Rabbi Avraham “Hamalach” Wants His Company

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The Yahrzeit of Rabbi Yisroel of Polotzk (d. 1780) is commemorated on the 4th of Shvat. The following meise / hasidic tale appeared in Sefer HaHasidut, Meah Tzadikim, Raphael, Yitzchak, 1961, Tel Aviv. (Freely translated by Gabbai Seth Fishman.)

Rabbi Avraham “Hamalach” Wants His Company

It was the custom of Rabbi Israel of Polotzk to travel in the province.

He was in transit on the way to the town of Fastov. In this town lay the grave of Rabbi Avraham “the Malach”.

After arriving in town, Rabbi Israel went to prostrate himself on the holy grave.

When he came back to the inn, he lay on his bed and sent word to call the Chevra Kadisha and told them:

“Avraham the Malach wanted to meet with me, for I am to be his neighbor in the cemetery after I die.

“But, I was unable to satisfy his request for the meeting he wanted.

“Therefore, behold I inform you, that in just a few moments I will here close up my days and you will bury me adjacent to his grave.”

Immediately, when he was done speaking his words, he gathered his feet into the bed and closed his eyes and turned over his holy neshama to God of the souls.

(Sefer HaHistalkut, p. 19)

4 Responses to “Rabbi Avraham “Hamalach” Wants His Company”

  1. Monique~Miriam Says:

    Rabbi Yisroel of Polotsk may have known that “death is just the beginning” when he chose to *close his days*, like one closes a book one has borrowed from the limitless library of life and returns it to the shelf, before going on to study more expanded ways of Ha’Shem.


    So what, one may ask, was-is-may be- the single element that keeps Reb Yisroel a hassid through and through?

    My guess has to do with the fact that even at the time of what is commonly considered *death* in our world of extreme limitations, he kept his focus on soul-reality and returned his holy neshama to the *holy God of the souls.* This might be one of the better choices a pious lover of the divine can choose if he/she wishes to remain connected to the community of hassidism.

    Exploring such stories reinforces in me the knowing that we have more allies that we know or remember. Faithful allies to call on, whenever we feel we need them. This is a good time to do so.

  2. Gabbai Seth Fishman (Blog Editor) Says:

    Thank you!

  3. Monique~Miriam Says:

    A bit hard to take maybe ( i thought later ) but even harder to experience (**i feel** i feel, on this earth, now***). Innovators tend to find themselves treading on thin ice. In Eastern Europe, they did. Hassidim did not climb, they took chances. How many hassidim are left? Oy, gevalt, where are the sweet yiddele of times past, who studied torah and sang niggunim at the third meal, at Maleve Malchat, i pray for we get there in time of the greening of the pastures. And that on the way there, i receive help, i cannot imagine it not benefitting the highest and the good of all.


    While waiting for spring time, we transform.
    Ein brera but t’fillah will help. Pray for us. l’hitpallel b’v’kaßha.

    Thank you!

  4. Gabbai Seth Fishman (Blog Editor) Says:

    amen! Ken Yhi Ratzon!

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