Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Holy Kiddush Cup, Aliyah and Redemption

(Image courtesy of Hadad Bros)

#296 (s5763-42 / 18 Sivan)

The Holy Kiddush Cup, Aliyah and Redemption

"My white beard is unwilling to allow any postponement," replied Rabbi Moshe of Lelov

The chasidim of Poland were reeling from the shock. Their rebbe, Rabbi Moshe of Lelov, had decided to make aliya, to ascend and settle in the Holy Land!

How could they possibly go on without his holy leadership? To his most intimate chasidim he revealed that since early childhood, he had had an overwhelming desire to do something special to hasten the coming of Moshiach.

When he was a small boy, Rabbi Moshe's father, Rabbi David of Lelov, had told him, "I did not merit to see the Holy Land, but you must go there. Through your divine service which you will perform there, you will succeed in bringing Moshiach sooner and hastening the Redemption."

This was the true reason, known only to a select few, that the tzadik was preparing for his journey to the Holy Land. He passed through many towns and villages on his way, accompanied by his chasidim. At the town of Sadigur, he stopped to say his farewell to the tzadik, Rabbi Israel of Rizhin. When the Rizhiner Rebbe heard of the Reb Moshe's plans to journey to the Holy Land, he begged him to wait and allow him to go along.

But Rabbi Moshe was impatient to continue his journey. "My white beard is unwilling to allow any postponement," he replied; and so he continued his journey alone. From time to time, when the retinue stopped, Rabbi Moshe delivered chasidic discourses. He expressed his intentions to the chasidim, telling them that upon arriving in Jerusalem he would, "First go to the Kotel [the Western Wall] and blow the shofar so that all the worlds [this world and the innumerable spiritual worlds] will shake. I will refuse to move from that spot until the Moshiach comes. "I am also bringing with me the kiddush cup which belonged to my teacher and rebbe, the "Seer" of Lublin.

This cup is filled with great holiness*** which will enable me to work many wonders." The tzadik continued his journey until he reached the point of departure. Then, he bid a final farewell to his disciples and, together with his family boarded a vessel bound for the Holy Land. After a long voyage, they landed on the longed-for shores of the Holy Land. They headed at once for Jerusalem and reached the gates of the Holy City.

No sooner did they approach the city gates when the precious goblet which had belonged to the Seer slipped from Rabbi Moshe's sack and shattered on the stones. They tried to continue their journey, but Rabbi Moshe was suddenly overcome with a terrible illness. They had no choice but to break their trip until he recovered. But the tzadik only became sicker and sicker, until he became critically ill. In a few short days, Rabbi Moshe felt that he would not live much longer. He entreated his family to quickly carry him to the Kotel, and this they did, fearing that his end was, indeed, approaching. But as they hurriedly carried the tzadik toward the Kotel and were about to reach the final turn, they were attacked by Arabs hurling stones down from the surrounding houses, and were lucky to escape with their lives.

Rabbi Moshe of Lelov passed from this world 72 days after his arrival in the Holy Land, without having realized his fondest dream and without having succeeded in bringing the Redemption, for it was ordained by Heaven that the time for Moshiach's arrival had not yet come.

[Adapted by Yrachmiel Tilles from the rendition on www.lchaimweekly.org (#276).]

*** Editor's note: For more on the kiddush cup of the Seer, see Story #123.

Biographical note: Rabbi Moshe of Lelov [? - 13 Tevet 1851] was the son of R. David of Lelov and the son-in-law of "the Holy Yid " of Pshischah. He declined to officially succeed his father as rebbe, considering himself unworthy of the position. He moved to Israel, where he helped to strengthen the Chassidic community, although he passed away. He is buried on the Mount of Olives, near the prophet Zacharia.

Yrachmiel Tilles is co-founder and associate director of Ascent-of-Safed, and editor of Ascent Quarterly and the AscentOfSafed.com and KabbalaOnline.org websites. He has hundreds of published stories to his credit

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