יום שני כ"ב באייר תשפ"ב 23/05/2022
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  • The Mission Continues

    As in the past so it remains today - we were and still are under the selfsame commitment to adhere to the directions of the Gedolei Yisrael, who stand guard against breaches of purity threatening our camp. When we were required to ask – we asked. When we were instructed to depart – we left. The moment we are summoned back to raise the flag, every other consideration is pushed to the side and we answer: We are ready!

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בראי היום

  • Harav Yisrael Friedman zy”a, the Rebbe of Husyatin

    מוטי, ויקיפדיה העברית

    The ancestral chain of Harav Yisrael Friedman, the founder of the Husyatin chassidic court, originates with the holy Baal Shem Tov. The Husyatin chassidus has its roots in Galicia and eventually came to Tel Aviv, during the turbulent years between the two World Wars.

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  • Maccabi'im Gravesite

    In honour of Chanukah, we will discuss a fascinating, ongoing investigation attempting to establish the place of burial of Mattisyahu Kohen Gadol and his family.

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Reflections

A Lifetime of Holiness

On the occasion of the Yahrzeit of Rabbi Yisrael Yitzchak Kalisch of Vorka zt’l

B. Wolff 16/04/2009 11:41
Rabbi Yisrael Yitzchak of Vorka was born to Rabbi Shimon ‘the Merciful’ of Zloshein, in the year 5539 (1779). Already in his youth, sparks of greatness and Chassidus were kindled within him. So outstanding was the boy in his diligence, and in his disregard of all physical pleasures, that Rabbi Dovid of Lelov took him to Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchok ‘the Chozeh of Lublin’, where he absorbed Torah, Chassidus and fear of Heaven. There, Rabbi Yitzchok came to know the great ‘Yehudi HaKadosh’, Rabbi Bunim of Peshischa, and joined his circle of admirers. After the passing of the Chozeh of Lublin, Rabbi Yitzchak looked to the Yehudi HaKadosh as his mentor and guide; he nourished himself with his Torah and learned his way of Chassidus.

As Rabbi Yisrael Yitzchak grew in Chassidus, so did he grow in Torah study. Several years before he became Rebbe, Rabbi Yisrael Yitzchak went through a difficult period of time during which he was beset with great financial difficulties. Despite much effort, he could not free himself of the problems. At one point he saw that he was about to sustain a tremendous financial loss, and at the height of his distress, he requested of his chavrusa to accompany him to the study hall and work through a tractate of Gemara that he had been having difficulty with. The two sat together for several hours, deeply immersed in learning, until they reached an understanding of the Gemara.

“How is it,” wondered the Rav’s chavrusa, “that you are able to sit and concentrate on a Sugya of Gemara, whilst facing a financial crisis of such import?” To which the holy Rabbi Yisrael Yitzchak replied simply: “On the contrary. Now more than ever, when all the senses are concentrated on one matter, it is easier to redirect that concentration and immerse in the fountains of Torah.”

Rabbi Yisrael Yitzchak was famous for his tremendous love of all Jews. His Rebbe, Rabbi Bunim of Peshischa, said that he merited producing a student on the level of Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk, in his love of Jews and efforts on behalf of his brethren.

When the Yehudi HaKadosh - Rabbi Bunim of Peshiscah passed away, Rabbi Yisrael Yitzchak became a follower of his son and successor, Rabbi Avraham Moshe, until the latter’s death on the first of Teves, seventh day of Chanuka 5589 (1828). Thereupon, Rabbi Yisrael Yitzchak Kalisch of Vorka was appointed as successor.

Rabbi Yisrael Yitzchak practiced the Chassidic customs of his revered teacher Rabbi Bunim of Peshischa, and encouraged his followers to cultivate an inner Chassidus, without external trappings. He guided each one in his own way with love and tireless patience, and planted in their hearts faith and true contentment, as well as a love for their fellow Jew. For a short time, Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Alter the ‘Chidushei Harim’, came to bask in his greatness and to learn from his ways. However it was precisely this trait of loving-patience that was the cause for the Chidushei Harim moving over to the court of Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotzk instead, where he found that which he was searching for in the Kotzker Rebbe’s uncompromising and unwavering quest for truth.

Rabbi Yisrael Yitzchak held that the study of Gemara be placed on the topmost rung of the ladder of Avodas HaShem - service of G-d. As the famous ‘Yismach Yisrael’ testified: “In his last conversation with my revered father before his passing, the Rebbe of Vorka said - ‘Die Gemara is die greste Tahara’ – the study of Gemara is the greatest form of purity.”
Rabbi Yitzchak was the founder of the Chassidic court of ‘Vorka-Alexander’, one of the largest and most famous Chassidic courts in Poland, guiding many Jews along its path.

One of the most outstanding attributes of the Vorka Rebbe Rabbi Yisrael Yitzchak Kalisch, was his tremendous love for his fellow Jew. Jew and gentile alike were in awe of him, because of the warm and personal way he related to one and all. The love he exuded towards anyone who came to him for advice or blessing captured the hearts of the masses and forged a deep-seated respect for Torah and Chassidus, even amongst the gentiles.

He urged his followers to help one another in every form, and would say that one should try to offer help to others even when it seems that the situation is hopeless. He brought proof to this teaching from the daughter of Paraoh, who stretched out her hand and her arm miraculously lengthened. ‘How did she do this? Surely the Egyptian princess didn’t know that such a miracle could happen?’ Rabbi Yitzchak replied to his own question: ‘when a person wants to help, and truly yearns to assist his fellow Jew, he doesn’t stand by and think if it is feasible or not. He does what he must to help, and the miracles will follow.’

Rabbi Yisrael Yitzchak Kalisch of Vorka was called to the Heavenly court on the last day of Pesach, 5608 (1848), at a ripe old age.

The ‘Yismach Moshe’ of Alexander said of him: ‘The elderly Rebbe of Vorka ascended on high on the last day of Pesach, which with regards to the counting of the Omer, is G-d’s attribute of royalty and kindness; after he himself had rectified the attribute of kindness, until its perfection.”