[Avodah] Sefer Berogez Racheim Tizkor

M Cohen via Avodah avodah at lists.aishdas.org
Sun Sep 13 06:41:46 PDT 2015

The sefer Berogez Racheim Tizkor is avail for free download at -


review of sefer  -


Review of Dovid Bashevkin's Sefer Berogez Racheim Tizkor By Rabbi Yitzchok


Rabbi Yitzchok Oratz, a musmach of Beth Medrash Govoha, is the Rabbi and
Director of the Monmouth Torah Links community in Marlboro, NJ.


God knows the nature of every generation, Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin has written
a Sefer uniquely appropriate for the nature of ours[1]. 


Take a trip to your local Jewish bookseller during this time period, and you
will find numerous seforim, old[2] and new[3], on the themes of sin and
repentance. Although they certainly vary in style and quality, a common
denominator among many is the heavy reliance on Rambam's Hilchos Teshuva and
Sha'arey Teshuva of Rabbeinu Yonah of  Gerondi[4].  And this is to be
expected. Timeless classics, these works of the great Rishonim are unmatched
in their systematic and detailed discussion of sin and punishment, free
will[5] and repentance, and are a prerequisite study for any serious
discussion of Teshuva. 


But therein lays the dilemma. 


For although Rabbeinu Yonah maps out the exalted levels of Teshuva that one
should certainly strive for, they seem not to be for the faint of heart.  Is
our generation really up to the task of embracing the sorrow, suffering, and
worry, the humbling and lowering oneself[6], without allowing for the
concomitant sense of despair[7] and despondence[8]? 


And how many of us can honestly stand before the Creator, and proclaim that
we will "never return" to our negative actions, to the extent that God
Himself will testify that this is the case[9]? If confession without sincere
commitment to change is worthless[10], does repeating last year's failed
commitments not require choosing between giving up and fooling ourselves?


This is where B'Rogez  Rachem  Tizkor comes in.  Based heavily on the
thought of Izbica in general, and Reb Tzadok ha-Kohen of Lublin in
particular, it discusses the value of spiritual struggle, the interplay
between determinism and free will, the redemptive potential of sin, and the
status of those who have not yet arisen from their fall.  


Overall, the sefer is a good introduction to R' Tzadok for those who are not
familiar with his thought, and offers many insightful and fascinating
comments even for those who are. 


My main critiques are that some of the discussion of the more controversial
statements of Izbica required more elaboration[14], the lack thereof leads
to a seeming conflating of two similar, yet far from identical, concepts,
and more contrasting and supporting texts (both from within Izbica and R'
Tzadok's thought and without) would have made for a stronger case and deeper


My hope is to fill in these gaps in some small measure. Hopefully it will
further enlighten those whose appetite was whet by this fine work.  


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