Rabbi Mordechai Twersky

Rabbi Mordechai Twersky  known as the Maggid of Chernobyl,   was a   chassidic leader and supporter of the Nistarim (hidden tzaddikim).   

Born: Chernobyl 1770
Died: Igantovka (near Kiev), 1837

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).

Twersky married the daughter of Rabbi Aharon of Karlin; after her death he married the daughter of Rabbi David Leykes who was a student of the Baal Shem Tov. From these two women he had eight sons and one daughter. His sons became prominent rabbis 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 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.

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).

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 Omer.

While still alive, Rabbi Mordechai prepared his place of rest on the outskirts of the village of Hnativka (Yiddish: Gnativka, Russian: 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

May the merit of the tzadik Rabbi Mordechai Twersky protect us all. Amen

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