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May 24, 2015 / 6 Sivan, 5775
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Judaism
Chodesh Tov/Rabbi Hanoch Teller
Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch
 

Posted on: September 24th, 2013

JudaismColumnsChodesh Tov/Rabbi Hanoch Teller

Overtime proved to be as tense and white-knuckled as the fourth quarter. Halfway through, New London grabbed a defensive rebound and charging toward their basket when Monona’s forward poked away the ball and broke away. In a slick maneuver he managed to split the defense and went up virtually slamming it to give Monona Grove the lead.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch
 

Posted on: August 29th, 2013

JudaismColumnsChodesh Tov/Rabbi Hanoch Teller

Monona Grove was headed to “State” and the Silver Eagle fans went insane. The coming games would not be played in monotonous high school gyms erected in the 1950s. They were off to the University of Wisconsin's colossal Kohl Center where they would play before a crowd of 12,000. The games would be broadcast to a statewide television audience of millions, as a battery of newspapers and stations would be begging for interviews. The Kohl Center was just a short drive from Monona, technically in the same city.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch
 

Posted on: July 31st, 2013

JudaismColumnsChodesh Tov/Rabbi Hanoch Teller

With absolutely nothing to lose, including his employment for the coming year, Dan Zweifel devised a strategy for a team that could not seem to catch an offensive rhythm and for players that had protracted shooting slumps and 10-minute-long droughts. His solution, his only recourse, was defense.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch
 

Posted on: July 3rd, 2013

JudaismColumnsChodesh Tov/Rabbi Hanoch Teller

Brief synopsis: Monona Grove High School in Wisconsin was a most unlikely candidate to make it to the 1998 high school basketball championships, referred to as “State.” Especially so since the coach is a very young rookie named Dan Zweifel, who replaced the veteran Coach Verhelst. Andy Witte, the team’s star player, will do anything to please Coach V.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch
 

Posted on: June 6th, 2013

JudaismColumnsChodesh Tov/Rabbi Hanoch Teller

Dear Readers: You may remember how we once did an experiment with a story (about a monster fire in Arizona) without Jewish protagonists, but containing a universal lesson that I believed worthy to record for the readers of Chodesh Tov. We are there yet again, this time directly north in Wisconsin. Please bear with me as we once again record a story we investigated in the hope that the lesson is unique and worthy of our attention. It is going to take us five full columns to complete the tale, and I thank you in advance for your patience.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch
 

Posted on: May 1st, 2013

JudaismColumnsChodesh Tov/Rabbi Hanoch Teller

Reb Elimelech personally selected his burial spot, explaining that on that location he perceived the soul of the Baal Shem Tov. Reb Elimelech returned his pure soul to his Maker on 21 Adar, 1787 at the age of 70. Ever since, his burial plot has become a center for prayer and personal requests.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch
 

Posted on: April 4th, 2013

JudaismColumnsChodesh Tov/Rabbi Hanoch Teller

Ahavas Yisrael, the genuine love of one Jew for another, stood at the center of Reb Elimelech’s teachings. He always found a way to speak in praise of a fellow person and elevate the status of the Jewish people.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch
 

Posted on: March 6th, 2013

JudaismColumnsChodesh Tov/Rabbi Hanoch Teller

After Reb Elimelech had restored the glory of his colleague, Reb Shmelkeh of Nikolsburg, he departed home to Lizhensk. He was en route when a voice descended from Heaven and proclaimed, “In the merit of your helping Reb Shmelkeh you have the privilege of blessing whomever you desire during the next 24 hours. And your blessing will be fulfilled.”

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch
 

Posted on: February 6th, 2013

JudaismColumnsChodesh Tov/Rabbi Hanoch Teller

Reb Elimelech was concerned for every Jew but himself. Even when he was physically assaulted by an over-zealous misnagid, his reaction was typical: “Master of the Universe, I forgive him with my whole heart. Let no man be punished on my behalf.” But when Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev was persecuted, Rabbi Elimelech rallied to support him. He was always there on behalf of others.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch
 

Posted on: January 3rd, 2013

JudaismColumnsChodesh Tov/Rabbi Hanoch Teller

It was when Reb Elimelech assumed the leadership of the chassidic movement that the Austrian Kaiser decreed that before a woman may wed, a tax of 400 golden coins must be paid to the government. This tax was far too exorbitant for the commoner to pay and many feared that they would never be able to marry off their daughters.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch
 

Posted on: December 6th, 2012

JudaismColumnsChodesh Tov/Rabbi Hanoch Teller

Reb Elimelech maintained that just for him alone they will have to make a new Gehinnom, for the one that already exists is not adequate enough. He also commented – in his infinite humility – that the reason people come to him and request his assistance with children, health and parnassah is because it is his sins that are responsible for the absence of these blessings.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch
 

Posted on: November 8th, 2012

JudaismColumnsChodesh Tov/Rabbi Hanoch Teller

As has been noted in a previous column, Reb Elimelech – like the Baal Shem Tov before him – asserted that pessimism and depression cause sin and spiritual apathy. Repentance (yes, even repentance!) that causes depression and sadness distances the Holy Presence.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch
 

Posted on: October 11th, 2012

JudaismColumnsChodesh Tov/Rabbi Hanoch Teller

In 1648 and 1649 Bogdan Chmelnitzky and his hordes of Cossack warriors perpetrated an annihilation campaign against the Jews of Poland and the Ukraine. Almost 100,000 Jews and 300 communities perished at the hands of these murderous mobs. All of the Jews, including infants, were targeted for murder; the general populaces nearly always joined in […]

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch
 

Posted on: September 12th, 2012

JudaismColumnsChodesh Tov/Rabbi Hanoch Teller

Wandering from town to village, the Holy Brothers neglected their physical needs and were sustained by meager coins or scraps of food that were donated along the way.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch
 

Posted on: August 9th, 2012

JudaismColumnsChodesh Tov/Rabbi Hanoch Teller

On the sad day that Eliezer Lipman, Reb Elimelch and Reb Zusha’s father, passed from this world, his children gathered for the week of mourning. At the conclusion of the shivah the sons divided their father’s inheritance in the following way: Avraham received the cash and the house was given to Nosson. The jewelry and housewares went to Elimelech and the outstanding debts were to be collected by Zusha.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch
 

Posted on: July 11th, 2012

JudaismColumnsChodesh Tov/Rabbi Hanoch Teller

To the misnaged-opponent, chassidus was not perceived as a different strand of normative Judaism, nor as a movement to uplift downtrodden Jews – but as an existential threat to Judaism itself. And the threat was no longer viewed as a futuristic potentiality; it was a real and imminent danger, for the movement was no longer limited to just the commoner but had infiltrated the ranks of scholars.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch
 

Posted on: June 14th, 2012

JudaismColumnsChodesh Tov/Rabbi Hanoch Teller

The Baal Shem Tov was the founder and the visionary of chassidus, but the architect who built and spread the movement was Rabbi Dov Ber, the maggid of Mezeritch.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch
 

Posted on: May 16th, 2012

JudaismColumnsChodesh Tov/Rabbi Hanoch Teller

Scholars have debated where precisely the Baal Shem Tov was born, few giving credence to the tiny village of Okopy (pronounced Akup). Most likely he hailed from Kolomyya on the slopes of the Carpathian Mountains and on the banks of the Prut River. Nearly 300 years have lapsed since the passing of the Baal Shem Tov and all the while the stories of his miraculous abilities have increased. Yet all fail to fully portray his greatness.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch
 

Posted on: April 18th, 2012

JudaismColumnsChodesh Tov/Rabbi Hanoch Teller

In 1648 and 1649 Bogdan Chmelnitzky and his hordes of Cossack warriors perpetrated an annihilation campaign against the Jews of Poland and the Ukraine. Almost 100,000 Jews and 300 communities perished at the hands of these murderous mobs. All of the Jews, including infants, were targeted for murder; the general populaces nearly always joined in the attacks, and the torture and degradation of Jews was an integral aspect of the murderer’s procedures.

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch
 

Posted on: March 22nd, 2012

JudaismColumnsChodesh Tov/Rabbi Hanoch Teller

The popularity of the rise of chassidus did not go unnoticed by those who did not share the same allegiance. As long as the movement was limited to the commoner and isolated in a few pockets of Poland no one perceived it as a threat. But all of this had changed by 1772.

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