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The Slonimer Rebbe: From The Brain To The Heart

In honor of the Yahrtzeit of Rav Avraham Elimelech Weinberg, founder of Slonimer Chassidus (1804-1883), a disciple of Rav Noach of Lechovitz, and author of Be’er Avraham on Mechilta, Yesod Ha’avodah, and Chessed L’Avraham. He was active in the spread of the Chasidic movement in Lithuania and was a main organizer of support for the religious communities in the Holy Land. He was also the greatgrandfather of Rabbi Yaakov Weinberg zt”l, Rosh Hayeshiva of Yeshivas Ner Israel, and Rabbi Noach Weinberg zt”l, Founder and Rosh Hayeshiva of Aish Hatorah.

“Know, my son, that from believing with one’s intellect to believing with one’s being is a greater distance than from rising from earth to heaven! (Letter #25)

We often wonder why it is so difficult to go from intellectual clarity to total commitment. Our intellect recognizes the power of prayer, but we often find it difficult to pray with the full awareness of what we know. The Slonimer Rebbe reminds us of the great distance between the intellect and the heart.

He waged a great battle against the common understanding of Torah Lishma – Torah for Torah’s Sake. He wrote his sefer, Yesod Ha’avodah, to convincingly prove that Lishma means to learn and practice with total and absolute love of God. He taught that practicing this love is the only way to bridge the gap between mind and heart.

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