Selections from a letter from Rebbe Yechiel Yehoshua Rabinowitz of Biala, zt"l, author of ''Chelkas Yehoshua'', to one of his Hassidim before Passover,

"...In my humble opinion, this season is auspicious for prayer, to pour out words of prayer before the One Who knows the hearts of all people, each on his own level. This is what the Rebbe of Karlin taught in his book Beis Aharon, concerning wording of our Sages in reference to the "Four Questions" of the Passover Haggadah, that "Here the child asks," meaning that all of us are the children of G-d, and during this Passover season we can ask our Father in Heaven for all the things we need. It is known that these lights begin immediately from the beginning of the month of Nissan, because the Haggadah teaches that one might even think that the mitzvah of reading the Haggadah begins from Rosh Chodesh.

Particularly, these times are auspicious to pray and beseech from our Father in Heaven to open up the hearts of Israel that we may be able to serve Him properly, may His Name be blessed, particularly that we may pray that He purify our thoughts and become holy through that which is permissable. It is known that everything in the time of the Exodus was on the level of "smiting the Egyptians while healing the Isralites". The ten plagues against Egypt were in accordance with the ten holy Sefiros. The Plague of the First Born was accorded against the concept of Thought. Therefore, we can turn everything around to holiness, particularly in the area of thought, because it is known that during the Exodus we left the palaces of impurity and entered into the palaces of holiness, as is taught in Chesed L'Avraham by Rabbi Chaim Yoseph David Azulai, the Holy Chida.

This is hinted to in the teaching that the month of Nissan is one which is surrounded by salvation, like one takes tithes from the surrounding produce, that the Jewish people are closer to holiness during this season. This is what the Sages taught that captives are released with "koshros", that during the season which was "kosher" for the Exodus we are able to leave all of our bounds, both spiritually and physically. We must constantly remind ourselves of the teachings of the Ramban in Parshas Kedoshim. Furthermore, it is taught in the Sifra that "Keep means in the heart. Remember means with the mouth". We need to learn with our mouths, saying the words of Torah out loud, for the Sefirah of Malchus is connected to the mouth. This is particularly true during the Passover season, because "Pesach" is often interpreted as "Peh Sach" - "the mouth speaks". Therefore, during this time we have a greater ability to bring holiness from our mouths to our hearts and brains, fulfilling the verse, "their heart will be ready and your ears will hear". A Jewish person must make preparations in the heart, for this becomes a prayer itself, for the movements of the eyes are dependant upon the heart. In Egypt we were on the level of seeing Godliness with our eyes in Egypt. May Hashem open our hearts to serve Him, and may we be worthy to serve Him with truth and sincerity, and be blessed with a kosher and happy holiday.

Waiting for the mercy of the Lord,

Yechiel Yehoshua Rabinowitz

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Once the Holy Rebbe from Shidlovtza (the father of the first Biala Rebbe) was spending the Sabbath after Passover in the town of Hentshin. He was discussing the custom of calling the Sabbath after Passover "Shabbos geila matzos" (the Sabbath of Yellow Matzos) - as is the custom of many Polish communities - and he spoke at length on the reasons for this name. After the Tish, the Hassidim were reviewing the Rebbe's teachings, and there was one young man there who was not one of the Rebbe's Hassidim. He told the Hassidim that in many communities in other parts of Europe there is a different name for this Sabbath, therefore the young man disrespectfully stated that the Rebbe's teaching were of no value, because in other places there is a different name. The Hassidim began to argue with this man, but soon the Rebbe entered, asking what was going on. The Hassidim told the Rebbe the story of the young man's disrespect. The Rebbe then said that this young man prays with Tefillin which are not kosher. When the Hassidim heard this, they knew that the Rebbe was speaking with the spirit of G-d, so immediately after the Sabbath ended Saturday night, they ran to this young man's house and grabbed away his tefillin and opened them up. They all saw that the Teffilin were completely unfit according to the Torah, and there was a great commotion among the Hassidim, for they saw an open example of Ruach HaKodesh by their Rebbe. When they told the Rebbe of this, he said "it is not Ruach HaKodesh, but rather I knew it based on a teaching of the Sages. The Talmud teaches, in Tractate Menachos 34a, that we wear four paragraphs in the Tefillin, because the Torah calls them "Totafos", because "Tot" means "two" in Kithpian, and "Fos" means "two" in African, two plus two being four. The Rebbe said that the young man was judging his teachings based on other countries. The Rebbe said that in some places the word "Tot" mean "four" and not "two", so therefore one might think that Tefillin should contain six paragraphs rather than four. However we do not concern ourselves with the customs of the other places, for six paragraphs disqualify Tefillin according to the Torah. Therefore, a person who is worried about what is done in other countries, might hold the same way as far as the Sages' dictum concerning Tefillin, which is why I said that this young man prays which non-kosher Tefillin." Even though in actuality it was open Ruach HaKodesh, the Rebbe clothed it in a teaching of the Sages out of humility.

(Sefer Zichron Pinchas)

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