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Shabbos Mevorchim Tammuz

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We bentch Rosh Chodesh Tammuzon Shabbos Parshas Korach, Rosh Chodesh falling on Shabbos Kodesh and Yom Rishon (June 28 and 29). This month has been associated with tragedy and misfortune throughout our history – ever since Moshe Rabbeinu descended the mountain with the Luchos in hand. Greeted with the distressing sight of his people dancing around a golden calf (a transgression of idol worship that was the root cause of the destruction of the first Bais HaMikdash), Moshe dropped the Luchos and broke them.

Next came the sin of the spies who were sent by Moshe on the 17th of Tammuz to assess the inhabitability of the Holy Land and report back their findings – a lamentable show of distrust in G-d that eventually culminated in the destruction of the second Bais HaMikdash.

Among the yahrtzeits commemorated during Tammuz are those of the first Bobover Rebbe; the Trisker Maggid; the 7th Lubavitcher Rebbe; Rabeinu Tam; R’ Baruch Frankel-Teomim (6 Tammuz); the Alter of Ger; the Baal HaTurim; the Shagas Aryeh; the Ramak; Yosef HaTzaddik; R’ Elazar Abuchatzeira; R’ Elazar of Lizhensk; the Yismach Moshe; and Rashi (29 Tammuz).

HaRav Baruch Frankel-Teomim (also known as Baruch Taam) was the father-in-law of the holy Rebbe of Sanz (the Divrei Chaim), and the great-grandson of the famed Kabbalist, R’ Nosson Nota Shapira, the Megale Amukos. A Gaon in his own right, R’ Baruch was regarded as a Gadol HaDor of his time. At the age of eighteen he had already been appointed Av Beis Din in the city of Vizhnitz in Galicia, a post he held for over 23 years. He then moved to Leipnik where he served as Grand Rebbe with great distinction for almost all of his remaining years. His tremendous ahavas Yisrael was legendary…

In the city of Leipnik, there lived a poor man by the name of Yossel who peddled his meager wares day after day. Known by all as a happy-go-lucky fellow, Yossel’s lackluster parnassah never got the better of him. His dejected-looking wife, however, hardly shared his simchas ha’chayim and Yossel would often attempt to cheer her with words of chizuk.

As he was walking to the marketplace one day, the post wagon came riding by. When the dust cleared, Yossel noticed two pieces of mail lying on the ground. While one seemed like ordinary mail, the other was far from ordinary: it was an envelope containing a tidy sum of 30,000 marks!

Stuffing his newfound wealth in his pocket, Yossel chased after the wagon. He managed to catch the attention of its driver and handed him the one plain envelope.

Yossel soon greeted his wife with a jovial “Did I tell you not to fret? Luck has finally shined on us!” His distraught wife scolded him for his dishonesty. “Don’t worry,” countered Yossel. “No one will suffer from the ‘lost’ envelope. The postal business belongs to the government which has enough funds to cover the loss.”

Her husband’s words failed to placate the good woman who insisted that holding on to money that was not theirs made them outright thieves. When Yossel wouldn’t come around to her way of thinking, his wife reasoned that the postal authorities would soon come looking for their lost envelope… “Since you returned one envelope to them, they will naturally suspect you of keeping the other for yourself.”

The import of her logic was not lost on Yossel who hastily sought and found a secure hiding place for the money… with just moments to spare before two postal agents came knocking on their door to inquire about the lost envelope. Yossel feigned complete innocence, as his unhappy wife stood silently by. She wasn’t, after all, going to give her husband up to see him hauled off to jail.

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