web analytics
July 29, 2014 / 2 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
Judaism
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Reb Elimelech’s Ascent To Leadership (Part XIII)

Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch

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. None of those who survived were spared pillage and plunder, looting and larceny.

The Chmelnitzky massacres were a holocaust – no different than the Holocaust we are all familiar with. Only the techniques were not as efficient and modernized, as it was not captured on film.

After these devastations it was only natural to hope for – indeed to expect – the arrival of the Messiah to redeem the tattered masses from their misery and squalor. Their desperation was so great that they were ready to believe the outlandish assertions of a Greek Jew named Shabbetai Zvi, who claimed to be the messianic redeemer.

But Shabbetai Zvi was an imposter, a persuasive one with a good public relations team, but no more than a charlatan that misled an anxious and desperate people. And if his deceit was not great enough, he dealt a crushing blow when he converted to Islam to avoid punishment.

The Shabbetai Zvi debacle brought on its heels a subsequent fiasco with the emergence of Yaakov Frank, who claimed to receive Divine revelations. Against the warnings of the rabbis, Frank managed to keep Shabbetainism alive until he encouraged his followers to adopt

Christianity.

The debacles in the Jewish community were concomitant with Poland’s inner convulsions that followed the Chmelnitzky massacres. There were the Tatar incursions from Crimea, the Moscow War and the Swedish War, each one ratcheting more bloodshed, suffering and destruction to the beleaguered Jews of Poland. Thousands were killed, thousands were forcibly converted to Christianity, and the remainder were uprooted, scattered, persecuted and exiled.

It was at this time that the Church renewed and strengthened the blood libels, accusing entire Jewish communities of having murdered a Christian child so that the victim’s blood could be utilized as an ingredient for matzah. From 1700-1760 not a single year passed when a libel was not attempted, and dozens of court cases were brought to trial in order to further aggravate the hatred of the Jew.

Eventually, the central institution of the Eastern European Jews, the Vaad Arba Artzos (Council of Four Lands), was compelled to send a delegation to Rome to appeal to the pope to issue a decree clarifying that Jewish law does not require the sacrifice of a Christian child prior to Passover for the purpose of matzah-baking.

The governments of the region could barely have been more anti-Semitic. There was a stiff head tax on every single Jew, a communal tax and additional taxes and fines were periodically imposed. The inability to pay one’s tax to a local landowner meant imprisonment – often for the entire family.

The ability to earn the most modest livelihood, let alone the execrable taxes and fines Polish Jewry was burdened with, was no easy feat. Vast numbers of professions were forbidden to Jews, leaving only a few realms of despised employment available, such as moneylending and running taverns for the local Polish landowners.

For the simple, peasant Jews, and even for the modestly more successful ones, the situation was extraordinarily bleak. The only person that had offered any hope was Shabbetai Zvi, and the aftershocks of that disaster were still palpable.

The rabbinic leadership was unable to relate to the masses and offer solace or comfort, the consequence being a disconnect between the rabbis and the people. The few rabbis that dared to speak out about the corruption that prevailed among their colleagues who had acquired their positions by bribing officials faced punishment or banishment. The less courageous blamed the suffering on the diminishment of Torah learning. The solution to the privations, the torment, the poverty and the false accusations, they pressed, lay, as always was the case, in repentance.

The rabbis had no novel ideas to suggest or a formula that was specifically adapted to the times. On the contrary, anything that seemed to vary in even the minutest detail from age-old tradition was viewed as dangerous and squarely verboten.

Until the Baal Shem Tov was revealed.

(To be continued)

Chodesh tov – have a pleasant month!

Those interested in screening Rabbi Teller’s acclaimed documentary, “Reb Elimelech and the Chassidic Legacy of Brotherhood,” should contact hanoch@hanochteller.com.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Reb Elimelech’s Ascent To Leadership (Part XIII)”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Bibi: ‘Death From Above, Death From Below’ Will Not Continue
Latest Judaism Stories
Weiss-072514

Just as the moon waxes, wanes and renews itself, so has the nation of Israel renewed itself through the millennia.

126_masei_web

Parshat Masei: Rabbi Fohrman addresses the age-old question, are we our brother’s keeper?

Hertzberg-072514

When Germany invaded neutral Belgium on August 4, England declared war on Germany. Thus, by the end of the first week of August all the major powers of Europe were at war.

Winiarz-072514

The Talmud teaches that the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed because of baseless hatred.

When taking any major step in life it is a good idea to carefully re-evaluate one’s past.

Ours is a small and intensely vulnerable people. Inspired, we rise to greatness. Uninspired, we fall

The enormity of Hiram’s accomplishments crazed him and deluded him into self-deification.

When Hashem first thought (if it could be) about creating the world, the middah of din was in operation.

Hallel On Purim?
“Its Reading Is Its Praise”
(Megillah 14a)

If the only person available to perform the milah on the eighth day is a person who is not an observant Jew, the milah should be postponed until a devout mohel is available.

It is apparent from the Maharsha that he does not see galus as atoning for killing accidentally; otherwise, this Gemara would not bother him.

It was found to be a giant deer tick living in her head – with its claws in her scalp.

While daydreaming about finding the perfect job, I never expected to be rewarded in spades for my aforementioned experience.

We are all entrusted with the mission of protecting our fellow Jews

Today, we remain Hashem’s nachal.

More Articles from Rabbi Hanoch Teller
Teller-Rabbi-Hanoch-NEW

The enormity of Hiram’s accomplishments crazed him and deluded him into self-deification.

Rabbi Hanoch Teller

Thinking about how much we can do in comparison to what we have done serves as a corrective against pride and arrogance.

Separating fun from happiness can liberate, regarding (a) time, (b) money and (c) jealousy.

People expectantly go through their lives awaiting the event that will make them happy.

If you expect more, you will be less grateful; if you expect less, you will be more grateful.

So goes the story about a man in the silly town of Chelm who visited a public bathhouse and found himself in a terrible predicament. Without the distinction of clothing, everyone looked alike. “Among all these men who look alike,” he said to himself, “how will I ever know which one is me?” He solved his dilemma by tying a red string around his big toe.

In the campaign to rob a consumer of any sense of contentedness, which translates into sales, strategy is often focused on confusing need with want and the illusion of being dissatisfied.

“I never said I have nothing to complain about,” she intoned with an expression that belied her age. “I just don’t see the wisdom of protesting. I am fine and I am being adequately nourished.” And with that she went back to her cereal.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/chodesh-tov/reb-elimelechs-ascent-to-leadership-part-xiii/2012/10/11/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: