, everyone.

--Chad Miller

Sunday, November 4, 2012


From my good friend: Jacob Lehrfeld <jacob@ajcgarfunkel.com>


(Sunday, November 4th, 2012)

Many people are looking to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy, and many different organizations have been assisting them. The following is a list of some of organizations where you can donate and assist your brothers in need.

1) New York's leading Jewish Chesed groups have agreed to create an emergency fund to support local victims of Hurricane Sandy. The Emergency Sandy Chesed Fund will be managed by Chevra Hatzalah with the support of the following organizations: Hatzalah groups, Shomrim, Misaskim, Chaveirim, Met Council, Yad Ephraim and neighborhood Jewish Community Councils. It was formed at a meeting called by Councilman David G. Greenfield. All proceeds of the Emergency Sandy Chesed Fund will go directly to victims and victim services. No donations will be used for administration or overhead.

The community is encouraged to donate generously via this website: www.EmergencyChesedFund.com.

2) There are countless families in the Five Towns, Far Rockaway, Bayswater and Long Island that are totally wiped out, having suffered crippling losses, losing homes, cars, clothing, everything. They are literally left with only the proverbial clothing on their backs and are in a shocking situation. Hundreds of others have been severely impacted.

To assist our community in this time of desperation, the Achiezer organization has begun a campaign, chaired by distinguished baalei batim to allow those of us who are fortunate enough not to be suffering from the after effects of the hurricane, a once-in-a-lifetime direct pikuach nefesh opportunity. The trustees listed below will oversee the funds raised in this campaign to insure that every penny goes directly into the hands of those who have lost so much due to the devastating hurricane. A special accounting of every dollar will be available at the end of this campaign. Any monetary assistance, big or small, will help to alleviate the overwhelming need of our friends, neighbors and brothers. You can donate by clicking HERE.

3) In the community of Sea Gate, the devastation is real, the damage is more than just physical.  Families have lost everything.  "The only thing left is the shirt on my back", is no longer a saying, it's real.

A fund to assist the local community has been set up and is being administered by Harav Pinchos Meisels, the Dayan of Seagate. You can donate by visiting the website for the Sea Gate Hurricane Emergency Fund.


(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)


Friday, October 26, 2012

Yorzeit of Rachel Imeinu

How Rachel Aids Her Children

Kedushas Levi by Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev
Parshas VaYetzeh

"And he said did you know Lavan the son of Nachor etc." (29:4-5)

Based on the method of Remez (see above) it seems to me that they said "We are from Charan," and Charan alludes to harsh judgments as our sages taught in the holy Zohar1 and as Rashi explains at the end of parshas Noach (11:32) "Charan has an upside down Nun since until Avraham there was Charon Af - anger and wrath in the world." Study it there.

Lavan - white connotes chessed or loving kindness as is known (Tikkunei Zohar Intro 9b) and this is the meaning of "did you know Lavan the son of Nachor etc." from the harsh judgments chessed and loving kindness follows; as our sages taught (Brachos 60b) "All that the Merciful One does, is done for the good." "And they answered we know [him]." "And he asked them is it peaceful for him?" So to speak is there peace up above with no prosecutions when judgments are transformed in chessed and loving kindness. "And they answered him peace."

"And behold Rachel his daughter is coming with the sheep." (See Bereshis Rabbah 70:10) Since Rachel is coming with the flocks of sheep which refers to the Jewish people who are called Tzon Kedoshim - holy sheep and therefore she is constantly nullifying the prosecuting agents and causing peace up above, as is written in the sefer Chasdei Hashem regarding a story that whenever there is a time of trouble and calamity Rachel comes and cries out to cancel and nullify all the troubles from Bnei Yisroel.2 Understand this.


  1.. See Zohar I 147b and Bereshis Rabbah 68:13; 70:11.

  2.. See the story in the citation below. See also Bereshis Rabbah 82:10; Zohar II 29b.

Stories & Parables

Rachel Cries in Distress To Save Her Children

from the Sefer Chasdei Hashem

The sefer Chasdei Hashem by Rav Moshe Mordechai Margolios was printed in Cracow in the year 1589. On page 47b he writes:

(Yishaya 53:7) As a Rachel - a sheep is silent before her shearers, so too our Matriarch Rachel is shorn and in distress. As the verse says (Yirmiyahu 31:14) "A voice in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping; Rachel crying over her children refusing to be comforted."

I must copy a great matter here which I saw written regarding an incident that happened close to our times. In the country of Ashkenaz (Germany) there were several congregations that were forlorn and despondent in their distress from being harassed and maltreated and jailed.

Among them was a great man by the name of Rav Moshe Naiyas. They said that one time during the night they heard a bitter voice call out "Woe is to me, over my children!" They told of the incident to Rav Moshe Naiyas and he answered them: "Do not worry and do not fear, because shortly we will all be able to return to our homes in peace." And so it was.

When he was questioned as to the crying they had heard he said that this was the voice of our matriarch Rachel, and that when Yisroel are distressed Rachel cries over her children and calls out before Hashem until He answers her saying "stop your voice from crying."


Kol Tuv,
R' Tal Moshe Zwecker
Director Machon Be'er Mayim Chaim
Chassidic Classics in the English Language
Phone: 972-2-992-1218 / Cell: 972-54-842-4725
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Yahrzeit of Rachel Emainu - How Rachel Helps Her Children in Galus Kedushas Levi


Kedushas Levi on

Moshe spoke to the children of Israel according to everything Hashem had commanded him about them...

(Devarim 1:3)

[The Zohar explains that] the holy Torah contains great depth and hidden secrets. If we find stories in the Torah — tales such as those of our forefathers Avraham and Yitzchak, of Yaakov and Lavan, of the matriarchs, and of Bilam and his donkey — we must realize that in truth all of these tales contain hidden secrets and depth. On the surface, we can learn a lesson from the tale itself, such as how to develop good character traits. For example, from the story of Avraham we learn the trait of chesed, loving-kindness; from the story of Yaakov we learn about his righteousness.
From the matriarchs we learn of their righteousness, and how the merit of Rachel still stands by us today, as our Rabbis taught (Eichah Rabbasi, Pesichtah 24; Tanna D'Vei Eliyahu Rabbah, ch. 30), "Regarding this it says, 'A voice in the heights is heard, lamentation and bitter weeping; Rachel is crying over her children, she refuses to be consoled' (Yirmeyahu 31:14)."

The Midrash in Tanna D'vei Eliyahu says that when Hashem sent Bnei Yisroel into exile for their sins He was not going to return them until Rachel Imeinu stood in prayer and said "Master of the World just as I who am only flesh and blood was not angered and did not protest regarding my time of distress when my husband Yaakov who worked seven years for me was given my sister Leah as a bride and I did not speak with him at all so that he would not know the difference between my voice and hers so You who are a merciful King should not be angered by their worship of idols who are actually nothing real," immediately G-d's mercy was awakened and He swore to Rachel that He would return her children back from the exile. Regarding this it says 'A voice in the heights is heard, lamentation and bitter weeping; Rachel is crying over her children, she refuses to be consoled' .

In the Eicha Midrash it says simply "In the merit of that weeping I shall return you from exile, regarding this it says 'A voice in the heights is heard, lamentation and bitter weeping; Rachel is crying over her children, she refuses to be consoled' ."

Kol Tuv,
R' Tal Moshe Zwecker
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Monday, October 22, 2012

As Long As A Pulse Is Still Beating... (Aish Kodesh Hilula 5773)

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Rav Weinberger's drasha start around the 1 hour mark and runs for about 40 minutes. The rest of the file contains the Hilula's singing and music. Yaakov Avinu's (our forefather) desire to be removed from Egypt and be burried in Eretz Yisrael. The neshamah (soul) of a tzaddik (righteous person) can be drawn to whereever people, who need and him and daven (pray) hor his help, are. He is drawn like a magnet to to Jews who learn his Torah and who remember him. Why was the soul of the Ba'al Shem Tov sent into this world? To awaken those who are asleep, even though they appear to be fully "functioning" and observant Jews. Different types and levels of sleep. Barely alive, with a last, almost indiscernible pulse, we can still wake up. Dry, routine Yiddishkeit which contains no love for, awe of, or attachment to Hashem. Our task: reach out and touch the neshamos of tzaddikim.

Tonight Is the Holy Yartzeit Of Rav Meir Shapiro The Founder of Daf Yomi Buried on Har Hamenuchos. Zecher Tzadik V'Kodesh Livracha

Excerpt from the upcoming Moisa Edition of Maasay Avos 

Mishna 2:1 "What is the proper path that man should choose for himself?"

The story occurred on Shabbos Bereshis in the Beis Midrash of Rav Yisroel of Tchortokov. Among the many guests was the then Rav of Sanok, Rav Meir Shapira who was later famous as the Rosh Yeshiva of Chachmei Lublin and the founder of the Daf HaYomi movement.

On Shabbos morning after the Krias HaTorah the door to the Rebbe's private room opened and the Rebbe himself made an unusual appearance where before the astounded chassidim he honored the Rav of Sanok, Rav Meir Shapirah to bless the new month and to lead the prayers for Mussaf. This was an unusual occasion to say the least, however Rav Meir took the amud, and led the congregation. His powerful sweet and melodious voice awoke a strong outpouring of the soul and a holy excitement among the chassidim and many later recounted that the aura of sanctity resembled Yom Kippur. The sweet niggun and songs plucked the strings of their souls and they were all moved by Rav Meir Shapira's heartfelt prayers.

Afterwards as the chassidim passed before the Rebbe to receive his Git Shabbos blessing, Rav Meir too passed before him. "I did not know that the Rav of Sanok knew so well how to lead the prayers?!" exclaimed the Rebbe. "I too did not know this," said Rav Meir innocently, "until the Rebbe revealed this to me as well!"

The Rebbe invited Rav Meir to kiddush and after the meal they secreted themselves in the Rebbe's private room for a long drawn out conversation. When Rav Meir left the Rebbe's room his face shone with a supernal other worldly aura.

During that conversation, Rav Meir's powerful gift of prayer was mentioned once again on which he commented, "If I have such a gift perhaps I should become a Chazzan, it would be appropriate since I am a descendant of Rav Pinchas Koretzer before whom all the gates of prayer where open!"

Upon hearing these words the Tchortkover grew suddenly serious and after a few moments he said, "Rabbi of Sanok allow me to tell you a tale about the holy Rebbe Reb Zisha of Anniploi, the borther of the illustrious Rebbe Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk.

Once when Rav Zisha was wandering in self imposed exile from land to land he arrived in Galicia. He had heard of Rav Yuzpa the famous Rosh Yeshivah of Zolkava and decided to travel there since his wondrous shiur, discourses in Talmudic topics were quite legendary. Rav Zisha travelled there and when he reached Zolkova he entered Rav Yuzpa's Yeshivah and Talmudic academy. At that time, Rav Yuzpa was in the midst of a Talmudic pilpul, a deep discussion of the tractate's sugya and all his students were absorbed in his profound words so that no one noticed Rav Zisha's appearance in the Yeshivah at all.

Rav Zisha was dressed as a wandering vagabond, in tattered rags with his walking stick and bundle in hand. He went and sat in the corner and listened as well to the Tamudic discourse Rav Yuzpa delivered without removing his eyes from the orator for even a moment.

After the lecture had ended, Rav Zisha approached the Rosh Yeshiva and said to him, "Thank you so much you deserve such a Yasher Koach for the lecture you delivered! I have heard of your great erudition and scholarliness from afar and about your wonderful lectures and therefore I decided to travel and hear them for myself first hand. Believe me it was well worth the long and arduous journey!"

Rav Yuzpah heard the words of praise and answered, "Well I am glad that you enjoyed the lecture and that you heard words of Torah wisdom which you enjoyed, so I understand why I find favor in your eyes. However how can you find favor in my eyes? Why I do not yet have the pleasure of knowing you, who are you and where are you from?" asked Rav Yuzpa of his guest.

"O' How can a vagabond such as myself find any favor in anyone's eyes? I do not even know how to learn or study Torah. Why I know nothing at all!" declared Rav Zisha.

"Impossible," countered Rav Yuzpah, "It cannot be that you have no wisdom or sanctity. I sense that deep inside you there is some hidden treasure which causes you to find favor in my eyes." concluded the Rosh Yeshivah.

"I only know how to pray," concluded Rav Zisha. "Well, what Jew doesn't know how to do that? Every Jew knows how to pray," exclaimed Rav Yuzpah with wonder. "But I know the proper way to pray before the Master of the World!," added Rav Zisha.

"If so, reveal it to me, teach me the secrets of your prayer," asked Rav Yuzpah. "Very well then, come let us go somewhere private and I will open the gates of prayer before you," suggested Rav Zisha.

"And so," concluded the Tchortkover Rebbe to Rav Meir Shapira, "the two entered a room and secluded themselves. Rav Zisha taught the Rosh Yeshivah the secrets of prayer and they pierced deep into Rav Yuzpah's soul. He grew aflame with excitement and declared, "I will leave my Yeshivah and go after this man! Just as Elishah followed Eliyahu and then perhaps during that time I will learn at least how to pray just one proper prayer in my lifetime! I will learn to stand before the Master of the World in prayer and to concentrate with true purity. Yes I will get up right now and leave my Yeshivah!"

"No, no Rav Yuzpah," countered Rav Zisha. "Let me explain something to you, our sages taught us that just as man's facial features are different from one another so too are their minds different. There are millions and billions of people living in this world, and each one has a different face from the other. And just as their outer appearance differs so does their inner essence, their souls and their purpose in life. And even though each soul can reach its own personal beauty equally. Why did Hashem create so many people, because each of them has his unique personal purpose to fulfill a lofty and supernal goal. Just as there are many people, there are many goals and aspirations for each individual. Each person has to fulfill his own aspirations and goals with the tools, talents and character traits that Hashem has given him. This is why our sages taught that one should always study from where his heart desires. Sincde man's heart aspires to his personal goal which Hashem expects of him to fulfill. You Rav Yuzpa have the talent and power to inspire students and teach them Torah. Heaven gifted you with this ability to deliver such beautiful Talmudic lectures and discourses. Leave the gates of prayer for someone like me," concluded Rav Zisha.

The Tchortkover ended the tale and turned to Rav Meir Shapira, who understood the meaning of the Rebbe's words. Later in life when Rav Meir was the head and Rosh Yeshiva of Chachmei Lublin he told those close to him about that Shabbos in Tchortkov saying, "With that story the Rebbe put me in my proper place and set me on the proper path in life to fulfill my unique mission and purpose, to teach and spread Torah through chinuch of the next generation of Am Yisroel – the Jewish nation."

***for dedications on this finished manuscript to help edit & print the completed manuscript please contact me***

From my good friend Jacob Lehrfeld

Tonight Monday Night Tuesday the 7th of Cheshvan is

The Holy Yartzeit of:

Rabbi Yehudah Meir ben Yaakov Shimshon Shapiro, The Founder of Daf Yomi, Famed Tzaddik and Rosh Yeshiva Of Chachmei Lublin.
Zecher Tzadik V'Kadosh Livracha Zechuso Yagen Aleinu. Amen!!!



Rav Yehuda Meir Shapiro of Lublin (1887-1933). His father, Rav Yaakov Shimshon Katz of Shatz, Romania, was a descendent of Rav Pinchas Koretz, a disciple of the Baal Shem Tov. His mother, Margala, was the daughter of Rav Shmuel Yitzchak Schor, author of Minchas Shai, and a descendent of the author of Tevu'as Shor. He was also a descendent of Rav Bechor Shor of Orleans, one of the Baalie Tosefos. He was married in 1906 and took his first appointment, Rav of Galina, in 1911. In 1921, he became Rav of Sanok, then in 1924 Rav of Piotrkov. It was while there that he wrote his sefer Or HaMeir. Also in 1923, he began the first cycle of Daf Yomi, having shared this idea at the first Knessiah Gedolah of Agudath Yisrael the previous year. That first cycle began on Rosh Hashana in 1923 and was completed 2702 days later on Tu Bishvat in 1931. His other major project was to found the yeshiva Chachmei Lublin, in 1930.



Reb Meir passed away on 7th of Cheshvan. A few hours before his petira, unable to speak, Reb Meir wrote a note with shaking hands to his wife. "Why are you crying?" he wrote. "Now we will have the real joy."
Reb Meir asked his talmidim to dress him in a new white shirt and arrange his peyos. Signaling for a pencil, he wrote, "All of you, drink a lechaim."
Beverages and cake were brought. Brachos were made and then each talmid, in turn, stood before Reb Meir and shook his hand. Reb Meir warmly held each talmid and looked deeply into his eyes.
After each one had bid his rebbi farewell, Reb Meir formed the words, "Becha botchu avoseinu," "Our fathers trusted in You." The talmidim understood that Reb Meir wanted them to sing the melody he composed.
As the talmidim sang, they began to dance as they had never danced before. Tears rolled down their cheeks-their hearts were breaking-but they continued to dance around their rebbi's bed.
The talmidim realized that their rebbi would leave them a few moments. Reb Meir detected the students' muffled sobs, and motioned for them to come closer. "Nor mit simcha," "Only with joy," he whispered.
These were Reb Meir's last words. , Rav Yehuda Meir Shapiro's soul then departed. He was 46 years old.
All over Poland, newspapers put out special editions with detailed biographies of the Lubliner Rav. One newspaper described him as "the Jewish king."
Reb Meir's ohel was the only grave left standing in the Lublin cemetery after the Holocaust. In 1958, they brought his remains to a final resting place in Yerushalayim.

About The Founding Of The Daf Yomi  And The Esteemed Rosh Yeshiva Of Chachmei Lublin.  Zechusoi Yagen Aleinu!!! Amen!!!


The novel idea of Jews in all parts of the world studying the same daf each day, with the goal of completing the entire Talmud, was put forth at the First World Congress of the World Agudas Israel in Vienna on 16 August 1923 by Rabbi Meir Shapiro, then Rav of Sanok, Poland, and future rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin.[9] In those years, only some of the 63 tractates of the Talmud were being studied regularly, such as Berachos, Shabbos, and Eruvin, which deal with practical laws, while others, such as Zevachim and Temurah, were hardly studied. Rav Shapiro also viewed the program as a way to unify the Jewish people. As he explained to the Congress delegates:

What a great thing! A Jew travels by boat and takes gemara Berachos under his arm. He travels for 15 days from Eretz Yisrael to America, and each day he learns the daf. When he arrives in America, he enters a beis medrash in New York and finds Jews learning the very same daf that he studied on that day, and he gladly joins them. Another Jew leaves the States and travels to Brazil or Japan, and he first goes to the beis medrash, where he finds everyone learning the same daf that he himself learned that day. Could there be greater unity of hearts than this?

Originally RavShapiro saw Daf Yomi as an obligation only for the religious youth of Poland. However, the idea was greeted enthusiastically by the nearly 600 delegates at the Congress, including many Torah leaders from Europe and America, who accepted it a universal obligation for all Jews.

The first cycle of Daf Yomi commenced on the first day of Rosh Hashanah 5684 (11 September 1923), with tens of thousands of Jews in Europe, America and Israel learning the first daf of the first tractate of the Talmud, Berachos. To show support for the idea, the Gerrer Rebbe, Rabbi Avraham Mordechai Alter, learned the first daf of Berachos in public on that day.[9][11] On 12 November 1924 Tractate Berachos was completed, with small siyumim (celebrations marking the completion of study of a Talmudic tractate) in local communities. At that time, Shapiro published a calendar for the entire cycle of Daf Yomi study.[9] (For the first cycle, there were only 2,702 pages of Talmud on the schedule; later Gedolei Yisrael increased it to 2,711,[13] incorporating Tractate Shekalim, taken from the Jerusalem Talmud.) The siyum for the completion of Tractate Pesachim took place after the laying of the cornerstone for Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin. At that time, Rav Shapiro conceived the idea of contributing daily groschen to help raise money for the building. Each day, each person who studied Daf Yomi was asked to set aside a grosh (a Polish penny), and at the end of the tractate, to donate the sum to the yeshiva.[14] The Gerrer Rebbe immediately contributed the entire sum of 2,700 groschen (27 złoty) to support this initiative.[9]

The Second World Congress of the World Agudas Israel, held in 1929, coincided with the completion of Tractate Zevachim.[9]

The 1st Siyum HaShas took place on 2 February 1931 (15 Shevat 5691) in several cities in Europe and in Jerusalem, with the main venue being the newly-opened Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin in Lublin, Poland. Tens of thousands of Jews attended these events. Rav Shapiro presided over the Siyum in his yeshiva in the presence of many leaders of Polish Jewry.[13] In the United States, Siyums were held in Baltimore and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[15]

The completion of the Daf Yomi cycle is celebrated in an event known as the Siyum HaShas ("completion of the Shas").[ In America, the main Siyum HaShas is organized by the Agudath Israel of America. Attendance at each Siyum HaShas has grown exponentially. In 1997 the 10th Siyum HaShas was celebrated by some 70,000 participants in the U.S.;[17] at the 11th Siyum HaShas in 2005, participation had grown to 120,000 in the U.S.[3] and 300,000 around the world.[4]

The 12th Siyum HaShas in America was be held on August 1, 2012 at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, which had capacity for over 90,000 attendees.

An event that has inspired the Entire Jewish Nation For Love Of Hashem and His Holy Torah.



 Zecher Tzadik V'Kadosh Livracha Zchusoi Yagein Aleinu V'al Kul Yisrael. Amen!!!

May the Light of the Holy Tzaddikim Grow And Grow Until The Dawn Of Day. Amen.


An excerpt from:

"A Blaze in the Darkening Gloom"
The life of Rav Meir Shapiro
Feldheim Publishers, 1994 (from p. 365)

The Yiddish manuscript upon which this book is based was written in 1934 by a student of Rav Shapiro's, Rav Yehoshua Baumol, who was killed in the Holocaust. The manuscript was translated into English by Charles Wengrow for publication by Feldheim publishers.

The Great Rabbi Meir Shapiro's Last Moments

The hour of night grew later and later. On a piece of paper he asked that he be shown all the prescriptions which the doctors had written. When they were handed him, he went through them and selected the one for a preparation to cleanse the throat and the respiratory organs and he asked that a new supply be gotten for him. Every few minutes he kept washing his hands while his mind was obviously immersed in distant thoughts. The evident struggle that he had to make to draw breath was heartbreaking. One could feel the frightul, racking agony that he had to undergo to try to get a bit of air into his lungs, and try as he would, he kept failing, because the channels were blocked.

On a piece of paper, her scrawled a request to be carried into another chamber that he designated by its number ("Room number so-and-so"). Interestingly, that room had two doors, each with the name of an organization that had contributed money toward its construction. One door bore the name of the Bikur Cholim society (for care of the sick) of Chicago; the other, of the Chesed Shel Emes Society (for proper Jewish burial) of St. Louis.

When the transfer was accomplished, he asked for a change into a clean shirt and a fresh Talit Katan (a four-cornered garment with Tzitzis, ritual fringes, at the corners). Needless to say, his wishes were carried out. But then his wife, the Rabanit, noticed a change in his countenance, and she began weeping emotionally. Rav Meir did his best to calm her, as he wrote the message, "Now the true Simcha begins"…

In a broken, barely legible scrawl he wrote, "Let everyone drink l'Chayim!" Some liquor was poured out into tiny glasses, and all who were there drank and wished him l'Chayim, "to life!" Then he shook hands with them all, one by one, holding each one's hand in his for a long time. And now he gave his instruction, "Make a Rikud (a little Chassidic dance) to the words, 'b'Cha Batchu Avoseinu' ("In You our fathers trusted, and You rescued them"; Tehilim 22:5). His wishes were obeyed: they joined hands, put hands on shoulders, and lifted their feet in rhythm as they sang the holy words to the melody they knew so well - the melody which he himself had composed.

It was clear that the end was approaching. Into the great Shul (the Hall of Prayer) the young scholars came streaming now to say Tehilim, to implore Heaven's mercy for him../.

[As he noticed some of the dancing students sobbing,] clearly and distinctly he pronounced two Yiddish words: "Nor b'Simcha" ("Only with joy!"); then he snapped his fingers -- and expired. He passed over and away and out of his body. And he was gone from us.

Zecher Tzadik V'Kadosh Livracha Zchusoi Yagein Aleinu V'al Kul Yisrael. Amen!!!

May the Light of the Holy Tzaddikim Grow And Grow Until The Dawn Of Day. Amen.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fwd: Rav Lieber "HaGadol" of Berdichev - The Founder of Berditchev .Zecher Tzadik Livracha. Zechusoi Yagen Aleinu. Amen.

From my good friend Jacob Lehrfeld

A Gutte Vuch To The Gutte Nation.

Tonight Motzei Shabbos Sunday the 28th of Tishrei is

The Holy Yartzeit of:

28 Tishrei - Rav  Lieber "HaGadol" of Berdichev His real name was Rav Eliezer ben Rav Avraham (1771) one of the Talmidim of the Baal Shem Tov. He was a great-grandson (ben acher ben) of R' Shimshon Ostropolier and was also a descendent of the Megaleh Amukos.. Zecher Tzadik VKadosh Livracha. Zechusoi Yagen Aleinu.Amen.


Courtesy: David Hoffman

The Founder of Berditchev
Born:5427-(1667) - Died:5531- (1771)
Rav Lieber HaGadol had a unique way of combining his "Avodas Hashem" with an incalculable love of every Jew. At night, when he wandered around the giant forests surrounding Berditchev in order to learn, daven and ponder over Hashem's wonders, he simultaneously kept a sharp lookout for any sheep and cattle that may have strayed away from their owners during the day. At the end of the night, he would drive the animals before him back to Berditchev, pausing beneath people's windows to call out, "Here is your goat!" "Here is your cow!"
Although he had never been an official talmid of the Baal Shem Tov, Rav Lieber, the founder of the Berditchev kehillah, sowed seeds of Chassidus in his town that exploded into full bloom during the years of Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev.

It is not surprising that Rav Lieber became one of the greatest Ukrainian "gedolim" of his time as he was the great-great-grandson of two renowned giants, Rav Shimshon of Ostropol and Rav Nasan Shapiro, author of the Megalleh Amukos. This is why Rav Lieber instructed in his will that no descendants of his should ever marry kohanim. He had received this warning from his ancestor, Rav Shimshon of Ostropol who explained that because his family was descended from Dovid HaMelech, combining kehunah with malchus could lead to the family's destruction.
Rav Lieber's father, Rav Avraham, had fled from Krakow to Bistritch in the Ukraine, probably during the Swedish invasion of Poland (5415/1655-5418/1658) when thousands of Jews from Krakow, Kalish, Piotrikov, Poznan and Lublin were slaughtered by Swedes, Poles and the plague. Some historians estimate that about half a million Polish Jews died during these few years. Although most of the Polish Jews returned home afterwards to patch up their lives, many others, including Rav Avraham fled to other countries to make a new start. After all, do not Chazal (see Rosh Hashanah 16b) state, "Shinui makom shinui mazal," "Changing one's place can improve one's mazal?"
Sadly, Rav Avraham's mazal did not seem to have improved since he died while still a young man but he left his young son, Rav Lieber, ten thousand gold coins. Rav Lieber immersed himself so deeply in Torah, it is said, that every night, his famous ancestors descended from the heavens to teach him the secrets of Kabalah.
In those days, Berditchev barely existed. Although first founded in about 5190/1430, reputedly by someone named Berdich, it had been destroyed by the Tartars and then only a handful of Jews lived in its vicinity. Most of Berditchev was still thick, untouched forest.
Something about the wild, unpopulated area attracted Rav Lieber like a magnet and he felt certain that there was something unique about the place. After his father's passing, he would cross the river every morning and evening and stroll among its ancient trees, reveling in the opportunity to be alone with Hashem without disturbances. He maintained this custom for months and years.
One morning, the ducal owner of Bistritch and its environs was traveling in the forest in his coach when his horses suddenly halted and reared upwards, almost throwing the duke out of his carriage. They had been startled by Rav Lieber, who was standing in the forest track in his tallis and tefillin, totally unaware of the coach that had almost run him down. Using every ounce of his strength, the duke's Ukrainian coachman somehow got the horses under control.
Then the infuriated duke ordered his tough coachman to give the insolent Jew a whipping he would not forget. The coachman did not need to be told twice; his whip sang through the air biting into Rav Lieber's clothes and flesh. However, Rav Lieber was so engrossed in his davening that he did not notice a thing.
"What's going on?" the coachman asked his master. "What should I do? No matter how much I beat this person, it makes no impression. He isn't a human being!"
"Leave him alone!" the duke said in disgust. "Let's go."
Back home, the duke leapt from the carriage and strode confidently into his luxurious mansion; suddenly his legs and arms went limp and he collapsed onto the floor.
"Help, help!" he cried out.
The servants who ran in from every direction could not do anything except carry him to his room and put him in bed. There he lay helpless as a newborn, and his doctor declared that his condition was hopeless. Help came from an unexpected quarter. Like most Ukrainian land-owners, the duke had a Jewish arender (estate manager). When he heard what happened, his face turned white.
"Do you know who the person the duke beat up must have been?" he asked the servants. "Obviously our great maggid who crosses the river to pray every day! I am certain the duke will never recover from his paralysis until he begs him for forgiveness!"
The duke immediately sent his doctor to help Rav Lieber recover from his beating and to bear a message begging his forgiveness. This was a golden opportunity for Rav Lieber to fulfill a long-time dream.
"I will forgive the duke if he builds a large shul at the place I was praying and a house next door in which to live," Rav Lieber told the doctor.
The duke hurriedly built the shul and the house and, after his recovery, he visited Rav Lieber and asked if there was anything else he wanted.
"Yes," he replied. "I would like you to build a town next to the shul."
This is how the Berditchev kehillah was founded in about 5451/1691.

It is not surprising that the mere mention of Berditchev's name evokes spiritual longings in Jewish hearts, as Rav Lieber used to say that the shul he built was sited opposite the gateway to Heaven where the prayers of Klal Yisroel stream skywards. This is one reason Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev established his kloiz and home right next door to the old, original shul of Berditchev when he moved there after Rav Lieber's passing.
In addition, Rav Lieber built a beis medrash next to his shul where he taught revealed and hidden Torah to talmidim. Once the Berditchev kehillah began thriving, Rav Lieber served as its maggid. Despite his deep Torah knowledge, he always bowed to the authority of the Berditchev av beis din, Rav Yosef Halperin, known as Rav Yosef Charif because of his sharp mind; the only time he paskened shaylos was when Rav Yosef was unavailable.
On one such occasion, a butcher came to Rav Lieber with an animal's problematical lung.
"This lung seems to have a sircha (lesion)," the butcher told him. "Does this make it treif?"
"Certainly!" replied Rav Lieber who was generally machmir (stringent) when it came to sirchos. "This animal is absolutely forbidden!"
At that very moment, Rav Yosef entered and Rav Lieber asked his opinion about the sircha.
"I say that is kosher!" the rav replied.
"Oy vey!" cried out Rav Lieber. "My apologies to you Reb Yid (the butcher) for almost causing you a great loss, and my apologies to you, lung, for ruling that you are treif!"
If Rav Lieber had such love and consideration even for an inanimate lung, imagine the feeling he had for Klal Yisroel! The depth of his love for every Jew was indescribable. In his home, he always had a special room ready with twelve beds for any tired and hungry wayfarers who might pass by, and he treated his simplest guests like honored personages.
There is a story told that this great hospitality almost led to tragedy when Rav Lieber once remarked to his sons, "In the Next World, I will not be embarrassed of my hachnosses orchim even before Avrohom Avinu!"
As this tiny shred of pride was unfitting for his lofty level, it was decreed on high that he should not live out the year. When Eliyahu HaNavi heard of this impending tragedy, he rushed before the Heavenly beis din and fervently pled in Rav Lieber's defense. How could such a tremendous tzaddik be condemned to perish for making a miniscule error?
The court ordered that Eliyahu HaNavi should come down in the form of a ragged, filthy pauper and test Rav Lieber. If Rav Lieber received him pleasantly and gave him every honor, the decree would be revoked. Of course, Eliyahu's duty was to make this trial as difficult as possible.
Eliyahu HaNavi arrived at Rav Lieber's home moments before Shabbos just as Rav Lieber was about to set off to shul. Physically, he seemed the most repulsive looking person Rav Lieber had met in his life.
"I'm hungry!" the stranger slurred. "Give me something to eat!"
"But it is time to go to shul," advised Rav Lieber.
"I need food now!" retorted the pauper.
Rav Lieber immediately brought him a generous plateful of food. However, the poor man's stomach was a bottomless pit and as fast as Rav Lieber rushed in food from the kitchen, the stranger gluttonously gobbled it down. In one sitting, down went the challah, fish, soup and chicken of Shabbos night, down went the cholent and kugel of Shabbos morning, and down went the fish of shalosh seudos.
"Let us go and daven," suggested Rav Lieber when the stranger was temporarily sated.
"You go yourself," said the visitor. "I want to sleep now – in your bed."
Clambering in Rav Lieber's bed with filthy clothes and muddy boots, the stranger fell into a stupor but not for long. By the time Rav Lieber returned from shul, he was already up like a new man with a new appetite, ready once more to eat his host out of house and home. The same thing happened on Shabbos morning. With no food left in his house, Rav Lieber brought in food from relatives and neighbors.
The guest's coarse behavior all this while was beyond description.
After Havdalah, Eliyahu HaNavi revealed his true identity to Rav Lieber and told him, "Because of your momentary pride, the Heavenly court condemned you to death. I came down to save your life, and because you did not get angry once this Shabbos, your sentence has been transmuted to a year of exile. You may not spend two nights in the same town except on Shabbos and Yom Tov. Set out now!"
The following morning, Rav Lieber instructed a tailor to sew him a suit of coarse traveling garments and took a wagon to Brod, intending to go from there to Austria where no one knew him. He arrived in Brod on Erev Shabbos, made his way to the local Jew in charge of giving people a place to stay and was assigned to spend Shabbos with the uncouth Jew in charge of the beis kevaros.
After enduring a terrible Shabbos night, Rav Lieber went to the local shul that was headed by Rav Ephraim, a son of Rav Tzvi Hirsh Ashkenazi (the Chacham Tzvi) and a brother of Rav Yaakov Emden. During davening, Rav Ephraim noticed Rav Lieber crouching near to the oven and recognized him immediately.
"With my authority as rav of this town," he commanded him, "I hereby order you to sit in the mizrach (the most honorable location)."
After calling him up for shlishi during Kerias HaTorah, Rav Ephraim took Rav Lieber home and honored him like a king. However, Rav Lieber felt as if he was sitting on shpilkes (pins and needles). Is this how he was supposed to be spending his galus?
"Please hurry and bentch," he implored his host at shalosh seudos. "I have to leave Brod immediately.
"What is the hurry?" inquired Rav Efraim.
"I am in galus and cannot stay in one place for more than one night!" he replied.
Suddenly Eliyahu HaNavi appeared with good tidings.
"Yom leshanah!" he told Rav Lieber. "Your one day of galus has been counted as a full year and you are free to go home whenever you wish."
Rav Ephraim was overjoyed to have the privilege of hiring an elegant coach and sending his distinguished guest back to Berditchev.

Whenever the Baal Shem Tov visited Berditchev during his travels throughout Poland and the Ukraine, he always insisted on staying at Rav Lieber's.
"Rav Lieber is unique!" he used to say. "While there are a number of Tzaddikim who merit Gilui Eliyahu, by Rav Lieber it is the opposite – Eliyahu merits the Gilui of Rav Lieber!"
Rav Lieber's wife passed away in his old age, and one of his young nieces agreed to marry him on condition that she be blessed with righteous offspring; they named their son Yaakov.
None of Rav Lieber's descendants achieved his fame and renown. This is because Rav Lieber was once asked by Heaven what he preferred – to have sons and grandsons whose fame would spread far and wide, or to contribute a portion of his merit to speed the Moshiach's arrival and Rav Lieber chose the second option. Thus even though this son, Rav Yankele, became the son-in-law of Rav Yechiel of Mikolaiv, one of the Baal Shem Tov's great talmidim, he never achieved his father's immortal fame.
Although Rav Lieber always revered the Baal Shem Tov, he never became his talmid or followed his path of Chassidus. His awe of the Baal Shem Tov increased dramatically after the Baal Shem Tov's passing when the Megalleh Amukos, who appeared every night to study with Rav Lieber, suddenly stopped coming. Concerned, Rav Lieber sent his older son, Rav Yechiel, to the Megalleh Amukos' grave in Krakow to inquire what happened.
"Since the Baal Shem Tov's passing, the yeshivah shel ma'alah has closed down for thirty days," the Megalleh Amukos told him." "It is from there that I get the Torah I study with your father."
Rav Lieber then drew closer to Chassidus, mentioning its wisdom in his Shabbos drashos each Shabbos. Through these teachings, the Jews of Berditchev became receptive to its ideas when talmidim of the Baal Shem Tov, including Rav Leib Sarahs and Rav Yaakov Yosef of Polonoye, began passing through, and by the time Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev arrived in 5545/1785, it was easy for him to create a major Chassidic metropolis. By then, Berditchev had a thriving kehillah of about 2,000 Jews who comprised seventy-five percent of the town's population.
The kehillah reached its highpoint in 5621/1861 when its 46,683 strong community was the second largest in the Russian Empire and the only major town of the empire with a Jewish majority.
Rav Lieber enjoyed an extremely long life, passing away in 5531/1770, aged 104, during a violent plague which was killing so many that survivors were afraid to bury them according to halacha and interred them in mass graves.
"Great destruction has been decreed on the community," declared Rav Lieber. "I hereby accept death upon myself instead!"
Calling four people to him, he promised them a place in Olam Haba if they would perform all the customs of interment on him and bury him properly instead of throwing him into a mass grave. He then passed away and the plague abruptly ceased.
May Rav Lieber's memory be a blessing.

Zecher Tzadik VKadosh Livracha. Zechusoi Yagen Aleinu.


Zecher Tzadikim U'Kadoshim Livracha Zchusom Yagein Aleinu V'al Kul Yisrael. Amen!!!

May the Light of the Holy Tzaddikim Grow And Grow Until The Dawn Of Day. Amen.