22 Av 5781 / Saturday, July 31, 2021 | Torah Reading: Eikev
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Rabbi Moshe Leib Sassover    

Rabbi Moshe Leib Sassover

Date of Passing: 4-Shevat. Rabbi Moshe Leib was a disciple of Rabbi Shmelke of Nikolsburg. He excelled in love of God, Israel, and Torah.


Rabbi Moshe Leib Sassover
(4 Shevat 1807) Rabbi Moshe Leib was a disciple of Rabbi Shmelke of Nikolsburg, one of the greatest students of the Maggid of Mezeritch. He excelled in Love of God, Israel, and Torah, exemplifying the ideal of the Baal Shem Tov.

Rabbi Moshe Leib was born in Brod, Poland, a city known for its Torah scholarship, and was the son and grandson of great Torah scholars. He learned under the great Rabbi Shmelke of Nikolsburg and eventually became his closest disciple.
When Rabbi Moshe Leib left yeshiva, Rabbi Shmelke gave him three gifts: a white caftan, a loaf of bread, and a coin. On the way, he veered off the main road to find lodgings in a small village. He passed by a building and heard crying from a barred window. He quickly went over to the window and discovered a Jew imprisoned by his landlord for not paying a 300 ruble debt. Rabbi Moshe Leib threw his loaf of bread to the Jew, and then proceeded to the house of the powerful landowner. He said, “You must free that Jew immediately! Here’s a coin to redeem him.” The landowner laughed in his face – “One little coin for a three hundred ruble debt! What impudence! Get out of my house!”
Rabbi Moshe Leib left, but returned again later. He said, “You must free that Jew! Here’s a coin to redeem him!”
“Take that Jew and send him to the dogs!”, the Landowner commanded his servants. They picked Rabbi Moshe Leib up and threw him into the dog kennel. Rabbi Moshe Leib saw the eyes and teeth of the fierce hunting dogs and knew that if he didn’t act quickly, his end would be near. He immediately pulled out the white cloak his rebbe gave him and put it on. At the sight of him, the dogs immediately backed off in fear and cowered in a circle around him. The Landowner was frightened by the sight and understood that it was a supernatural phenomenon and freed Rabbi Moshe Leib.
Rabbi Moshe Leib however refused to leave until the landowner would let him redeem the imprisoned Jew. 
Editor's Note:
For a different version of the above story and other rescue attempts, read Emptying Purgatory.

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