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Shem Mishmuel: Vaeira I

The 24th of Tevet is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Shmuel Borenstein, the Shem MiShmuel from Sochatshov (1855-1926). He was born in Kotzk to Rav Avraham Borenstein, the Sochatchover Rebbe and mechaber of Avnei Nezer. His grandfathers were Rav Nachum Ze’ev of Biala, the Agudas Eizov and Rav Menachem Mendel, the Lotzker Rebbe.

Rav Shmuel considered Rav Chanoch Henoch of Alexander to be his Rebbe. After the petira of the Alexander Rebbe in 1870, the Avnei Nezer was made Rebbe, and his son followed him as his Rebbe.

He was married in 1873, but his wife died in 1901. He remarried in 1903. Rav Shmuel served as maggid shiur in his father’s yeshiva in Sochatchov and helped him write Eglei Tal on the 30 malachos of Shabbos, as well as Avnei Nezer. After his father was niftar in 1910, the Chassidim crowned Rav Shmuel their Rebbe. His sefer contains the thoughts of his famous father.

The Taz quotes the Derisha (Yoreh Deiah 264) that mentions a Teshuva of Rabbeinu Menachem that there is a custom to visit a newborn baby boy  on the Shabbat before his Brit Milah in order to comfort him over the Torah he “forgot” when he was born.

The question is why should the visit be on Shabbat?

We visit on Shabbat in order to comfort him with the fact that Shabbat exists, something he could not experience in the womb. Shabbat is a taste of Olam Habbah, whereas the mother’s womb is only the Lower Gan Eden.

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