(s5762-29 / 22 Nissan 5762)
A REAL JEWISH MOTHER
Once, Rabbi Dovid Biederman, the Lelover Rebbe,
decided to undertake the arduous, almost day-long trek on donkey from Jerusalem
to the gravesite of Rachel Imainu.
REAL JEWISH MOTHER
[This story was told to Benyomin Adilman
by his friend, Reb A.N. Brizel, a 5th generation Yerushalmi who heard
it as a child. It took place about 90 -100 years ago.]
A renowned personage of the old Jewish settlement in Jerusalem was
the holy Rabbi Dovid Biederman, the Lelover Rebbe. He was known
as a tzaddik among tzaddikim. His only concern in life
was whether or not he was living up to the expectations of his Creator.
Once, the Rebbe decided to undertake the arduous, almost day-long
trek on donkey from Jerusalem to the gravesite of the matriarch Rachel,
just outside of Jerusalem in Beit-Lechem (Bethlehem).
He set out early in the morning, right after the conclusion of the
sunrise minyan. The entire way he contemplated and organized the prayers
he would say there. He wanted to be sure not to forget anything, since
it was only infrequently that he had the opportunity to make the journey.
When he finally arrived he saw that was not alone. A woman with a
number of small children had arrived previously and was making herself
at home in the monument's domed chamber. She had already spread out
a blanket and laid the youngest child down to sleep, and was busy
preparing the evening meal.
The Rebbe was incredulous. Did she have no regard for the sanctity
of the site? Didn't she realize where she was? How could this woman
busy herself with such mundane matters in such a Holy place?
He approached the woman and in a less than friendly tone demanded
The weary woman looked up at him from her seat on the floor and replied
softly, "I would think that our Mother Rachel would be pleased
that we are eating and resting here."
The Lelover felt suddenly faint and uneasy. He realized that he had
been making the journey to Rachel's Tomb for decades and had not even
begun to understand what it represented.
Here was a simple unlearned woman, yet she possessed a profound grasp
of the true holiness of Rachel's Tomb. What had been be doing here
all those years!
He now understood that Rachel was the mother who wept and prayed for
Her desire is only that we should have some relief, some comfort in
life, some peace of mind in order to better serve the Holy One.
From that day on, whenever he traveled to the Tomb of Rachel, he made
sure to bring with him a meal which he would share with all the others
who came to entreat our mother Rachel to intercede for them and bring
their prayers on high.
Adapted by Yrachmiel Tilles from www.nishmas.org, the website of Nishmas
Chayim Yeshiva in Jerusalem, of which Rabbi Benyamin Adilman
is the Rosh Yeshiva and author of a very interesting, but sporadic
weekly parsha sheet, B'ohelei Tzaddikim.
Rabbi Dovid Zvi Shlomo Biederman (1844-5 Elul 1918) was one of
the most respected rabbinical figures in old Jerusalem through World
War I, and the leader of its Chassidic community. He was the official
head of Kollel Warsaw, and in 1883 succeeded his father as Lelover