Wednesday nights - Rav Benzion's Tanya shiur..........Please continue to daven for the good health of the Rebbe (Yechiel Michel ben Devorah Leah) and Rebbetzin (Feiga bas Sarah).

Thursday, June 2, 2011

2nd of Sivan - Four Yahrtzeits (Part 1)

This Shabbos (Sivan 2) is the yahrtzeit of four greats, all of whom have a connection, some more than others, to Hornosteipel and/or Milwaukee. They are:

A shul in Tlomach that remained standing. From here.
(1) Rebbe Meshulam Zisha Yitzchok Auerbach of Tolmitch: "Renowned as a gaon, a lofty tzadik, a chasid and removed from the world" (Rabeinu Hakadosh Mitzanz, page 441). Born in 5579 (1819). His father, Rebbe Yechiel Michel of Kerima (d. Sivan 25 ) was the son of Rebbe Hirsch Mendel of Dinavitz whose father was none other than the famous Rebbe Reb Zisha of Anipoli, zy"a.

Reb Zisha (the second) married the daughter of the Cherkasser, Rebbetzin Shterna Rochel. Their only son was the Rebbe Reb Motele of Hornosteipel.

After his wedding, he was supported by his father-in-law, the Cherkasser, as was the custom then (both in Chernobyl and in Lubavitch). On the 6th of Cheshvan 5606, Shterna Rochel passed away, leaving the young Reb Motele, who was not yet six years old, to be raised by his father and grandparents.

Not much is known regarding Reb Zisha but we do know that at some point he traveled to Kosov where the tzadik Rebbe Chaim of Kosov wanted him to marry his daughter Henya. She did not want the shidduch and Reb Zisha set out to return to Cherkass. Reb Chaim wanted the shiduch very much and his daughter had a change of heart. They dispatched a messenger to fetch Reb Zisha but when told that Henya had consented, Reb Zisha replied, "She may want it but now I am not interested." Reb Chaim comforted his daughter saying, "You will see that he will return." Reb Zisha continued back to Cherkass where he married his previous wife's sister, the widow of Reb Naftuli (the son of Rebbe Chezkel Shiniver). They were married for twelve years until her death. I am not aware of any children resulting from this marriage.

Indeed, Reb Zisha did return to Kossov and ended up marrying Henya but Rebbe Chaim did not witness the shidduch that he had originally hoped for as he passed away in the interim. Reb Zisha moved to Tolmitch where he was wildly popular with the townspeople and became known as Reb Zisha Tolmitcher.

After his death on the 2nd of Sivan, 5642 (1882), his shul, affectionately called "Reb Zishale's Kloiz", remained until the Holocaust.

In Emek HaChachma, Reb Motele writes the following: "My father, the crown of my head, the renowned chasid, was taken from me. [He was] a man that had every good attribute (lit. kol bo). Regarding him it is surely said, "Before evil, the tzadik was gathered in", for five days after my father passed away, I was pained from Hashem as a fire consumed my entire court and Beis Medrash and all that I had. Baruch Hashem, that we managed to save our lives. Many, many precious seforim were also burned...[Reb Motele then enumerates the seforim that were especially precious to him, some that he himself wrote but never published, some of his grandfather the Cherkasser, and even a manuscript of the Kedushas Levi, among countless others. He then continues:] On all this I say, "because before evil, the tzadik, the master, my father was gathered in". See the entire hesped after parshas Achrei Mos.

Reb Zisha arranged the writings and divrei Torah of the Chernobyler Maggid and in 5620 (1860) printed the famous sefer called Likutei Torah which many tzadikim said it was a segulah just to own a copy. The Shiniver went so far as to instruct his chassidim to always have a Likutei Torah in their tallis bags.

The Rebbe, shlit"a, makes kiddush on the becher of Reb Zisha Tolmitcher that he inherited from his father.

Below is a letter from Reb Zisha, printed in Nachlas Tzvi, Vol. 8.

Click to enlarge.

(2) Rebbe Chaim Elazar Shapira of Munkatch: Author of many seforim including Minchas Elazar and Nimukei Orach Chaim. Passed away in 5697 (1937). While there are countless wonderful stories that can be related, there are two that are connected to Hornosteipel.

The Minchas Elazar of Munkatch
The Minchas Elazar recounted how he once witnessed the Rebbe Reb Motele davening Mincha on a weekday afternoon. Reb Motele did not sway and did not even move a little the whole time he was davening. Afterward, the Minchas Elazar saw that Rebbe's "kapota" was wet from perspiration. He said, "It always troubled me why Chazal refer to davening as "work" of the heart. Now I understand. Davening at its most complete level is indeed hard work."

Once when Reb Motele was in Hungary, the Minchas Elazar, who was much younger than Reb Motele, traveled to see the famous sage and tzaddik from Hornosteipel. He prepared a deep and sharp pilpul in order to speak in learning with the Rebbe Reb Motele. Normally, the particular pilpul that the Munkatcher had prepared would have taken him four hours to say it over. Aware of the Rebbe Reb Motele's reputation as a genius, he whittled it down to the point where he would be able to say it over in fourty-five minutes. When he arrived, the Rebbe was already sitting in the wagon to return home. The Minchas Elazar was invited to join the Rebbe so that they could converse until the wagon made it out of the city. The Munkatcher began his d'var Torah and no sooner did the Rebbe say, "Nu?" (as if to say, "I understand. Keep going.")

The Munkatcher moved on to the next source and the next sevarah and the scene repeated itself. Each time he said something, the Rebbe immediately understood and prompted him to continue. After five minuter, the Minchas Elazar had already completed the entire drasha.

Here is an excerpt from the approbation Reb Motele wrote for the sefer Minchas Elazar: "It was sent to me booklets from the responsa Minchas Elazar that the Rav and Gaon, scion of holy ones, Reb Chaim Elazar is preparing for print...and although I only looked at them a little bit, for "my time is not in my own hands", I still was able to see that he goes in the path of pilpul and straight sevarah, and surely others will benefit from it...May Hashem help him to print all the compilations he intends to, and to strengthen Torah, and may Hashem bless him with children who toil in Torah, as the petitioner has requested. Mordechai Dov, son of the Rav Meshulam Zisha ztz"l"

To be continued in the next post...

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