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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Week 11 (Book 4): Creating a Kosher Environment

STORY OF CHANNAH: 11. And she vowed a vow, and said: to Lord of Hosts, if You will look upon the affliction of Your bondswoman, and You will remember me, and You will not forget Your bondswoman and You will give Your bondswoman a man-child, and I shall give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.
PROVERBS: Chapter 11
TZADIKKIM: Rabbi Israel Taub, the Divrei Israel, founder of the Modzitz Chassidic dynasty (13th of Kislev), and his son, Rabbi Shaul Yedidya Elazer Taub (16th of Kislev)
On Week 11, the week of Yud Kislev, the verse from the story of Hannah recounts the vow she took if Hashem would grant her a son. Yud Kislev is also about a son - Rabbi Dovber of Lubavitch - the son of the Alter Rebbe, who followed in his father’s footsteps. The Alter Rebbe was very meticulous about his upbringing and education, raising him in great sanctity, much like Samuel the Prophet himself.
The Pirkei Avot adjective of this week is that Torah “makes him fit to be righteous.” The Hebrew words used can be more literally translated as “makes him kosher to be a Tzadik.” It is very much related to Hannah’s words above, and the need to give children a kosher environment, one that will make it possible for them to live the holy lifestyle of a Tzadik. Equally important are the prayers of the parents. Rebbe Nachman said about himself that he reached the heights that he did in the merit of his mother’s prayers. About Rabbi Chanina, the Pirkei Avot states, “Ashrei Yoladtoh,” praiseworthy is the one that gave birth to him.
Chapter 11 of the Book of Proverbs contains many of the above themes. It continues the trend of the previous chapter, contrasting the righteous with the wicked:
1. Deceitful scales are an abomination of the Lord, but a perfect weight is His will.
2. When willful wickedness comes, then comes disgrace, but with the modest is wisdom.
3. The innocence of the upright leads them, but the distortion of the treacherous robs them.
4. Riches will not avail on the day of wrath, but charity will save from death.
5. The righteousness of the innocent will straighten his way, but the wicked will fall in his wickedness.
6. The righteousness of the upright will save them, but in the destruction, the treacherous will be caught.
7. When a wicked man dies, hope is lost, and the expectation of his children is lost.
8. A righteous man is extricated from trouble, and a wicked man comes in his stead.
9. With his mouth, the flatterer destroys his neighbor; but with knowledge, righteous men are extricated.
10. When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices, and when the wicked perish, there is song.
11. With the blessing of the upright, the ceiling is raised, but with the mouth of the wicked it is demolished.
As mentioned last week, the contrast between the righteous and the wicked is also one of the themes of Chanukah, in which the “righteous few” overcame the “wicked many.” It also seems related to the righteousness of the Mitteler Rebbe.
This week includes many yahrzeits, often including two of the Rebbes of Modzitz. Rabbi Yisrael Taub (13thof Kislev) was the founder of the dynasty. He is known for composing more than two hundred songs, many of which are still sung today by various Chassidic groups. His most famous song was composed during the amputation of his leg, which was done without anesthesia. He is also known as the Divrei Yisrael, the title of his commentary on the three first books of the Torah.[1]
This week (often) includes the yahrzeit of Rabbi Israel Taub’s son, Rabbi Shaul Yedidya Elazer Taub (16th of Kislev), the second Modzitzer Rebbe. He composed over 1000 melodies. He passed away in Israel in 1947. He had arrived there only recently, and it was his intent to remain in Israel and settle there.[2]
Other yahrzeits this week include Rabbi Yitzchak ben Rabbi Yisroel Friedman of Sadiger (11th of Kislev), Rabbi Avraham Dov Auerbach of Avritch (12th of Kislev), Rabbi Yisroel Friedman, the second Chortkover Rebbe (13th of Kislev), Rabbi David Abuchatzeira (14th of Kislev), Rabbi David Twersky of Skver (15th of Kislev), and Rabbi Menachem son of Rabbi Yaakov David Kalisch, the second Amshinover Rebbe.

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