He Asks for God’s Mercy for Israel

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The Yahrzeit of the Shpoler Zeide, Rabbi Aryeh Leib of Shpola  zl (1724-1811) is commemorated on the 6th of Tishrei. The following meise / hasidic tale appeared in Sefer HaHasidut, Meah Tzadikim, Raphael, Yitzchak, 1961, Tel Aviv. (Freely translated by Gabbai Seth Fishman.)

Once, the holy Tzaddikim, Reb Leib Mochiach of Polonoy, Reb Leib HaKohen of Berditchev, Reb Meshullam Zusha of Hanipoli and Reb Mordechai of Neschiz were together on Rosh Hashanah visiting the holy Zeide / grandfather of Shpola.

These five pillars of eternity were sitting together after having returned from the table in the designated room for drinking the honey water, [sweet alcoholic drink] and, their discussion then, was on just one subject: Moshiach / Messiah and final redemption.

Amidst the conversation Reb Meshullam Zusha said these words to Reb Leib Mochiach:

“Leib: You, of all of us, have a special degree of guilt with respect to your having delayed the coming of the Moshiach, for aren’t you the Mochiach / exhorter of Israel.

[Note: Reb Yehudah Aryeh Leib was known as the Mochiach / exhorter of Polonoy after earning a reputation for taking people to task.]

“And, why didn’t you exhort them with great punishments so that they would do teshuvah?”

Then the holy grandfather [i.e., the Shpoler Zeide], rose to his feet and said:

“Verily, I can see from whence these utterances came into the mouth of Reb Meshullam Zusha.”

And then, the holy zeide raised his hand toward heaven and said:

“Master of the worlds!

“Here I am giving you my firm assurance that through sending Your punishments and suffering, You would not make Israel become significantly better in its actions.

“And why should You cause them to suffer for nothing?

“For, is it not the case that from the beginning, You foresee that which will be at the end?

“And if this is so, then: I beseech You that You will be a good father for all of Israel.

“And just as a father is merciful with respect to his son even when he is not doing what’s right in the father’s eyes, so be merciful with us and with all of Israel.”

And he wept greatly when he said these words in a voice “cleaving with flames of fire” (Psalms 29:7).

And they all cried with him.

(Tiferet Maharal, Page 99)

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