Friday, December 27, 2013

Week 17 (Book 4a): Going to Peace


STORY OF CHANNAH: 17. And Eli answered and said: Go in peace, and the God of Israel will grant your request which you have asked of Him.

QUALITY OF PIRKEI AVOT: From him, people enjoy counsel          

PROVERBS: Chapter 17

TZADDIKIM: 24 Tevet - Rabbi Shneur Zalman, the Alter Rebbe of Chabad, Rabbi Shmuel  Bornstein of Soccatchov, as well as that of Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Biderman of Lelov          

Week 17 is the last week of Teveth, and includes the yahrzeit of the Alter Rebbe of Chabad, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, on the 24th of Teveth. The verse from the story of Channah is Eli’s response to Channah. He tells her to go in peace, and that Hashem will grant her request. The Hebrew words used are “Lechi L’Shalom,” which literally means go to peace. In Hebrew, “go in peace,” Lech B’Shalom, is only used for those that have passed away. Rav Kook explains that one cannot wish to be in ultimate peace in this world. This is a world of struggles, particularly during the month of Teveth. The ultimate peace will one day come, but in the meantime, be prepared for an intense journey. The events leading up to the Alter Rebbe’s passing, were quite intense and tumultuous. (See Week 17, Book I)

This week’s Pirkei Avot quality is that “people enjoy counsel,” from those that study Torah for its own sake (Lishmah). In Channah’s story above, Eli’s counsel allows Channah to finally be able to breathe slightly more easily, knowing that her prayers for a child would be answered.

The entire Book of Proverbs is about enjoying counsel from the wise. Chapter 17 is no different.

Aside from the Alter Rebbe, this week contains the yahrzeit of Rabbi Shmuel Bornstein of Soccatchov, as well as that of Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Biderman of Lelov, both also on the 24th of Teveth.

Rabbi Shmuel Bornstein was the son of Rabbi Avraham Bornstein, the Avnei Nezer. Rabbi Shmuel is most well known for his extraordinary Chassidic work, the Shem MiShmuel. Like the Alter Rebbe, both father and son were known not only for their Chassidic insights, but also for their tremendous knowledge in the “revealed” Torah knowledge and Jewish law.


Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Biderman was the sixth Lelover Rebbe. He lived in Israel at the time that Jerusalem was liberated in the Sixth Day War. Of all the Chassidic rabbis, it was Rabbi Biderman that spent the most time by the Kotel HaMa’arivi, the Western Wall. He moved to Jerusalem to be close to the Kotel, and his prayers there would last most of the day. (Ascent) 
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