18 Teves is the yarzeit of the author of B’nei Yissaschar, Rav Tzvi Elimelech (ben Pesach) of Dinov zy”a. He was a prolific writer, leaving us with a treasure trove of Seforim on all areas of Torah; Halacha, Tanach, Gemara, Zohar and much more,expounding on them according to Peshat, Remez, Drush and Sod.

He wrote Bnei Yissaschar on zmanim, Igra D’kala on Chumash, Devarim Nechmadim on Avos, Derech Pikudecha on Taryag Mitzvos, Igra D’Pirka, Regel Yeshara and numerous other seforim as well. I saw a list of 27 seforim of his that are available, and this is only a portion of many others that were lost over time.

Rav Tzvi Elimelech of Dinov always felt a tremendous hisorerus on the yom tov of Chanukah and went to inquire of the Chozeh M’Lublin why this was so. Before he could even ask the question, the Chozeh told him the reason for his great excitement on Chanukah was that he descended from Shevet Yissachor who made up the Beis Din of the Chashmonoim of which he had been a member in a previous gilgul. This is why he named his sefer on Moadim “B’nei Yissaschar”.

When his mother was pregnant with him, she went to seek a brachah from her illustrious brother, the Rebbe Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk zy”a. He told her that they should name the baby Elimelech. She said that she was afraid to do so, as she thought this meant her brother wouldsoon pass away. He replied that if she was afraid, she should name him Tzvi Elimelech. After he was named, the Rebbe Reb Elimelech told her: “If you would have named him Elimelech, he would have been exactly like me. Now he will only be half like me” (Sippurei Chassidim-Rav Zevin, Chanuka).

Other versions of the story say that she was told to give the name Elimelech yet added the name Tzvi on her own. Upon hearing this, the Rebbe Reb Elimelech said: “Ah Tzvi is nisht kein Melech.” (“A deer is not a king.”)

Based on this story, we can suggest that half the gematriya of אלימלך (131) is 65.5, a number positioned between 65 and 66. The Maharal says that יון (66) is 1 more than היכל (65) and was therefore able to have control over it (Ner Mitzva, Part 2, “Ki Hayevanim”). Through his vast amount of Torah on Chanuka, the B’nei Yissaschar weakens the power of Yavan.

Regarding lighting of the Menorah, the Gemara tells us: מצותה משתשקע החמה עד שתכלה רגל מן השוק (Shabbos 21b). Simply, this means that the mitzvah to light Menorah is from sunset until the last people leave the marketplace.

I would like to suggest that in these words is a hint to the passing of the B’nei Yissaschar.

Based on a teaching from the Zohar Hakodosh,R’ Tzvi Elimelech writes that the words ויגע בכף ירכו (Vayishlach 32:26) refers to the Satan’s attempt to destroy supporters of Torah, as they are the “legs” that hold up Torah. The legs are referred to by the Zohar Hakodosh as the middos of נצח and הוד. This is connected to מצותה משתשקע החמה עד שתכלה רגל מן השוק. The tzaddik adds that if you read the words שתכלה רגל מן השוק literally, it can mean “take away (the word) רגל from (the word) השוק.” When the value of רגל (233) is subtracted from השוק (411), we are left with 178 – the gematria of 2 times חנוכה (Devarim Nechamadim, Inyonei Chanuka). We can add that 2 times “Chanukah” alludes to the second day of Chanukah when we read the Nasi of Yissachar from whomthe Dinover was descendant.

The gematria of רגל is equal to צבי אלימלך, and he passed away in טבת, which is equal to השוק. Thus, these words hints at the dark time when the passing of the tzaddik whose name is equal to רגל disappears in the month equal to השוקטבת.

Even if only understood on a superficial level, after learning the teachings of the B’nei Yissaschar, each month and every רגל (Yom Tov) comes alive like never before. This tzaddik truly helped take the רגילות (rote observance) out of every רגל.

As mentioned above, the middos of נצח הוד are connected to the legs. The Bnai Yisaschar’s greatest avodah was Chanuka, which is connected to the middah of הוד and he was the son of פסח, which is equal to נצח. ויגע is equal to חנוכה (Heard in the name of Rav Yosef Chaim Zonnenfeld). כף ירכו is equal to 336, and if you add 336 hours to the end of Chanuka (which, in 5601, ended on 3 Teves) you arrive at the start of 18 Teves, the day of the passing of the Bnei Yisaschor.

It was the Satan that attacked the כף ירכו and, the Satan is the Malach HaMaves.

Rav Bentzion of Bobov says that 8 times חנוכה is equal to תשובה (Kedushas Tzion, Kosuv, quoted in Kedushas Yemei Chanuka, p. 129). This connects to the Dinover, as when you calculate the value of צבי אלימלך using the gematria method of מנצפ״ך you similarly arrive at the value of תשובה, which is 8 times חנוכה.

The Torah states: ארץ אשר יקוק אלקיך דרש אתה תמיד עיני יקוק אלקיך בה מרשית השנה ועד אחרית שנה (Eikev 11:12).

This is pasuk י״ב, the first letters of בני יששכר.

The first word, ארץ is the first letters of רבי צבי אלימלך.

The words ארץ אשר יקוק אלקיך דרש אתה hint that this tzaddik exponded upon Hashem’s Torah, especially relating to Chanuka, which is the 620th mitzvah (derabonon), as the last letters of these words equal 620.

תמיד עיני יקוק אלקיך בה מרשית השנה ועד אחרית שנה  – this tzaddik continually expoundedfrom the beginning of the year through the end, as B’nei Yissachar explains the secrets of Shabbos, Rosh Chodesh, and every month and Yom Tov throughout the year.

In רגל ישרה (in entry רגל ישרה) the tzaddik writes that he named the sefer such because רגל is equal to his Shem Kodosh, צבי אלימלך, and ישרה contains the letters of his Shem Chol, הירש. We can add that together, these names equal 748, the gematria of וצדיק באמונתו יחיה, and צבי is equal to באמונה, in addition to being rashei teivos צדיק באמונתו יחיה.

The Gemara tells us: בא חבקוק והעמידן על אחת שנאמר וצדיק באמונתו יחיה – “Chabakuk came and established [that all of Torah] is dependent on one thing, as it says: ‘the tzaddik lives by his faith’” (Makkos 24a).

The word רגל can allude to the “one thing” upon which the Torah stands, and, using the gematriya method of מנצפ״ך, the word אלימלך is equal to תורה. יחיה is alluded to by the date of his passing, ח״י טבת, which is equal (with the kolel) to צדיק יסוד עולם.

The Tosher Rebbe says that the Bnei Yissaschar requested that people not come to his kever on the yahrtzeit, but rather the day before or after. On the first yahrtzeit, a group of chassidim did not heed his warning and a great tragedy befell them R”l. From then on, they realized that they should listen to the warning.

Reb Elimelech of Tosh would travel with his Rebbe, Reb Tzvi Elimelech of Bluzhov (author of Tzvi LaTzadik, grandson of B’nei Yissaschar)to the tzaddik’s kever either the day before or after the yarzeit (Avodas Avoda, Vol. Sichas Kodesh, Part 1, Vayeshev, P. 70).

Perhaps this is alluded to in this that the day of his passing ח״י טבת, is equal to משפט. The Arizal teaches that the gematria of משפט (with the kolel) is equal to 430 which is equal 5 times אלקים (86). The Name אלקים represents Gevurah, and there are “5 Gevuros” (harsh forces) (Be’er Mayim Chaim, Mishpatim).

The gematria of ח״י טבת is equal to להדליק נר, another allusion to this tzaddik’s connection with the yom tov of Chanukah.

Zechuso Yogen Aleinu!

R' Dovid Friedman
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