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A Message in Code

by Gedaliah Fleer

On my trip to Uman in 1963, Reb Michel Dorfman gave me a small handwritten book penned by Reb Alter Tepliker. “This book is very dear to me,” Reb Michel said. “But if I remain in Russia, so few people will ever see it and in the end it will be lost. I am giving this book to you as a gift, since you will be able to take it out of the country.”

When I came to Israel and showed it to Reb Hirsch Leib Lippel, he told me that it really belonged to him. He said that after Reb Alter had transcribed the book, he left it with his son, and Reb Hirsch Leib had bought the book from him for 50 rubles. However, when Reb Hirsch Leib was ready to leave Russia, he was afraid to take the book with him, so he left it with Reb Avraham Sternhartz, who gave it to Reb Michel who had married his granddaughter.

“Reb Michel gave you this book so that it should reach me, because it is mine,” Reb Hirsch Leib insisted. “But if it is in your possession, it means that it was supposed to be in your possession. Just allow me to look at it.”

Every day R’ Hirsch Leib told me how much the book was reviving him. Since it was written in a cryptic style, I wondered how he had learned to decipher it. He told me that Reb Avraham had stayed up an entire night studying the book until he figured out its code. Then he explained to Reb Hirsch Leib the meaning of each and every word.

Sometime later, Reb Hirsch Leib agreed to show me, Reb Zvi Aryeh Rosenfeld and Leibel Berger the meaning of the abbreviated words. Yet we were unable to understand the book’s deep and profound meaning.

I did understand one thing. Rebbe Nachman said that the Mashiach will redeem Israel with a “general redemption” and a “private redemption.” And before the redemption, the Mashiach will come to Rebbe Nachman’s tziyun (gravesite) in Uman.

After I saw those words written in the manuscript that Reb Alter had copied directly from a manuscript written by Reb Noson, my desire to reach the tziyun for Rosh HaShanah grew even greater.

From “Against All Odds”

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