Mishnas Chassidim

Rav Immanuel Chai (ben Avrohom) Riki zy”a, H”yd was murdered on 1 Adar 5503/1743. He is the author of Mishnas Chassidim, the name he is best known by, and many other seforim. (I’ve seen the name Refael added before Immanuel, but don’t know why. None of his seforim I have seen include Refael, nor does the Chida in Shem HaGedolim.) He is buried in Cento, Italy.

Rav Immanuel Chai Riki was one of the greatest mekubalim of his time, which he attributed to crying out in Tefilla to understand the Arizal’s teachings at the tzaddik’s kever. He said that just like the Rambam named his sefer, Mishna Torah, because it is an orderly composition of all the laws of the Torah, so too, he named his sefer, Mishnas Chassidim, to be an orderly composition of the Arizal’s teachings of Kabbala. It is said in the name of the Tzemach Tzedek of Lubavitch that everything the Mishnas Chassidim says is from the Arizal.

In his sefer Chozeh Tzion on Tehilim, the tzaddik reveals that he was told in a dream that he was a gilgul of Rebbe Yehuda ben Bava, one of the Asara Harugei Malchus (heard from Rav Daniel Glatstein shlita). In the kinah we recite on Tisha B’Av, Arzei Halevonon, it says that Rebbe Yehuda ben Bava was “clean” and a chassid who immersed in fasting. The Chida writes that he heard the Mishnas Chassidim fasted during the week for 22 years (Shem Hagedolim). 

Tragically, the tzaddik was killed on Rosh Chodesh Adar – a Rosh Chodesh Korban. The first letters of עולת ראש חדש are the initials of רבי עמנואל חי ריקי, and חדש is equal to 12 times the Name יקוק, a teaching he is famous for. (Discussed below.)

The Bnei Yissaschar quotes the Mishnas Chassidim who brings from the Arizal that each month is connected to another permutation of יקוק, and that one should have in mind the permutation for that month by the brocha of Rosh Chodesh in Mussaf. The Bnei Yissaschar says this can explain Chazal’s teaching that  the reason Klal Yisroel’s tefilos are not answered is because they don’t know how to daven with the Name of Hashem –  they are not concentrating on the proper permutation for each Rosh Chodesh. This is alluded to in the verse ואתחנן אל יקוק בעת ההוא לאמר, as בעת ההוא means that each one must concentrate on the appropriate permutation of יקוק connected to the various times (months) of the year. (Bnei Yissaschar, Nissan 1:1).

Among others, the Bnei Yissaschar and others quote the Mishnas Chassidim who details the correct permutation of יקוק for each month and the 4 words of various pesukim whose first or last letters form that particular permutation. This is perhaps the most well-known teaching of the Mishnas Chassidim, as virtually every Nusach Sefard and Edut Hamizrach Siddur lists these various forms of יקוק by Rosh Chodesh Mussaf, usually accompanied by a brief explanation from the Mishnas Chassidim.

This tzaddik’s yahrzeit is Rosh Chodesh Adar, the final Rosh Chodesh in the order of the forms of Hashem’s Name. עמנואל חי בן אברהם is numerically equivalent to ואתחנן (the first word in the verse quoted by the B’nei Yissaschar regarding the teaching from the Mishnas Chassidim.)

The words hinting to the permutation of Adar is ירה ולשורקה בני אתנו. The words ולשורקה בני are equal to the date of the tzaddik’s passing, א’ אדר תק”ג.

On the first day of Adar, we start to mention the Shekalim and half a Shekel was given. שקל equals 430. Half of that value, 215, equals the gematriya of עמנואל חי

The Mishnas Chassidim left this world in the week of Parshas Teruma. He wrote a sefer about the Mishkan, מעשה חשב. These words are mentioned several times in Teruma, which discusses the building of the Mishkan.

Zechuso Yagen Aleinu!

R' Dovid Friedman
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