Tuesday, January 19, 2016




"And I appeared to Avraham, to Yitzchok and to Yaakov." (Shemos 6:3)

And I appeared to the Avos (Rashi).

Many commentators are surprised by this seemingly unnecessary comment of Rashi. What did Rashi add in his comment and what did he mean by it?

The Rebbe Reb Melech asks this very question in Noam Elimelech, explaining Rashi's comment as follows:

Rashi is emphasizing that Hashem appeared to all three of the Avos equally as E"l Sha"dai. This is surprising, since we know that each of the Avos served Hashem in his own individual way, each according to his personal attribute: Avraham with chessed (loving-kindness), Yitzchak with Gevura (severity and strength) and Yaakov with Tiferes (beauty and splendor). Since each of them served Hashem differently we would have expected Hashem's revelation to each to be different. Rashi therefore comments, "I appeared to the Avos" – I appeared to all the Avos equally as E"l Sha"dai, because, although each had a different revelation and served Hashem in his individual way, this was due to their own, human differences, as opposed to Hashem Himself, Who is a unified being and does not change at all.

REVELATION FOR THOSE WHO SEEK HIMThe Modzitzer Rebbe, in Divrei Yisrael, cites his holy grandfather, Rav Chatzkeleh Kuzhmirer, in answering this same question on Rashi's commentary. The Kuzhmirer said that the word Avos can also mean "will" or ratzon as in the pasuk (Devarim 2:30): Velo ava Sichon – "And Sichon was not willing." Rashi's comment "And I appeared to the Avos" can thus be reinterpreted not to mean Avraham, Yitzchok and Yaakov per se, but rather, whoever desires to seek Hashem and is willing to serve Him – even now in our times – Hashem appears to him. The Modzitzer adds that this fulfills the statement in Tanna D'vei Eliyahu (Chapter 25): "Everyone is obligated to say, 'When will my actions reach those of my forefathers – the Avos?"


Rav Meir of Premishlan also questions the meaning of Rashi's comment. He answers that the lesson Rashi wishes to convey is that Hashem appeared to each of the Avos in their own merits and not due to the greatness of their forefathers.

The Divrei Chaim of Sanz was once visited by the grandson of a Rebbe. When the Sanzer Rav asked him, "And who are you?" he replied, expounding on his yichus (lineage) that he was the grandson of the famed Tzaddik and Rebbe so and so.

"I asked you who you are!" thundered the Sanzer Rav, "and you answer me who your grandfather was?!"



The king sighed a heavy sigh. What was to be done with his son, the prince? The young man simply had no regard for money and he spent it like water. He wasted money on lavish balls and affairs, fancy clothes, vain pursuits, gambling and any sport he wished. He spent frivolously, running up debts until the king could no longer ignore his reckless, carefree lifestyle any longer. "I have no other choice," the sad king said to himself as he shook his head, and resolved to punish the prince in order to teach him the value of money and some responsibility.

The prince hung his head in shame. "You are hereby banished from the palace. You may not take anything with you but the clothes on your back; maybe then you will learn to value money and hard work!"

The prince made his way to the town, yet none of his former "friends" wanted anything to do with him now that he was penniless. Eventually, he took to begging along with the rest of the paupers and made his home among the hovels of the poor and destitute.

It was to this slum that the king's magistrate made his way many years later in search of the prince. His Majesty had decided that enough was enough; by now surely his son had learned his lesson, and he sent his loyal magistrate to see if he could organize a reconciliation. The official searched for the prince high and low until he was finally told to look among the hovels of the poor. It was there that he discovered the prince.

"My dear prince – your father, the king, has sent me to find you," he said with distaste, as he pinched his nose with fine silk gloves to fend off the malodors of the stinking hovel where the former prince had made his home. The poor young man was almost unrecognizably dressed in rags and tatters, but a gleam of hope shone in his previously dull eyes.

"My…my father? His Majesty the king?" His voice shook with emotion as he struggled to remember his father and his former station in a previous life.

"Yes," the magistrate declared. "His Majesty sent me to locate you, and so I have done. Now I have been sent to ask you if there is anything – anything at all – that you wish and need?"

"What? What did you say? Anything?" asked the startled pauper prince.

"Yes," smiled the magistrate. "Anything at all." Surely, he thought, the prince would ask for permission to come out of exile – and then he would bring him new clothes, a washup and a coach to deliver him back home. He was shocked and dismayed, therefore, by the pauper prince's answer.

"Wow! What a great father! Anything at all, you say? Please, please bring me a new beggar's purse." So saying, he took out a tattered and frayed pouch. "You see, mine has seen better days! If you could do that for me, it would be the kindest thing, so I can collect alms more easily."

The Gerrer Rebbe, Rav Avraham Mordechai Alter, used the above mashal as a parable to explain the pasuk (Shemos 6:6) "And I took you out from the suffering of Egypt and saved you from their slave labor." We are no different from the pauper prince, explained the Gerrer Rebbe. We too have been in exile for so long that we seem to forget our true origins and former station. So when we daven and ask Hashem for help, what do we ask for? Do we truly yearn and ask for redemption, reconciliation and a return to our former stature? Or are we satisfied with a mere beggar's purse? G-d willing, the ge'ula will be here soon, then we shall all see that there are much higher and loftier things to yearn for than a new beggar's purse.



Rav Elimelech Biderman shared the following two parables about guarding against the yetzer:

The local town coachman had reached a respectable old age. His strength simply was not the same. "Look at inzere alter ba'al agula – our old coachman has passed his prime and his kochos are not what they used to be!" said the townsfolk. They gathered together and decided that they had no choice but to replace their dearly beloved ba'al agula with a new, younger, coachman.

The older coachman heard the decision and was greatly distressed and aggrieved. He decided to take matters in hand and he approached the young new coachman himself with a smile.

"Shulem Aleichem – welcome!" he greeted the young man. "Let me tell you I know that I have grown older and my strength isn't as it used to be, so I concede that new "energy" and new blood should be brought in. However…" he paused for emphasis. "However, as a veteran coachman I would like to give you a simple test and ask you a few questions to see if indeed you are capable of taking over my position. May I?"

The young coachman agreed and the test proceeded with the older ba'al agula asking, "What would you do, my good man, if the coach and wagon you were driving sank deep into the mud?"

"Well," smiled the young man confidently (this was not going to be so bad after all! he said to himself), "I would alight, roll up my sleeves and proceed to push and prod until I extricated the coach from the mud so we could continue on our journey!"

"Aha, I see. Well, let me ask you another question," pressed the veteran coachman, who somehow didn't seem as impressed with the answer as his young colleague. "What would you then do if, after all your efforts and much pushing and prodding and pulling, you were then simply unable to dislodge the stuck coach?"

"Well," said the youngster, removing his cap and scratching his head in thought, "I guess I would have no choice but to ask my passengers to get off and help me push so we could get the coach out of the mud," he concluded, confident that this was the correct answer.

The older ba'al agula shook his head sadly and proceeded, "What then would you do if after all your efforts, with all the help of the passengers, nothing helped and you simply could not get the coach unstuck out of the mud?"

Bewildered, the youngster was dumbstruck and did not know what to say. "I see you are simply unworthy and not fit for the job. I'm sorry but you are just not cut out for taking over my job as the town coachman," said the older ba'al agula.

"Wait!" perked up the young man. "What is the answer? You haven't told me what I should have done in such a case!"

"Ahhh." With a gleam in his wise eyes the veteran coachman put his sturdy old arm around the young man as he led him down the street, and advised, "You see, the answer, my young friend, is quite simple: an expert coachman is careful not to let his coach end up in the mud in the first place!"

So must we act, concluded Rav Biderman. We must conduct ourselves wisely, with tact and a measure of caution, never allowing ourselves to let the yetzer lure us after him into the mud! If we distance ourselves from him and his traps we won't need to get unstuck, for we will never have landed in the mud in the first place altogether!


It is well known that the parshiyos of Shemos, Va'eira, Bo, Beshalach, Yisro and Mishpatim stand for the acronym Shovavim and are hinted at by the pasuk "Shuvu Banim Shovavim" – Repent, My wayward children, says Hashem. The segula of these days includes saying Tehillim, rectifying our speech through fasting a ta'anis dibbur, when one abstains from all speech except tefillos, berachos and absolutely necessary things. Many also have the custom to fast Monday and Thursday or on Erev Shabbos. These days are known to be a rectification for Tikkun Habris and Yesod, and for Chatas Ne'urim. During a shana me'uberes (leap year), the two other parshiyos of Teruma and Tetzaveh are also included in this tikkun.

The Shinuver Rav in his sefer, Divrei Yechezkel on Shemos, tells us that the first letters of the pasuk (Shemos 1:1): "Ve'elE ShemoT BneI YisraeL Haba'iM MitzraimaH" spell the word Hashavim – those who repent and the last spell the word Tehillim. It is a well-known segula for this sin to recite Tehillim, especially during Shovavim. He also teaches

in the name of Rav Mordechai of Czernobyl that there is a segula to fast Erev Shabbos and to say Tehillim on Shabbos as a tikkun.





Rav Sosana, the Rosh Kollel of Ohr Dovid from Rishon LeTzion, told the following story:

I once traveled to meet Rav Kaduri to ask him to write a kamiya (amulet) for a friend who needed his help. The writing of kabbalistic amulets is a long, time-consuming and painstaking process, requiring concentration and preparations, as well as yichudim and other kabbalistic forms of kavanos. So I was hesitant to request it, except that my friend's need was great.

When I sat with Rav Kaduri and explained what I needed, he immediately smiled his characteristic smile and agreed. He sat down and got to work, while I sat patiently waiting. After an hour or so, the voice of the Rebbetzin was heard calling the Rav to supper. The Rav was so engrossed in the task at hand that he did not hear her calling.

Seeing that there was no response, the Rebbetzin came in, not knowing about the amulet or what the Rav was engaged in. She simply worried about taxing his health with his rigorous schedule and she was looking after his best interests, ensuring that he ate his regular meals and took care of his health.

As she approached, the Rav was so absorbed that he did not respond, even when she repeated herself, saying that his food would get cold. In order to get his attention she shook the table a bit, but that bit was all that it took!

The table shook and the inkpot spilled, ruining all the work that the Rav had done! I sat on the side, watching and not knowing how I should respond or react. Instead of getting angry or even upset at the Rebbetzin, who had accidentally ruined all his work, Rav Kaduri began to laugh! He then turned to me and said, "She knows what she is doing!"

I learned a great lesson, and glimpsed the gadlus (greatness) of the Tzaddik that day.

Rav Benayahu Shmueli once testified that he never saw Rav Kaduri get angry, even when there seemed to be a justifiable reason for doing so. He always laughed off even the most infuriating and seemingly difficult circumstances. He was a special Tzaddik, totally absorbed in Torah, his whole being crying out: "I am a servant of Hashem!"

(Rav Kaduri Chap 13, pgs 154-155)


The date September 11, 2001 will be remembered historically as a tragic day. The events of the horrific terrorist attack on US soil touched so many lives. Nonetheless there are many accounts of hashgacha (divine providence) and emuna (faith) that have come down to us. Here is one account of a miracle that the protagonist attributes to the power of Rav Kaduri's blessings and berachos:

I am a businessman whose operations span many continents. My office was in the World Trade Center and I had a company that employed many workers, conducting business there for many years. I always consulted Rav Kaduri before entering into my many business ventures and I sought his blessing and advice again and again, as I saw success after success.

The date was September 1. I took my scheduled flight and landed in Eretz Yisrael. I made my way to the hotel where I had booked a room, where I spent the week in business meetings. I recorded the details of the many proposals and deals and prepared to bring them before the Rav for his advice and blessings. I visited the Rav on the last day of my trip and he listened attentively, giving his advice and blessings for success. Then after all this he made a most unusual request: "Please remain here in Eretz Yisrael for another day. Do not go back to the US today; go back the next day, tomorrow."

The request was uncharacteristic, but as someone who has enjoyed Rav Kaduri's blessings and advice, I did not hesitate. I began to make preparations. I called my travel agent and canceled my flight and taxi to the airport, and had him rearrange them for the following day. I also had to book an additional day at my hotel. Then I remembered my employees. They were on vacation till my return. I had to make several calls to have them all notified that their vacation would be extended by a day and that the office would remain closed. All these calls and changes and rebookings cost me no small amount of time, effort and money, but the thought of not heeding the Rav's request did not even cross my mind. It saved all of our lives.

On September 11, at 6:30 a.m., I arrived at the airport terminal in Ben Gurion. At seven o'clock I sat in the business lounge to relax and review the various deals and transactions I had done and would close. By 10:00 a.m., our flight was in the air and I closed my eyes to nap and rest. By 1:00 p.m., when I opened my eyes, lunch was served and afterward I tried to rest once more. By late afternoon, 8:46 a.m. EST, the tragedy had struck. I sat together in shock and horror along with all the passengers, as news of the terrorist attack unfolded. I was shocked perhaps more than the others, as I realized that the Rav's request had saved my life and the lives of all my employees! His far-seeing holy eyes had perceived what others had not, and his seemingly strange request to stay one more day had spared me from being in my office on that terrible day.

(Rav Kaduri Chap 14, pgs 166-169)



ben Rav Aharon Aryeh (Leib) of Premishlan

Rav Itzikel of Kalisch was Rav Meir Premishlaner's brother. He was renowned far and wide as a Tzaddik and it was well known that his door was always open and his house welcoming to all weary travelers, strangers and beggars.

It was Erev Shabbos and the Rebbetzin had just baked challos. The braided loaves were sitting in the kitchen, when in came a poor traveler, a non-Jew, begging for bread. The Rebbetzin had no other bread to offer but the very challos she had just baked in honor of Shabbos and she hesistated to cut them, since whole challos were needed to fulfill the obligation for the Shabbos meal. When Rav Itzikel noticed her hesitation, he told her in jest, "Cut the challos. Don't worry – no blood will come from it!" The Rebbetzin did as her husband, the Tzaddik, bade. She cut her beautiful challos and gave a generous slice to the poor, starving beggar. The gentile ate his full and went his way.

Some time later, Rav Itzikel was traveling in Hungary through the Carpathian mountains when he was beset by armed robbers. The brigands held him up and confiscated all his money and belongings. They bound him and brought him to the leader and chief of their gang so that he could decide his fate.

"Should we let him go? He might reveal our hideout! I say we kill him!"

So went the arguments among the highwaymen until the leader silenced them all. "This Jew saved my life when I was starving! Release him! Harm not a hair on his head! Return to him all his money and belongings and set him free!" And so they released Rav Itzikel and he returned home, unharmed, to Kalisch.When Rav Itzikel came home he reminded the Rebbetzin of the time when they gave the gift of charity to a poor, starving non-Jewish beggar when they fed him her Shabbos challos. "See – I told you back then, cut the challos, no blood will come from it! Indeed I was right, the blood that was not spilled was my own!" (Sippurei Tzaddikim)

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