Wednesday, April 02, 2014

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Reb Mordechai of Chernobyl

via Lma’an Yishme’u

Reb Mordechai of Chernobyl ("Reb Mottel Chernobiler") was a great Rebbe, son of Reb Nochum of Chernobyl. His first wife was the daughter of Reb Aharon Karliner. After his first wife passed away, he married the daughter of Reb Dovid Leikes, a talmid of the Baal Shem Tov (see Our Heroes - Lmaan Yishmeu issue 180). Reb Mottel became a mechutan of the Mitteler Rebbe when his son Reb Yaakov Yisroel, later of Tcherkas, married the Mitteler Rebbe's daughter. Reb Mottel was a Rebbe in Chernobyl and chassidim came to him from all over the Ukraine. He passed away on the 20th of Iyar, תקצ"ז.

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The son of Reb Mottel, Reb Yaakov Yisroel of Tcherkas, married the daughter of the Mitteler Rebbe. Reb Mottel asked the Mitteler Rebbe to say Torah at the Chupah in honor of the chosson and kallah. The Mitteler Rebbe declined and asked Reb Mottel to say something instead. Reb Mottel said, "There are three times in a person's life that a commotion is made about them: When one is born, at one's wedding and when one pass away. At the first and last occasion it is obvious that one does not become proud from the fuss made of them. At a wedding, however, it is possible that a person will grow proud from the celebration around them. It is therefore incumbent on the chosson and kallah to see this event as similar to the other two..."

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A man once asked the tzaddik Reb Yisroel of Ruzhin for a bracha for middos tovos. The Ruzhiner answered in surprise, "People break their backs and waists, but middos they do not! I had an uncle, Mottel (Reb Mottel of Chernobyl) and he said that middos is the most difficult masechta in Shas (This is a pun. There is indeed a masechta called Middos discussing the measurements of the Beis Hamikdash. However he was referring to a person's character traits). Good middos are by no means a quick fix. A person has to work hard to change his middos."

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