His Students Lament his Dying

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The Yahrzeit of Reb Aharon of Zhitomir zl (d. 1816) is commemorated on the 26th of Tishrei. The following meise / hasidic tale appeared in Sefer HaHasidut, Meah Tzadikim, Raphael, Yitzchak, 1961, Tel Aviv. (Freely translated by Gabbai Seth Fishman.)

When Rabbi Aaron of Zhitomir was dying, his students were sobbing bitterly.

He said to them:

“What are you crying about? The end of  every person is dying.”

They answered:

“How could we not cry and hit our heads since, he is leaving us and, we will be left as a lamb without a shepherd.

“The inner experience of the other Tzaddikim of our time is quite hidden; no trace is revealed of their ways of being close to God. In contrast to this, with you, the inner experience was given to us on a silver platter.”

And he addressed their concerns and said with these words:

“You should know that the Tzaddikim who will be at the end of days, the age which heralds the messianic redemption, will be significantly greater than I and, with each action they perform, they will bring together the letters of the divine name with their kavanot / intentions to unify upper and lower worlds with greater awe than you ever experienced with the unifications of God’s name as we gave it in our teachings and in our prayers.”

(Book of passings page 27).

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