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The Holiness of the Sdei Chemed

Rabbi Yechezkiya Chaim Chizkiya Medini (1813-1905) is famous as the author of an incredible encyclopedic work of Jewish scholarship called Sdei Chemed. And, as is Jewish custom, he became identified by the title of that book.

Despite his accomplishments, in his personal life the Sdei Chemed knew only tragedy. His only son died before the son married. He himself was struck by blindness. Then, almost miraculously, two years later he recovered and was to see again.

He had three daughters. There were no Torah scholars in Crimea, so he married them off to artisans: a tailor, a shoemaker and a hat-maker. He joked that if nothing else he would always be well supplied with clothing.

He was well known for his piety and charity. There was a period in his life during which he spent or gave away every penny he made during the day; he would start every day over again from zero. That is the same story we find also concerning many Chassidic rebbes. It was the level of the Jews in the desert. When they ate the manna, they only had for that day (except on Friday, when they had for Shabbos, too). A person who doesn’t have anything has to rely on God. click here to read more

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