Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

9 Shvat 5772 - February 2, 2012 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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HaRav Dov Berisch Landau, zt"l, of Biala

In honor of his yahrtzeit, 25 Sivan

Initially Reb Dov Berisch refused to accept the mantle of leadership. However, as time passed and the period during which his father-in-law had pledged to support him was over, the young genius realized he had to provide for his household and so he accepted a position as rov in Biala.

His method of learning and derech avodoh Reb Dov Berisch gleaned from his illustrious father, HaRav Hakodosh Reb Avromele of Tchechenov, zt"l. Nevertheless, he became a close chossid of the holy Reb Itzikel of Vorka, zt"l, much to the chagrin of his father's chassidim.

The turning-point at which R' Dov Berisch became acquainted with the elderly Rebbe of Vorka was a bris. R' Feivel Gritza invited R' Itzikel Vorka to be sandek at his son's bris. The young avreich Dov Berisch was at the time still staying with his father-in-law in Gritza and since he was already one of the distinguished young men, he too was invited.

The Rebbe of Vorka and R' Dov Berisch began talking and the latter immediately felt his soul being drawn to the Rebbe. Then and there he decided not to return home, but traveled back together with R' Itzikel to Vorka and became his talmid muvhak.

The reciprocal love of R' Itzikel towards his talmid was indicative of his respect for him. On one occasion the Admor of Vorka was learning with his talmidim and their arguing was getting increasingly loud and more aggressive. In order to break the noise, the Rebbe suddenly posed a question and immediately answered it.

"Why at matan Torah did every Jew have a mechitzah? Because the younger ones were pushing the elders!" (Indicating that here too the younger talmidim were "pushing" their older chavrusas.)

At once the talmidim stopped arguing and lifted their heads apologetically to look at their Rebbe. The latter saw that R' Dov Berisch too, looked sorry and called over to him. "I didn't mean you, for you are already a zoken — zeh shekonoh chochmoh."

The followers of Reb Dov Berisch's father were extremely perturbed to see their Rebbe's son so close to another Rebbe, and tried constantly to alert their Rebbe of their concern about this fact. He did not share their concern and watched Dov Berisch grow ever greater in Torah and yiras Shomayim.

Once Reb Dov Berisch came to visit his father in Tchechenov, accompanied by a contingent of two hundred followers. As was his custom, every meal, even on a weekday, was a seudas mitzvah with divrei Torah spoken at length, which was why so many flocked to him every day.

Reb Avromele's chassidim came to him, complaining that his son is behaving as a "rebbe" in his father's town, an affront to the Rebbe's honor. Shrugging his shoulders, Reb Avromele made it clear that not only did he not mind his son conducting his "tish" here in town, but even sent those very chassidim to put wine on the table in his name.

Someone once reported to Reb Avromele on another occasion that his son was so busy with his tefillos and his chassidim that he was neglecting his Torah learning. R' Avromele, duly upset and concerned, determined to check out the facts for himself. Barely had his son stepped over the threshold of his father's house, when R' Avromele engaged him in Torah conversation. Together they delved into the depths of the most difficult sugyos in Shas, moving from one sugya to the next, asking, answering and being mefalpel. For five consecutive hours they stood there on the doorstep absorbed in their learning as though they were sitting in the beis medrash.

After five hours, R' Avromele went to call his Rebbetzin, announcing exultantly, "Rebbetzin, come and prepare a grand seudah for our son the talmid chochom!"

With the Rebbe of Vorka's petiroh, his son R' Menachem Mendel took over the leadership and Rabbeinu of Biala remained a staunch chossid of his. To someone who questioned this, R' Dov Berisch replied, "If I wouldn't be absolutely sure that the new Rebbe can read the minds of all those who bask in his presence, I would not come to him."

On the sixteenth of Sivan 5628 (1868) R' Menachem Mendel of Vorka passed away. This time, the chassidim turned to R' Dov Berisch, who took on their leadership for seven years.

To quote the chassidim, these years were known as the "seven years of plenty," for the Rebbe would constantly daven that Heaven bestow all the world's blessings upon the chassidim.

The elderly among them would relate how once, when R' Menachem Mendel was still alive, Rabbeinu came out of the Rebbe's room covered in perspiration after having been closed in with the Rebbe a number of hours. Their voices, raised in argument, had been heard by those outside the room and one of them boldly asked R' Dov Berisch what it was about.

"The Rebbe didn't want the blessing of wealth to descend upon his chassidim for then they would be taken up with their gashmiyus. I however argued that one who has worries of parnossoh on his head cannot serve Hashem properly. In the end after a few hours, the Rebbe agreed with me," said R' Dov Berisch triumphantly.

"When I come to the Heavenly court," declared R' Dov Berisch, "I will have one request: that the heavens open and rain down a shefa of goodness and blessing for all Klal Yisroel so that their hearts will be free (of worries) to serve Hashem."

He was known as a poel yeshuos through whom many were helped.

A distraught couple once brought their ill son to the Rebbe. Pouring out their bitter tale, they informed the Rebbe that their son had been stricken with a strange illness and his condition was steadily worsening. The doctors had sent him home for they had given up hope of recovery and the family was in despair.

Rabbeinu promised them that in a short while the boy would have a refuah sheleimoh, and sure enough a few days later his miraculous recovery was complete.

"How could the Rebbe be so sure that the boy would recover?" asked a chossid.

Rabbeinu hid his greatness by bringing a proof from Tehillim. "Dovko lo'oretz nafsheinu, kumah ezroso lonu."

When a person is down till the ground with despair and everyone has given up hope of being helped by any human doctor, then HaKodosh Boruch Hu has to step in and help.

"I saw that you had all despaired and therefore concluded that Hashem will have to have mercy and heal the boy Himself!"


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