Weekly Cycle

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Week 35 (Book 4): True Wealth and Honor

STORY OF CHANNAH: 7. The Lord impoverishes and makes rich. He humbles; He also exalts.

PIRKEI AVOT ON THE GREATNESS OF TORAH:And it says (1:9): "For they shall be a garland of grace for your head, and necklaces about your neck."           


TZADIKKIM: Rav Meir’l of Premishlan (29th of Iyar), Rabbi Yisroel (Ben Baruch) of Vizhnitz (2nd of Sivan), and Rabbi Chaim-Elazar Spira, the Munkaczer Rebbe (2nd of Sivan)

Week 35 is the week of Yom Yerushalayim and Rosh Chodesh Sivan. The story of Hannah speaks of Hashem as the one who gives wealth and exaltedness, as well as the one who takes these away.

The quotation of in Pirkei Avot regarding the greatness of the Torah for this week speaks of true wealth and exaltedness – which comes from the Torah - and uses a garland and necklaces as metaphors for the Torah itself.

Chapter 4 of Ecclesiastes contrasts physical wealth with true wealth, which comes from wisdom. It mentions how even a king, without wisdom, will be humbled in his own kingdom:

13. Better a poor and wise child than an old and foolish king, who no longer knows to receive admonition. 14. For out of the prison he has come to reign, for even in his kingdom, he becomes humble.

This week includes three prominent yahrzeits of Rav Meir’l of Premishlan (29th of Iyar), Rabbi Yisroel (Ben Baruch) of Vizhnitz (2nd of Sivan), and Rabbi Chaim-Elazar Spira, the Munkaczer Rebbe (2nd of Sivan)

From Zechus Avos Yogen Aleinu:

"Reb Meir'l and Reb Yisroel of Ruzhin were very good friends, even though they had very different ways of serving Hashem. The Rizhiner lived in grand luxury while Reb Meir lived with the bare minimum. One day Reb Meir'l was riding in a simple wagon drawn by a lone horse and he came across R' Yisroel of Rizhin riding in a wagon drawn by four powerful horses. Reb Meir asked him why he needed this. The Rizhiner replied that if he got stuck in the mud, these horses could get him out easily. Reb Meir responded: "since I have one weak horse, I am careful not to get stuck in the mud, in the first place".

"He was also on very good terms with Gedolim from the non-chassidic world, such as Reb Shlomo Kluger and Reb Yosef Shaul Natanson. There are many recorded Divrei Torah and interchanges between them. Some of the most beautiful stories out there involve Reb Meir of Premishlan. To me he was always one of the most beloved figures in Chasidish stories. I read a biography, written in English, years ago, about Reb Meir and Reb Uri of Srelisk; I searched online and couldn't find any information on it. It had lots of great stories and Divrei Torah."

From Ascent:

"Rabbi Meir of Primishlan [?-29 Iyar 1850], lived in abject but patient poverty, yet exerted himself tirelessly for the needy and the suffering. His divine inspiration and his ready wit have become legendary. He wrote no works, but some of his teachings were collected and published by his Chassidim after his death."

"Rabbi Yisroel (Ben Baruch) of Vizhnitz, Bukovina [1860 - 2 Sivan 1936], had many thousands of followers over the 43 years he served as Rebbe. After WWI he headed a major yeshiva in Hungary. Because of his warmth and friendliness to every Jew, he was known as "the Ahavas Yisrael."

"Rabbi Chaim-Elazar Spira, the Munkaczer Rebbe (Dec 17, 1871- 2 Sivan, 1937) wrote and published over twenty books on the Jewish Law, Torah, chasidism, and religious philosophy and customs. His most notable work which made him world famous was the scholarly work, Minchas Elazar, which contains six volumes."

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