Real Life Stories and Experiences of Yidden Settling in Eretz Yisroel.
The second Modzitzer Rebbe, Rabbi Shaul Yedidya Elazar Taub, (1886-1947) an outstanding Talmid Chochom, had tremendous love for Eretz Yisroel and prophesied that a Jewish State would come into being. Sadly he passed away on Shabbos, the 16th day of Kislev, Nov. 29, 1947, the day the UN voted for the Partition Plan of Palestine. A gifted composer of a thousand niggunim, the Rebbe was known as the Imrei Shaul after one of the Seforim consisting of a collection of his writings. He claimed that he had much more inspiration to compose when he was in the Holy Land. The first time he visited Eretz Yisroel was from Poland in 1925. He composed there many new melodies. one of which is especially popular, Koh Ribon Olam. It is believed to have been composed Shavuos night at the Kotel.
The Imrei Shaul traveled again to Eretz Yisroel two more times from Poland. In 1938, he fled Poland due to Nazi persecution and travelled to Vilna, and from there made his way to Japan. Eventually, with the help of some Modzitzer Chassidim, he and some family members reached the shores of San Francisco. He then moved to Brooklyn in 1940 where he had a great following. Nevertheless, he traveled to Eretz Yisroel, hoping to settle there. That was not to be. He became very ill and passed away not long after his arrival.
The Rebbe created new melodies for the tefillah of Hallel which were in the form of a march. When his chasidim questioned the composition and singing of march tunes by a people without a country, flag or military, the Rebbe’s response was that a Jewish State would soon come into being and marches would also be needed. He was especially known for his extraordinary love for Eretz Yisroel. In Kuntres Tiferes Yisroel # 6 5706-1945, he writes: “We say that Yeshivas Eretz Yisroel is not in any way less than the rest of the Mitzvos that are performed, such as putting on Tefillin and such. So could it possibly occur to someone that he can perform the Mitzvah of putting on Tefillin by just thinking about it or intending to do it or wanting to? Even with the greatest of intentions, one is not Yotzeh without actually tying the Tefillin onto his arm and head. The same with Yeshivas Eretz Yisroel. We are obliged one and all to do and to carry out the settlement of Eretz Yisroel in any and every way we can. And then hope and pray for the help, deliverance, and salvation of Heaven Hashem willing. (Kuntres Tiferes Yisroel Number 6 5706-1945)”
The Rebbe was niftar in Tel Aviv at the age of 61. Several days before his passing, he had left open a Tanach to Sefer Zechariah , Perek 14 pasuk 4, where Har Hazeism is mentioned.
A question was posed to the Chazon Ish whether to bury the Rebbe on Har Hazeisim as the Arabs were rioting over the UN resolution and it was dangerous at the time to travel from Tel Aviv to Yerushalayim. The Chazon Ish responded, “a Jew who came to Eretz Yisroel to die, after so many trials and tribulations, should be buried on Har HaZeisim, regardless of the danger”.
The Rebbe was buried hastily without a Matzeva. The opportunity to put on a Matzeva took place only nineteen years later after the Six Day War when Har Hazeisim returned to the nascent Jewish state.
This article is part of our Haaretz Hatovah series featuring Yidden living in, settling, and building up Eretz Yisroel. For more information please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.