Wednesday nights - Rav Benzion's Tanya shiur..........Please continue to daven for the good health of the Rebbe (Yechiel Michel ben Devorah Leah) and Rebbetzin (Feiga bas Sarah).

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Yahrtzeit: The Rebbe Reb Zisha of Anipoli (Shvat 2)

Anipoli, Ukraine. At the bottom-left is the ohel.
 What can I possibly say about the Rebbe Reb Zisha? The ways I see it, he was the Rebbe of all the Rebbes. Not in the Rebbishe sense, rather everyone loved and admired him, spoke in awe of him. His simplicity touched every tzadik and every common man. The stories told about him cover a wide range; he was a colorful personality to say the least. He would become deliriously enraptured with G-dliness as soon as the Magid began speaking and came back to himself the instant the Magid concluded speaking. He couldn't fathom thanking Hashem for something bad - there was nothing bad. He was convinced that his brother, the Rebbe Reb Melech, was greater than he, even though he was older and the one responsible for introducing Reb Melech to Chassidus in the first place.

In 2007, I went with some friends to Ukraine for a week. We were in many, many cities whose names are well-known because of their chassidishe history or because of the tzadikim interred there: Ivnitz, Berditchev, Polnoya, Sadigura, Mezhibuzh, Anitivka, Haditch, Hornosteipel, Chernobyl, Vilednink and many others. I was deeply moved to tears by quite a few of these places, but of them all, I had the most hisorerus in Anipoli by the kever of Reb Zisha. Why? No idea. But I am convinced that it has to do with the fact that he "belongs" to every individual.

I don't like for this blog to be personal, but I decided to post the above in order to illustrate the magic of the Reb Zisha which I feel was his gift to Klal Yisroel. One can connect intimately with Hashem in the simplest faith and act.

The matzeiva, which is the same as it the original one, reads (loose translation): "Holy one of Hashem, our master, teacher and rebbe, the well-known Rav and Chasid, head of all the children of the Diaspora. He served Hashem from love and rejoiced [even] in suffering. He guided many to return from their sins."

As the famous Maor Einayim says, learning Torah from a tzadik is like being by the kever. So, here is an idea from Reb Zisha, as heard from the Baal Hatanya by the Rebbe Reb Yaakov Yisroel of Cherkass, written down by the Yismach Yisroel of Alexander, brought to my attention by, yblcht"a, Rabbi Benzion Twerksi, shlit"a.

"...the term 'hakarah' (lit. recognizing) is the matter of total self-negation in essence from the glory of the Infinite Light of Hashem. For through awareness and consciousness of the loftiness of Hashem, one becomes naught in the utmost sense of the term. This is like what the Rebbe Reb Yaakov Yisroel z"l said, that when he stood behind the Baal Hatanya's chair on Erev Yom Kippur, he heard the Baal Hatanya say that when the Rebbe Reb Zisha would raise his eyes heavenward on Erev Yom Kippur, he would be seized by fierce dysentery and bleeding, due to the severity of his fear of Heaven..."

Interestingly, the Cherkasser told over something else about Reb Zisha's yiras shomayim: "Reb Zisha davened to Hashem that he attain the fear of a malach (angel). Then, he asked for the fear of a saraph (a higher angel). Both of these levels were given to him. Reb Zisha then prayed that he fear Hashem so much, to the point where he would have no fear."

The recently painted and renovated ohel. In the background is the newly built Hachnosas Orchim facility.
Zechuso yagein aleinu v'al kol Yisroel!

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