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20****Rabbi Mordechai of Chernobyl

Rabbi Mordechai of Chernobyl

Born: 1772   
Died: Anativka (Ukraine) 1837

Rabbi Mordechai's father was Rabbi Menachem Nachum of Chernobyl, student of
the Baal Shem Tov and the Maggid of Mezritch. Rabbi Mordechai is the founder of the Chernobyl Chassidic dynasty.

Rabbi Mordechai married the daughter of the great Rabbi Aharon of Karlin,
after her death he married the daughter of Rabbi David Lykess who was a student of the Baal Shem Tov. From these two women he had 8 sons and one daughter. His sons became prominent rabbis and were a part of the effort in spreading Chassidut throughout Russia and the Ukraine.

Rabbi Mordechai was in charge of sustaining all the Nistarim (hidden tzaddikim) in his generation. Throughout his life R' Mordechai collected tremendous amounts of charity from people, before his death he regretted not collecting even more than he did.

His thoughts, sermons and discourses were published in his book Likutei Torah, which was praised by other famous Chassidic leaders, for its holiness.

Throughout his teachings R' Mordechai stressed the importance of pure speech and pure thought as a condition for a proper prayer connection.  He also spoke of including all of the souls of Yisrael in one's prayer, even evil people. By doing so, evil people will stand a better chance of repenting (teshuvah).

Rabbi Yisrael of Rizhin named one of his sons Mordechai, while Rabbi Mordechai of Chernobyl was still alive. Asked about this, Rabbi Yisrael replied "Our uncle from Chernobyl is already a few years above this world, as if he is not in this world" Amazingly R' Mordechai of Chernobyl left the world a few years later, exactly at the same day that Mordechai (Rabbi Mordechai Faybush of Hosiatin) was born, 35th day of the Omer.

While still alive, Rabbi Mordechai prepared his place of rest in the small town of Anativka, near Kiev. He selected such a place "because there is no house of idol worship, and the sound of impure bells wont disturb my rest in the grave".  

Chernobyl Chassidut has survived the ravages of the Holocaust and is today throbbing with new vitality under the inspired leadership of the Skverer Rebbe, Rabbi David Twersky, who has created a small town in New York State named New Square.

May the merit of the tzaddik Rabbi Mordechai of Chernobyl protect us all, Amen.

 

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