Thursday, June 26, 2008

Separated From The Community

(Illustration by Issachar Ber Ryback)

Chassidim from Dubno once desired to create a separate kehillah in order not to be under the city’s rabbi who was an opponent of Chassidus, the renowned gaon, Rabbi Chaim Mordechai Margulies, author of “Shaarei Teshuvah”. Hoping to find a sympathetic ear, the Chassidim travelled to Sudilkov and asked the Degel Machaneh Ephraim to give them permission to create a break-away kehillah. The Degel responded with these words:

"You would like to be zealots for Hashem on behalf of Chassidus in Dubno. However, let's see who the holy Torah defines as zealots. There are two who are defined as such: Korach and Pinchas. The Torah says, 'And Korach took' regarding Korach. Yet Onkelos translates this as 'And Korach separated himself'. This means that he separated himself from the community - and everyone knows what his end was. Pinchas, on the other hand, was also a zealot, but he was a zealot 'amongst them'. This means that he remained within the community and did not go out on his own. Regarding him it says, 'Behold I am giving him my covenant of peace.'"

Hearing this explanation, the Chassidim decided not pursue their plans to create a break-away kehillah. They returned to Dubno and Rabbi Chaim Mordechai Margulies remained the rabbi for both the Chassidim and the Misnagdim.


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