Home History The Dust of Mitzvot

The Dust of Mitzvot

by Gedaliah Fleer

Rebbe Nachman said that a poor person is closer to God because he recognizes how much he has to rely on God for his every need. In fact, it would be a good thing if his followers were not wealthy. “Still,” Rebbe Nachman continued, “in each generation there will be a few of my people who will be wealthy enough to help others.”

R’ Moshe Yuroslovski was such a man. He distributed enormous sums to charity, as well as to the printing of Rebbe Nachman’s books. He would arrive in Uman quite a while before Rosh HaShanah, rent an enormous hall, and prepare a large amount of food. He would then announce that anyone who wished to spend the month of Elul in Uman, preparing himself spiritually for Rosh HaShanah by praying at the Rebbe’s grave and in the Breslover kloyz (synagogue), could be his guest and eat his food. Hundreds of people came to Uman in Elul, and R’ Moshe also arranged places for them to sleep.

Once there wasn’t enough flour in Uman to prepare challahs for Rosh HaShanah. R’ Moshe traveled to a nearby city to obtain flour. He bought two sacks, and on the eve of the holiday found himself at the train station, waiting for the last train back to Uman. At the station, R’ Moshe noticed other Breslover chassidim who were also on their way to Uman. He asked them to help carry the heavy sacks on to the train, but the chassidim were afraid they would miss the crowded train, and refused.

R’ Moshe told the chassidim that this was for the Rebbe’s Rosh HaShanah. “And if you don’t want to help me,” he added, “then let me tell you that, God willing, I will make it to Uman, but you will not.”

That is exactly what happened. The train was completely filled with passengers, but since everyone was afraid of getting dirty from the sacks of flour that R’ Moshe was carrying, they moved aside to make room for him to enter. The others, however, couldn’t get in. This story shows that when a person wants to do a mitzvah with his whole heart and is willing to act with self-sacrifice, God helps him accomplish his goal.

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