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Mordechai Twersky (1770–1837), known as the Maggid of Chernobyl, was a Ukrainian rabbi. The son of Rabbi Menachem Nachum Twersky of Chernobyl and the second rebbe of the Chernobyl Hasidic dynasty. (The family surname was originally spelled Twerski). All of his sons served as rebbes, from whom several branches of Hasidism emerged today, including thousands of Chasidim, including Skver, Chernobyl and Rachmastrivka.

Mordechai Twersky
Chernobyler Maggid
Chernobyl Maggid tzion Anatevka.jpg
The tziun (mausoleum) of the Maggid of Chernobyl
Term1798–1837
Full nameMordechai Twerski
Main workLikutei Tora
Born1770
Died1837 (20 Iyar 5597)
BuriedIgantovka, near Kiev
DynastyChernobyl
PredecessorMenachem Nachum Twerski
SuccessorAaron Twersky of Chernobyl
FatherMenachem Nachum Twerski
MotherSoro Shapira
Wife 1Chaya Soro (daughter of Aharon of Karlin)
Children 1Aaron Twersky of Chernobyl
Moshe Twerski of Korostshev
Yaakov Yisroel Twerski of Cherkasy
Malka
Wife 2Feygele (daughter of Dovid Leikes)
Children 2Menachem Nochum Twerski of Makarov
Avrohom Twerski of Trisk
Dovid Twerski of Talne
Yitschok Twerski of Skvira
Yochonon Twerski of Rachmastrivka
Chana Chaya Twerski

BiographyEdit

Twersky was born in Chernobyl to Sarah and Rabbi Menachem Nachum of Chernobyl, a disciple of the Baal Shem Tov and the Maggid of Mezeritch and author of the book "Me'or Einayim".

Twersky married Chaya Sara the daughter of Rabbi Aharon of Karlin; after her death he married Faiga the daughter of Rabbi Dovid Leykes who was a student of the Baal Shem Tov. He had eight sons and one daughter. His sons became prominent rebbes and were a part of the effort in spreading Chasidus throughout Russia and the Ukraine.

Rabbi Mordechai had many Hasidim and many towns appointed him as their "Magid Meisharim". Among his students are Rabbi Yisrael Dov of Villednik and Rabbi Avraham Dov of Avritsch.

According to Hasidic thought, Twersky was in charge of sustaining all the Tzadikim Nistarim (hidden tzaddikim) in his generation. Throughout his life Twersky collected large amounts of charity, and before his death he regretted not collecting even more than he did.

His thoughts, sermons and discourses were published in his book Likutei Torah, which was praised by other famous Chassidic leaders. In 2001, the book was reprinted in a revised edition, with the addition of index, called "Likutei Torah Ha-Shalem".

Throughout his teachings, Twersky stressed the importance of pure speech and pure thought as a condition for a proper prayer connection. He also spoke of including all Jewish souls in one's prayer, even evil people. By doing so, evil people will stand a better chance of repenting (teshuvah).

His nephew (grandson of his brother-in-law Rabbi Avraham of Koristshov) Rabbi Yisrael of Rizhin named one of his sons Mordechai, while Rabbi Mordechai of Chernobyl was still alive, apparently in contradiction to Ashkenazi Jewish tradition which does not name children after living relatives. Asked about this, Rabbi Yisrael replied: "Our uncle from Chernobyl is already a few years above this world, as if he is not in this world." Twersky died a few years later in May 1837,[1] exactly at the same date that Mordechai (Rabbi Mordechai Fayvush of Husiatin) was born, on the 35th day of the Sefiras Haomer.

While still alive, Twersky prepared his place of rest on the outskirts of the village of Anatevka (Ignatovka), near Kiev. He selected such a place: "because there is no house of idol worship, and the sound of impure bells won't disturb my rest in the grave". Indeed, his gravesite overlooks pastoral hills and the river.

Throughout his life Rabbi Mordechai collected large amounts of money for tzedakah (charity), but before his death he regretted not collecting even more than he did. His thoughts, sermons and discourses were published in his book Likutei Torah, which was praised for its holiness by other Hasidic leaders. Throughout his teachings, Rabbi Mordechai stressed the importance of pure speech and pure thought as a condition for a proper prayer connection. He also spoke of including all Jewish souls in one's prayer, even evil people. By doing so, evil people will stand a better chance of repenting (teshuvah).

All of Rebbe Mordechai's eight sons became rebbes in different cities.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ החסידות (in Hebrew) (2nd ed.). 1977. p. 64.