• The Shepherd Who Prayed

    R’ Leib Sarah’s was a tremendous tzaddik. He did much on behalf of the Jewish people, both spiritually and materially. Most of his wondrous deeds were done secretly • Full Story

    Pennsylvania, Lancaster County, Amish Horse And Buggy. (Photo by Education Images/UIG via Getty Images)

    Beis Moshiach/By Nechama Bar

    R’ Leib Sarah’s was a tremendous tzaddik. He did much on behalf of the Jewish people, both spiritually and materially. Most of his wondrous deeds were done secretly.

    R’ Leib Sarah’s was very involved in redeeming captives who were victims of cruel landlords. He also sustained hidden tzaddikim. In addition, he made great efforts to have evil decrees annulled. But above all else, he would spread Chassidus among simple Jews.

    He traveled a lot. Wherever he went, he looked for lofty souls that were within simple Jews. When he found one, he would invest all his strength and lift it up to high spiritual levels.

    On one trip he sensed with his ruach ha’kodesh that in the town of Sirintz in Hungary there was a very lofty soul which he had to elevate.

    It was Shabbos when he found this out and right after Shabbos he told his wagon driver to harness the horses because they were leaving.

    R’ Leib Sarah’s journeys were wondrous. His wagon driver did not have much to do. He would merely direct the horses until the exit of the city and then the Rebbe would take the reins and the wagon driver would close his eyes.

    Instantly, the horses would begin galloping, crossing huge distances in a few minutes. In a single moment they entered a town and the next moment, the town was already behind them. It was like they flew.

    That’s the way it was this time too. The wagon driver spent most of the trip fast asleep and it was only when they reached Sirintz that he suddenly woke up and began directing the horses himself.

    The early morning sun had risen and a cool, refreshing wind blew. The Rebbe walked to the local shul for Shacharis and immediately afterward began looking for the man with the lofty, lost soul.

    His ruach ha’kodesh led him outside the city gates where there was a large wooded area. The Rebbe walked among the trees and prayed for the successful conclusion of his search.

    The sound of a shepherd’s flute could be heard in the distance. It was playing a pure tune and R’ Leib Sarah’s sensed that a holy soul was there.

    He followed the sound until he reached a young boy, about eight years old. The boy wore rags and near him were geese that were eating seeds. The boy looked refined and he took care of the geese patiently.

    “Hello,” said R’ Leib Sarah’s, greeting him. “Where are you from?”

    The boy stopped playing his flute and said, “I am orphaned from my father. He died a few years ago. Since then, I live with my mother. We live in a little hut in the forest and struggle to earn a little money each day to buy a bit of bread to sustain us.”

    The Rebbe asked the boy where his house was located and he hurried over there. The poverty was evident everywhere he turned. The woman was surprised to have a guest and her face expressed her wonder over a rabbi coming to her house.

    He explained, “I met your only son in the woods and was very impressed by him. He is very pleasant and has good character. He takes care of the geese patiently and happily.”

    The woman was happy to hear this, although she wondered what else the rabbi had to say.

    “I would like to raise your son. Please let me take him. I will train him in the way of the Torah and he will grow up to be a good Jewish merchant.”

    The woman thought it over. On the one hand, it was hard to part with her son. On the other hand, she knew that this was the best thing for him.

    As she thought about it more, R’ Leib Sarah’s handed her a large sum of money and said, “This money will suffice for you for a long time. Now you can live in dignity.”

    The woman rejoiced at this angel who showed such care for her and her son, even though she had never met him before. She felt she could rely on him and she gave her consent.

    When the Rebbe went back to tell the boy that his mother had consented to the plan, the boy was very happy. He yearned to study Torah.

    The Rebbe put him on the wagon and they traveled together to Nikolsburg. The way back was as speedy as the trip there. When they arrived, the Rebbe went to his friend, the holy Rabbi Shmelke of Nikolsburg.

    “I have brought you a lofty soul, a soul whose source is the Chamber of Song and Music. I am giving him to you and you will do what needs to be done. See to it that it rises to the level it has the potential to attain,” he requested of his friend.

    The shepherd boy grew up in the home of R’ Shmelke who took care of all his needs, like he was his son. R’ Shmelke devotedly and lovingly taught him Torah and Chassidus and revealed deep secrets to him. The boy turned out to have a brilliant mind and he understood what his teacher taught him. He slowly became elevated as befit his great soul.

    During this period of time too, the former shepherd did not stop composing shepherd songs. The songs that he used to play on his flute for the geese, he now sang to Hashem. But he changed the words to express his yearning to return to Hashem and to merit the Geula.

    Among the songs that he sang as a shepherd was:

    Forest, forest, how vast you are
    Rose, oh rose, how far you are
    If the forest were but smaller
    Then the rose would be closer
    If you would take me from this forest
    Then we could be, the two of us, together.

    He changed the words to a plea for the Geula:

    Galus, Galus, how vast you are
    Sh’china, Sh’china, how far you are If only the Galus were shorter
    Then Your Presence could be closer
    If You would take us from this Exile
    Then we could be, the two of us, together.

    The shepherd boy grew up to become a great and holy rabbi by the name of Rabbi Yitzchok Isaac Taub, the Kaliver Rebbe.

    One day, the holy Ropshitzer Rebbe heard this song with the special lyrics. He was so moved by the tune and the words that he exclaimed, “When the holy Kaliver Rebbe sings this song, there is a tumult in the heavens and mercy is aroused on the Jewish people. Groups of merciful angels go to the chamber of Rabbi Leib Sarah’s and thank him and say, “Blessed are you for giving us this precious soul.”


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