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Radziner: Vayigash: The Blessing & The Mitzvah

The 4th of Tevet is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Gershon Henoch Leiner of Radzin (1839-1891), the Baal Hatecheles. His grandfather was the Rav Mordechai Yosef Leiner of Ishbitz, founder of Ishbitz chassidus after leading a group of disciples from the Court of Reb Menachem Mendel of Kotzk. He replaced his father, Rav Yaakov Leiner, as Rebbe of Ishbitz after the former’s petira in 1878. Rav Gershon Henoch travelled from Radzin to Italy in search of the Chilazon, the marine source from which the dye was obtained. The Chilazon carried the dye in a special sac located in its pharynx. In the famed aquarium at Naples he saw the Chilazon (tuttlefish) and studied the way in which the dye was removed and prepared. He discovered that it was used by artists in their paintings because it would never fade. Although the Maharsham wore a tallis (in private) using Rav Gershon Henoch’s techeiles, in the end, only Radziner Chassidim and some Berslovers wear this techeiles. In recent years, several other species of fish have been suggested as the genuine techeiles. Among his sefarim are Sod Yesharim on the Torah and Yamim Tovim, Orchos Chaim and the tzavaah of the Tanna Rabi Eliezer ben Horkinus, and Tiferes Hachanochi on the Zohar. He also compiles and published the work of his father (Beis Yaakov) and grandfather (Mei Hashiloach).

Sod Yesharim:

“And he sent Yehudah before him.” The Mei Hashiloach teaches that the level of Yosef is the action of the Mitzvah, whereas Yehudah represents the Blessing we recite over a Mitzvah. 

The idea is a reflection of the difference between Torah and Mitzvot: Mitzvot are spiritual light clothed in physical action. Torah is the light that reveals the inner essence of the action. The blessing we recite connects the Torah and the Mitzvah. This is why we recite the blessing before the action of the Mitzvah, in order to draw on the light and imbue it into the action.

Therefore, Yehudah, the blessing/Torah went at the head of the family into Egypt, as the blessing before the action.

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