Reb Elimelech answered calmly, “Not to worry; we are here, not there.”
The tzaddik explained to his puzzled chassidim that a harsh edict had been drawn up by the Austrian Sovereignty against the Jews. In those days sand was used as a means of drying the ink on a newly drafted document. At the exact moment when the sand was about to be utilized in the kingly court, Reb Elimelech spilled his soup — causing them to reach instead for the inkwell. As a result, the official document was rendered completely illegible and useless.
Reb Mendele had been so engrossed in his own visualization of the happening as it unfolded in the Austrian czardom that he fleetingly believed Reb Elimelech would be made to suffer incarceration for his chutzpah’dik act — prompting his Rebbe to assure him that they were safe at their own table, far away from the Austrian court.
Following the tzaddik’s petirah…
As a child, R’ Sholom (later to become the first Belzer Rebbe renowned as the Sar Sholom) began to save up money to be able to travel to Lizhensk to see the eminent Reb Elimelech. When he finally had enough to make the trip and resolved to go for Pesach, to his great dismay he learned that Reb Elimelech had passed on to the next world on the 21st of Adar. The young Sholom, all of eight years old at the time, was acutely distressed. That night the Rebbe Reb Elimelech came to him in a dream to say, “You wanted to come and see me; here I am, look at me.”
The next morning when R’ Sholom excitedly related his dream, he was laughed at — until the youngster gave a true-to-life description of his nocturnal visitor.
* * *
Purim recalls our attainment of the highest spiritual summit in every sense. Ever since Amalek first embarked on its evil pursuit of the Jews, Hashem swore by His Throne that our enemy would be annihilated. By way of the Purim miracle, Haman along with his children – descendents of Amalek – were obliterated from this earth and the glory of G-d shone forth.
It was truly a time of “orah v’simcha v’sasson” – light and gladness and joy. In the merit of our re-immersing ourselves in the cleansing and healing waters of Torah and our achievement of complete teshuvah, we were privileged to bask in the triumph of eradicating our foe. As that awesome turn of events is tied to our eventual Geulah Shleima, Purim will forever be observed.
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