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Ki Tisa-Lacking Wholeness

The 11th of Adar is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Avraham (ben Zev Nachum) Borenstein of Sochatchov (Sochaczew, near Warsaw) (1839-1910), author of Avnei Nezer (seven volumes of response) and Eglei Tal (encyclopedia of the laws of Shabbos). He was born in Bendin to the author of the Agudas Eizov, a descendent of the Rema and the Shach.  In 1853, he married Sarah Tzina, one of the two daughters of the Kotzker Rebbe, with whom he learned almost daily for almost 7 years. After the petira of his father-in-law in 1859, Rav Avraham accepted the Chidushei HaRim of Ger as his rebbe. After the petira of the  Chidushei HaRim in 1866, he accepted Rav Chanoch Henich HaKohen of Alexander as his new reebbe. In 1883, he became Rav of Sochachov. His lectures in the yeshiva lasted six to eight hours, often starting at midnight and continuing until morning, except for a 15-minute break when he napped. Rav Bornstein is frequently quoted in his son’s classic work Shem Mishmuel.


“This shall they give, everyone who passes through the census, half a shekel as a portion to God (Exodus 30:13).” The Torah is teaching us that no person should consider himself whole and complete, for such a thought separates him from the congregation. Therefore, half a shekel, as if to say that he himself is incomplete, and his completion can only come about through his joining with the rest of Israel. (Ne’ot haDesheh)

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