שבת ט' בכסלו תשפ"ג 03/12/2022
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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

Sparks of Greatness: The ‘Mateh Efraim’

Over the years as Rav Zalman Efrayim Margulies plumbed the depths of the Torah, he compiled the Sefer ‘Mateh Efrayim’. It was so widely acclaimed by all Torah scholars, that eventually he himself became known by the name ‘Mateh Efrayim’

Neta Ninari 18/08/2009 10:50
In the town of Brody in Eastern Galicia, a star appeared on the horizon of the Jewish nation: young Zalman Efrayim was born, in the year 5522 (1762). As he grew up his greatness became apparent, and he studied under the guidance of his uncle Rebbe Sender Margulies - the ‘Teshuvos haRe’em’, who served as Rav of Stanov. He was blessed with a phenomenal memory, and at a young age was appointed as Rav of the town Ohnov, part of the Rava-Raska township near the town of Belz.

Shortly thereafter, Rav Zalman Efrayim tried his hand in the diamond trade, and was blessed with extraordinary success. Over the years he became a wealthy man, to the point where he did not want to support himself from the Rabbanus anymore. He left his post in Ohnov, and returned to the famous ‘Kloiz’ in Brody established by the distinguished Rav Yaakov Babad, and immersed himself in Torah study.

Over the years that he toiled in Torah, he began to write. His extensive library includes scores of works that enrich the study of Halacha till this day, most famous of all his magnum opus: ‘Mateh Efrayim’. A monumental and encompassing work, it “…includes all the laws and customs of the holy days of mercy… from Rosh Hashana until the end of Yom Kippur” (excerpt from the introduction). The Chafetz Chaim quotes from it many a time in the Mishne Brurah.

With time Rav Efrayim Zalman wrote more Sefarim. The Sefer ‘Olelos Efrayim’ deals with the blessings on fruit; ‘Sharei Efrayim’ discusses the laws of Kriyas haTorah; and ‘Zera Efrayim’ is partly a commentary and partly Chidushim on Pesikta d’rav Kahana. He also wrote commentaries on the Shulchan Aruch, the Magen Avraham, the Taz and the Shach, which he compiled into one volume and called ‘Yad Efrayim’. Another famous work is his extensive ‘Tiv Gittin’, which deals entirely with the writing of names on divorce contracts.

Rav Zalman Efrayim was known as one of the greatest Halachic authorities of the generation, and questions on any given subject streamed in to him from all factions of the Jewish world. His answers were assembled in the Sefer ‘Beis Efrayim’, divided according to the four sections of the Shulchan Aruch. In one of his famous rulings, he determined that a woman who has no brothers should not recite Kaddish for her father, even if he commanded her to do so in his will. ‘..But if she wishes to give merit to her father’s soul, she should take care whenever in a Minyan to lend an ear to the Kaddish being recited, and answer Amen with concentration, and the One Who knows all thought will consider [it]as though she fulfilled the command of her father.’

His writings are characterised by his trademark flowery speech and phraseology, and he often wrote in verse. One example of this is in Beis Efrayim 21-27, where he describes in rhyme an incident where he was forced to flee the city after passing a ruling on a certain Halacha. It happened that one of the townspeople opened a business on the outskirts of Brody, and a group of merchants came to the Rav to complain that he was infringing on their business. Rav Efrayim rejected their claim, but the merchants were men of influence and threatened him to change the p’sak, until he was forced to flee the city. In his words: ‘…I will leave my home and possessions... and in my blood I will go and wander…”
The Torah giants of the time held the Mateh Efrayim in high regard, and spoke of him in terms of great reverence and esteem. The Chasam Sofer wrote of him: ‘of the holy ones of the nation, righteous of the world…” The Gaon Rav Chaim of Sanz revealed his enormous respect for Rav Efrayim’s judgment, when he wrote: ‘Who will rule with such assertion, and who am I to speak against the greatness of this Sage?’

Although Rav Zalman Efrayim did not particularly associate himself with the world of Chassidus, he wrote a glowing approbation to the famed Sefer of Rebbe Nachman of Breslav, ‘Likutei Maharan’. He wrote about Rebbe Nachman: “A holy man who understands riddles, knows the hidden mysteries of wisdom… deciphers secrets and reveals the hidden portions of the Torah, Talmud and Aggadah, and his words are of great import…’

On the 24th of Av 5588 (1828) Rav Zalman Efrayim returned his holy soul to its Creator, at the age of sixty-six. He was buried in his birthplace – Brody. May his memory serve as an eternal merit for us.