Rabbi Moshe Chaim Efraim of Sadilkov

Chassidic leader, grandson of the Baal Shem Tov. Author of the book 'Degel Machaneh Efraim'.

Died: Medzibosh, 1800

Rabbi Moshe Chaim Efraim of Sadilkov was the grandson of the Baal Shem Tov. His Parents were Rabbi Yechiel Ashkenazi, a mysterious kabbalist who had come from Germany to Podolia. There he married Adel, whose soul, according to her father the Baal Shem Tov, was one of pristine purity. His brother was the famous Rabbi Baruch of Medzibosh. The Baal Shem Tov clearly loved his grandson, Moshe Chaim; he guided and taught the young boy, and found him to be an "extraordinary genius in learning."

After the Baal Shem Tov's passing, Moshe Chaim studied under the Maggid of Mezritch and Rabbi Yaakov Yosef of Polnoye, the author of Toledot Yaacov Yosef. He settled in Sadilkov where he served as rabbi and maggid, living in dire poverty throughout his life. Shortly before his death he returned to Medzibosh, where his grave can be found alongside that of his grandfather, the Baal Shem Tov.

In his book Degel Machaneh Efraim, he wrote perspectives on the weekly Torah portions. The book is considered one of the basic works on chassidic teachings. In this book he articulately presents his thoughts, interweaving them with the ideas of his illustrious grandfather.

"V'aileh hamishpatim ( "And these are the judgments")..."

The Zohar on V'aileh hamishpatim says here are the secrets of reincarnation!
Commentaries ask what the connection is? The book Degel Machaneh Efraim writes, "Sometimes the Beit Din- Jewish court will obligate a man to pay another when he knows that he is innocent. Don't ask how the Torah law would obligate an innocent man. It must be he was guilty from a past life and the time has come for him to make restitution." So the Zohar attaches the message of reincarnation to "And these are the judgments" so that we realize the
true justice of Torah law.

"You must be holy, since I, God your Lord am holy."  (Vayikrah 19:1)

Each person can be as holy as God Himself, if you may say so. For the soul is the Godly part of man, and a part can be extended to encompass the whole. As a matter of fact, the ultimate goal of creation is for man to become God-like.  (Degel Machaneh Efraim)

The World Was Created for Me

Jacob remained alone. And a man wrestled with him until the break of dawn. (Genesis 32:25) 

Rabbi Moshe Chaim Efraim of Sadilkov: Jacob remained alone The Gemara says that every person should say to himself, "The whole world was created only for my sake." This thought has far-reaching implications. When you realize that the whole world was created for no one but you, it follows that you are the only person in the entire world, and that the survival or destruction of the world hinges on your choice to do good or evil. Since you are the only one around, you need not be concerned about the opinions of others when you are serving God, for next to you, all else is of secondary importance.   When you look at life from this perspective then you will serve God with total devotion, without any ulterior motive or muddled thinking. You will then break down all the klippot -  the outer barriers that prevent you from perceiving holiness.

The present verse, "Jacob remained alone," alludes to this idea. He reached the high spiritual plateau of believing that he was the only person in the world, and that continued existence  of the world depended on his merits. Thus he strived for perfection, and his service of God was pure and complete. (Degel Machaneh Efraim, Vayishlach)

May the merit of the tzaddik Rabbi Moshe Chaim Efraim of Sadilkov protect us all, Amen!

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