Some may read this as the story of Chortkov. In truth, this is the story of Klal Yisroel.
191 years ago this Shevuos, the first Chortkover Rebbe, Rabbi Duvid Moshe Friedman, was born in Galicia. His father, the Heiliker Ruzhiner, exclaimed that he was “kodshei Kodshim” and that people would consult him in the same way they would consult the Urim Vetumim. His Beis Hamedrash was a palace of Torah and kedushah to where tens of thousands of chassidim would flock.
His son, Rabbi Yisroel ben R’ Duvid Moshe of Chortkov, was also revered by all. The Chofetz Chaim and the Gerrer Rebbe both described him as a Melech Yisroel! Countless Gedolai Yisroel regarded themselves as loyal Chortkover chassidim. Amongst them was the Lubliner Rov, Rabbi Meir Shapiro.
The origins of the famous and grand Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin was firmly rooted in Rabbi Meir Shapiro’s inner spiritual bond to the Rebbe and the majestic derech of Chortkov. In the biography of Reb Meir Shapiro, written by his close talmid, Rabbi Yehoshua Baumel, he writes:
“There was one path of Chassidus to which Reb Meir felt drawn from his earliest years, the way that was derived from the Kabbalistic concept of ‘Malchus’ and ‘Hod ShBeTiferes’. In Rabbi Meir’s later years, the derech of Chortkov was evident for all to see. Visions of majesty glowed brightly inside him. These feelings gathered force inside his mind and being, until they finally emerged in the guise of Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin, a true Torah palace of majesty”. Rabbi Meir Shapiro also confided to a few of his talmidim that the idea of Daf Yomi had been that of his Rebbe who had commanded him to publicize it in his own name.
The original Chortkover Kloiz was a palatial crown jewel of Torah, Avodah, and Gemilas Chassadim. Its regal Aron Hakodesh shined with brilliance. Its gilded walls and palatial turrets were saturated with the heilike words of davening and learning. Its very bricks pulsated with Yiddishkeit.
This fusion of Torah kedushah and malchus was aptly described by Rabbi Zvi Hirshorn zt”l, another loyal chossid of the Rebbe. “He who has a deep understanding in the holy path of the chassidus of Chortkov, where the Torah is housed in halls of luxury in royal palaces, and felt the sudden fear of Heaven that aroused all who entered its confines, he can attempt to appreciate the meaning of a ‘Mikdosh Me-att’ and try to imagine the beauty of our destroyed Beis HaMikdosh.
“He who once went in the Rebbe’s glorious garden in the shadow of hundreds of tall erect trees and beautiful flowers and and at the same time watched the Chortkover Rebbe walking in the garden, almost bent over to the ground under the weight of the daily sorrows of Yidden. He who saw the Rebbe with his Tehillim in his hand, and there between the trees saw him pouring out his heart over the long Golus and the sorrows of Yidden. Or those who saw his actions as he learnt a paragraph from the holy Zohar – they knew that in this wonderful garden were broken hearts of stone and even frozen neshomos were instilled with a fear and love of Hashem.
“He who saw the holy Torah weeping in its royal palace, he was the one who could understand the inner connection that bonded the Rebbe’s magnificent court in Chortkov with the palatial mansion of Torah and yirah that is the yeshiva of Lublin. He could appreciate why despite his failing health and the long journey involved, the Chortkover Rebbe made such an effort to attend the corner laying and opening ceremony of the yeshiva.”
Alas, like far too many Jewish communities, the majestic dynasty of Chortkov was decimated during the Second World War. The vast majority of Chortkover Chassidim were brutally murdered. Before they were slaughtered, the Yidden in Chortkov were forced to pay the accursed Nazis yemach shemom the price of the bullets that were used to kill them, so as not to cause any loss to the coffers of the Third Reich.
The crown jewel that stood tall and proud was shattered and buried in the ashes of a ravaged Europe.
Ever since the Holocaust, people have mourned and bemoaned the seemingly lost glory of Chortkov. To many, Chortkov became a nostalgic memorial to a time bygone.
But, as Yidden from time immemorial, through churban after churban, have attested, a malchusdike neshama can never die. It may be concealed, it may be forgotten, it may cry bitter tears, but Malchus can never be destroyed.
3 years ago, the Rebbe of Boyan, another legendary branch of the golden Ruzhiner dynasty, laid the even hapinah with a stone from the original Kloiz in Chortkov and one from the Ruzhiner Nissan Beck Shul in Yerushalayim Ir HaKodesh. This coming Sunday, on Chessed Sh’BeMalchus, exactly 1 week before Shavuos 191 years after the birth of the first Chortkover Rebbe, Malchus is being restored in Manchester, England.
Under the leadership and inspiration of Rabbi Yisroel ben R’ Duvid Moshe, the ainikel and namesake of the Chortkover Rebbe, the ethos and inspiration of the Chortkover dynasty lives on and shines bright. Some 1,500 miles from the original Kloiz in the alter heim of Chortkov, a replica of its Malchus is being completed in the neih heim of the Manchester community. This palace of Torah, Avodah, and Gemilas Chassadim will be a shining testimony to the everlasting nature of the dignity and eternal flame that is the Yiddishe nishama burning bright within each and every one of us.
The majesty and radiance of Chortkov in Europe of yesteryear is once again burning bright and true in the Europe of today. The Ner Tomid of Chortkov reflects the story of the eternal lamp that is Klal Yisroel.
Everything in this world is be’hasgacha protis. This coming Sunday, when we count Chessed Sh’BeMalchus in Sefiras HaOmer, the entire Yiddishe olam will unite together to complete this monumental project. From Yerushalayim to New York, Manchester to Antwerp, the Chortkover Kloiz will stand as an example of what a Mikdash M’at truly could, should and, with your help, will be!
Today, please join our majestic Charidy Campaign entitled Chessed Sh’BeMalchus to complete this regal project and restore Chortkov to its legacy. On Chessed Sh’BeMalchus the Malchus of Chortkov needs your Chessed to complete the restoration and rebuilding of its palace.
B’ezras Hashem Yisborech, we will locally, globally, and collectively raise back up the royal crown by raising the necessary funds to complete the project. With blessings granted from above and by a few generous individual grants, each pound donated on Chessed Sh’BeMalchus will be matched 3x by our malchusidke matchers.
They will give their matching funds only if we collectively raise our goal! We have 36 hours of Chessed to ensure that the story of Chortkov lives on, the Ner Tomid shines bright, and Malchus is finally restored. CLICK HERE!
By giving Chessed Sh’BeMalchus you are giving much more than money. You are rejuvenating, rebuilding, and restoring the glory and majesty that is embedded within each and every Yid. You are revealing the eternal Malchus that no milchama can ever destroy!
Thank you for giving with Chessed. Thank you for giving with Malchus. Thank you for giving Chessed Sh’BeMalchus and restoring the pride and glory of Chortkov-Tiferes Yisroel and the unified oneness of all of Klal Yisroel!