Shared Concerns

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The Yahrzeit of Rabbi Yisachar Ber of Zlotchov (d. 1810) is commemorated on the 7th of Menachem Av. The following praise of his works appeared in Sefer HaHasidut, Meah Tzadikim, Raphael, Yitzchak, 1961, Tel Aviv. (Freely translated by Gabbai Seth Fishman.)

His Books

It has come to pass that I too, “the plant of his joy”, take my own joy in setting my heart onto those concerns that were my father’s.

He had a vast number and range, like a great sea, and they are gathered in his teachings.

I took a pledge, etched it with fondness into my heart, to raise them up onto printing presses, to have them printed and presented as a gift in honor of Hashem, a “fire offering”.

And so I put my mind to the task and first, found just a small quantity, (from the tiny bit available), of his holy letters, scattered and dispersed among his students. They captured the essence of his insights, from the times when he would disseminate his teachings to his students.

Fresh ways to see Talmud, Commentaries and Scripture and he covers many tractates and dons language of Rabbinics.

For at the time when his spirit was roused from above to travel to the holy Land, there were left behind some of his writings with his students – unfortunately some were lost, (but not forgotten) – and that which remained amongst his students came into my hands.

I kept gathering them, until there were several in my possession, and I did this glorious task of tying them together.

With his passing, how greatly my soul has mourned within me. There is no possibility of savoring his knowing what’s been done. He would have rejoiced, for my master, my father, our teacher, the Rav, the author z’tz’l  had it in mind to take great care with his teachings and to make an up-to-date edition of all his writings from the holy Land.

However, it eluded him in his lifetime, for this “Ark of God” was taken. The glorious one of my life has gone away.

However, a cornucopia are his select writings, like rich fat, oil and must, the special ones. It is as though he had hands full of incense for the altar.

The writings were dispersed among his students and they were a source of light for them, of the light of his teachings. Now that they are being published, they will light up the land and its inhabitants.

God has graced me with this, has given me my own “special dove”, having pointed me in the direction of publishing the pieces.

The title of the book came directly from the mouth of my father, my master, our teacher, the Rav, the author ztz’l. He said it should be called “As the Pupil of My Eye”. (In Hebrew numerology, that title is equal to his name Yissachar Dov, adding up to 542).

The title is apt in another way too, for he did not allow slumber to overtake the pupil of his eye or his eyelids until he brought forth some of his delightful ideas to adorn God.

He would be roused from the heavens, divinely inspired.

Sometimes a bear waits in a lair, in his hiding places, and finds respite in the cleft of the rock, in the secret of this scene his image can be seen.

God sends light to the earth and inhabitants.

And the bears wait for sweet things and complete loveliness before they emerge.

So the time has come when my father can show the reader a worthy message, how his soul connects to Torah and Avodah.

Thus, a reader who drinks will quench his thirst from the well of living waters. It is a tree of life to those who hold them, magnify Torah and glorify it.

(From his son’s Introduction to “Bat Eni”.)

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