Weekly Chasidic Story #1129 (s5779-47/
25 Tammuz, 5779)
The Not Yet Celebrated Celebration
Victory Over "a Heinous and Implacable Adversary"
Connections: The date of the main event of the story is Tammuz 26 (2019: July
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The Not Yet Celebrated Celebration
[All square-bracketed [ ] insertions are mine - Y.T.]
Among the genuine historic letters retrieved from the repository in Cherson,
(and reprinted in the "Hatamim" journal), are several which
record the day of festivity proclaimed by the Baal Shem Tov and his disciples
in the wake of their victory over the Frankist sect. For example:
The Letter, with two sets of Signatures:
By the grace of G-d.
We, the undersigned, undertake in our own names, and the names of our descendants
and all our followers, to make the 26th of Tammuz, on this and every
succeeding year, a day of joy and festivity, by virtue of the genuine miracle
and the conspicuous good that G-d wrought for us on this day.
A heinous and implacable adversary, Jacob Frank - may his name be blotted out
- rose up against us. Let the name of the impious rot, this fiend who inflamed
and seduced a multitude of our Jewish brethren [a self-proclaimed Messiah, who
eventually converted (with some of his more naïve followers) to Christianity].
Now, G-d has confounded his evil designs - may his name be blotted out - brought
his machinations to nothing and him to his just desserts.
This [festival being proclaimed] is in payment for the following: That the
Bishop Tikolski, of the city of Lvov, summoned us, the three undersigned, on
the 23rd of Tammuz, 5519 (1759), to his city, in order to set forth the terms
of our opposition to these sinners [in debate], ranged to the left of us.
In the event -- in the debates, the wrangling, in the hard questions that were
traded -- G-d stood to the right of us, a bulwark to our righteousness, and
vindicated the name of our people Israel.
On the 26th of Tammuz of the above year, we triumphed over the agents of wickedness
- may their names be blotted out - and saved innumerable Jewish souls from a
terrible fate, Heaven forfend.
We have resolved, therefore, on our own behalf and on behalf of our descendants
and those who follow us, to make this day a day of feasting and gladness, of
joy and jubilation, to the end of time. In the resolve thereof, we append our
names to this, on this day, the 27th of Tammuz, in the year 5519 (1759), in
our community of Lvov.
Chaim HaKohen Rappaport, dayan [chief
Rabbinical judge] of Lvov
Yisrael ben Eliezer Baal Shem of Mezibuzh
Yitzchak DovBer Margolies [Rabbi of Yazlowitz,
a close disciple of the Baal Shem Tov (not to be confused with his brother,
Rabbi Meir Margolies, one of the foremost disciples of the Besht).]
At the behest of our master, leader of the Jewish people, the Baal Shem Tov
[the middle signature above], we hereby append our signature, in our community
of Mezibuzh, this Sunday of parshat Vaetchanan, 5519 ):
DovBer ben Avraham [the Maggid] of
Yaakov Yosef HaKohen of Polnoa [author of
Toldos Yaakov Yosef]
Ze'ev-Wolf Kitzes [leading follower of the
* * *
The Question that Begs to be Asked
How is it that this festival is so little-known, in spite of the fact that
it was proclaimed by the Baal Shem Tov himself and his disciples? In a letter
of 8 Kislev, 5720/1959 [the 200th year after the signing of the letter], the
Lubavitcher Rebbe gives the following explanation:
I have not heard of a specific explanation for this, but it seems to me that
it can be compared to the case of a festival whose form and manner of acceptance
is fixed only after the passage of time,
[such as] with the miracle
of Chanukah, the annual celebration of which was only instituted in
the following year.
Since its acceptance was in [the summer of] 5519 (1759), what emerges is that
even before the first celebration of this festival was to take place, the
passing of the Baal Shem [on Shavuot 5520] intervened and the group
disbanded. We know something of the state of mind that existed among his disciples
at that time. We are speaking, then, of a date that never became the occasion
of an actual celebration.
Source: Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from "Days in
Chabad" (compiled by Rabbi Yosef K. Kaminetzky and translated by Yosef
Connection: The date of the main event of the story is
Tammuz 26 (2019: July 27).
Tilles is co-founder and associate director of Ascent-of-Safed, and chief editor
of this website (and of KabbalaOnline.org). He has hundreds of published stories
to his credit, and many have been translated into other languages. He tells
them live at Ascent nearly every Saturday night.
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