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Friday, December 20, 2013

Week 16 (Book 4a): Bringing Oneself Close to Merit


STORY OF CHANNAH: 16 Count not thy handmaid for a wicked woman: for out of the abundance of my complaint and my vexation have I spoken hitherto.'           

QUALITY OF PIRKEI AVOT: and brings him close to merit  

PROVERBS: Chapter 16

TZADIKKIM: 18 Tevet - Rav Tzvi Elimelech Shapira of Dinov        

Week 16 is the third week of Teveth. The verse from the story of Channah depicts how she asks Eli the Kohen Gadol to judge her favorably, not as a wicked woman. The term in Hebrew, Bli’al, is also associated with idolatry. The sages of the Talmud even learn from this that someone who prays the Amidah prayer while drunk is compared to someone who worships idols. Again, the verse speaks for Channah’s vexation, similar to the vexation we feel in Teveth.

This week’s Pirkei Avot quality regarding those that study Torah for its own sake (Lishmah) is that Torah distances brings a person close to merit. Again, the above verse from Channah’s story illustrates this principle.

Chapter 16 of the Book of Proverbs contains the above theme of bringing a person person close to merit:

1. The preparations of the heart are man's, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. 
2. All ways of man are pure in his eyes, but the Lord counts the spirits.       (...)
6. With loving-kindness and truth will iniquity be expiated, and through fear of the Lord turn away from evil.    
7. When the Lord accepts a person's ways, He will cause even his enemies to make peace with him.             
8. Better a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice.        
9. A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord prepares his step.

This week contains yahrzeits of a few of the most prominent Chassidic rabbis in history, all of whom are closely associated with the Seer of Lublin.

The 16th of Teveth is the yahrzeit of Rabbi Aryeh Leibish of Vishnitza, who was known as Rebbe Leibish Charif (“the sharp one”). He was a a Talmid Muvhak, a very close disciple of the Seer of Lublin.  

The 17th of Teveth is the yahrzeit of Rabbi Fischel (“Fisheleh”) Shapira of Strickov, who was a disciple, successively, of the Maggid of Mezritch, his disciple, Rebbe Elimelech of Lizhensk, and his disciple, the Seer of Lublin. He was known for his extreme humility, and was called as “Olah Temimah,” the unblemished offering. (Ascent)

The 18th of Teveth is the yahrzeit of Rabbi Tzvi Elimelech Shapira of Dinov, known for his most prominent work, the Bnei Yissachar, which is the basis for many of the insights of this work, “The Kabbalah of Time.” He was the nephew of Rebbe Elimelech of Lizhensk and a disciple of the Seer of Lublin as well as of Menachem Mendel of Rimanov.

Other yahrzeits this week include Rabbi Salman Mutzafi (17th of Teveth), Rebbe Yaakov Horowitz of Melitz (19th of Teveth), and (sometimes) the Rabbi Moshe Ben Maimon (the Rambam, Maimonedes, 20th of Teveth), Rabbi Yaakov Abuchatzeira (20th of Teveth), Rabbi Yisrael Dov of Volodnik (21st of Teveth), Rav Matzliach Mazuz of Djerba, (author of Ish Matzliach, 21st of Teveth) and Rabbi Yitzchak son of Rabbi Abba Abuchatzeira (great-grandson of Rabbi Yaakov Abuchatzeira, 21st of Teveth)


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