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).

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Medrash: Chukas 5771

In this week's Medrash Shiur, the Rebbe spoke about Moshe hitting the rock. Here are some main highlights from the parts that were more l'maaseh:
1. Everything is suffused with Hashem's presence and glory. You don't need to fight against the world. If approached correctly the world will surrender itself to you
2. While there is a concept that we don not rely on miracles, nothing is beyond Hashem and each and every one of us have every right to ask anything from Hashem. Nothing is removed from Him.
3. We must be prepared to do whatever it takes to bring about the honor of Heaven, no matter what is at stake, even or own ruchniyus or eternity.
4. Never, ever underestimate your words of Torah and tefilah, your acts of kindness, or anything else that you do. To do so is to underestimate Hashem Himself.
36 minutes, 8.3 MB PLAY DOWNLOAD

Oldie of the Week: Shma B'ni

Here's a link to the Rebbe's Shma B'ni from a 1976 Pirchei Album. If your filter blocks out all YouTube content you can hear it here as well. DOWNLOAD

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Yahrtzeit: Rebbetzin Devorah Leah Twerski, a"h

The 29th of Sivan 29 is the yahrtzeit of the Rebbe's mother, Rebbetzin Devorah Leah, a"h. 

On the shul website there is a page dedicated to the Rebbetzin's memory. It has the hespedim from her children, articles about her life and a picture gallery. Click here to be transferred.

On the yahrtzeit in 5767, the chaburah in Eretz Yisroel asked the Rebbe to speak about his mother, the Rebbetzin, a"h. At the end of the chaburah, the Rebbe did so briefly. Here is the recording from then. Sorry for the poor quality; the Rebbe was speaking over the phone and I recorded it from the speaker. Better than nothing, I guess. Enjoy!
6 minutes, 2.7 MB

Monday, June 27, 2011

Yahrtzeit: Rebbe Yechiel Michel of Kurima (Sivan 25)

Born to Rebbe Tzvi Menachem Mendel of Dinavitz (son of the Rebbe Reb Zisha of Anipoli) and Rebbetzin Sima (a great-granddaughter of the Baal Shem Hakadosh) in the year 5535 (1785).

After his father's passing, he served as Rav of Dinavitz.

The minhag in Hornosteipel was to say in the berachah of V'lamalshinim, "v'chol haminim v'hamosrim k'regah yoveidu". Reb Nuchim from Tel Aviv (son of the Rebbe Reb Leibele) wrote that this addition came from Reb Mechel of Kurima "who suffered immensely from mosrim (informers)". After suffering at the hands of the mosrim in his home town, some say he was held in prison for two years in Dinavitz. Somewhere between 5596-5570 it was ruled that he was to be taken to Siberia with the Rizhiner (who also had just been taken prisoner). On the way, his chassidim rescued him, and he ran to Kurima where he was appointed Rav.

Before his passing (in 1856), he told his children that no one should visit his tziyun (trans. grave, see left) without first saying the entire book of Tehilim twice!

His son was Rebbe Meshulam Zisha Yitzchak of Tolomitch, the father of the Rebbe Reb Motele of Hornosteipel, zy"a.

There is much more to be said but it will have to wait for another opportunity. Meanwhile, for more info see MiGedolei HaChassidus, pg. 86-88, Rabeinu Hakadosh MiTzanz, pg. 441-444, Devarim Areivim, pg. 114, 182. Also here (English) and here (Yiddish and Hebrew). The second link is to a forum where someone posted a gripping account of the entire story of how Reb Mechel Kurimer was captured and ultimately rescued. The account is from a handwritten manuscript (in Hebrew) by the Keretzkier Ruv, a son-in-law of the Kedushas Yom Tov. More later...

Seder Hayom (3): First Thoughts

Previously, we learned that immediately upon awaking in the morning one should be mekadesh, (consecrate) the three garments of the soul. Of course this applies to all three facets of human expression including action and speech, but the seforim place a greater emphasis on thought. In this post, let's take a look at some of the specific thought processes that the seforim mention.

Increasing Awarness, Changing Habits (audio)

This morning the question was posed regarding how to increase awareness of something in avodah, for example, Hashem's presence or the needs of others. In this short shiur, the Rebbe succinctly explains how to make concrete changes in one's habits by proactively contriving situations that will increase his consciousness as opposed to simply responding to what comes your way.
At the end of the shiur, the Rebbe tells a story of the Chernobyler Magid that relates the importance of doing mitzvos and chesed not because it makes sense to us or because of our good nature, rather because Hashem told us to.
5 minutes, 1.2 MB PLAY DOWNLOAD

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Chukas: Tumah and Taharah (audio)

This morning, the Rebbe, shlit"a, fielded a question about the nature of tumah and taharah, ritual purity and impurity. In the shiur, the Rebbe discussed the idea that Hashem defines reality how He sees fit, and that we are not privy to knowing the rhyme or reason behind it. Just like we don't why copper has the qualities to make it a good electrical conductor and why rubber lacks those characteristics, so too we have no insight into why certain things render tumah or taharah. This idea is brought out best by the parah adumah which has the seemingly contradictory qualities. On the one hand it purifies the one who was impure, but at the same time the one who is administering the tahara becomes tamei. It is a chok and a secret, its metziyus (reality), something that the Ribono Shel Olam determines to be. However, once we clarify that truth, we can then step back and ask, "But what can I learn from this?" Chazal suggest insights into the parah adumah; there are lessons to be learned. But the reasons why Hashem established the particular peculiar nature of the parah adumah in the manner that He did remains a chok.

Using tzaar baalei chayim as an example, the Rebbe said that the same concept applies to Jewish morality. The Torah-based set of morals that we adhere are not like universal ethics. Hashem defines what is ethical, not man. So we have to remember that when Hashem says not to pain animals, that is not because it is unethical to do so; it is because Hashem established it as important. When there is a purpose for causing pain to an animal such as shechting an animal to eat or cancer research, Hashem mandates that there is no longer an issue with harming an animal. Once we know that midos and derech eretz are not valuable in and of themselves but only because Hashem defined them as a way of coming close to Him and a means of perfecting man, then we can begin to explore the other comprehensible implications and lessons to be learned.

At the end of shiur the Rebbe quoted a famous vort from the Shem MiShmuel about the nature of tumah.
19 minutes, 4.5 MB PLAY DOWNLOAD

Drops of Rain: Korach 5771

For those of you who haven't seen Drops of Rain from Parshas Korach yet, here it is. Sorry for the delay.

Your Life Can't Wait

When Korach and his entourage filed their complaint, Moshe told them to come the next day with their ketores and they would see who Hashem chooses. They agree and come back the next day.


The Rebbe once explained that Moshe Rabeinu wanted to discern for himself where Korach was coming from. Something that is relevant to your very essence, to your life's mission in this world, cannot wait for another day. If it can wait, if it lets you sleep at night, then it must not be part of your purpose. Korach could have replied, "How can I come back tomorrow? You're asking me to put off the purpose of my existence for another time?" Had he done so it would have been evident that he truly was doing this for the sake of Heaven. Once Moshe Rabeinu understood that Korach did not feel urgency in his own campaign, it was clear that there was no redeeming angle about Korach's position. If it means something to you then it can't wait for tomorrow.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Der Geller's Nigun

The Rebbe, shlit"a, asked that everybody learn this new-ish nigun, and that we implement it in the davening. In Lubavitch it is known as Reb Shloime Der Geller's Nigun. Reb Shloime had a flowing yellow beard, hence the name Der Geller (yiddish for "The Yellow One"). He was a melamed in the city of Nevel and he used to sing this song while on the way to the Rebbe in Lubavitch. Here is a heimishe recording with Reb Moshe Menachem Friedman on keyboard and the Rebbe's grandson Sruli Ausch singing. This nigun is the first track on Avraham Fried's album, Avinu Malkeinu..

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Update About New Tefila Yeshara Siddur

To see the first post about the new siddur, click here.

UPDATE: About 15-20 of the chevra in shul have been using the new siddur for a number of months now. I also have warmed up a bit more to it and purchased my own copy. The k'sav ashuris is actually quite nice once you get used to it and not having to flip around looking for Ashrei is a major plus.
Currently, everyone is sold out of the first print (you can try here). Rav Veiner is working on fixing a few things and printing a second edition. in addition to the Shabbos and Yom Tov siddur. BS"D, we'll keep you up to date.
UPDATE: The Shabbos and Yom Yov siddur has been printed in small and large formats. I got a copy brought from Eretz Yisroel and am seriously considering using it instead of the old one. Something about the new font and layout feels more appropriate for Shabbos than weekdays. Also, it was printed on nice yellow paper which makes up for some of the other issues I have with it. Very excited!

For the differences between the Rebbe's nusach and the new siddur for weekday Shemoneh Esrei, click here.

Interestingly, a special edition of the siddur Tefilah Yesharah was printed in Germany in 1946 for Holocaust survivors in the DP camps (see left and below). That this siddur was viewed as a necessary item and chosen to be from the first printed seforim for the DP camps may be indicative of the popularity of this siddur and its nusach before the Holocaust.

Inside of the Yafeh edition, Fernwald 1946
  Reprinted in Fernwald 1946
by Rabbi Yaakov Friedman, Yafeh edition

Monday, June 20, 2011

In the Name of Korach (audio)

Here is this morning's post-Shachris shiur. The Rebbe spoke about the multiple meanings of the word "Korach" (ice, tearing away and bald), how these concepts helped shape Korach's argument and their connotations for us in our avodas Hashem. Towards the end of the shiur the Rebbe spoke about Korach's position that if everyone in Klal Yisroel is holy, we shouldn't need leaders or tzadikim. Of course, each and every one of us is holy and special in Hashem's eyes. Yes, we can reach lofty heights and attain intense closeness with Hashem. But the flow comes to us through (or in the merit of) our leaders. Moshe Rabeinu was the head, the pathway and pipeline for Klal Yisroel and Korach's own elevated holy state.

24 minutes, 5.5 MB PLAY DOWNLOAD

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Yahrtzeit of the Beis Aharon

Today (Sivan 17) is the Beis Aharon's yahrtzeit. He was the grandson of Rebbe Aharon HaGadol of Karlin.

This morning before Ashrei, while the oilam was putting on Rabeinu Tam's, the Rebbe repeated what he often says from the Beis Aharon: A Yid is supposed to be b'simcha every day. I'm not referring to the madreiga of simcha. I am talking about basic joy. Saying the berachah of שלא עשני גוי, that Hashem did not make me a non-Jew, should generate intense, profound joy. If one truly thought about what it means to be a Jew and all of its implications, he would surely be dancing in the streets."

See also here from a week ago.

What Planet Are You On?

There are two worlds a person can live in. When we say "world", we really mean perspective or "mind-space". When a person perceives the people and things around him to be separate from the Divine energy and hence from the Divine influence, that is a world of pirud, of division and schism.
The second space a person can live in is a world of ichud, of oneness and unification. Recognizing that when one person is Klal Yisroel defies the edict of Hashem, it is as though each one of us individually have sinned. Similarly, when one person performs a mitzvah, in essence we all have done that mitzvah. I am you and you are me and there is no difference. It is a place of ahavas yisroel, of positivity and constant connection with Hashem. Everything has its source in Hashem. Linking every situation, every person and thing we come in contact with to its Source, and experiencing the inner core of everything as opposed to getting caught up in the "bubble-wrap" (as the Rebbe often gives as a mashal), is what the Maor Einayim and others refer to as the embodiment of the pasuk חכם עיניו בראשו, "a wise person's eyes are in his head" (Koheles 2:14). The Zohar Hakadosh (Parshas Balak 187a) asks the obvious question. Inasmuch as that every person's eyes are in his head, not just the eyes of a wise person, the Maor Einayim explains this pasuk to mean that a person who is wise, is someone who always looks to the head, the source, the beginning of everything. From where did this thing emanate? He sees things as they are in their source.
The Rebbe said that the first step towards spending more of the time connected to the Source of everything is to identify the differences between life lived in pirud-world as opposed connected, oneness-world. Once we can picture the kinds of things that stem from living in the world of pirud, then when we sense ourselves slipping into those areas or those kinds of behaviors, we can train ourselves to have a signal go off in our heads. At that point we can step back into the right space. By reacting to those signals, we can slowly learn how to stay in the right mindset more and more often.
If I were seeing things clearly, how would I behave? What would my speech be like? Would I see things in a better light? Would I be more tolerant of others, of the situation, of myself? How would I spend my time? How about the converse? And when I am not seeing things as connected, what does my world look like?
These are the types of questions we need to ask. Once we have a clear picture of both worlds then we can be cognizant of where we are and take the requisite steps towards where we want to be.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Drops of Rain: Sh'lach 5771

The past two weeks survived somehow without any Drops of Rain. In a last minute effort to break the chazakah, here is Drops of Rain for Parshas Sh'lach. It includes the previous post about Rav Shulem Leizer of Ratzfert. Enjoy and a wonderful Shabbos to all.

And for your listening pleasure, a gitten Shabbos...

Minhagim: Answering Amen to Harachaman

In this coming week's learning quota from Laws of Daily Living, I noticed that there is a discussion regarding saying "Amen" to berachos that do not contain Hashem's Name. In addition, it mentions that one should answer "Amen" to each Harachaman in bentching.
I just wanted to point out that the minhag in Hornosteipel, as heard in the name of Rav Shoime of Denver, ztz"l, was indeed to answer "Amen" after each Harachaman (brought in Malchus Shlomo). Interestingly, the Radviller siddur (Tefillah Yesharah) also says that it is proper to do so (see below).
After a bit of research I found that although this is a fairly uncommon practice, it is clearly brought both in the Mishnah Berurah (189:5) and the Shulchan Aruch HaRav (189:6). The source is apparently a Kol Bo in the name of the Geonim, and the Shlah Hakadosh mentions it as well. The Magen Avraham (216:3), pointing to a Medrash, is also an advocate of this minhag.

Comments, anybody?

Yahrtzeit of Rebbe Shulem Leizer'l of Ratzfert

Rav Shulem Leizer of Ratzfert
The 16th of Sivan is the yahrtzeit of Rebbe Shulem Leizer Halberstam of Ratzfert. Born in 1862, he was a son of the saintly Divrei Chaim of Sanz and hence a brother-in-law to the Rebbe Reb Motele. He was a son-in-law as well as Reb Shulem Leizer married Reb Motele's daughter, Sarah Mariam.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Medrash: Sh'lach 5771

In this week's Medrash shiur, the Rebbe explained the difference between chait harabim and yachid, their respective korbanos, nisuch hayin vs. nisuch hamayim, and their connections to the sin of the Golden Calf and the sin of the spies. A running theme that the Rebbe has been speaking about recently is the importance that koach hadimyon (imagination) has in avodah. Be it in davening or learning or in teshuva, using your imagination has a profound and personal effect and helps bolster the reality of what you are doing. This idea was elaborated on in this shiur as well.
47 minutes, 11 MB PLAY DOWNLOAD

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Yahrtzeit of the Baal Shem Hakadosh (belated)

The Rebbe, shlit"a, at the kever of the Baal Shem Hakadosh
There has always been some controversy as to when exactly the yahrtzeit of the Baal Shem Hakadosh is. It is well-known that he was niftar on Shavuos but whether it happened on the first day or the second day has always been a mystery.

I recall hearing in the name of the Rebbe's brother, HaRav Shloime of Denver, ztz"l, that the Baal Shem Tov was indeed niftar on the first day of Shavuos, but since it was Yom Tov they could not bury him until they found goyim to help with the malachos of the burial. Turns out that the Baal Shem Tov was buried on the second day, hence the beginning of the confusion. Apparently as the years went on, some remembered when he was actually niftar, while some remembered (correctly) when he was buried and confused it with the day he passed away.

In corroboration with this mesorah, I came across a mekor that proves without any shadow of a doubt that the Baal Shem Tov was niftar on the first day of Shavuos. The famous talmid of the Baal Shem Tov, the Toldos Yaakov Yosef, had a son named Rav Avrohom Shimon of Rashkov who was also a student of the Baal Shem Tov. Within the last few years, his handwritten siddur was discovered. By Birkas Kohanim he wrote a certain kavanah that he heard from his rebbe, the Baal Shem Tov. When attributing it to the Baal Shem Tov, he adds "who in our many sins passed away on the first day of this past Shavuos." Below is the page where this line is written (in the box).

Ma Tovu Ohalecha Yaakov...

As many of you may know, the ohel (mausoleum) over the kever of the Rebbe shlit"a's father, Rebbe Reb Yaakov Yisroel, ztz"l, was recently renovated. Much needed new doors were added. Beautiful Jerusalemite stone now makes up the exterior of the building. It is quite befitting as the love the tzaddikim had for Eretz Yisroel was always apparent, and the seforim hakedoshim mention that the grave of a tzadik has kedushas Eretz Yisroel.

Rebbe Quotes: Spiritual Symbiosis

"The relationship between a Rebbe and a chosid is symbiotic."

Three Sources of Simcha

A week ago (6-6-11) after davening, the Rebbe spoke about simcha.

 The Rebbe quoted the Beis Aharon who said that a Yid is supposed to be b'simcha every day. He said, "I'm not referring to the madreiga of simcha. I am talking about basic joy. The berachah of שלא עשני גוי, that Hashem did not make me a non-Jew, should generate such profound joy if one truly thought about what it means to be a Jew and all of its implications, he would surely be dancing in the streets." The Rebbe Reb Motele of Hornosteipel also said that the fact that one is not a goy (let alone that he is a Yid) is reason enough to maintain a joyful mindset.

Without a great stretch, one can take some time and reorient himself and put himself in a very positive place.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

613 Roses

The Rebbe's shul was decorated with 613 roses in honor of Shavuos and Kabbalas HaTorah. Click any picture to enlarge.

Photography courtesy of R' Yosef Aryeh Schlussel (mshb"k).

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Checking Our Vital Signs

This past Shabbos (Parshas Nasso, Sivan 2, 5771), the Rebbe, shlit"a spoke about the importance of constantly "taking our vital signs", even ad nauseum. We need to be sure that we are alive. As preparation for accepting the Torah on Shavous, we need to ask ourselves if we are any different and in what have we grown since the "surgery" of yetzias Miztrayim.

In Parshas Nasso, the Torah enumerates three types of ritual impurity that render a person unfit to remain within the various camps of Klal Yisroel until they become pure again. One is tzoraas, a form of leprosy wrought upon one who has issue with any one of a number of midos. Lashon hara, haughtiness and anger are just some of the more well known transgressions that are the cause of this tumaa. Are we any better in our midos then when we left Egypt forty-nine days ago?

Another form of tumaa mentioned here is that of a zav. This impurity is generally caused by overindulgence in various appetites. Have we taken any steps in the right direction in this regard? Have we been successful in curbing some of the hedonistic tendencies that we so often ignore and allow to go by unchecked?

The third impurity that we must face before we are ready to re-accept the Torah is tumaas meis, a person who has come in contact with a dead body. Have we given up on any part of ourselves? Is there some aspect of our personality or fault in our character that we have come to terms with the fact that we will not grow or change in that regard? Are we alive? Are we responsive? When we have consigned any part of ourselves to stagnancy and death, then we become tamei meis.
In anticipation of Shavuos, we must answer these questions. Sefiras Haomer is intended to be a constant, at least daily, check-up of where we are with our spiritual health. When we can say we have indeed done something decisive to restore our purity and return to the camps of Klal Yisroel, that is when we are ready to answer will conviction "naaseh v'nishma", we will do and we will hear.

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Friday, June 3, 2011

2nd of Sivan - Four Yahrtzeits (Part 2)

(3) Rebbe Yisroel Hager of Vizhnitz, known as the "Ahavas Yisroel":
A connection to between the Ahavas Yisroel and Milwaukee exists by way of Rav Avrohom Stein, the Rebbe shlit"a's father-in-law. As a young man he was very close with the Ahavas Yisroel. The Rebbe, shlit"a, related the following story as he heard from his father-in-law:
The Ahavas Yisroel of Vizhnitz (Center)
When Rav Stein was a young man, the Ahavas Yisroel was accustomed to taking him on long walks. On one of these excursions, the Rebbe stopped and gave out a krechtz, “Oy! What must one have for Shabbos?”
The other Chassidim who were there immediately began discussing amongst themselves what the Rebbe could possibly need for Shabbos. What have we not prepared for him?
They continued and the Ahavas Yisroel said it again. “Oy! What must one take for Shabbos?” But then he turned to Rav Stein and added, “If I have a kepeleh (a head) and hartzeleh (a heart), it is already enough!”

(4) Rav Yosef Irgas (1685-1730):
An major Italian kabbalist, he authored Divrei Yosef and the better known Shomer Emunim. Shomer Emunim Hakadmon, as it is also known, was first published in Amsterdam in 5496 (1736). It is written in two sections and explains the basic principles and concepts of kabbalah in the form of a dialogue. Written as an introductory book for beginners in kabbalah, it also provides a history of the development of kabbalah as well as the importance of its study.
Rav Shloime Twerski, ztz"l, Hornosteipeler Rebbe of Denver, had an order of seforim for one new to kabbalah to learn. The significance of Shomer Emunim is clearly seen by the fact that it was selected to be the first sefer in this program.
While most sources record his yahrtzeit as Sivan 2, some maintain he passed away a day later.

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...

Medrash: Nasso 5771

This week's shiur revolved around one's innate ability to be kovea, to establish, a time or space as a holy entity.

45 minutes, 10.4 MB PLAY DOWNLOAD