Not of This World

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The Yahrzeit of Reb Avrohom HaMalach zl (1741-1776) is commemorated on the 12th of Tishrei. The following meise / hasidic tale appeared in Sefer HaHasidut, Meah Tzadikim, Raphael, Yitzchak, 1961, Tel Aviv. (Freely translated by Gabbai Seth Fishman.)

The Angel

Once the Tzaddik, Rabbi Israel of Ruzhyn, was speaking about the stringency of Pesach. He said:

“An angel is able to be stringent, but a person how can he be stringent?

“My grandfather, Rabbi Avraham [who was known as HaMalach / the angel] was especially stringent. And the Maggid [of Mezritch, Rabbi Avraham’s father was stringent too, for he] took the mitzvah of baking his own matzah into his household, for it was known that he [also] was very stringent.”

And further he told:

“Once Rabbi Zusha hid himself in a wheel in winter and a fear of the angels came upon him and he couldn’t endure it. And he asked of the Holy one blessed be He that He would remove the fear from him.

“So it was with Rabbi Zusha, however, my grandfather, who himself was an angel, didn’t have a need for this. For his eating was from time to time from:
עור של בר יונה / hide of son of Jonah, but a person, it’s impossible for him to live on eating like this.”

(Holy cities).


The Tzaddik, Rabbi Yitzchak of Radziwill, when he heard the epithet, “the angel”, wanted to see him and to meditate on his doings.

He came to him on erev Tisha BAv and together, he and the Malach, went to synagogue to relate dirges.

Everyone sat on the ground and the Chazan began: “Eicha“!

And immediately the Malach brought in his head between his knees and became still.

The Chazan finished the dirges, the whole community went home and Rabbi Avraham remained at his place and his head between his knees.

Rabbi Yitzchak waited for him at synagogue until after midnight when Rabbi Yitzchak left him and returned to his lodging.

In the morning Rabbi Yitzchak got up early to come to the synagogue and was astonished to see the Malach sitting, his head upright and mourning for the destruction of Jerusalem.

So he sat the whole day, from evening to evening.

Rabbi Yitzchak said afterwards:

“It’s not for no reason that they call him by the name Angel. This is no mere mortal, but it is an angel.”

(Generation of knowledge)

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