Monday, December 31, 2007

Importance of New Year Celebrations

Apter Rebbe's New Year  See how important the secular New Year is to Klal Yisroel.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Shovavim - Eating Suggestions

We are now in the days of Shovavim. (With the help of Hashem, I hope to have a more detailed posting in the near future.) Many of the Seforim mention the custom to fast many days in this period. For those of us that don't (and also for those that do), I would suggest that we at least try to make our eating a little more spiritual. Here are a few suggestions. Try to do at least one; every "little" thing counts.


1) There is a custom of some not to eat any animal products till nighttime or some don't eat any for a 24 hour period, once a week during Shovavim.


2) Review the laws pertaining to Netilas Yodaim, breaking the bread, brochos, Birchas Hamazon and other meal related issues.


3) Have in mind that when you say a brocha on the food or think of Torah while eating, you might be fixing neshomos that came back as gilgulim in the food. The Seforim Hakedoshim speak about the amazing tikkunim a simple person can accomplish by eating, especially if we have kavana in the brochos.


4) Rabbeinu Yona in Yesod Hateshuva says in the name of the Raavad that if one stops eating his meal while he is still a little hungry, for the sake of Hashem, then that is a very lofty thing. (It sounds easier than it is.)


5) Noam Elimelech in Tzetel Koton #15 says that when eating, have in mind the Hebrew word for food, מאכל, and that it equals 91, the numerical value of י־ה־ו־ה with א־ד־נ־י.


If you have any additional suggestions, please comment.

19-25 Teves Yartzeits

19 Teves - R' Aryeh Leib ben R' Yosef HaKohen Heller (1813) author of Ketzos Hachoshen, Avnei Miluim and Shev Shmaitsa. All very famous seforim on halacha.

19 Teves - R' Avrohom Shmuel Binyamin Sofer (1871) oldest son of R' Moshe, the Chasam Sofer

19 Teves - R' Menachem Mendel Zaks (1974), son-in-law of the Chofetz Chaim

20 Teves - R' Moshe ben R' Maimon (1204) the Rambam

20 Teves - R' Yaakov ben R' Masoud Abuchatzeira (1880) Great mekubal and the grandfather of Baba Sali

21 Teves - R' Yisroel Dov Ber ben R' Yosef of Vilednik (1850), author of Shearis Yisroel, great tzadik and miracle worker, primary talimid of R' Mottel of Chernobyl, his kever in Vilendnik, Ukraine gets many visitors.
21 Teves - Rav Matzliach Mazuz of Djerba HY"D, author of Ish Matzliach (1971)

21 Teves - R' Yitzchok ben R' Abba Abuchatzeira (1991) Great-grandson of R' Yaakov Abuchatzeira

22 Teves - R' Sholom ben R' Mordechai Yosef Moshe Moskovitz, the Shotzer Rebbe of London. He promised to help anyone who comes to his kever and lights 3 candles(1958)
22 Teves - R' Shmuel Heller, Rav of Tzefas (1884)
22 Teves - R' Yehuda Leib ben R' Shlomo Eiger of Lublin (1888) grandsonof R' Akiva Eiger, talmid of the Kotzker and Izhbitza, author of Toras Emes and Imrei Emes

22 Teves - R' Avrohom Elchonon ben R' Dovid Shlomo Spector (1973) descendant of the Chozeh. Breslover Tzadik who knew the whole Shas, Medrash, Zohar and more by heart.

23 Teves - R' Refoel Yitzchok Zerachia Azulai (1765) father of the Chida
23 Teves - R' Mordechai Gifter (1991), Rosh Yeshiva of Telz

24 Teves - R' Naftali ben R' Yitzchok Hakohen Katz (1719, some have the date as 26 Teves), author of Semichas Chachomim and Rov of Ostraha and Frankfurt-on-Main. He is buried in Istanbul, where he died, en route to Eretz Yisroel. He was a descendant of the Maharal of Prague. R' Nachman of Breslov was one of his descendants
24 Teves - R' Shneur Zalman ben R' Boruch of Liadi (1813), first Lubavitcher Rebbe, author of the Tanya and Shulchan Aruch Harav
24 Teves - R' Shmuel Borenstein of Sochatchov (1926), the Shem MiShmuel son of ben R' Avrohom, the Avnei Nezer
24 Teves - R' Avraham Shmuel Binyamin ben R' MosheSofer, author of the Teshuvos Divrei Sofer (1948) descendant of the Chasam Sofer
24 Teves - R' Moshe Mordechai ben R' Shimon Noson Nota Biderman of Lelov (1987) Great tzadik from a family that was in Yerushalayim since 1850.

24 Teves - R' Yosef of Yampola (1812 some have the date as 20 Shvat) ben R' Yechiel Mechel of Zlotchov

24 Teves - R' Meir ben R' Yehuda Leib Greenwald (1852) Maharam Ash

25 Teves - R' Moshe Tzvi ben R' Shimon Shlomo Giterman of Savran (1837) was a talmid of R' Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev and R' Boruch of Mezibuz. He was a fierce opponent of R' Noson of Breslov, though interestingly his son, R' Shimon Shlomo was on good terms with the Breslover Chassidim.

25 Teves - Rav Eliyahu Eliezer ben R' Reuven Dov Dessler (1954), author of Michtav M'Eliyahu and Mashgiach in Gateshead and Ponovezh

25 Teves - Rav Moshe Tikochinsky, Mashgiach of Slabodka

Woman in Judaism - A New Book on the Subject

See Dixie Yid's posting about a new book, by a Rebbetzin, on the role of women in Judaism. It sounds fascinating.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Bnei Yisaschor

Chai Teves is the yartzeit of Reb Tzvi Elimelech Shapira of Dinov (1783-1841) ben Reb Pesach, known to many as the "Bnei Yisaschor". When his mother was pregnant with him, her mother went to her illustrious brother, the Rebbe Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk, to get a brocha. The Rebbe told her that she should name the baby, who will be a boy, Elimelech. She got scared thinking that this meant her brother will die, since the custom of European Jews is usually not to name after the living. The Rebbe said that instead they should call the baby Tzvi Elimelech; this put her at ease since it wasn't the exact same name. After the baby was named, the Rebbe told her that if the baby would have been named just "Elimelech", then the baby would have been "mamash" a "Melech", meaning exactly like himself. Now, he said, the boy would be half like him. He went on to become a talmid of the Chozeh of Lublin and Reb Mendel of Rimanov. The Dinov, Munkatch, Bluzhev and Bertch dynasties descend from him.


Why Bnei Yisaschor?

Reb Tzvi Elimelech of Dinov used to feel a more than usual "high" when it came to Chanuka. He knew he wasn't from the family of the Chashmonoim, because he wasn't a Kohen. He decided to travel to the Chozeh of Lublin to inquire about this. As soon as he walked into the room of the Chozeh, the clairvoyant tzadik told him that he descends from the tribe of Yisaschor (Yissachor); the reason he feels such a high on Chanuka is because many of the judges in the court of the Chashmonoim were from the tribe of Yissachor. That's why he named his sefer on the Yomim Tovim, Bnei Yisaschor, and that answers our question why there is such an enormous amount written about Chanuka.


The Sefer 

Besides Sefer Bnei Yisaschor, Reb Tzvi Elimelech wrote many seforim on many different subjects; Chumash, Nach, Gemara, Mishnayos, Mitzvos, Kabbalah and more. They are all great works but Bnei Yisaschor is the most famous, quoted heavily by many Litvishe and Sephardishe Rabbonim. This sefer helps you get a feel as to the inner workings of every month of the year. Even for the month of Cheshvan, he gives you an understanding of what the month is about. You can go through the whole year, and instead of each day being "just another day", each day has real meaning, even if it isn't a Yom Tov.


When it comes to a Yom Tov, and you read what he has to say (at least part of it, as there is a huge amount on each Yom Tov) it gives you a whole new feeling and understanding as to what the Yom Tov is about and the reasons for many customs. This sefer really gives flavor to the calendar and he gives reasons why each Yom Tov falls out in a specific month. Bnei Yisaschor is definitely one of those seforim that helps one go through the seasons without doing everything by rote. I feel indebted to this great tzadik for making the Festivals of the year come alive, at least a bit more, for me. This and his other seforim are available in PDF form at

Dubno Magid Gives Mussar to the Vilna Gaon

17 Teves is the yartzeit of R' Yaakov ben Zev Wolf Kranz ZY"A(1804), the legendary Dubno Magid. He was once asked by R' Eliyahu, the Gaon of Vilna ZY"A, to give him mussar. The Dubno Magid refused, saying, who is he to give musar to the holy Vilna Gaon. The Gaon insisted until the Magid agreed. He said something along the lines of the following: "You get to sit all day indoors learning Torah and davening. What's so difficult about that? You don't have to spend time in the marketplaces with the tests of being honest in business and seeing things in the streets. How well would you fare there?" The holy Gaon broke down crying and said: "You're right. That would be more difficult."
The lesson from this is that if we do spend our time in the "outside" world and pass the many tests that we get, we are really accomplishing a huge amount in the spiritual realm. It's not just working anymore but Avodas HaKodesh.

Monday, December 24, 2007

R' Chaim Kreisworth - A Walking Shas

R' Chaim ben R' Avrohom Yosef Kreisworth ZY"A (2001) was one of the great Torah giants of recent times. 16 Teves is his yartzeit. Here is a small story to illustrate how our Torah Sages are so intamately familiar with the words of the Talmud.


Chacham Benzion Abba Shaul ZY"A and yblch't Chacham Ovadia Yosef Shlita once went to Belgium together. R' Kreisworth accompanied them back to the airport, for their return trip, and inquired as to the source of the name "Abba Shaul". Chacham Bentzion said that the name came from the Talmudic Sage by that name. Chacham Ovadia mentioned to R' Kresisworth that the first time Abba Shaul is mentioned in Shas is in Brochos at this and this place. R' Kreisworth responded with the second place where Abba Shaul is mentioned. Chacham Ovadia countered with the third place. This went on for some time. How did it come to an end? They were in the middle of Tractate Shabbos when Chacham Ovadia said that in a certain place Abba Shaul is mentioned next. R' Kreisworth responded that one of the meforshim (I think it was Tosafos but I don't remember) say that the Abba Shaul mentioned there is not the same one mentioned elsewhere in Shas. They had a good laugh and bid their farewells.


Think about the amout of time spent learning, and with what passion it must have been. Our great Torah leaders literally have Shas, Poskim, etc. on their fingertips. They literally know it the way most people know the names of their family members. So, the next time some mechutzif with a website wants to show how bright he is by "proving" that Gadol Ploni is incorrect in a ruling, think twice. If I may use the analogy, not just anybody can step into the ring with a heavyweight champ. May we be worthy of having great Torah leaders to guide us.


Friday, December 21, 2007

13-15 Teves Yartzeits

13 Teves - Rav Moshe ben R' Dovid of Lelov (1850) was the first Chassidishe Rebbe to settle in Yerushalyim. Previously they had settled in Tzfas. The Rizhiner told him that although many great tzadikim moved to Eretz Yisroel previously, their dynasties didn't survive, but Lelov would last till Moshiach comes. R' Moshe said that if he could make it to the Kosel Hamaravi then Moshiach would come. Unfortunately, he never made it there and passed away shortly after his arrival in Eretz Yisroel. He was the son-in-law of the Yid HaKodosh. The Lelover and Bostoner Rebbes are his descendants.
13 Teves - Rav Yitzchak ben R' Asher Anshel Hakohen Huberman, the tzaddik of
Ra'anana (1977)
13 Teves - Rav Yechiel Mordechai Gordon, Rosh Yeshivas Lomza (1965)
13 Teves - R' Shraga Feivush ben R' Boruch Hager of Zelishitshick (1936)
13 Teves - R' Menachem Mendel ben R' Yisroel Hager of Vishiveh (1941) Rosh
Yeshiva of Vizhnitz
13 Teves - R' Tzvi Hersh (Shmelkes) of Ostroh (1789) ben R' Shmuel, talmid of the Baal Shem Tov. He was considered the greatest chosid in Ostrah, was a great mekubal and is the subject of many miraculous stories

14 Teves - R' Alter Elazar Menachem ben R' Moshe Mordechai Biderman of Lelov (2001) Beloved tzadik from Bnei Brak.
14 Teves - R' Reuven Dov Dessler (1935) father of R' Eliyahu Dessler
14 Teves - R' Tzvi Hirsh of Teplik (1928), Breslover Tzadik
14 Teves - R' Mordechai Twersky of Lavoi (1905)

14 Teves - R' Aryeh Moshe Eliyahu ben R' Shmuel Kaplan (1983) author of many seforim and translater of Meam Loez

15 Teves - Mesharshia bar Pakud, Amora
15 Teves - Rav Huna, Amora
15 Teves - Mari bar Mar Zutra, Amora
15 Teves - R' Chaim Mordechai ben R' Itamar Rosenbaum of Nadvorna (1978)

15 Teves - R' Noson Nota Natkin ben R' Asher (1887) was a grandson of the Shaagas Aryeh and son-in-law of R' Yosef Zundel of Salant. Although he lived most of his life in Yerushalayim, he is buried in NY at Union Field Cemetery, (near Rabbi Jacob Joseph) because he died while collecting money for the Yishuv in Eretz Yisroel.

15 Teves - R' Refoel of Barshad (1827) ben R' Yaakov Yukel was from the greatest talmidim of R' Pinchas Koritzer. The website Two Tzaddiks has lots of information on them.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Update from Uman

Rabbi Nassan Maimom updates A Simple Jew on the situation in Uman.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Likutei Tefilos

Reb Nachman of Breslov says (Likutei Mohoran II, 25) that it is very good to make prayers out of your Torah study. When one hears or studies Torah, he should ask Hashem to help him fulfill what he learned. Reb Nachman's leading student, Reb Noson Sternhartz, wrote Likutei Tefilos, based on this. He wrote numerous tefilos based on the teachings of Likutei Mohoran and Sichos HaRan. Besides the usual prayers for livelihood, health and children, there are tefilos for thing not usually seen. There are tefilos asking Hashem to help us observe Shabbos properly, for emunah, for help in tefila, for Moshiach, for finding "True Tzadikim", etc. The list goes on and on; prayers for every need. These tefilos are really beautiful; even if you only have a basic understanding of Hebrew, you can see this.


Reb Noson said that since the prayers of Likutei Tefilos are now available, one will have to give an accounting for every day that he didn't recite them. Reb Avrohom B'Reb Nachman Chazan said that these tefilos are higher than Ruach HaKodesh, because they come from the 50th Gate of Kedusha. (Kochvei Ohr) Most of all, these tefilos are a way for us to daven to Hashem for thing we may not normally ask for outside of our required thrice daily prayers. This is a good day to start saying thes tefilos, on the yartzeit of the author, Reb Noson of Breslov.


Parts of Likutei Tefilos have been translated into English, and are available from Breslov Research Institute. You can see Likutei Tefilos online at the following links:


Likutei Tefilos online.


PDF of Likutei Tefilos arranged by subject.

Pittsburgher Rebbe Reveals the Loftiest Kavana of the Mikva

10 Teves is the 18th yartzeit of Reb Avrohom Abba Leifer ZY"A, the Pittsburgher Rebbe. His father, Reb Yosef, was a grandson, ben acher ben, of the legendary R' Mordechai of Nadvorna. R' Yosef lived in Pittsburgh for some time, hence the Pittsburgher Chassidus. Reb Avrohom Abba was Rebbe in Pittsburgh and New York before making aliyah to Eretz Yisroel and settling in Ashdod, where the chassidus is currently led by his son, Reb Mordechai Yissachor Ber shlita. Reb Avrohom Abba authored sefer Emunas Avrohom. I don't know a whole lot about him, but from one thing I heard in his name, I believe we can see the greatness of this tzadik.

In Uman, I heard Reb Lazer Brody speak and he said he heard from the Pittsburgher Rebbe the following: As is known, there are many different kabalistic meditations that one can have in the mikvah. The Pittsburgher Rebbe said that the greatest "kavana" one can have in the mikva, better then all the kabalistic meditations, is to think about the person standing outside the mikva because there is no room for him, waiting to go in. That is the greatest "kavana" of the mikva. Rav Brody added that the same applies by Reb Nachman's tzion. In the days around Rosh Hashona, there is a mob of people around the tzion of Reb Nachman 24 hours a day. It is relatively easy to get within a few feet of the tzion, but to actually get right up against it can take along time. Everyone wants an opportunity to be "mishtateiach" on the tzion. There is much pushing and jockeying for position, but once someone leans against the tzion, no one touches him. So, Rav Brody said, when you get to the tzion, spend a short amount of time and let the next one go. Even if you're not directly at the tzion, it's just as good, and by letting someone else have a turn, that is the best "kavana".

For someone who understood the loftiness of kabalistic meditations to make such a statement shows the great Ahavas Yisroel that the Pittsburgher Rebbe had. This is along the lines of what the Mesilas Yesharim speaks about in the chapter of "Mishkal Hachasidus" (chapter 20), which basically says not to be a "tzadik" on account of someone else. The Ramchal says that if "not doing" will do more to sanctify the Name of Hashem than "doing", then you must refrain from "doing". Don't mistake this with actual obligations which must be done no matter what. But, to try to better ourselves, by going beyond the law, on account of someone else is not "Chassidus". This small statement of the Pittsburgher Rebbe, speaks volumes about the tzadik, and is a lesson that can teach us all volumes. Zchuso Yogen Aleinu!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

10-13 Teves Yartzeits

10 Teves - Zecharia ben Berachya ben Idu Hanavi
10 Teves - Malachi Hanavi, end of the era of prophecy (317 B.C.E.)
10 Teves - R' Nosson ben R' Naftali Hertz Sternhartz of Breslov (1844), the leading talmid of R' Nachman of Breslov, compiler and author of many seforim 
10 Teves - R' Raphael Wexelbaum, Rosh Yeshiva of Itri
10 Teves - R' Avraham Abba ben R' Yosef Leifer (1989), Pittsburgher Rebbe, lived in Pittsburgh and New York before moving to Ashdod in Eretz Yisroel

11 Teves - R' Shlomo Eiger, author of Gilyon Maharsha (1852) son of R' Akiva Eiger
11 Teves - R' Yehoshua ben R' Meir Horowitz of Dzikov, author of Ateres Yeshua (1912)
11 Teves - R' Yaakov Yosef Shlomo ben R' Chaim Dov Halperin of Vasoloi-Tel Aviv (1984) descendant of R' Yisroel of Ruzhin

12 Teves - R' Moshe Margulies, author of Pnei Moshe on Talmud Yerushalmi (1781) Rebbe of the Vilna Gaon
12 Teves - R' Moshe Halevi "Sofer" of Peshvarsk (1805) Talmid of the Magid of Mezritch
12 Teves - R' Mordechai Chaim ben R' Yehuda Leib Kastelanitz of Slonim (1953) was one of the closest of the talmidim of the Slonimer Rebbes


Reb Noson of Breslov

Rabbi Lazer Brody at Reb Noson's Tzion
(photo courtesy of Emuna Outreach)

10 Teves, Asarah B’Teves, is the yartzeit of Reb Noson ben R’ Naftali Hertz Sternhartz ZY”A, the leading talmid of Reb Nachman of Breslov ZY”A. Here are several beautiful articles have been put together in honor of his yartzeit:

Rebbe Natan’s Yahrtzeit – 3 Articles

Monday, December 17, 2007

Tenth of Teves - A Major Fast Day

The Abudraham says that if the fast of 10 Teves, Asarah B'Teves, would fall out on Shabbos, we would still fast, just like by Yom Kippur. (According to the way our calendar is presently set up this can't occur.) Why by this fast, specifically, does it say we need to fast? Asarah B'Teves, after all, is always thought of as a very "minor" fast. After reading what the Bnei Yisaschor (Kislev Teves, 14) says about this, my whole outlook on this "minor" fast day changed, and I hope it will have more meaning this year.


In Gemara Taanis 29a there is a discussion why the fast of Av is on the ninth of the month, when the burning of the Beis Hamikdash started; it should be on the tenth, when most of the burning took place? The reason we do fast on the ninth is that the beginning of the destruction is what counts more. Similarly, says the Bnei Yisaschor, the tenth of  was the beginning of the siege on Yerusholayim that culminated in the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash on Tisha B'Av three years later. Therefore, this fast day is actually very important and we would actually fast on Shabbos if it would fall out then. Furthermore, the month of Teves is connected to Shevet Dan, who were the ones involved with the avodah zora of Pesel Micha. (see Shoftim 18)


One final thought. Asara B'Teves is the fast day with the least amount of daytime; consequently, it has the most hours of darkness. Tisha B'Av and Shiva Asar B'Tamuz have the smallest amount of night hours, but the most amount of daytime. As is known, "night" represents golus; "day" represents geulah. Asarah B'Teves, has the most "nighttime", indicating that there was much destruction to come. In the fasts of Tamuz and Av, when the actual destruction took place, Hashem was indicating to us that there is less "darkness" and more "daylight", a positive sign to us of the ultimate redemption, which will be a time of light. May it happen speedily in our days. Amen!

Friday, December 14, 2007

6-9 Teves Yartzeits

6 Teves - R' Yechezkel Shraga Halberstam of Shiniva (1895) ben R' Chaim of Sanz, author of Divrei Yechezkel
6 Teves - R' Yaakov Reischer, author of Chok Yaakov and Shvus Yaakov

7 Teves - R' Moshe Dovid Vally, talmid of the Ramchal, who wrote a Kabalistic peirush on Tanach
7 Teves - R' Boruch of Kaminka, talmid of the Baal Shem Tov
7 Teves - R' Tzvi of Mezhibuz-Pinsk (1779) ben R' Yisroel Baal Shem Tov
7 Teves - R' Mordechai Yosef Leiner of Izhbitza (1878) ben R' Yaakov
8 Teves - R' Yechezkel HaLevi Halshtuk HY"D of Ostrovtza (1942) ben R' Yechiel Meir (some have the date as 10 Teves)
8 Teves - R' Shmuel Hellman (1765) was the Rov of Metz, France

9 Teves - Ezra Hasofer (320 B.C.E.)
9 Teves - Nechemia ben Chachilya (372 B.C.E.)
9 Teves - R' Yehosef HaLevy (1067) ben R' Shmuel HaNagid
9 Teves - R' Ezra (1227), one of the Baalei Tosefos and Rebbe of the Ramban
9 Teves - R' Avrohom Chaim Shur (1632) author of Tzon Kedoshim

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

4-5 Teves Yartzeits

4 Teves - R' Gershon Chanoch Henoch Leiner of Radzin (1890) ben R' Yaakov of Izhbitza was the The Baal Hatecheles and author of many seforim

4 Teves - R' Chaim Shaul HaKohen Dweck (1933) One of the great Syrian mekubalim of Yerushalayim. Rosh Yeshiva of Beit El.
4 Teves - R' Yaakov Shaul Kassin, head of New York Syrian community
4 Teves - R' Mordechai Pinchos Teitz (1995), Rov of Elizabeth, New Jersey.

5 Teves - R' Shlomo Molcho HY"D (1534), arrested by the Inquisition in Spain, he recited
Shema with great joy as he was burned at the stake.

5 Teves - R' Ahron of Titiev (1828) ben R' Tzvi ben R' Yisroel Baal Shem Tov

5 Teves - R' Avrohom Yaakov ben R' Yisroel Friedman of Sadigur (1960)

5 Teves - R' Yerachmiel Tzvi ben R' Yechiel Yehoshua Rabinowitz (2003) Biala-Peshischa Rebbe of Har Nof


Reb Yitzchok Mayer Morgenstern on Chochma & Bina - Final 2 Parts

See the last two parts of Dixie Yid's translation of R' Itchie Mayer Morgenstern's piece on how the sefiros of Chochma and Bina manifest themselves in modern Jewish communities.
Part 7

Part 8

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Chanuka Segulas

The Gemara (Shabbos 23b) says that one who habitually lights candles will have sons that are Talmidei Chachomim. Rashi explains that the posuk (Mishlei 6, 23) says כִּי נֵר מִצְוָה וְתוֹרָה אוֹר - "the candle is a mitzvah and the Torah is light". By lighting candles of mitzvah, Shabbos candles and the Chanuka Menorah, one will merit what the Gemara says.

After Kindling the Menorah

The Baal Shem Tov to say וִיהִי נֹעַם and יֹשֵׁב בְּסֵתֶר עֶלְיוֹן, (last posuk of Tehilim 90, and the whole Chapter 91, with the last posuk of chapter 91 repeated twice) 7 times after lighting the Menorah. This is a segula to protect from many calamities. (Ramban says to say each word 7 times, but I haven't seen anyone do it like that. I've only seen people saying the whole chapter 7 times.)

Healing - Refuah

Chanuka is connected to the sefira of "Hod", because there are 10 sefiros, and the 8th is Hod, making the connection to Chanuka, which is 8 days. In the brocha of Yotzer Hameoros, before Shema of Shachris, it says (according to the Nusach of the Arizal, which would include Nusach Sefard and Edut HaMizrach): כִּי הוּא לְבַדּו (1)מָרום (2)וְקָדושׁ (3)פּועֵל גְּבוּרות (4)עושה חֲדָשׁות (5)בַּעַל מִלְחָמות (6)זורֵעַ צְדָקות (7)מַצְמִיחַ יְשׁוּעות (8)בּורֵא רְפוּאות (9)נורָא תְהִלּות (10)אֲדון הַנִּפְלָאות. According to the Kavonos in the Siddur, each one of these praises of Hashem corresponds to another sefira (1-Keser, 2-Chochma, 3-Binah, 4-Chesed, 5-Gevurah, 6-Tiferes, 7-Netzach, 8-Hod, 9- Yesod, 10-Malchus), making the 8th praise, בּורֵא רְפוּאות - "Creator of cures", correspond to Hod. This makes Chanuka an auspicious time for bringing about healing.

In Shulchan Aruch (570, 2) it says that eating a meal for Chanuka is a
סעודת הרשות, a non-obligatory meal. Chazal (Berachos 60a) say that Hashem gave רשות (permission) for doctors to heal. This is what סעודת הרשות alludes to; eating a special meal in honor of Chanuka, which is a special time for healing, can bring about healing. (Shaar Yisaschor, Yimei Orah 72)

Remembrance of Barren Women

Chanuka, and especially the last day, Zos Chanuka, is an auspicious time for the remembrance of barren women, just like Rosh Hashona. One allusion to this is that מתתיהו is numerically equal to ראש השנה. (Bnei Yisaschor, Chanuka 2, 10)

Zos Chanuka - Teshuvah

The days of Chanuka, as brought in many seforim, is the actual final judgment period from Rosh Hashona, making the last day, called Zos Chanuka, because of the Torah reading that day, the final day of judgment.

Reb Tzvi Elimelech of Dinov in Sefer Deverim Nechmadim (Chanuka, 4) brings proof from the Zohar that Chanuka is a time of Teshuva M'Ahava, repentance out of love for Hashem.

Reb Yisroel of Ruzhin, as quoted by his son, Reb Avrohom Yaakov of Sadiger, says that a simple Jew can receive from Hashem on Zos Chanuka, what Tzadikim can on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. (Ner Yisroel 2, 18)

Reb Eliezer of Dzhikov says in the name of Reb Elazar of Lizensk (son of the Noam Elimelech) that Zos Chanuka is an especially auspicious time. (Reb Itzikil of Peshavrsk)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Playing Cards & Klipos - Well Connected

One shouldn't use the shamash for a disgusting use, and certainly not for levity, by playing cards, chas v'chalilah. (Ba'er Heitiv 573:7)


Certainly, one will have to stand judgement for the terrible sin of playing cards by the light of the shamash. (Kav Hayoshor 96)


Every man that fears the word of Hashem, should keep his sons, from when they're young, from these klipos, cards. (Yesod Veshoresh Ha'Avodah 12:1)


Reb Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev says: Due to our many sins, a terrible breach has been made among Acheinu Beis Yisroel to play with cards. It's a light thing in their eyes, but it's known that in each card there is definitely a big klipa… There are many downfalls from this:

1) You lose fear of Hashem.

2) In my eyes you are definitely a thief.

3) You make yourself tamei with klipos that shouldn't even be mentioned. (Kedushas Levi, Chanuka – "Yadua")


Here we see the greatness of the prohibition, and the damage of the soul that comes from playing cards, קרטן (which is the numerical value of שטן)… (Bnei Yisaschor, Kislev 4:90 Hagah)


The Chidushei HaRim of Ger said over the following story one Chanuka night by candle lighting: One Chanuka, someone gave the Chozeh of Lublin a kvitel with the name of a friend on it. The Chozeh looked at it and spit. A while later he handed the kvitel to the Chozeh again. This time the Chozeh looked at the name and said: "this person is illuminating the world". He then added: "before, when you handed me the kvitel, your friend was playing cards; now he's lighting the Chanuka menorah." (Sipurei Chassidim)


I am defiantly not one to tell people what they should or shouldn't do; everyone has their own yetzer hora and I don't judge anyone. HOWEVER, don't come and try to make it into a religious thing to go play cards on Chanukah. Some people actually have it in their head that this is a special "frum", or perhaps "heimishe" thing to do on Chanukah. The Seforim Hakedoshim, as mentioned above, are pretty straight forward about the terrible klipos that come from playing cards. Ironically, many of these same people run around to mekubalim trying to get rid of the klipos that they brought on themselves. On Chanukah, of all times, when we celebrate victory over outside influences, is the most ridiculous time for one to go and play cards. Besides, it's also the final judgment period; would anyone play cards on Yom Kippur? May we all be worthy of seeing the Ohr Haganuz, the hidden light, this Chanukah. G'mar Chasima Tova!

Chanukah Yartzeits

25 Kislev - R' Avrohom Mordechai Nissim Harari Raful (1991)
25 Kislev - R' Yochanan ben R' Dovid Mordechai Twersky of Tolna (1998)
25 Kislev - R' Shlomo Zalman (1758), father of the Vilna Gaon (1758)
25 Kislev - R' Avrohom (1808), son of R' Eliyahu, the Vilna Gaon (1808)
25 Kislev - R' Chaim Chizkiyahu ben R' Refoel Eliyahu Medini (1904), Sdei Chemed
25 Kislev - R' Yaakov Etlinger (1871), author of Aruch Lener and Binyan

26 Kislev - R' Avrohom bar Dovid, the Raavad, Baal Hasagos (1197)
26 Kislev - R' Yehoshua Zelig Diskin, Rov of Pardes Chana (1970)
26 Kislev - R' Elazar ben R' Moshe Elyokim Briah of Koznitz (1861)
26 Kislev - R' Yosef ben R' Ahron Perlow of Koidenov (1915) Descendant, ben acher ben from the Lechovitcher.

27 Kislev - R' Chaim ben R' Shlomo of Tchernowitz (1816) author of Be'er Mayim
Chaim, Sidduro Shel Shabbos and others.
27 Kislev - R' Avrohom Yitzchok ben R' Ahron Dovid Kohn, the Toldos Aharon
Rebbe (1996) son-in-law of R' Ahron Roth, the Shomer Emunim

28 Kislev- R' Uziel Meizlish of Ritshval ben R' Tzvi Hirsch (1785) talmid of
the Magid of Mezrotch and author of many seforim, including Tiferes
Uziel, Eitz Hadaas Tov and Menorah Hatehorah
28 Kislev - R' Boruch Dovid ben R' Mordechai Dov Twersky of Hornesteipil (1925)
28 Kislev - R' Moshe Torgeman, a Rebbe of Baba Sali

29 Kislev - R' Chizkiyah diSilva, author of Pri Chodosh
29 Kislev - R' Avrohom Meyuchas (1767) Great Mekubal and Posek in Eretz Yisroel
29 Kislev - R' Gedalia ben R' Yitzchok of Linitz (1803) The Baal Shem Tov, who he saw several times, regarded him very highly. Talmid of the Toldos Yaakov Yosef and the Mochiach of Polonya. R' Nachman Breslover held of him very highly as can be seen from Likutei Moharan 14, which was originally given over after R' Gedalia's passing.
29 Kislev - R' Avrohom ben R' Nachman Chazan (1907), leader of Breslov after R' Noson. He wrote many seforim, including Kochvei Ohr and Biur Halikutim on Likutei Mohoran.
29 Kislev - R' Shlomo of Vilna, author of Cheshek Shlomo
29 Kislev - R' Tzvi Mordechai ben R' Avrohom Moshe of Peshischa (1866) son-in-law of R' Yitzchok of Vorka
29 Kislev - R' Yisroel ben R' Mordechai Shraga Feivish of Husyatin (1948) See
this famous story.
29 Kislev - R' Shlomo Dovid Kahana of Warsaw-Yerushalayim, Known as the "Father of
29 Kislev - Rav Zushe Waltner, Rosh Yeshiva in Sunderland and Tangier

30 Kislev - R' Dovid Halberstam of Sokolov (1939) ben R' Moshe of Shiniva, the son of the Divrei Yechezkel of Shiniva. He is buried in Queens, NY at
Union Field Cemetery.
30 Kislev - R' Elazar ben R' Shlomo Yehuda Weitzhandler (1984) one of the Chashuvei Breslov
30 Kislev - R' Nochum ben R' Yehonoson Starkis (If this is the correct one. I saw the name also written as Nachman) Legendary figure in Breslov. He was tortured by the Russian communists y's' but made it to Eretz Yisroel.
30 Kislev - R' Dovid Oppenheim, Av Bes Din of Reznitz

1 Teves - Avrohom Avinu (Bava Basra 91a). 1 Tishrei or Nissan according
to others (Moed Katan 28a)
1 Teves - R' Yair Chaim ben R' Moshe Shimshon Bachrach (1702) author of Chavos Yair and Rov of Worms. He was a descendant of the Maharal.
1 Teves - R' Yosef Hamaaravi, Baal Mofes and talmid of the Arizal, buried in Kfar Elchamama in
1 Teves - R' Avrohom Moshe ben R' Simcha Bunim of Peshischa (1828)
1 Teves - R' Moasoud Refoel Alfasi (1774) Great tzadik of Morocco and Tunisia

2 Teves - R' Yaakov Ibn Tzur, author of Mishpat U'Tzedaka L'Yaakov

3 Teves - R' Chaim Leib ben R' Refoel Alter Shmuelevitz (1978), Legendary Rosh Yeshiva of the Mirrer Yeshiva
3 Teves - R' Avrohom ben R' Yehuda Tzvi Brandwein of Stretin (1864)

Breslov Mesorah

See what Rabbi Dovid Sears has to say about "The Breslov Mesorah" at A Simple Jew.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Wisdom & Simplicity

See my guest post at A Simple Jew on Wisdom and Simplicity.
A Simple Jew asks: The Tcheriner Rav once wrote, "Paradoxically, only by restraining the desire for wisdom and choosing to serve G-d with simplicity can one acquire the ability to grasp the perceptions that formerly remained beyond his ken." In your opinion, what practical steps could a person take to implement this advice?
See here for my response.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Reb Levi Yitzchok Bender ZY"A Photos

See Rabbi Yakov Horowitz's photos of Reb Levi Yitzchok Bender ZY"A at A Simple Jew:
Part 1     Part 2     Part 3

Thursday, November 29, 2007

20-24 Kislev Yartzeits

20 Kislev – R' Shmuel ben R' Yaakov of Nemirov (1830) Tzadik mentioned in the writings of R' Noson Breslover

20 Kislev – R' Boruch ben R' Menachem Mendel Hager of Vizhnitz (1892) Imrei Boruch

20 Kislev – R' Yochanan ben R' Dovid Twersky of Rachmastrivka (1981)

20 Kislev – R' Yitzchok Hutner (1980) Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshiva Chaim Berlin and author of Pachad Yitzchok

20 Kislev – R' Eliyahu Chaim ben R' Klonomus Kalman Rosen (1984) Great tzadik and one of the Gedolei Breslov.


21 Kislev - R' Yochonan Perlow ben R' Yisroel of Stolin-Lutzk (1956) buried in Teveria

21 Kislev - R' Tzvi Pesach Frank (1961), Famous Rov and posek in Yerushalayim and author of Har Tzvi

21 Kislev - R' Shlomo Zalman ben R' Moshe Dovid Friedman ofTenka (1999) He was already a great Rov while in Europe. He lived in Brooklyn, where he was well known as a tzadik. He was very close with the gedolim of his time including R' Moshe Feinstein and the Satmar Rebbe, who he is buried close to.


22 Kislev - R' Eliezer Ashkenazi (1586), author of Maasei Hashem. He was a contemporary of the Maharal

22 Kislev - R' Yechezkel ben R' Moshe Panet of Deizh (1929) author of Knesses Yechezkel

22 Kislev - R' Chaim Kesar, Rov of the Yemenites in Eretz Yisroel

22 Kislev - R' Sholom Mordechai HaKohen Shwadron (1998) Magid of Yerusholayim, grandson of the Maharsham


23 Kislev - R' Dovid of Novordok (1837) author of Geila Meseches

23 Kislev - R' Shabsei Yudelevitz, Yerushalmi Magid

23 Kislev - R' Dovid Teveli Schiff, author of Loshon Zahav

23 Kislev – R' Dovid ben R' Mordechai Zusia Twersky of Bohush-Yas (1933)

23 Kislev - R' Ben-Zion Alphas (1940) Darshan in Eretz Yisroel

23 Kislev – R' Elimelech ben R' Meshulam Feivish of Tosh (1942) grandfather of the present Tosher Rebbe shlita


24 Kislev - Shimon ben Yaakov Avinu (1446 B.C.E.)

24 Kislev - R' Avrohom ben R' Shmuel Abulafia (died after 1291), From the early mekubalim, he authored many seforim, among them sefer Hayashar and Imrei Shefer (1291)

24 Kislev - R' Yichya Tzalach (1804), the Maharitz of Yemen

24 Kislev - R' Shmuel Yitzchok ben R' Yehuda Rosenfeld (1850), Rov of Tcherin, he was a talmid of R' Nachman Breslover and accompanied him on his mysterious trip in 1807.

24 Kislev - R' Moshe ben R' Menachem Mendel Paneth of Deizh (1902)

24 Kislev - R' Chaim Hager of Atinya (1932) ben R' Boruch of Vizhnitz, son-in-law of R' Yitzchok of Bohush


Zchusom Yogen Aleinu V'al Kol Yisroel

Seforim Recommendations

See Dixie Yid's posting on Seforim recommendations.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

19 Kislev - Magid of Mezritch

(Picture courtesy of A Simple Jew.
Click on the picture to see
his posting on Yud-Tes Kislev.)

19 Kislev is the yartzeit of Magid of Mezritch, Reb Dov Ber ben Reb Avrohom ZY"A. When he was a little boy, his house burnt down, and he saw his mother crying. He asked: "why are you crying; it's only a house?" Hi mother responded that she wasn't crying over the house, but over the burnt up family tree, showing their lineage back to Rav Yochonan HaSandler. The little Dov Ber responded: "Don't worry; a new lineage will start with me." As they say, the rest his history. See Heichal HaNegina for more.

Zchuso Yogen Aleinu V'al Kol Yisroel Amen

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Segula from Reb Boruch of Mezhibuz

The Skolya Rebbe ZY"A, a descendant of Reb Boruch'l of Mezhibuz, says that he has a kabbala in the name of Reb Boruch'l that on a day that one says the following chapters of Tehilim: 4, 17, 63, 65, 116, 137, 138, 150, he will have success in everything.

Reb Boruch'l of Mezhibuz - Blessed Above and Below

Chai Kislev is the yartzeit of Reb Boruch'l of Mezhibuz. He was born in 5613 (1752-53) to his father, Reb Yechiel "Der Deitshel" Ashkenazi, a great mekubal from Germany, and his mother, Udel, daughter of the Baal Shem Tov. Her name was spelled אדל, which the Baal Shem Tov said stood for אֵ׳שׁ דָּ׳ת לָ׳מוֹ. His older brother was Reb Moshe Chaim Ephraim of Sudlikov, author of Degel Machane Ephraim, and his sister was Fayga, mother of Reb Nachman of Breslov. His teachings are collected in Sefer Botzina D'Nehora.

Holy from the womb

When Reb Boruch first started learning Gemara, the melamed opened the Gemara to the first page, which is amud beis, but Reb Boruch said, "lets start from amud aleph, the front cover". He turned to the cover, which read קמא בבא, and said, "the letters stand for ב׳רוך ב׳ן א׳דל ק׳דוש מ׳בטן א׳מו - Boruch, son of Udel, holy from the womb of his mother".

Why Reb Boruch laughed at the Berditchiver

Reb Dovid Moshe of Chortkov, in Divrei Dovid, says that Reb Boruch was known to make fun of the holy, Reb Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev. Once, Reb Moshe of Zvhil (son of the Zlotchover Magid) was by Reb Boruch and witnessed this. There was a man, Reb Yaakovka Mohliver, whose job was to entertain Reb Boruch by imitating the movements and gyrations that Reb Levi Yitzchok would do while performing various mitzvos. Reb Boruch would laugh and joke at this openly. Reb Moshe couldn't believe it; here was Reb Boruch making fun of one of the greatest tzadikim of his time. He let his thoughts be known to Reb Boruch, who explained himself.

He said that the Mekatreg comes before Hashem and says, "what need is there for Moshiach and the Beis Hamikdash? The Berditchiver in all his actions has in mind all the kavanos that the Kohen has in the Beis Hamikdash." "Therefore", said Reb Boruch, "I make fun of the actions of the Berditchiver in order to annul the words of the Mekatreg, since I make it seem that they are meaningless. In truth though, I know and believe that Reb Levi Yitzchok is a great tzadik."

Machlokes L'Sheim Shomayim

Reb Boruch'l also made machlokes on his nephew, Reb Nachman of Breslov. When Reb Nachman's mother, Fayga, complained to Reb Boruch, he replied that without his making machlokes on her son, Reb Nachman wouldn't be able to survive on this world. Perhaps, this can be explained by a piece of Likutei Mohoran, which was my impetus to write this, since the first thing to pop into my head at that point was Reb Boruch'l.

In Likutei Mohoran 88, Reb Nachman says that shefa and brocha can only come down to this world through a tzadik, because a tzadik is the only one that has what is necessary to accept the shefa and brocha, namely Ahava and Yirah. A tzadik has to hide these traits so the mekatrim won't steal them from him. That's what the posuk in Tehilim (147, 8) means, הַמְכַסֶּה שָׁמַיִם בְּעָבִים, "He covers the Heaven with clouds", meaning the tzadik has to cover the fire and water, which is his Ahava and Yirah. The posuk continues הַמֵּכִין לָאָרֶץ מָטָר, "Who prepares dew for the earth", meaning shefa and brocha (represented by the word מָטָר) comes down to the earth. But, if a tzadik is well known, and can't hide his Ahava and Yirah, then the mekatrigim can prevent the shefa from coming down. Therefore, Hakodosh Boruch Hu puts it into the heart of a second tzadik to make machlokes on him in order to cover the Ahava and Yirah of the first tzadik, allowing the shefa to come down. This is what it means when it says מחלוקת שהוא לשם שמים, "machlokes that is for the sake of Heaven" - a machlokes for the sake of a tzadik who is called שמים, because he has Ahava and Yirah, in order to bring down the מָטָר, which is the bechina of shefa and brocha.

This can explain the machlokes that Reb Boruch made on the Berditchiver and Reb Nachman and many other controversies between tzadikim. May this be the only type of machlokes in our midst and may we receive much shefa and brocha from Above.

Blessed Anger

Reb Boruch would teach and rebuke in, what seemed like, a very harsh manner. To prove he was correct in doing this he would quote the posuk (Lech Lecha 12, 5)וְאֶת-הַנֶּפֶשׁ אֲשֶׁר-עָשׂוּ בְחָרָן , and the souls that they made in Charan. (This is referring to the people that Avrohom and Sarah taught about Hashem) He said that the word חָרָן should be read as חָרֺן, anger, meaning, Avrohom Avinu accomplished his task by using anger. When Reb Boruch passed away in 5672/1811, his talmidim found a Zohar open at a part that says: "There are two types of anger. One type of anger is blessed in the World Above and the World Below; its name is Boruch…"

One thing we can learn out from Reb Boruch'l is that. at times, tzadikim may seem to do things that defy logic, but there can be many lofty intentions behind them. Reb Boruch'l is buried in Mezhibuz, right next to the Baal Shem Tov, his father, his brother and many other great tzadikim.

May the zchus of Reb Boruch ben Reb Yechiel

protect us and all of Klal Yisroel

Reb Levi Yitzchok Bender Pictures

See Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz's pictures of Reb Levi Yitzchok Bender ZY"A, davening, at A Simple Jew.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

13-19 Kislev Yartzeits

13 Kislev - Ravina berei D'Rav Huna (c.421) Amora
13 Kislev - R' Yisroel Friedman of Chortkov (1932) ben R' Dovid Moshe

13 Kislev - R' Yisroel Taub, first Modzhitzer Rebbe, author of Divrei Yisroel
(1920) ben R' Shmuel Eliyahu of Zvolin. See Heichal HaNegina for more.

14 Kislev - Reuven ben Yaakov Avinu
14 Kislev - R' Menashe ben Yisroel of Amsterdam, author of Nishmas Odom
14 Kislev - R' Mordechai Yaakov ben R' Chaim Breisch of Zurich,
author of Chelkas Yaakov
14 Kislev - R' Dovid Abuchatzeira HY"D (1919) ben R' Masoud, brother of Baba Sali,
he was killed al kiddush Hashem.

15 Kislev - Rabbeinu Yehudah Hanasi (219), son of R' Shimon ben Gamliel
15 Kislev - R' Simcha Bunim Sofer of Pressburg, author of Shevet Sofer and
Shaarei Simcha. Son of the Ksav Sofer, R' Avrohom Shmuel Binyomin, who was
the son of the Chasam Sofer

15 Kislev - R' Dovid ben R' Yitzchok Twersky of Skver (1919)

16 Kislev - R' Yaakov of Lublin, father of R' Hershel of Cracow
16 Kislev - R' Shaul Yedidya Elazar ben R' Yisroel Taub of Modzitz (1947)
16 Kislev - R' Menachem ben R' Yaakov Dovid Kalisch of Amshinov
16 Kislev - R' Meshulam Roth, Rov of Tchernovitz and author of Kol Mevaser

17 Kislev - R' Noach of Ludmir, talmid of the Chozeh of Lublin and author of Biurim of Maharam Schif
17 Kislev - R' Yosef Yoizel ben R' Shlomo Zalman Horowitz, the Alter from
17 Kislev - R' Refoel Shlomo Heiman, Rosh Yeshiva of Bais Medrash Elyon and
Yeshiva Torah Vodaas

18 Kislev - R' Avrohom ben HaRambam, author of HaMaspik L'ovdei Hashem
18 Kislev - R' Boruch of Mezibuzh (1812) ben R' Yechiel, grandson of the
Baal Shem Tov
18 Kislev - R' Eliezer Zev ben R' Yitzchok Rosenbaum of Rachov (1998) Lived in Ramat Gan

19 Kislev - R' Dov Ber ben R' Avrohom, the Magid of Mezeritch (1772)
Succesor of the Baal Shem Tov. Many of the greatest tzadikim of the
generation were his talmidim.
19 Kislev - R' Chaim Tayeb (1836) great tzadik and mekubal in Tunisia
19 Kislev - R' Nissim Chaim Rosenbaum of Drohvitz HY"D (1942) ben R' Eliezer Zev of Kretchnif


Monday, November 19, 2007

Chanuka Campaign for Eizer L'Shabbos

See A Simple Jew's Chanuka Campaign for Eizer L'Shabbos, helping out our needy brothers and sisters in Tsfat.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Segula for 9 Kislev

I received the following from Yitz of Heichal HaNegina :

In Sefer Yashar, it is quoted in the name of the Ramban that the ninth hour of the ninth day of the nine month is a special time for davening to Hashem.
THIS IS TOMORROW MONDAY, 9 Kislev,  BETWEEN IPM AND 2PM (Note: The exact time will vary depending on your location.)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Rav Lazer Brody Speaks About Reb Shlomo

See Rav Lazer Brody's beautiful post on Reb Shlomo Carlebach.

6-12 Kislev Yartzeits

6 Kislev - R' Michoel Ber Weissmandel (1957), Rosh Yeshiva of Nitra Yeshiva, renowned for his mesiras nefesh during the Holocaust, risking his own life to save Jews. His wife and children were murdered by the Nazis y's.
6 Kislev - R' Shlomo Abu Maaravi (1989), founder of Otzer HaTorah network
6 Kislev - R' Chaim Shmuel ben R' Eliyahu Lopian, author of Recha Shmaitza (1999)

6 Kislev - R' Yechezkel Shraga ben R' Yisochor Dov Lipshutz-Halberstam (1995) Stropkover Rebbe and author of Divrei Yechezkel Shraga


7 Kislev - R' David Sinzheim of France (1812)

7 Kislev - R' Ahron  HaLevy Epstein of Cracow (1881) son of R' Klonimus Kalman, the Meor Veshemesh

7 Kislev - R' Shlomo Binyamin HaLevi Ashlag (1983), son of R' Yehuda Leib author of HaSulam on Zohar


8 Kislev - R' Moshe Shapira of Slavita (1839) son of R' Pinchas of Koritz

8 Kislev - R' Aharon ben R' Mordechai Twersky of Chernobyl (1871)
8 Kislev - R' Dovid ben R' Shmuel Bornstein of Sochatchov, author of Chasdei Dovid (1942) Died in the Warsaw ghetto
8 Kislev - R' Pinchas Dovid ben R' Shmuel Shmelke HaLevi Horowitz, the first Bostoner Rebbe (1941)

9 Kislev - R' Dov Ber ben R' Schneur Zalman Schneerson, Mitteler Rebbe of Lubavitch (1827)

9 Kislev - R' Noson ben R' Tzvi Trevitzer of Tzfas (1918) One of the Ziknei Breslov.

10 Kislev - R' Moshe Mordechai Margulios, Rov and Av Beis Din of Cracow, author of Chasdei Hashem (1616)
10 Kislev - R' Pinchas Menachem Elazar ben R' Binyomin Elazar Yustman (1920), Piltzer Rebbe, grandson of the Chiddushei Harim, author of Sifsei Tzaddik
10 Kislev - R' Moshe Mordechai Epstein, Rosh Yeshiva of Slabodka and Chevron Yeshiva
10 Kislev - R' Isser Zalman ben R' Boruch Peretz Meltzer, Rosh Yeshiva of Slutzk and Etz Chaim in Yerushalayim (1953) author of Even Haezel

11 Kislev - R' Yitzchak ben R' Yisroel Friedman of Sadiger (1924) Great-grandson of the Rizhiner. He died on a visit to the USA at the age of 39. He is buried in Queens, NY at Mt. Zion Cemetery.

11 Kislev - R' Tzvi Aryeh Ben-Zion ben R' Yisroel Abba Rosenfeld (1978) Responsible for spreading Breslov in the USA. He was a descendant of R' Ahron of Breslov and the Tcheriber Rov. He gave many shiurim aon Reb Nachman's teachings in English. You can listen to them here.

12 Kislev - R' Shlomo ben R' Yechiel Luria Ashkenazi, the Maharshal, author of Yam Shel Shlomo and Chochmas Shlomo (1573)
12 Kislev - R' Yitzchak Lampronti, author of Pachad Yitzchak

12 Kislev - R' Avrohom Dov ben R' Dovid of Averitch (1840) Talmid of R' Nochum and R' Motel of Chernobyl. Author of Bas Ayin. He moved to Tzfas, Eretz Yisroel and is buried there. His shul still stands, after surviving the famous earthquake.

The Shevatim and Shemona Esrei

Dvar Torah for Parshat VaYetze from Breslov Research Institute
Based on Likutey Halakhot, Tefilah 5:2-3

The Avot (Patriarchs) established the three daily tefilot (prayers; Berakhot 26b). The aspect of prayer which makes it an expression of love and bonding with God is represented by Avraham Avinu (our Patriarch). To pray well, and sometimes merely to pray at all, takes strength and dedication. This is represented by Yitzchak Avinu. Yaakov Avinu, however, is the perfection of prayer as indicated by his "perfect bed," the fact that all his children followed in his footsteps and believed in the One God. This indicates that he unified the Shekhinah with Her Beloved. That union provides all of creation with peace, prosperity and joy.

The first and last three blessings of the Shemonah Esrei (aka Amidah) parallel the Avot, but the bulk of the of the weekday Shemonah Esrei, in which we humbly request prosperity in its various forms, parallels the Twelve Tribes. Reb Noson gives us some insight and inspiration by aligning the middle blessings with the Twelve Tribes. To keep the chart to a convenient size for those who wish to print it and keep it in their siddur (prayerbook), I chose brevity over elaboration. (The numbers in the first column indicate where in the order of Shemonah Esrei the blessing is. For example, 1/4 means , first of the middle/weekday blessings, fourth overall.)

Pray well!

agutn Shabbos!

Shabbat Shalom!

© Copyright 2007 Breslov Research Institute

Based on Likutey Halakhot, Tefilah 5:3


Tribe (Mother)




Reuvein (Leah)

"G' has seen my plight" (Genesis 29:32) "My heart saw much wisdom" (Kohelet 1:16)



Shimon (Leah)

"G' has heard that I am disliked" (Genesis 29:33) A penitent, when he had been guilty of sin had been out of favor with G' and himself. But when G' helps him and he repents, G' has compassion on him. This is our request in this blessing: God! Hear that I am despised and help me to return to you!



Levy (Leah)

The Kohanim and Levites were involved in Temple service that effected forgiveness.



Yehudah (Leah)

Ancestor of Mashiach, the Righteous Redeemer



Yisakhar (Zilpah/Leah)

Torah study brings healing: It is a cure for your body (Proverbs 3:8). They were noted for their Torah study (Yuma 26a);


Bareikh Parnassah

Zevulun (Zilpah/Leah)

Bereishis Rabbah 99:9; They gave money to Yisakhar so the latter could learn Torah.


T'ka b'shofar

Dan (Bilhah/Rachel)

Tribe of Dan gathered the lost items, material and spiritual, of the Jewish people.



Naftali (Bilhah/Rachel)

Bereishis Rabbah 98:17; They gave clear halakhic decisions and advice to quell disputes.



(no tribe)

To rid world of idolatry and haughtiness.



Yosef (Rachel)

Yosef is known as "the tzaddik."



Binyamin (Rachel)

Jerusalem is in the territory of Binyamin.


Tzemach David

Gad (Leah)

The prophet Eliyahu, who will announce and facilitate the Final Redemption, is from the Tribe of Gad.


Shomeiah Tefilah

Asher (Leah)

"Daughters have praised my fortune" (Genesis 30:13). When G' answers our prayers (as He did for Leah) all will acknowledge how fortunate we are that G' is our G' (Psalms 144:15).

© Copyright 2007 Breslov Research Institute