Weekly Chasidic Story #705 (s5771-39 / 26 Iyar 5771)

Rabbi Yossele Tulchiner, son of the famed Seer of Lublin, packed a number of his
dear departed father's momentos into his travelling bag.

Connection: ??? Perhaps Seasonal -- ticking/counting towards The Shavuot festival, anniversary of receiving the Torah from G-d at Mt. Sinai.


Ticking Closer

Tisha b'Av, 1815. The "Seer" of Lublin had passed away. All of his chasidim were grief-stricken, and his son, Rabbbi Yosef ('Yossele') of Torchin, most of all.

Weeks later. The time came to apportion his worldly possessions. His silken Shabbat garments, his belt, and the clock that always hung on his wall - these fell to the lot of his son, who in his own right was known as a man of great righteousness.

More weeks went by. Finally the Torchiner was able to tear himself away from Lublin, in order to move on with his life. On his way home, such a heavy rain pelted down that his wagon could not struggle along any further. Soaked to the bone and chilled, he was forced to seek refuge at the first welcoming shelter that he could find. The villager was very hospitable and took him in, built a warm fire, offered him a warm drink, and something with which to cover himself in his discomfort. He spent the night there…and then another day and night as the storm continued in its fury.

When the weather finally cleared some days later, the host requested some payment for the lodgings and food. "I haven't got a solitary coin in my pocket," explained Reb Yosef, "but I do have a number of sacred possessions. Perhaps there is something here that would be of value to you."

He opened up his sack and displayed his treasured inheritance on the table, inviting the villager to choose an object for the value required. The man was no chasid, and none of these things meant anything to him. He turned to his wife for advice, and she replied: "The clothes are of no use to us; neither is the belt. The clock, though, could be useful: every morning it'll tell us what time to milk the cow."

So they took the clock in settlement of the debt, and the son of the "Seer" left and continued on his way.
* * *
Years later another tzadik passed through that village. This was Rabbi Yissachar Dov, the Sava Kaddisha of Radoshitz, one of the Seer's esteemed chasidim, and now a Rebbe in his own right with many followers. Because of the late hour, he too spent the night at the house of the same hospitable couple, -- in fact, in the very room in which that clock hung. But he did not sleep a wink. Instead he danced and sang all the night through.

Early in the morning his host, who himself had not slept a wink because of the tumult, knocked on the door of the guest room and asked the tzadik what had made him so joyful that he sang and danced the whole night.

The Rebbe answered with a question: "Please tell me, where did you get the clock that is in the room I stayed in?" The villager explained that he had received it in lieu of payment from a man who had no money. The Radoshitzer then asked him what this traveler looked like. "Aha! I thought so," he exclaimed after hearing the description.

"As soon as I heard this clock tick," explained the Sava Kaddisha, "I could tell that it had belonged to our master, the tzadik of Lublin. You see, with every clock in the world, each tick signifies another second of life gone, spent, never again to be claimed. Every hour chimes the message to its owner that he is one hour nearer to his passing.

"Now this is, to be sure, an important message - but the fact is that its sound is melancholy. However, the clock of our Master, the Seer of Lublin is different. I remember it well from his room. It ticks always exultantly, and tells those who listen that we are one second, one minute, one hour nearer the coming of the Mashiach !

"Even though I was exhausted when I arrived and wanted to sleep, I couldn't. The tick-tock of the Rebbe's clock is marching us towards the Redemption, so of course I was too happy to sleep, and I danced all night instead."
Source: Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from the translation by Uri Kaploun in "A Treasury of Chassidic Tales" (Artscroll from Sipurei Chasidim by Rabbi S. Y. Zevin, and from the version on heichalhanegina.blogspot.com in the name of Grand Rabbi Michil Twerski of Milwaukee (right--see bethjehudah.org).

Connection: ??? Perhaps ticking/counting towards The Shavuot festival, anniversary of receiving the Torah from G-d at Mt. Sinai.

Biographical notes:
Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchok Horowitz (1745 - 9 Av 1815), known as 'the Seer of Lublin', was the successor to Rabbi Elimelech of Lizensk (1717-1787), and presided over the spread of chassidus in Poland. A significant percentage of the great Rebbes of the next generation emerged from his followers. Many of his insights were published posthumously in Divrei Emmes, Zichron Zos, and Zos Zichron.

Rabbi Yossel of Torchin (1782-1818) was the son of the Chozeh of Lublin, and some say that the Seer viewed him as his successor. All respected him as a man of great piousness.

Rabbi Yissachar Dov [1765-18 Sivan 1843], the "Sabba Kadisha" (holy grandfather) of Radoshitz, was a disciple of the Seer of Lublin and of the Holy Yid of Peshischa. Famed as a miracle maker, he lived in poverty as a simple tutor.


Yerachmiel Tilles is co-founder and associate director of Ascent-of-Safed, and chief editor of this website (and of KabbalaOnline.org). He has hundreds of published stories to his credit, and many have been translated into other languages. He tells them live at Ascent nearly every Saturday night.

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