Friday, June 19, 2015

Reb Hirsch Leib Puts On His Talis

Otzar Nachmani
From the Collected Talks of Rabbi Nachman Burstein, zatzal
Translated by Dovid Sears (unedited)

Rabbi Levi Yitzchok [Bender] told me many times about the wedding of his brother-in-law, Rabbi Hirsch Leib Lippel, who was a spiritually elevated young man of handsome appearance, an expert Torah scholar and a devoted worshipper of G-d. [Reb Hirsch Leib] was one of the students of Reb Boruch “Getzeh’s,” who used to pray every day for hours on end, with intense fervor. [Reb Boruch] had suggested the marriage of Reb Hirsch Ber to his wife’s sister Reizel, a daughter of Reb Aharon of Kiblitch, who was no longer alive. The wedding was celebrated on Erev Shabbos following Shavuos in 5683 (1923).

Reb Levi Yitzchok related something remarkable about the wedding of this exceptionally devout bridegroom (“he-chasan oved Hashem”). On Shabbos morning, when the first worshippers came to pray in the Breslov Kloyz, as they entered the vestibule they were surprised to behold the bridegroom standing there with his talis on his shoulders, reciting with fiery emotion the words preparatory to the mitzvah of donning the talis: “Borkhi nafshi … Le-shem yichud…

With deveykus and hislahavus (attachment to G-d and passion), he cried out in a thunderous voice, with deep yearning, “Hareini misa’tef… Behold, as I enwrap myself… so may my nefesh, ruach and neshamah (three levels of the soul) be enwrapped [in the divine light]… And just as I am enclothed by the talis in this world, so may I merit the spiritual ‘cloak of the rabbis’ in the Garden of Eden!” And so with fiery emotion did he recite the words, “Deliver my nefesh, ruach and neshamah and my prayer from the External Forces (‘chitzomim’)!”

Due to his emotional intensity, [Reb Hirsch Leib] was entirely unaware of the other worshippers who held back and stood behind him, not wanting to enter the Kloyz by way of the vestibule and possibly disturb his recitation of the “Le-shem yichud…” So they waited until he had finished reciting the blessing over the talis, “le-hisa’tef bi-tzitzis,” with awe and love. Only then did they enter the Kloyz to pray.

Reb Levi Yitzchok added that without a doubt, everyone in that exalted group experienced true feelings of teshuvah (return to G-d). For this made a powerful impression upon them all, since it was extraordinary to see a bridegroom on the morning after his wedding night, who nevertheless arose before dawn to begin the Shacharis prayer before the congregation arrived, and to fulfill the mitzvah of donning the talis with such fervor as this. Subsequently, when they began to pray, [Reb Hirsch Leib] prayed as if his heart were aflame, the like of which they had never seen. And afterward, on Motza’ei Shabbos, they held a Melaveh Malkah meal with “sheva brokhos” in honor of the bride and groom with great joy, happiness, dancing  and festivity, for many long hours, as befit a chasan such as this! 

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