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Amshinov: Toledot: Powerful Prayers

The 4th of Kislev is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Yaakov Dovid Kalish (1803-1878), founder of the Amshinov dynasty. Reb Yaakov Dovid’s father was Rav Yitzchak of Vorka, a leading disciple of Rav Simcha Bunim of Peshischa and a peer of Rav Menachem Mendel of Kotzk. When Rav Simcha Bunim of Peshischa passed away in 1827, his followers split into two streams, some of them following Rav Menachem Mendel of Kotzk whose emphasis was on fiery self-discipline, while the remainder adhered to Rav Yitzchak of Vorka whose approach was one of warmth and love. In 1848, when Rav Yitzchak of Vorka passed away, many of his followers wished to follow Rav Yaakov Dovid of Amshinov. He, too, followed the Vorka tradition of kindness and kiruv rechokim. Rav Yaakov Dovid set up court in the town of Mszczonow, Poland, which became known to Jews as Amshinov. There, he became known as the rebbe of Amshinov. Meanwhile, Rav Yaakov Dovid’s brother, Rav Menachem Mendel, continued the Vorki dynasty from their father in Vorki itself (1779-1848). Rav Menachem, the oldest of Rav Yaakov Dovid’s three sons, inherited the mantle of Amshinov from his father for 40 years.

“Isaac prayed opposite his wife. And God listened to him.” Rashi – One cannot compare the prayer of a righteous person to the prayer of a righteous person who is the child of a righteous person.

Isaac and Rebeca each prayed in the merit of the other. Isaac prayed in the merit of Rebecca who was a great Tzaddeiket, and Rebecca prayed in the merit of her husband Isaac, who was a great Tzaddik the child of great Tzaddikim.

It is not the prayer of one righteous person or another that is answered more readily. It is the prayer in the merit of the Tzaddik the child of Tzaddikim that is more powerful. (B’Ohalei Tzaddikim, Rabbi Yaakov David of Amshinov)

People often doubt the power of their prayer because they do not descend from great Tzaddikim. The Amshinover teaches us that it is not the lineage of the person praying that matters, but the way the prayer is phrased. One should not doubt the power of his prayers as compared to the prayers of others. One must only focus on the way he phrases his prayer.

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