Jean Morgenstern – Second Yahrzeit

Shayna Bas Sholem and Chana Feigel 

December 30, 2020 – 16 Teves 5781 

My grandparents Sholem and Chana Feigel Sklar came to America in late 1923.  My mother was born on April 27, 1924.  Shirley was already born back in Europe, Beverly came in 1929, and the last girl, Altie, was born in 1939.

It was an immigrant life.  The 1929 depression hit when my mother was five. The depression helped shape my mother’s life.  My mother married her first husband in 1943 and had two kids. Pesach in 1943 and Arela in 1946.  She divorced and married my father in 1948.  My older sister, Lisa, was born in 1950. I entered this world right before Kol Nidrei 1953. The baby of the family, Karen, was born in 1955.   My mother was a typical housewife who took care of the kids while my father worked.  She had no independence. She did not have a license, and had no money of her own.  It was not a good marriage and my parents divorced in 1966.    My mother got a divorce in a time when there was a stigma, and the emotional turmoil must have been draining. She was 42 and had to build up her life.  She had a job in the typing pool of Kemper Insurance, however, pay was low.  

Her first success was when she learned how to drive.  Our next-door neighbor, the Marrettis, helped teach Ma how to drive and she got her license.  This gave her independence.  She purchased their white car.  Pesach actually drove the car Chal Hamoad Succos from Chicago to Toronto to work.  I  remember Pesach saying, that to stay up, he would say “50 miles to Kalamaaazoo, Kalamaaazoo.  25 miles to Kalamaaazoo.”  Her next life success was when she bought a brand new green, 1971 Plymouth Duster.  One of the greatest smells in the world from Hashem is the new car smell.  My mother got to experience it in a car bought with her own money.   These two successes may seem small to most people but to my mother they were affirming that she is a success.

The green Duster became famous in Lakewood, and with the Chase boys driving it, sometimes in questionable circumstances.

In 1980  Ma was 56 years old and she moved to Lakewood to take care of her parents.  Uncle Yosef (Yasif) called and said that she has to come to Lakewood to take care of her parents, otherwise they would  end up in a nursing home.  I had a number of conversations with my mother.  I was very direct with her, but always told her during every conversation that it was her choice.   She decided to move to Lakewood.  Just by the mere mention that Ma was coming, Bubi and Zedi felt better.  My mother had an aura of competence, that she will take care of everything, everything will be fine.

In 1993 after my Bubi dies, Ma moves back to Chicago.  She was always there for everyone.  She took care of Naftali, gave him a quality of life that is unsurpassed.  She once told Sidney that God has to make her live a long life because she has to take care of Naftali. She took the boys to and from Yeshiva and took Hudi to  college every day. She  brought pizza to the boys in Telz and would let them go to Blockbuster Video to rent movies when their parents were out of town. She brought Challah and groceries for us, and so many other favors that are innumerable.   Every night as my mother laid down to sleep, she had to go over in her mind her schedule for the next day.  I admit I was a big beneficiary of Ma’s largesse and I make no excuses for it.   

This all changed in 2014 when my mother turned 90 and her health started to deteriorate,   לֹא־אוּכַ֥ל ע֖וֹד לָצֵ֣את וְלָב֑וֹא. 

Ma is the person referred to in the following Torah Temimah in this week’s Sedra.  What Siaatta Dismaya I had in finding the Torah Temimah.  The Torah Temimah decided to put in an obscure Avos D’Rav Noson on this week’s Torah portion.   I believe that this was put in by the Torah Temimah just for my mother.   The 11th Perek of Avos D’Rav Nosson states that Rabbi Tarfon says that people die because of idleness.  Even if someone does not have a job  because he or she  does not need it, they should still find any type of work and not be idle.  This was my mother; she had responsibility up until age 90.  It was amazing that my mother in her 80s was as active as someone in their 50s.  This kept her alive, relevant, young and integral to the family  She was needed and was always present.  Contrast this with people who retire and have nothing to do. They sit on a couch and just deteriorate.  I saw this happen to a close relative of mine.

ויגוע ויאסף. א”ר טרפון. אין אדם מת אלא מתוך הבטלה, שנאמר ויגוע ויאסף מזאין באור לזה, והמפרש עמל הרבה בדברים דחוקים, ונראה פשוט דסמך ארישא דקרא ויכל יעקב לצות את בניו ויגוע ויאסף, וכל זמן שהיה מצוה היה חי, ומכיון שפסק מלצוות גוע, ורמז הוא שאין אדם מת אלא מתוך הבטלה, ונ”מ בזה מבואר בפרק זה באדר”ן שישתדל כל אדם לתור לו איזו מלאכה להתעסק בה אף שא”צ לה רק שלא ישב בטל, ומסמיך זה אפסוקים שונים, יעו”ש. וע’ מש”כ השייך לענין זה לעיל בפ’ נח בפ’ ויום ולילה לא ישבתו. [אדר”נ פ’ י”א].

My mother was also a living example of a Rashbam in Shmos 22:6, cited below.

The Torah talks about two types of Shomrim – guardians in Parsha Mishpatim.  One is someone who watches a vessel and if it gets stolen the Shomer does not have to compensate the owner.  The second Shomer is someone who agrees to watch an animal.  If the animal is stolen the Shomer has to pay the owner for his loss.   The Gemora says the reason why the first Shomer is exempt from compensation is that he is an unpaid guardian while the second one is paid for his services therefore he has to accept more responsibility and if the animal is stolen,he must pay the owner for his loss.   The difference is whether or not the Shomer is paid for his services.

However, the Rashbam says that this is not the plain meaning for the text.  The Rashbam explains  that in the case of the guardian who agrees to watch a vessel, he just puts it on a shelf and only agrees to exert minimal effort and therefore less responsibility.    However, in the second case the Shomer has agreed to actually watch an animal.  

Since an animal takes much more effort, the Shomer has agreed that he will make an extra effort to properly watch the animal.   Therefore, he has to pay if the animal is stolen despite not being compensated.  The difference is in what the guardian agreed to do upfront.  Of course, in this world, the  Bais Din cannot force the guardian to pay unless he is being compensated, however, theologically he should have to pay.  In life we have to take on responsibility even if it may cost us.   We can never just wash our hands and say, “not my problem”.  We may lose sleep and become emotionally beat up, but we have to be counted.  In life we have to be engaged, and responsible for our family, for our world.   We do not want to be superficially connected, acting freely and not being bothered.  We cannot let life go by taking cruises, having one day fold into the next day just worried about ourselves or what to wear, what to eat, and where to vacation.  This is not true life. We have to be responsible. 

Perhaps you can say that this is also an interpretation in the Gemara in Shabbos 31A:  

אָמַר רָבָא: בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁמַּכְנִיסִין אָדָם לְדִין, אוֹמְרִים לוֹ: נָשָׂאתָ וְנָתַתָּ בָּאֱמוּנָה?

With regard to the same verse, Rava said: After departing from this world, when a person is brought to judgment for the life he lived in this world, they say to him in the order of that verse: Did you conduct business faithfully?

The plain meaning is as stated “Did you conduct business faithfully?”  However perhaps the saying of Rava also means did you carry yourself and did you give of yourself faithfully?  Did you escape responsibility or were you connected? Did you, for the last years of your life, just sit on the couch involved in your narcissistic needs? Or were you there for your family, your friends and other Jews?  Hashem understands that for most of one’s life people are working and raising kids. But afterwards, in retirement, in the last 10+ years of your life,  were you counted or absent?  Rabbi Efraim Twerski said that my Pshat is farfetched.  I said that I will call it Drush. 

Rashbam – Shmos 22:6:

כי יתן איש אל רעהו כסף או כלים לשמור – בפרשה זו פוטר את השומר מגנבה ואבדה ובפרשה שניה מחייבו בגנבה ואבדה. ופירשו רבותינו: ראשונה בשומר חנם, שניה בשומר שכר. ולפי פשוטו של מקרא: פרשה ראשונה שכתוב בה: כי יתן איש אל רעהו כסף או כלים לשמר – מטלטלין הם ולשומרם בתוך ביתו כשאר חפציו נתנן לו, לפיכך אם נגנבו בביתו פטור, כי שמרן כשמירת חפציו. אבל פרשה שניה שכתוב בה: כי יתן איש אל רעהו חמור או שור או שה וכל בהמה לשמור – ודרך בהמות לרעות בשדה ודאי כשהפקידם על מנת לשומרם מגנבים הפקידם לו ואם נגנבו חייב.


I believe that this is who my mother was. She was always accepting extra responsibly and gave her utmost to others. Up until the age 90 she was actively involved with all her kids, whether it was carpools, shopping, or being that extra pair of hands for whoever needed help.



24 Sivan -5689 – July 2, 1929

2 Tevet 5777 – January 1, 2017

Beilka was taken tclipboard01o the hospital on Motzei Shabbos two week ago. We knew that her time in this world was short and we did not expect her to last even for a day. She held on for two weeks and passed to the next world on Friday night a few hours into Shabbos. The Gemorah says that a person who is Niftar – passes to the next world on Motzei Shabbos is a bad sign. If a person passes away on Erev Shabbos or on Shabbos night it is a good sign, a sign that the person is righteous. Beilka as we know did not have
a sin. I was sitting a number of years ago with my son-in-law at the shul Bnei Torah in Indianapolis, davening. I picked up a Lubavitch Siddur with an English translation and read the English version of Raza D’Ecod. Even in English I barely understood the prayer. However, it talks about Hashem as the king, not sitting on his throne on Shabbos until the angels, even the destructive ones come up to heaven in peace. This is when Beilka passed to the next world, in harmony and peace.

Why did Beilka wait to pass away on Friday night, Shabbos? To bring peace to the family.

Beverly as she was commonly called,  was born on July 2, 1929 corresponding to the Hebrew date of the 24th of Sivan, 5689. It was a bright and sunny early summer day right before the July 4th holiday. My mother told me that Beverly was a beautiful child. It was a decent time for her parents, Sholem and Feigal Sklar. They were immigrants having come to America 5.5 years earlier.   Beilka’s father, our Zedi, did not compromise his religion.  He was the stereotypical Orthodox Jew in those years in America, working Monday through Friday and being fired the following Monday because he did not show up for work on Saturday.   Eventually Zedi found a decent job as a manager at the Seaman Burlap and Sack factory. He was able to keep Shabbos and did not allow his Jewish employees to work on Shabbos. He was able to provide for his family. Four months later on October 29th, 1929 the stock market crashes; and America and Zedi’s world changes dramatically. Extreme poverty hits America, people routinely committed suicide, soup kitchens were opened in every city. Zedi lost his job in the factory and life became extremely difficult. Zedi’s options became limited; life was closing in on him. Chapter 42, verse 21 says.

כאוַיֹּאמְרוּ אִישׁ אֶל אָחִיו אֲבָל אֲשֵׁמִים | אֲנַחְנוּ עַל אָחִינוּ אֲשֶׁר רָאִינוּ צָרַת נַפְשׁוֹ בְּהִתְחַנְנוֹ אֵלֵינוּ וְלֹא שָׁמָעְנוּ עַל כֵּן בָּאָה אֵלֵינוּ הַצָּרָה הַזֹּאת:

21And they said to one another, “Indeed, we are guilty for our brother, that we witnessed the distress of his soul when he begged us, and we did not listen. That is why this trouble has come upon us.”

Rabbi Mike Myers this past Shabbos said what is the meaning of Tzaruh. Tzaruh in English is translated as distress of the soul, anguish. Rabbi Myers said the world Tzar is to become narrow, when we feel everything is closing in on us and our options become fewer and fewer. We are trapped. This is what Yosef felt when he was thrown into the pit and this is what the brothers felt at that time when they were falsely accused. This is what the Jews have felt for 2,000 years in the exile until 1948, when the State of Israel was created and America became a place of refuge.

Beverly was born prematurely.  Bubi was pregnant with Beverly and was going up the steps of a bus.  The bus started moving, Bubi lurched forward and went into labor.  At birth she was perfect but did not progress.  Bubi and Zedi took her to many doctors and the last one told him, just like a cracked egg cannot be made whole, Beverly has an illness and cannot be made whole.  After consultation with Rabbis, Zedi decided to institutionalize Beverly and sent her to live with the nuns of Mount Saint Joseph, an order near Palatine, IL.  They took excellent care of her.  In those years, most kids with Beverly’s diagnosis institutionalized their kids.  Tragically, when Bubi and Zedi went to visit Beverly, as Bubi and Zedi were leaving, Beverly would cry out, Mama, Papa.

Karen remembers that ma would collect gifts that Beverly liked and put them in the butler pantry when we lived on Eastwood. Karen remembers going with ma to visit Beverly. It was a very long drive. This defined our mother, our grandmother, our great grandmother, our matriarch, Bubbi Jean. She watched and worried over Beverly. Ma went consistently to visit her. First with Bubby and Zedi, then with Bubby only, then by herself. Ma became a surrogate mother for Beverly. She worried about her, visited her,  dealt with the people who took care of her. This is when Ma had her own challenges in life. When Beverly became ill, on February 21, 2001 she went to Glencrest where Sidney and Lisa made sure that she was well taken care of. I believe that Beverly felt protected and secure knowing that ma was watching over her.

Beverly was blessed with a beautiful voice. She sang in a choir. I remember ma telling me that a big music or movie star came to visit and said that Beverly can be one of his singers. Karen told me that one of the toys that Beverly liked was a harmonica.

Beverly was named after her aunt, Beilka – Bella. Beilka was Zedi’s oldest sister. Beilka was the first of Zedi’s sibling to come to America. She came to America in 1909 and with her husband, brought the entire family to America. Zedi loved her. He named Beverly after her. Beverly became inexorably linked with her aunt. When Beverly’s name is mentioned, my subconscious stirs up within me and I think about Beilka, her aunt, Zedi’s hero. Unfortunately when Zedi came to America, Beilka had already passed away.

Our Beverly with her linkage to her aunt brings me back to Europe to 1909. Let us understand what Zedi saw in Beilka and then Beverly. Beilka’s husband Aaron (Archik) Tikotzky was the first of the family to go to America due to the grinding poverty, lack of opportunity, and pogroms of Eastern Europe in the pale of settlement. Zedi told me a story about Beilka. Her husband sent her a ticket to join him in America. Months before, Beilka, the oldest child of Avrohom Shmuel and Alta Sklar, asked permission from her father to leave Europe. Her father, Reb Avrohom Shmuel, did not answer for months. It was the morning that Beilka had to leave Krinik. Her father said, “min’a kint” come here. He hugged her and did not let go. They had to pry her from his arms. Zedi said that his father turned grey overnight. Beilka wrote back that she cried and cried and cried.

This is the love Zedi had for his sister that was transferred to Beverly and made everything that much more difficult.

Boruch Hashem, I had tremendous Siatta Dismaya to have Beilka being buried right by her grandmother the Yunge Bubby, Zedi’s mother, which we can see her picture. When Beverly was born the Yunge Bobby was still living and helped take care of her. My mother remembers that when Bubby had Beverly, the Yunge Bubby gave ma a bottle to settle her down.

Even though Sidney had graciously purchased a grave for her on Har Menuchos, I felt it would be more appropriate for her to be buried in Chicago by her family, at the foot of her grandmother’s grave. Sidney graciously gave me permission.

About 10 years ago Arnold Sklair, Victor’s son, mentioned that he had two graves available in the Krinik section by the Yunge Bubbe. When Beverly was taken to the hospital, I called Terry Taylor to get phone numbers and ask for advice. On Tuesday of that week, I called Arnold’s sister, Nani Karm and told her my dilemma. We talked and then we ended the conversation. Right after that conversation, I called the cemetery, Waldheim, to see if there any other plots in the Krinik section and was told that nothing close is available. Then I asked it there were any graves by her namesake. Debbie at the Waldheim office said that the Tikotzky family has three gravesites and that Arden Weinstein, controlled them. That itself was a miracle. For close to 20 years we looked for Beilka’s grave and only one year ago found the burial site.   This past summer we went with Meir and Pesach and afterwards with ma, and Tzvi, and after some searching we found her grave. We were full of joy, Ma’alah Simcha. Arden Weinstein is Beilka’s granddaughter, Manny and Sylvia Perl’s daughter. Sylvia is Belkie Tikotzky’s daughter.   Ten years ago I had Arden over for a meal. For the last 10 years, I call Arden about once a year and we never seem to reach each other. That Tuesday morning she answered right way and she graciously agreed to give me a grave.

About one hour later Nani called back and said that she spoke to Arnold, and that I can have the two graves by the Yunge Bubby. I was ecstatic, two of my cousins graciously stepped in for our family. Thank you Nani, Arnold, Arden, and Terry. May you be blessed with good things in life, both spiritual and physical

We decided to use the grave by the Yunge Bubby who loved Beilka so dearly.

During Pesach 1980, one Sunday morning Zedi tells me that we are going to the cemetery. We went and Zedi took me to the Krinik section of Waldheim where his family is buried. He showed me the gravesite of his mother, Alta Henya Rvika. There was a picture of her on her stone. Zedi took his sleeve wiped it across his mother’s faced from top to bottom and kissed his sleeve. He cried and then said, Momma, your great grandson is here. I am inviting you to his upcoming wedding.

Beilka, you will have a beautiful Kabblos Panim in the next work. Your parents, Zedi and Bubby will be there, with your grandparents, Reb Avrohom Shmuel and Alta, your namesake and her husband, Beilka and Aaron Tikotzky and Zedi’s grandfather who at age 28 passed away when he was Olah Regel to Kotzk.

I ask Mchilah for myself for not visiting you often, not giving you what you need. I ask Mchilah for the entire family. May you be a Melitz Yosher in for our family, especially your sisters, Bubby Jean and Shirley, and Altie.


Parshas Eikev – Kotzk – Vorka

Parshas Eikev

22 AV 5776 – August 27, 2016


Chapter 8, Verse 14: “Vram Levavcha” –  “and your heart grow s haughty”

Kotzk and Vorka

Pesach came in for Shabbos to be with my mother. It is always great seeing him. Friday night we stayed up to 11:30 PM talking about Bubby and Zedi Sklar.  Bubbi and Zedi Sklar’s trip to Israel in 1962, Pesach’s trip to Israel in 1960 to learn in Yeshiva.  Pesach got Bubby and Zedi a room at the hotel Tzfania, not exactly a 5 star hotel, but served its purpose.  Zedi wanted to go to Meron on Lag Ba’omer, however knew that Bubbi would not let him go.  Zedi made up with Pesach for Pesach to go to Zedi’s hotel room at 2:00 AM, lightly knock on the door, and Zedi  would come out.   They hopped on a bus to Meron.  Imagine, Zedi sneaking out at 2:00 in the morning.  What would Bubby  think when she woke up and Zedi would be gone all day.  For Zedi it was an Avodas Hakodash and not a tourist trip.  Pesach also with detail talked about his trip from Chicago to Israel on  a two week boat trip aboard the SS Zion, a Zim Lines passenger ship;  and back on a Greek passenger line. As only Pesach can tell a story, we laughed, reminisced, and laughed.

Shabbos morning was a normal Shabbos. Went home to eat and then went to Mayer’s  house to have Cholent for the third time.

At Sholosh Suedas Pesach, Mayer, my mother, and myself washed and had gefilte fish, Matzah, and salad.   I spoke the following words of Torah:

Dvorim Chapter 8, Verse 14 says:

יד: וְרָם לְבָבֶךָ וְשָׁכַחְתָּ אֶת יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ הַמּוֹצִיאֲךָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם מִבֵּית עֲבָדִים:

14:  and your heart grows haughty, and you forget the Lord, your God, Who has brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage,

The simple explanation is that you will become arrogant, forget God, you will go astray and worship idols. The Ibn Ezra explains it differently.  You will be come arrogant, you will forget that once you were slaves, forget that once you were poverty stricken, and forget that God provided for you when you were down.  The Ibn Ezra is saying that you will not go astray, you will not worship idols, rather you will remain Orthodox and keep Gods commandments, but your heart will turn to stone, you will not have empathy for your fellow Jews.  This will lead to demeaning other Orthodox Jews, hatred for the sake of hatred, all the while , going to Shul three times a day, even learning Torah, and wearing a big Yarmulke.  How else do you explain many of the disagreements in Israel.  It almost seems that it todays world certain segments of Klal Yisroel forgot there was a Holocaust.

Today is Shabbos Mvorchim.  Chazzan Silber has a beautiful Nusach for the Yehi Ratzon.  I was looking up the English translation and saw that Artscroll explained “Chaverim Kol Yisroel” as ” All Israel becoming Comrades”.   I decied to look further into the translation of “Chaverim Kol Yisroel”.  A second translation not found in any of the English prayer books is that we are joined together like two pieces of metal are soldered together so they appear as one piece but are actually two pieces.  Rabbi Jonathan Sacks translates these words as “so that all Israel may be united in friendship.”  However, the Birnbaum Siddur explained it that all Jews are “knitted together”.  It is interesting that the same words are translated differently, and each while similar have different connotations, which reflect Haskafah, and time of history.  Refer to end of this post to explains the differences in interpretation.

Philip Birnbaum is the highest level, the knitting together, being intertwined.  This  can be explained best by the following story of the Kotzker and his dear friend, Reb Yitzchok of Vorka.  I had heavenly help in finding this story to understand Birnbaum.

At 3:00 PM I went to take a nap and looked for something to read. I found in my closet three pages from a publication called Hapardas, dated January 1968.  Hapardes was a publication for the Torah world by Rabbi Simcha Elberg, first published in Warsaw, then Chicago, and in the later years of his life from Boro Park.  1968 was his 42nd year of publication.  On page 36 Rabbi Elberg had a book review of a new Sefer published by Rabbi Kalman Eliezer Frankel, a Rabbi in Tel Aviv.  The new book’s title was; In the Tents of the Righteous – the branch of the house of Vorka – Sakranovitz.

I will translate a large part of the book review as follows:

The Seraf of Kotzk did not want many Chassidim among the masses; however, Rabbi Yitzchok of Vorka drew the love of the masses to himself. Just like Rabbi Levi Yitzchok TZL of Berdichiv was in his generation (1740 – 1810), so was Rabbi Yitzchok of Vorka in his generation, he looked upon the Jewish people  with the mindset  of “ He (God) does not look at evil in Jacob and has seen no perversity in Israel. (Numbers 23:21).”    These two great people came out of the Bais Midrash of the Rebbi, Reb Bunim TZL, who both illuminated the heavens of Poland, two completely different viewpoints in Chassidus and nonetheless a great love  and an everlasting love existing between the two great and holy individuals

On page 322 in the book,”B’Ohali Tzaddikkim” the reader will find an amazing story from the author. It is worthwhile to recount the story here.

The Rebbi, Reb Yitzchok Vorka in his generation was like the Berdichiver in his generation, having great compassion, a lover of the Jewish people, a trusted servant for his people, he found merit even on the lowest of the lowest Jewish person.

After the death of the Rebbi, Reb Bunim, Rabbi Yitzchok of Vorka crowned the son of Reb Bunim, Rabbi Avrohom Moshe as the leader of the holy congregation, which he led for only two years. And after the death of Reb Avrohom Moshe, Reb Yitzchok of Vorka accepted the leadership of the congregation.

Even though the mindset, the essence, and entire being of Rabbi Yitzchok Vorka was totally  different than  Reb Menachem  Mendel of Kotzk; as the Kotzker  demanded only perfection, without blemish,  Rabbi Yitzchok of Vorka saw the light that shines in each Jewish person.  Despite this they were strongly and faithfully attached

After the death of Rabbi Yitzhok Vorka on the last day of Pesach (1848), the Vorka’s son and successor, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Kalish, goes to Kotzk.  The Kotzker asks have you seen your father in the next world?  The son answers no.  The Kotzker responds – I saw him. In the Kotzker sharpness, the Kotzker relates the following story. “I was in the heavenly world, and I searched and asked the heavenly angels: Tell me, where can our Reb Yitzhok’l be found?  The angels answered, he is in a higher level, that even we are not allowed to enter. I then searched in the level of the Baal Shem Tov and I was told that Reb Yitzchok was in a higher level. I went to the level of the Achronim, of the Bais Yosef and Remah, and also there I could not find my friend. I traveled and entered the level of the Reshonim and could not find him.  I then went up to the level of they holy Amoreim and asked them, tell me, I am searching for Yizhok’l my friend, where is he and where can he be found.   They responded he was here, but now he can be found on the river’s edge which is closeby. I ran with all my might, I passed the field of the “Chakal Tapuchin” (mentioned in the Zohar of the next world), and there I saw a flowing river, and at its edge, your father Reb Yitzchok’l was leaning on his staff and looking into the clear and pure waters of the river. I grabbed his coat and asked, Yitzchok’l my faithful friend, what are you doing here? He answered me do you see this river? These are the tears of the Jews that were shed over the generations and from the tears a river was formed that flows into the upper heavens. I am standing by this river and I am not able to move away.

Rabbi Frankel adds that this is how the Kotzker described to the son of the Vorker  who his father was and his father’s  greatness. No other leader in that generation merited to be described by the great Kotzker, as the true lover of the Jewish people, Rabbi Yitzchok of Kalish, the first Admor of Vorka, TZL.   The story is told by Rabbi Naftoli Citron – youtube, The Kotzker Rebbe, #3 and #4.

This is how Philip Birnbaum translates “Chaverim Kol Yisoel” “knitted together” as the Kotzker and Vorka Rebbes. And this is the model for the Jewish people.

The four interpretations of Chaverim Kol Yisroel are:         1) Artscroll – All Israel are Comrades.

2) All Israel are connected –pieces joined together.

3) Rabbi Jonathan Sacks – so that all Israel my be united in friendship.

4) Birnbaum Siddur – All Israel is “knitted together”.

Each interpretation I believe depends on someone’s outlook towards life, religion, time of history, and relationships.   They are probably all true at times during history.

Artscroll’s translation sounded strange to me. The word Comrades brings up negative images.  Loyal communists were called Comrades.  This implies that Klal Yisroel must all be the same, think the same, and look the same.   Comrades is an exclusionary term, anyone different is not part of us.  Rabbi Wolkenfeld did tell me that in Israel the word Chaverim is used in the Kibbutzim and it means comrades.

The second explanation is like the Satmer. Klal Yisroel is separate parts joined together as in a menorah whose branches are soldered to the base.   This is how the Satmer would translate the word.  The Satmer in his Hagadah says on Yachatz (we break the middle matzah) – sometimes our community has to break off from the rest of Israel.  We must split off.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks is how most people would interpret the words; however, Birnbaum is on a deeper level. We are bound to one another.  This is more the viewpoint of the Besht, the Kotzker, the Lubavitcher, Menachem Begin, and others.