Rabbi Mordechai Twersky (1770–1837), known as the Maggid of Chernobyl, was 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.
The tziun (mausoleum) of the Maggid of Chernobyl
|Full name||Mordechai Twerski|
|Main work||Likutei Tora|
|Died||1837 (20 Iyar 5597)|
|Buried||Igantovka, near Kiev|
|Predecessor||Menachem Nachum Twerski|
|Successor||Aaron Twersky of Chernobyl|
|Father||Menachem Nachum Twerski|
|Wife 1||Chaya Soro (daughter of Aharon of Karlin)|
|Children 1||Aaron Twersky of Chernobyl|
Moshe Twerski of Korostshev
Yaakov Yisroel Twerski of Cherkasy
|Wife 2||Feygele (daughter of Dovid Leikes)|
|Children 2||Menachem Nochum Twerski of Makarov|
Avrohom Twerski of Trisk
Dovid Twerski of Talne
Yitschok Twerski of Skvira
Yochonon Twerski of Rachmastrivka
Chana Chaya Twerski
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.
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, 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, Rabbi Mordechai 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.