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The Sanzer Rebbe once visited the Stropkover Rebbe’s vast library and was overawed. “How can you allow yourself the luxury of such an extensive library with so much poverty here?” he couldn’t help asking. The Stropkover Rebbe replied that most of the seforim consisted of purchases he had made with his own money from young scholars who came to him for counsel regarding their impoverished state.

The following anecdote fits right in with the spirit of Purim. When the Stropkover Rebbe and his rebbetzin were expecting their first child, Reb Chaim Yosef approached the Ropshitzer Rebbe, Rav Naftali Zvi Horowitz, for a bracha and advice regarding a name for the baby. The Ropshitzer advised that they name their child Menashe. When the Stropkover inquired about a girl’s name, the Ropshitzer suggested the name “Ephraim.” Since Rav Naftali was well known for his sharp sense of humor, Reb Chaim Yosef took it in that vein. The “baby” turned out to be twin boys, which the Ropshitzer had perceived by divine intellect. And so the twins were named Menashe and Ephraim, as the holy rebbe had counseled.


As I hold the published sefer yichus of the dynasty of the Stropkover Rebbe in my hands, I note that he and his rebbetzin Breindel had five sons, Menashe and Ephraim, Yisroel Menachem, Naftali, Asher, and one daughter, Miriam Gittel. Miriam Gittel, in turn, had four sons and two daughters. Toba Aidel, the youngest, was my great-grandmother. Her only son, Reb Bentzion (Harnik), was my maternal grandfather.

Incidentally, the Stropkover Rebbe’s mother was an einikel of the Shela HaKadosh, Rabbi Yeshaya Horowitz – who, in turn, was a descendent of Dovid HaMelech.

The illustrious lineage of my forebears prompts me to search my heart and soul for some semblance of worthiness… Appropriately, the month of Adar is a z’man teshuvah, for it is a time when we lovingly recall how our Father in Heaven extracted us from the depths of impurity and raised us up to the level of kedusha.

In loving memory and in tribute to my mom (a great-great-granddaughter of the Stropkover Rebbe) who was born on the twenty-first of Adar Sheini, and to her righteous antecedents, I humbly paraphrase her sage advice to me of eons ago: While a man has many mandatory mitzvos, a woman has been entrusted with only three: challah, niddah and hadlokas neiros. As such, it is incumbent upon us to be punctilious when performing these special mitzvos that infuse our homes with peace, purity and G-dliness.

In merit of the nashim tzidkaniyos amongst us and in all generations preceding ours, may we be privileged to bask in the triumph of eradicating every vestige of Amalek and revel once again in undiluted orah v’simcha v’sasson – light, gladness and joy.


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Rachel Weiss is the author of “Forever In Awe” (Feldheim Publishers) and can be contacted at