יום חמישי ד' בתשרי תשפ"ג 29/09/2022
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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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Place

  • 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

Mourning Day of the Shelah

Rabbi Yishay Segal Horowitz known as the Holy Shelah contributed his knowledge through authoring many Torah books.

05/04/2009 10:00
 Rabbi Yishaya Segal Horowitz famously known as the Shelah Hakadosh (the holy Shelah) was born in 5318 to his father Rabbi Avraham Horowitz in the city of Prague located in Bohemia. The family was of a distinguished lineage originating from Spain. In the year 4691 the family left Spain and settled in a town named Horowitz and adopted its name as their family name even when they moved out of the town to Prague.

 Rabbi Yishaya was a prodigy child and at a young age when his family moved to Lublin he had the opportunity to learn in the famous Lublin Yeshiva under the tutelage of the Torah giants of the generation, Rabbi Shlomo Luria (the Maharsha”l) and Rabbi Meir of Lublin (the Mahara”m). Together with the fact that his father, Rabbi Avraham was also a teacher in the Yeshiva made Rabbi Yishaya’s years in Yeshiva years of great progress in Torah learning and of building a strong solid character.

 After Rabbi Yishaya was ordained he served in the position of Chief Rabbi in many cities across Europe. Amongst these cities are Dubno, Ostrah, Posen, Krakow, Vein and Frankfurt. It was in Vein that he married Chaya, Rabbi Avraham Moyl’s daughter, who was one of the more prominent respectable figures in the community. In the year 5375 while he was rabbi in Frankfurt, the Jews of Frankfurt were expelled from the city and were forced to leave. Several days thereafter he was called upon to assume the position of rabbi in his birth town, Prague. He agreed to fulfill their request and served as Rabbi in Prague up until 5381 when his wife passed away. Then, he finally made the decision to execute his lifetime dream of going up to Eretz-Yisroel.

 He left his prestigious position in Prague in favor of travelling on a dangerous and tortuous way up to Eretz-Yisroel. In all of the cities he passed on his journey he was received with great honor and respect. On the 6th of Kislev, 5382, the Friday before Parshas Vayetzei, he arrived at the gates of Jerusalem and a huge reception was held by the enthusiastic Jewish European community of the holy city who immediately appointed him as chief rabbi of Jerusalem.

 In Eretz-Yisroel he wrote his commentary on the Siddur. He named it Shaar Hashomayim (the gate to the heavens). This name was chosen for two reasons. The first reason is the fact that the numerological value of shomayim is 395 which is identical to the numerological value of Yishaya. The second is in commemoration of the weekly portion that was read in his first Shabbos in Jerusalem, Parshas Vayetzei, in which is stated within “and this is the gate to the heavens”.

 Two years after his arrival in Eretz-Yisroel he achieved another accomplishment. He finished his series of books Shnei Luchos Habris (the two tablets of the covenant). The acronym of the books’ name is Shelah which was how Rabbi Yishaya was informally called from after the time the books were published. The story is told that after the Shelah completed his books he became worried and hesitant regarding the presumptuous name he chose for his books as if his books were of equal importance and holiness as the original tablets that were given at Mount Sinai. He reassured himself by requesting that after he passes away he should be buried alongside the Rambam (Maimonides). The Rambam had named his series of Jewish code books Hayad Hachazaka (the mighty hand) which was a name that up until the Rambam’s books was the name used to specifically refer to Sefer Devorim, the fifth book of the Torah. If the Rambam saw such conduct as appropriate, the Shelah felt he could rely on him and also reuse a name for his own books.

 The Governor of Jerusalem in the first days of the Shelah's residence there was Muhammad Pacha, a man who acted with tolerance and patience towards the Jews. In 5385 a wicked man by the name of Ibn Paruch turned to the Pasha of Damascus and bribed him to appoint himself as governor of Jerusalem. After receiving the appointment from the Pasha, Ibn Paruch recruited an army of three hundred men, entered Jerusalem and forcefully over threw Muhammad Pacha from his position. This evil, money-thirsty man treated the Jews with an iron fist. On the holy Shabbos day during the month of Elul, Ibn Paruch’s men rampaged through the Shuls of the holy city and mercilessly dragged out fifteen of the city’s most prominent Rabbis and locked them up in the local jailhouse. The Shelah was obviously amongst the fifteen Rabbis. After Shabbos Ibn Paruch proclaimed that he would agree to set them free on condition that he receives eleven thousand grush as ransom money. The poverty stricken community could not handle collecting such a huge amount of money and the Rabbis remained in prison for several weeks. Finally they managed to come up with the money but after suffering through this horrifying experience the Jews of Jerusalem felt very unsafe in the present situation. The Shelah accompanied by a number of the other European Rabbis of Jerusalem escaped from the holy city to Zafed. A short time thereafter he moved to Tiberius where he concluded writing his books and sent them to his children who were living in Prague. They were published by his son Rabbi Shepsel in 5408 who added his own commentary called Vavei Haamudim (literally meaning hooks of the pillars). In his book he wrote original thoughts of Torah and ethics and included hundreds of customs and traditions that were practiced by Jews in the present and past generations which were not yet documented in any other book. The book was openhandedly accepted throughout the Diaspora and is considered to be one of the fundamental Jewish books. A summarized version of the book was put out by Rabbi Shmuel Dovid Otelingo and he named it Me-il Shmuel (literally Shmuel’s coat).

 Three years after settling in Tiberius on the eleventh of Nissan, 5390 Rabbi Yishaya returned his soul to its creator. On his deathbed he ordered that no eulogies should be said over him and his death should be plainly announced in the Shuls in the following wording; “It should be known that Rabbi Yishaya Horowitz passed away”.

 The Shelah was buried in the cemetery of Tiberius. The burial place of Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakhai, Rabbi Ami and Rabbi Asi, the Rambam and other Jewish luminaries.

 In addition to Shaar Hashomaim and Shnei Luhos Habris Rabbi Yishaya composed other compositions such as Shmos Gitin (regarding the laws of divorce), Bigdei Yesha and Sefer Mitzvas Tefilin (concerning the laws of Tefilin).

 The Shelah composed three Selichos (prayers of atonement) which are printed in his Siddur. He made a request that they be recited on his mourning day. Besides the Selichos, he wrote a special prayer for parents to say over the spiritual success of their children which is customarily recited on Rosh Chodesh Sivan.