On Moshe-Leib of Sassov

by Mark Chmiel

 

Before we leave Sassov, let us take a minute to ask ourselves these last questions:  Was Reb Moshe-Leib the forerunner of all those helpless men and women who, generations later, eternities later, continued to sing and rejoice even in the ghettos?  Even in the kingdom of night?  Even as they went into darkness?  Was their Ani Maamin, their faith in the coming of the Messiah, a reverberation of his?   Is joy possible — is faith possible — is hope permissible — when death is so sovereign?  Is joy the answer?  Is memory the answer?  Is there an answer?

How did Reb Moshe- Leib of Sassov, the symbol of compassion and love in Hasidism, put it?  “You who wish to find the fire, look for it in the ashes.”

–Elie Wiesel, Somewhere a Master: Further Hasidic Portraits and Legends

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