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 27)


Story in PDF format for more convenient printing.

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 [1759]):
DovBer ben Avraham [the Maggid] of Mezritch
Yaakov Yosef HaKohen of Polnoa [author of Toldos Yaakov Yosef]
Ze'ev-Wolf Kitzes [leading follower of the Besht]
* * *

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 Cohen).


Connection: The date of the main event of the story is Tammuz 26 (2019: July 27).


Yerachmiel 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.

To receive the Story by e-mail every Wednesday--sign up here!

"Festivals of the Full Moon"
("Under the Full Moon" vol 2 - holiday stories)
is now available for purchase from ASCENT
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Book 1 of Yerachmiel Tilles's 3-volume set, "Saturday Night, Full Moon",
is also available for
purchase on our KabbalaOnline-shop site.

back to Top   back to this year's Story Index   Stories home page   Stories Archives
Redesign and implementation - By WEB-ACTION