Today is the 18th of Elul a pivotal date in the history of Chasidut. Last Evening Rabbi Raphael Benchimol of the Manhattan Sephardic Congregation, led those assembled for a festive dinner with inspiring words of Torah including a siyum Mishnayot of the whole Seder Nashim. He spoke of the Hilula for both Rabbi Abdallah Somekh (the teacher of the Ben Ish Chai) and the famed MaHaRa”L of Prague.
Rabbi Benchimol told a story about the Ba’al Shem Tov‘s (whose birthday was on Chai – 18th – Elul) ascent to the Upper Realms where he came upon the chamber where Moschiach rested. When he asked Moschiach when he would come he was told, “Sheyafutzu mayanotecha chutza – When your wellsprings [of knowledge] flow [are shared] outwardly [influence every Jew].” Ever since, the Ba’al Shem Tov‘s revelation, that has become the mission of every chassid.
Rabbi Benchimol was followed by kollel member Rabbi Yanky Raskin…
Speaking eloquently and emotionally he told the story of six year old Yisroel ben Eliezer (the future Ba’al Shem Tov) hearing from his father, on the latter’s death bed that he should never have any fears other than fear of Hakadosh Baruch Hu. His life, subsequently, showed that the orphan learned and applied those words well. His love of fellow Jews, his teachings that spread both like fire and fast flowing rivers throughout the world, became the buttresses that sustain the Torah lifestyle even today.
Rabbanit BenChimol and her kids prepared a delightful dairy repast. Having tasted her cooking before I can attest that this time too the food was worthy of any high end eatery, considering the gusto with which the rest of those in attendance were eating, it was quite obvious they all agreed with me.
Once again, an evening to remember…