Mordechai Twersky

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Mordechai Twersky
Chernobyler Maggid
Chernobyl Maggid tzion Anatevka.jpg
The tziun (mausoleum) of the Maggid of Chernobyl
Term 1798–1837
Full name Mordechai Twerski
Born 1770
Buried Igantovka, near Kiev
Dynasty Chernobyl
Predecessor Menachem Nachum Twerski
Successor Aaron Twersky of Chernobyl
Father Menachem Nachum Twerski
Mother Soro Shapira
Wife 1 Chaya Soro (daughter of Aharon of Karlin)
Children 1 Aaron Twersky of Chernobyl
Moshe Twerski of Korostshev
Yaakov Yisroel Twerski of Cherkasy
Wife 2 Feygele (daughter of Dovid Leikes)
Children 2 Menachem Nochum Twerski of Makarov
Avrohom Twerski of Turisk
Dovid Twerski of Talne
Yitschok Twerski of Skvira
Yochonon Twerski of Rachmastrivka
Chana Chaya Twerski

Rabbi Mordechai Twersky (1770–1837), known as the Maggid of Chernobyl, was the son of Rabbi Menachem Nachum Twersky of Chernobyl and the second rebbe of the Chernobyl Hasidic dynasty. (The family surname was originally spelled Twerski).

Twersky married the daughter of Rabbi Aharon of Karlin; after her death he married the daughter of Rabbi David Leykes who was a student of the Baal Shem Tov. From these two women he had eight sons and one daughter. His sons became prominent rabbis and were a part of the effort in spreading Chasidus throughout Russia and the Ukraine.

According to Hasidic thought, Twersky was in charge of sustaining all the Nistarim (hidden tzaddikim) in his generation. Throughout his life Twersky collected large amounts of charity, and before his death he regretted not collecting even more than he did.

His thoughts, sermons and discourses were published in his book Likutei Torah, which was praised by other famous Chassidic leaders.

Throughout his teachings, Twersky stressed the importance of pure speech and pure thought as a condition for a proper prayer connection. He also spoke of including all Jewish souls in one's prayer, even evil people. By doing so, evil people will stand a better chance of repenting (teshuvah).

Rabbi Yisrael of Rizhin named one of his sons Mordechai, while Rabbi Mordechai of Chernobyl was still alive, apparently in contradiction to Ashkenazi Jewish tradition which does not name children after living relatives. Asked about this, Rabbi Yisrael replied: "Our uncle from Chernobyl is already a few years above this world, as if he is not in this world." Twersky died a few years later in May 1837,[1] exactly at the same date that Mordechai (Rabbi Mordechai Fayvush of Husiatin) was born, on the 35th day of the Omer.

While still alive, Rabbi Mordechai prepared his place of rest on the outskirts of the village of Hnativka (Yiddish: Gnativka, Russian: Ignatovka), near Kiev. He selected such a place: "because there is no house of idol worship, and the sound of impure bells won't disturb my rest in the grave". Indeed, his gravesite overlooks pastoral hills and the river.


  1. ^ החסידות (in Hebrew) (2nd ed.). 1977. p. 64.

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