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26 Tammuz 5774 - July 24, 2014 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Ha'Admor Rabbi Avrohom Mordechai, zt"l of Pintchov

In honor of his yahrtzeit, 17 Av 5584

Reb Avrohom was a worthy descendent of all his illustrious forbears. His rebbe, Reb Yaakov Yitzchok the Chozeh of Lublin zt"l, would state to his credit that he took after his grandfather Rabbi Moshe of Bendin zt"l, who in thirty years that he served as rov had the great merit that no difficult shailoh arose either in hilchos Pesach or in milk and meat. During the entire period there was not a single fire-related accident, a fact that was attributed to his zchus.

Reb Avrohom Mordechai was in possession of a document dating his yichus back to Rashi, which in turn continues to Reb Yochonon ben Zakkai and directly to Dovid Hamelech. However, he kept all this a secret so as to avoid the honor that comes with coming from such a lineage.

When he traveled to R' Shloime of Karlin together with his friend R' Uri of Strelisk, he did not disclose his identity. His secret, however, did not last and before long word went around in Karlin that a great personality of illustrious descent had come to town. The kovod began to pursue him and R' Avrohom Mordechai decided to leave immediately.

"I need a rebbe who will tear me to pieces and show me the way," he insisted. "As long as I was anonymous and unknown, I had what to look for here, but now that people have become aware of my yichus, I've nothing to do here."

So saying, he packed his bags and set off in search of another rebbe.


His chavrusa in learning the Toras Hanigleh was the Ohev Yisroel, R' Avrohom Yehoshua Heshel of Apta. When the latter left Apta, he asked Rabbenu to fill his position, noting that he was a worthy and able successor with the capability of spreading Torah and leading the masses. However, Reb Avrohom Mordechai humbly replied, "You should know, my rebbe and teacher, that my holy ancestors are storming the upper worlds in an effort that I not become a rebbe. And I too hope that with the help of Hashem I'll never be a rebbe or head a kehilloh."

His will and that of his predecessors were indeed fulfilled. R' Avrohom Mordechai never officially served as rov or rebbe and was hardly even known in his day.

His flight from attention and honor not withstanding, many an individual seeking a loftier spiritual guidance came to him and grew to great heights under his wing. One of these was Rabbi Chaim Dovid Daktor, the renowned Baal Teshuva of Pietrokov, who was brought back to the fold through the Admor R' Dovid of Lelov and then stayed with R' Avrohom Mordechai for two years. He rose to become eventually a rov and rebbe.


R' Avrohom Mordechai's humility was a byword in the world of Chassidus. In the sefer that was written in his name, Zkan Beisi, his grandson quotes R' Avrohom Mordechai as having constantly repeated this rhyme: "One who sits under the mezuzoh does not become mevuzoh." Many are the explanations to this oft-repeated verse among the chassidim, but its ordinary connotation is clear: one who stays in the background, not pushing himself forward to the top, will never be disgraced.

Anovoh was a strong point that R' Avrohom Mordechai had seen and often pointed out in his teacher, the Kedushas Levi. He would relate in admiration how various individuals caused trouble for the Kedushas Levi, yet the Kedushas Levi repeatedly told his talmidim, "Perhaps this is a sign from Heaven that in reality I'm not worthy of being a rov. It's very possible that these people are correct."


As a close talmid of Reb Yechiel Michel, the Maggid of Zlotchov zt"l, he would stay with him as much of the day as was possible, watching and learning from his every move. However at night, once the hour turned late, R' Avrohom Mordechai would retire to gather strength for the next day's Torah learning and avodas Hashem.

Until one night things changed, as he later related to his talmidim:

"Every night, after midnight, the Maggid would check that everyone was asleep and once he was assured of privacy and silence, he would go to his room to learn the holy Zohar. One night, long after retiring, I could not fall asleep. When the Maggid checked around the house, I pretended to be sleeping so I could listen to my Rebbe learning. All at once I heard the Maggid talking to himself disparagingly. `How can you learn the holy Zohar? You are nowhere near worthy to probe such depths or ascend such heights,' and then he began to cry. After a while, he started to learn, but subsequently stopped again. `If only you would really recognize your true self and see that you are too lowly to learn the Zohar, things would be good,' and the crying resumed.

"Subsequently," finished R' Avrohom Mordechai, "I could not go to sleep when the Maggid was learning Zohar. Instead, I stayed up every night, listening outside the door to my Rebbe alternate sublime learning with forceful self- rebuke."


The author of Maor Voshemesh, Rebbi Klonimus of Cracow, was a friend of R' Avrohom Mordechai who learned together with him. He stated that when they prayed together on Yom Kippur, the musaf tefilloh with its description of the avodoh of the Kohen Godol in the Beis Hamikdosh, he was witness that R' Avrohom Mordechai had all the correct kavonos during this mighty tefilloh.

The Yid HaKodosh of Pershischa too, testified that every deed of R' Avrohom Mordechai's was done with the correct kavonos. "Not only mitzvos, but even when he smokes his pipe it is with the deepest kavonos."

The Yid Hakodosh and R' Avrohom Mordechai were soulmates, their minds and hearts intertwined even over a great distance.

When the Yid Hakodosh was sick, Rabbenu wished to travel to him to visit. However, after traveling a short while, R' Avrohom Mordechai told his companion, "We can turn back home. The gezeiroh has been decreed in Heaven, the Yid Hakodosh is no longer among the living and we have nothing to travel for."


The Ateres Zvi of Zidichov mentioned that R' Avrohom Mordechai of Pintchov has the supernatural power of, "Tzaddik gozer vaHashem mekayem." In cases where doctors had despaired of all hope and a sick person was considered dead by those around him, R' Avrohom Mordechai revived and healed him with his prayers.


Rabbenu would regularly take a walk with his son, R' Yosef Dovid zt"l, to the outskirts of the city. Their steps invariably led to the Jewish cemetery, where they would walk until a certain spot. Often Rabbenu remarked to his son, "If I would build a house here, it would be considered as though I built a house in Eretz Yisroel."

His son could never comprehend the meaning of this comment, until years later, when the Rebbe was buried in that very spot. Reb Yosef Dovid recalled the midrash that proclaims that tzaddikim are moved after their passing to Eretz Yisroel!


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