Monday, June 18, 2007

Reb Nachman Horedenker - Longing For Eretz Yisroel

This Monday, 2 Tammuz, is the 246th yahrzeit of Reb Nachman Horedenker, perhaps, best known as the grandfather of Reb Nachman of Breslov, who was named after him. Reb Nachman Horedenker was one of the great talmidim of the Baal Shem Tov (Besht), and is quoted many times in Degel Machane Ephraim, often next to his Rebbe, the Besht. (See 2 examples here - Parshas Bamidbar and Parshas Behaloscha.) Sefer Mili D'Avos contains his biography and Torah.

Reb Nachman Horedenker was the son of Reb Yitzchok of Zalkova who came from a very illustrious lineage. Reb Nachman was the seventh generation from the Maharal of Prague, who descended from Rav Hai Gaon, a descendant of Dovid Hamelech. He was also the seventh generation from Reb Avrohom Chaim of Apta, the Av Beis Din of Nikolsberg, who was descendant of the Maharshal, a descendent of Rashi, who was the 33rd generation from Rebi Yochonan Hasandler, a descendant of Raban Gamliel Hazokein, whose lineage extends back to Dovid Hamelech. Some of his other ancestors include Maharam Padua, Reb Shaul Wahl and Reb Naftali Katz, the Smichas Chachomim.

The sister of Reb Yitzchok of Drohbitch (father of the Zlotchover Magid – R' Yitzchok and his father R' Yosef were talmidim of the Besht) asked the Besht to find her a good shidduch. The Besht suggested his talmid, Reb Nachman Horedenker, who agreed to the match, and the shidduch was finalized. The Besht asked Reb Nachman what he would give him as payment for putting together this shidduch. When Reb Nachmam didn't answer, the Besht said that when his own daughter, Udel, has a daughter, and Reb Nachman has a son, they should make a match between them and that would be the Besht's shadchonus payment. Reb Nachman mentioned that he has yichus going back to Dovid Hamelech. The Besht responded by pulling out his family tree and showing how his yichus also goes back to Dovid Hamelech. Of course we know the rest is history; Reb Nachman's son, Simcha, married Feiga, the daughter of Udel, and their son was Reb Nachman of Breslov.

Reb Nachman Horedenker traveled to Eretz Yisroel with his son, Reb Shimshon, but he returned to Europe, leaving his son in Eretz Yisroel. He wanted desperately to settle in Eretz Yisroel permanantely, but the Besht didn't accede to his desire. One time he had such a burning desire to go to Eretz Yisroel and asked his Rebbe for permission to go back to Eretz Yisroel. The Besht told him to first go to the Mikva and then come back to him. After immersing in the Mikva, the Besht asked him: "What did you see in your first immersion?" Reb Nachman answered: "I saw Eretz Yisroel".

The Besht asked: "What did you see in the second immersion?" Reb Nachman replied: "I saw Yerushalayim."

The Besht asked: "And in the third?" Reb Nachman replied: "I saw the place of the Baiss Hamikdash."

The Besht asked: "And in the fourth?" Reb Nachman replied: "I saw the Kodesh Hakodoshim, but I didn't see the Aron."

The Besht replied: "the Aron is in Mezibuz".

Reb Nachman understood that the Besht didn't want him to go to Eretz Yisroel, son he stayed by his Rebbe until the Besht passed away.

Reb Nachman was one of the talmidim that was with the Besht, when he passed away. After the passing of the Besht, Reb Nachman would regularly go daven at the tzion of the Besht, and would speak to him as if he was still alive. He was able to do this because of his great kedusha and separation from the materialism of this world and because of his great attachment and devotion to his Rebbe. Every time he would ask about going to Eretz Yisroel the Besht would answer no. Finally, one day the Besht said he agrees to let him go, and Reb Nachman went away dancing and singing "I'm going to Eretz Yisroel - I'm going to Eretz Yisroel".

He traveled to Eretz Yisroel with Reb Menachem Mendel of Premishlan and other talmidim of the Besht, and arrived there on 12 Tishrei. (The year was probably 5521) He fulfilled his lifelong dream of settling in Eretz Yisroel, where he lived out his final days until his passing on Shabbos, 2 Tammuz 5521/1761. He is buried in Teveria, where, his grandson, Reb Nachman of Breslov went to daven, on his famous trip to Eretz Yisroel.

May the zechus of Reb Nachman ben Reb Yitzchok protect us and all of Klal Yisroel.

2 Tammuz is also the yahrzeit of:

R' Shmuel ben R' Yechiel of Cologne HY"D (1096) He was killed by the crusaders.

R' Avrohom Twersky, the Trisker Magid (1889) He wrote Magen Avrohom and was the son of R' Mordechai of Chernobyl. See Heichal HaNegina for more on the Trisker Magid.

Zchusom Yogen Aleinu V'Al Kol Yisroel

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