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10 Nisan, 5784 - April 18, 2024 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Mesiras Nefesh in Siberia and Not Eating Chometz

by A. Avrohom

Polish Jews who escaped to Russia make Pesach in 1943

It was erev Shabbos kodesh. Jews from all corners of the city are hastening to fulfill Hashem's command to prepare their Shabbos needs. The aromas of the baked goods and cooked delicacies fill the air. The Jewish streets, which bustle with activity, are like hives where the bees are waiting to savor the honeycomb — the sacred Shabbos. The voices of the vegetable merchants, urging people to purchase their wares, mingle with the noise of the busy street.

Shabbos kodesh...Shabbos kodesh is the message conveyed by the song which all are humming and is the thrust of all of the movement in the Jewish street in the Russian city of Slutsk.

The joy which found an abode in every home of the city stopped short at the threshold of R' Benzion Nisan, the melamed. In this household, sorrow prevailed, for its deathly ill master, R' Benzion, had felt so ill that day that he summoned his sons. As his many children gathered around his bed, he asked them to take siddurim in hand. The veteran melamed was preparing to leave this world. With a serious expression, the children opened the siddurim, and their father taught them how to recite the mourner's Kaddish.

"Yisgadal Veyiskadash shemai Rabbah," began the father. "Now say after me, word for word."

"Yisgadal Veyiskadash..." repeat the tender children with childish innocence. The father listens to see whether they have pronounced the words correctly, and continues to teach even the tiny tots. The tots, who do not know how to read, follow the older children, and say: "Yehai Shemai Rabbah..."

Then, when they reach the words, "Oseh shalom bemeromav...Hu ya'aseh shalom oleinu...," they all step backward. R' Benzion Nisan finishes teaching his sons how to say Kaddish, and quietly returns his soul to his Maker.

The suffering of the family began from that moment. That very month, calamity struck again, and their mother died. Grief and bereavement enveloped the house, which had been transformed into a place of desolation and emptiness, devoid of all content, and broken at its very foundations.


Orphanhood and loneliness were the lot of the young Avrohom Eliyahu, offering him no support and no rod on which to lean. He carved out his path in life, as his home fell apart.

The other children found places in the homes of relatives, but Avrohom Eliyahu took care of himself, alone. His situation was so difficult and abject, that he understood that he could depend only on his Father in Heaven. Tearfully, he contemplated the verse, "For my father and mother have left me, and Hashem has gathered me." He incorporated this message into the depths of his soul, and bound himself to Hashem.

"No man can help me in my sorrow," he mused, "or rescue me from my loneliness. But Hashem is with me, everywhere. He is the Father of orphans, and now He is my only father." From that moment on, Hashem would be his only comfort.

He searched for living quarters. Between one seder in yeshiva and the next he needed a place to rest a bit and to put down his small suitcase. He asked his fellow townsmen to help him find a room to rent.

In the end, he was sent to a small alcove in one of the homes, a tiny room — daled al daled — which was generally used by the servant of the house. It was there that he chose to live. He needed no more than that. The tiny alcove was enough for him. As long as he had a small, quiet corner where he could refresh himself from his daily toil in Torah, he was satisfied.

He entered the apartment, and the owner showed him the narrow room. He gave him the keys, and then left him. Something which was barely a bed, barely a mattress, was spread on the floor of the room. A vessel for neggel vasser, a chair and even a tiny table had been pressed into it, too.

But Avrohom Eliyahu did not expect comforts or pampering. He knew for certain that this world is only temporary, and that there is nothing to be gained from delights and pleasures.

He placed his suitcase on the table, spread a sheet on the cot, arranged the room and was content with his lot. What more could a person ask for?

His father and mother had taken nothing with them. They had lived lives of poverty and want. But are they lacking anything now? To what avail are the possessions and pleasures of the wealthy man once he reaches the World of Truth? Can he then savor the delicacies he so enjoyed when he was alive?

"The small amount which I have is all that I really need," he told himself. He was so satisfied with his lot, that he did not even require explanations or excuses for it. He had more than enough.

He felt that he had taken on a new burden — the burden of a self- sufficient person. From now on, with the help of Hashem, he would support himself. He would build his personality from the rubble of his bereavement and grief.

A livelihood from where? Food from where? In order to quiet his hunger, he would visit the public park twice a day, once in the morning and once again in the evening, after a tiring day of study. There he would collect discarded bits of bread. After removing their crusts, lest they had come in contact with forbidden foods, he would eat them.

These bits of bread constituted Avrohom Eliyahu's only source of nourishment, and had he not been so immersed in Torah and so removed from materialism, it is quite doubtful that he would have thought of living in such a way.

His situation brought him to fulfill the dictum, "Eat bread dipped in salt and drink water in measured amounts, sleep on the ground and toil in Torah."

Yes! That is a way of life about which Chazal say, "Fortunate are you in this world" if you pursue it. Not only in the Next World, which offers eternal happiness to all who toil in Torah, will you be fortunate, but even in this world, the corporeal world.

That was how the youth carved his path in life!

Memorial to Jews of Slutsk

Sorrow and travail were his lot, and the Torah comforted him. Bereavement and orphanhood found a support under the shadow of the wings of <>HaKodosh Boruch Hu, and suffering took shelter between the pages of the gemora.

From morning until night, he was totally immersed in Talmudic topics, probing and plumbing the depths of Abaye and Rava, eliciting the pearls which are scattered between the letters of the Talmud and the rishonim, and delighting in them. Once again he would dive into the great waters, and again discover that Hashem's Torah is replete with gems, and whoever is willing to bear the burden of Torah, is rewarded, immediately.

Along with his progress in Torah, he advanced in his yiras Hashem. He studied works of mussar and chassidus in depth, and his refined soul was deeply inspired by this study. From day to day, he advanced in his avodas Hashem.

The beis medrash at the outskirts of Slutsk was raising, in its midst, a truly elite scholar. There, behind the platform, beside the ancient table, on an aged bench, he sat, planted in the tents of Torah and blossoming into a great tree whose fame was spreading outside the beis medrash, too.

The worshipers who arrived at mincha time, were drawn by the charisma of the pleasant melody of Avrohom Eliyahu's Torah study, and they regarded him as a model ben Torah, whose inner essence is outwardly apparent. They would gaze at him from a corner and drink in the kedusha Avrohom Eliyahu emitted. It was an inspiring experience to watch how talmidei chachomim were being fashioned, and to witness, first hand, the true meaning of toil in Torah.

Thus, humbly and quietly, far from the spotlights, Avrohom Eliyahu studied Torah and became a precious Torah vessel, replete with Torah wisdom.

At various Bolshevik conferences, wicked ideas took form. Communist ideology had captured the hearts of the citizens, and the engineers of the approach set various goals for themselves, the main one being to wipe out Hashem's Name (chas vesholom) from the land.

Not the Jews — but their Jewishness. Not their bodies — but their souls. They sought to deplete the Jew of thousands of years of tradition, and to discard the content of his soul like refuse, to divest it of its Jewish garb and raiments, and to transform the Jews into ordinary members of the human race, while pacifying their souls with Communist doctrines. They espoused "justice" in a superficial sense and "equality" only by to the selective definitions of the Bolsheviks.

The masses "bought" the approach. The Jews feared it. Gedolei Yisroel warned against its consequences, and many Jews fled to the wilderness, in order to continue to live as Jews and not fall prey to the new danger.

However, living a Torah life was a difficult feat — a very difficult one, which grew harder with every passing year. The stronger the Bolsheviks became, the more they oppressed the Jews. Torah students felt that the noose around their necks was growing tighter. Jews, davening in synagogues, felt that their prayers were becoming magnets for starved Bolsheviks. The situation was very dire.

Outwardly, the Bolsheviks had slogans which said that everyone has the right to behave according to the dictates of his conscience and to practice his religion in private. However, in reality, the Bolsheviks — with the help of the wicked slanderers and inciters of the Ivsektzia — did all in their power to destroy the very foundations of the Torah fortresses of Russia.

For this purpose, they used every possible means available, no matter how terrible they were. They stormed homes and synagogues, carrying out Jews in disgrace, accusing them of attempting to betray the government and to incite others against it. The suffering of the Jews knew no limit, and persecution and torture were their daily fare. Many Jews were sentenced to death, and many others were exiled to Siberia for life.

The vise clamped around the yeshivos. Even the yeshiva in Slutsk, which had been headed by the gaon, R' Isser Zalman Meltzer, who had moved to Eretz Hakodesh and had placed Avrohom Eliyahu in charge, was on the blacklist of the Bolsheviks, who decided to close it. The local authorities summoned the rosh yeshiva, and forbade him to hold any more study sessions in the yeshiva.

His heart heavy, he tremblingly entered the yeshiva's study hall, the official order in his hand. With a heart-rending cry, he told his students about the decree. The scores of students, who were present at the time, gaped at him like helpless, injured sheep. They looked at their esteemed and beloved rosh yeshiva, and expected to derive a ray of hope from him. But no, his terrible, inescapable silence told them the answer: "The yeshiva will soon to be closed. We must hasten to leave Slutsk. Our lives are in danger."

When the students left the room, they took one last look at their beloved yeshiva, and with tear filled eyes, cast a farewell glance at the "workshop" — the forge — where bnei Torah were fashioned, and which had become one of the main pillars of European Jewry. With that, the yeshiva in Slutsk closed.

Bent and harassed, but trusting in Hashem yisborach, R' Avrohom Eliyahu, accompanied by his family and close colleagues and students, continued on. Like a firm rock, he strengthened himself and those who went with him. Under no circumstances did he permit despair to overcome them. After much wandering and travail, they arrived in Minsk.

And what was in Minsk at that time?

In the past, it had been a city of synagogues and houses of study, a city over which the spirit of Torah had hovered day and night, winter and summer. This ancient and illustrious community, whose roots penetrated the depths of the age old Jewish existence, had also been laid desolate. The wicked Bolsheviks had stormed the city with rage, in order to uproot and expunge every glimmer of Torah and faith it contained.

The yeshivos of Minsk were closed. The houses of learning, whose doors had become worn as a result of the streams of learners who constantly entered and left it, were bolted. The mikvehs, which had purified thousands, and tens of thousands, over the generations, were shut, and many decrees were leveled against the Jews. The edict forbidding Jews to observe the cherished Shabbos was unbearable. They were also warned not to observe other mitzvos.

Suddenly, in just a short period of time, the glory of the city of Minsk vanished, and was buried in secret nooks and crannies. Once more, Jews could not fulfill the mitzvah of congregational prayer and could not observe other mitzvos in public. Whoever could remain strong under such conditions, could only fulfill the mitzvos in secret, for even outward appearances had to be equal under the Bolshevik rule, without any signs of Yiddishkeit.

Such were the demands of the Bolsheviks, and opposing them meant placing one's life in danger. However, they could not steal Yiddishkeit from souls, and with that the Jews lived.

It was in the religiously persecuted Minsk, that R' Avrohom Eliyahu arrived — to Minsk, which battled for Yiddishkeit with great courage, and whose gedolim did not stop strengthening the people. The glory of Minsk, which had been desecrated in full public view, touched the hearts of all who feared Hashem.

A person like R' Avrohom Eliyahu immediately became involved in the problems of the city. With great strength and vigor, he took action, in order to bolster religious life in Minsk. His mind churned with thoughts about how to enhance Hashem's glory, and the idea of establishing a yeshiva began to take shape — Yeshivas Mesiras Nefesh.

Yes, without a sign and without supporters, a yeshiva was founded — because anyone who came to the outskirts of Minsk in order to study Torah, and was willing not to forego even one crownlet of our sacred Torah, was sacrificing his life al kiddush Hashem.

The rosh yeshiva was its founder, R' Avrohom Eliyahu. He taught his students the various selections of the gemora which deal with self-sacrifice. The students who attended his shiurim felt that they were prepared to undergo all the suffering in the world and all sorts of torture, and even to die for Heaven's sake.

From this yeshiva, other groups branched out. Various synagogues were opened anew, with much dedication. Thus, in a matter of a few years R' Avrohom Eliyahu managed to return the glory of Minsk, at least on a small scale. However the authorities, who saw his success, began to persecute him, until actual danger hovered over his head, and he and the yeshiva were forced to go underground.

The Communists watched every Jewish activity, and it was clear to them that R' Avrohom and his yeshiva would continue to learn. They even sought to catch him in action, and to arrest him and sentence him to death. But the yeshiva hid in various places, sometimes in private homes, sometimes in cellars or attics.

One day, they gathered in the home of R' Meshulem Dovid, one of the students of the yeshiva. As they were immersed in a sugya in Yoma, someone pounded on the door. Before anyone had even approached the door, the pounding hammer of the police, who were trying to force the door open, was heard. The close watch they had kept over R' Avrohom Eliyahu had brought them to the house, and they were certain that they had found their prey.

However, during the brief interval between the knocks and the breaking down of the door, the yeshiva students managed to escape through the window. The door opened wide, and R' Meshulem Dovid, who had hidden the books which had been on the table, looked at them innocently. "What is the matter?" he asked. "Why didn't you wait for me to open the door? Of what am I guilty that you saw fit to break into my house?"

"Your Rebbe sat in this house, and there was a religious gathering here," shouted the officer who had accompanied the police. Immediately, he ordered them to search the people in the house. When they found nothing, they mumbled a word of apology and left, a bit annoyed.

R' Avrohom Eliyahu, though, didn't stop his activity. Instead, he continued to assemble groups of Jews. But the belt continued to tighten around him. Once again, he was forced to escape through the window, and to hide in basements. But even under such circumstances, he felt that whatever he was obligated to do at the moment, he would do with utmost devotion and self-sacrifice, for it was a time to act for Hashem. No power on earth could prevent him from doing this, for this was his mission, and for its sake, he had been sent down to earth. And he continued.

When he felt that lives were really being endangered, he decided to study in secret, and alone. He found a place where he could toil over his Torah diligently and in depth. Every time he met other Jews, he would radiate tremendous trust in Hashem, and would strengthen their mitzvah observance and encourage them to keep all the fine points of the law. He himself continued to fulfill all the mitzvos, without foregoing even one crownlet of the Torah, and did not violate even one stringent rabbinic ruling. He sanctified Heaven's Name in public, without fear.

Avrohom Eliyahu was watched by the Bolsheviks. They knew that despite the decrees and the warnings, he would continue to learn and to teach, and they waited for the chance to seize him in action. Scores of detectives followed him and tried to find out where he was all day. But he continued to walk within Hashem's world, striding calmly to his hiding place.

With special, predetermined taps, he knocked on a door of a house and entered it. He went down to the basement to study. That day was Tisha B'Av. He sat on the ground and studied the calamities mentioned in Gittin. He had just begun to study, when the Bolsheviks seized him. Someone had burst in through the front the door. He approached R' Avrohom Eliyahu, placed his hand on his shoulders and ordered him: "Follow me!"

There was nothing he could say or do, for he was handcuffed, and led out into the street. The police, who awaited him upstairs, ordered him to march by foot to the police station which was at the edge of the city. They wanted to show the entire town what happens to someone who rebels against the decrees of the Communist regime.

In Minsk, rumors spread like wildfire, and quite soon all knew that R' Avrohom Eliyahu had been arrested. The Jews, who had felt secure and sheltered under his care, understood that evil had befallen them. He was everyone's rav. He was "Hashem's man," and he imparted trust and faith to his entire surroundings. They came to the place where he had been arrested, and saw for themselves how their beloved and esteemed rav was being publicly led to the police station, followed by a group of policemen.

The trek was difficult, because the roads of Minsk were unpaved, and R' Avrohom Eliyahu, who was barefoot because of the fast of Tisha B'Av, was not ready to violate the halacha, and preferred to remain without shoes. Again and again, the police advised him to put on shoes, so that he wouldn't hurt his feet as he walked. But no. He was not one to forego observing the halacha, even if he had to suffer pains of Iyov as a result.

One of the important members of the community suggested that he put on shoes, claiming that it was matter of pikuach nefesh to go barefoot. But with characteristic resolve, R' Avrohom refused to heed him. He said: "During the time of a decree, one goes to his death even for the sake of a shoelace."

And he continued on his tortuous path. He was imprisoned for a number of days, and was subjected to investigations and torture for a full night. In order to break his spirits, they would project bright lights directly in his eyes, so that he could not fall asleep.


After such torture, he was summoned before the judge. The writ of accusation against him said that he had undermined the government by not obeying its orders and by attempting to incite citizens against it. Accompanied by armed police, and handcuffed, he was brought to the stand of the accused. The grim faced judge looked and angrily asked him what he had to say about these serious accusations.

With bravery and courage, he proudly faced the Communist judge and told him: "Under no condition will I listen to or obey a mortal. I will not do anything which negates our sacred Torah."

He paid very dearly for his words. The enraged judge condemned R' Avrohom Eliyahu to exile in Siberia, and with that, a new chapter of his life opened.


White deserts covered huge expanses. It seemed as if a gleaming cloth had been spread over the entire strip of land. The spanking whiteness could have given the entire region a festive, joyous look, had it not been a land where the condemned met. The whiteness was of course the snow in which they wallowed from morning until night.

The tranquil appearance was for them a sign and reminder of the frost — the terrible frost of many degrees below zero. The frigid temperatures transformed their bodies into veritable ice cubes, which longed for a bit of warmth, or at least for some respite from the terrible cold. It was Siberia!

A locomotive, which chugged along the train tracks for over two weeks, made its way into Siberia. In the freight cabin sat two prisoners, who had been sentenced by the Communist courts of "justice." They huddled in blankets and in their clothes. For them, this was their first encounter with such freezing weather, and slowly, from station to station, the frost penetrated deeper and deeper into their bones, piercing their bodies like sharp knives. The long trip was for them just the beginning of a dead-end — a life of labor in Siberia.

Among those seated in the cars was a man who was not bothered by the cold. His eyes were sunken and his forehead was furrowed. The aura of purity which radiated from his glowing face indicated that he was not an average person, but one who was head and shoulders above the populace. He pressed himself into a corner and prepared himself for his long exile, making resolutions and decisions.

The fear that he might lose his human image under the severe working conditions of Siberia, plagued him. He was pained by the thought that he might not be able to observe the mitzvos carefully. He tried to devise fences and boundaries which would enable him to withstand the trials which awaited him. He repeated to himself the fences which pertained to mesiras nefesh — a topic which he was very familiar.

He also made very pointed decisions, and resolved that, while in Siberia, until matters reached the point of pikuach nefesh, he would not forego even one rabbinic chumra. Who knew if there would be even one Jew in the camp?

But Kudsha Brich Hu was there, and therefore, R' Avrohom Eliyahu would continue to behave as he had always done in the yeshiva and at home. Wherever he was, he would continue to practice the mitzvos with utmost precision and care.

One of his decisions was not to desecrate the Shabbos. It is not simple to uphold such a resolution. The refusal to work is truly a matter of life and death in Siberia, Nevertheless, with strong determination and with Hashem's help, he felt that he could withstand the trial.

And this was only one of his resolutions!

When he arrived in Siberia, he entered the work camp and received a room. For R' Avrohom Eliyahu, this was a true labor camp — a camp for the labor of the heart, a camp where he could demonstrate his devotion to Hashem under the direst of circumstances. He was sure that no evil would befall him if he behaved with mesiras nefesh, and fulfilled the mitzvos, come what may. Fulfilling the mitzvos at all costs was uppermost in his mind, and not whether he would live or die.

Shabbos in Siberia was like Shabbos in Slutsk for R' Avrohom Eliyahu. As soon as the sun set, he would retreat to the corner of his room, and imbued with feelings of holiness, would welcome the Shabbos. "Likras Shabbos lechu veneilcha, ki hi mekor habrocho..." he would calmly chant, truly feeling the depths of the words.

"Shabbos is the day on which Hashem rested from all His labor," he mused. "Therefore, we were commanded to rest on this day, no matter where we find ourselves. What does it matter whether I am here or there. The universe belongs to Hashem, and as a Jew I am obligated to do all in my power to observe the Shabbos."

But it wasn't easy. He had been assigned to build houses for the tourists who visited the region in the summer. Living quarters for over a thousand people had to be prepared. On his first Shabbos in Siberia, he was sent to work with a certain gentile. Their job was to load carts with building materials, and to transfer them to the construction site.

What did he do? He bribed the gentile, by offering him the bread tickets he had received for a number of days, and the gentile agreed to do all of the forbidden labors. In that manner, R' Avrohom Eliyahu was nearly totally spared from chillul Shabbos. He went without bread for a number of days. But of what consequence is bread in comparison with Hashem's will?

That Shabbos, he even had an accident. He fell from a cart which was loaded with sand, and the cart trampled him. The cart was very heavy, and the pain he suffered was unbearable. "Why has this happened to me?" he asked himself. Immediately, he justified the verdict, and pinned the accident on the possibility that while he was working — despite his efforts not to desecrate the Shabbos — he might still have committed some slight transgression, and therefore deserved to be stoned.

He said: "Let this accident be instead of the punishment of stoning," and made a firm and definite resolution, that under no circumstances would he ever again desecrate the Shabbos, not even in the lightest matter. He made this resolution, even at the risk of being sentenced to death, because he knew that no harm can befall one who fulfills the mitzvos.

He also managed to secure tefillin quite often. During his entire stay in Siberia, he always tried to find tefillin, and, whenever he encountered Jewish prisoners who had been brought to Siberia, he asked them to lay tefillin. He did this many times, each time with tremendous mesiras nefesh.

When Succos arrived, R' Eliyahu planned to build a succa. The police who were constantly watching him, nearly thwarted his plans. However, with much persistence, he searched for a way to build a Succa, and finally discovered a solution to his problem. Not far from his living quarters, was a pit, more then twenty hands breadths deep. He made his way to the pit in secret, branches in his hands. He covered the pit and it became a kosher succa!

With much satisfaction, he returned to his hut, and there prepared himself for the holiday. He remembered the entire order of the Jewish calendar, and on Succos night, went down into his pit, and there ate his first kezayis in the succa. He then recited the blessing of "asher kidshanu bemitzvosav vetzivanu leisheiv basuccah..."

Imagine the impression his act made in Heaven! A person sits alone in a pit in Siberia and eats a piece of bread which is saturated with deveikus and with genuine mesiras nefesh. He knew that if he were caught, he would be punished in the strictest way possible. However, R' Avrohom Eliyahu had already resolved that throughout his stay in Siberia, he would not violate even one mitzvah, and would fulfill all that he could without compromise.

On one of the days of chol hamoed, when he was seated in his succa, the policemen noticed him. They removed him from the pit and beat him harshly, until he began to bleed.

Each day in Siberia, he wrote another page of courage in the book of mesiras nefesh and courage which was his life. In the Siberian cold, a warm Jewish heart continued to burn and became a raging fire, whose flames not even much water could extinguish — a heart which was filled with a true fervor of kedusha and the flames of trust and faith. With amazing will power, he managed to remain alive in Siberia until his release, nine years after his arrest.

He risked his life many times, and quite often, was merely a step away from death. Yet he passed this difficult period in his life, and became a godol beYisroel.

In Eretz Yisroel

At a sheva brochos celebration, which he hosted in his home in Eretz Yisroel, he told about the greatest miracle which occurred to him. It was not his body which had been saved by a miracle, but his soul, and this incident caused him to see that Hashem was always watching over him, and always saving him from sin. This is what happened:

According to his calculation of the yearly calendar, he concluded that it was leil bedikas chometz. His small room had been cleaned of chometz, and he began to check all the nooks and crannies of his room — wherever he could reach — for crumbs.

After he had completed the mitzvah, he was happy, and made ready to eat his evening meal. He prepared a piece of bread in the corner, and stepped over to the pitcher in order to wash his hands. He had not even recited a blessing, when he heard loud knocks on the door.

He opened it, and on the threshold stood a government official, who notified R' Avrohom Eliyahu that a package had arrived for him, and that he should take it immediately from the warden's office. R' Avrohom set out, and reached the warden's office. He was quite happy, because he assumed that his family had sent him matzos for the seder.

He reached the office, and, in the presence of the warden, opened the package. It contained various belongings. The warden examined them and gave them to R' Avrohom, on the condition that there were no problems with them. Suddenly, the warden withdrew what seemed to be a small notebook. But it was really a calendar.

The warden opened the calendar, and asked: "What is it this?"

R' Avrohom Eliyahu glanced at the at the calendar, which was open 0precisely to that day's date. And what did he see? Oy! He had made a mistake, and leil haseder was that very night!

He turned pale with emotion, and barely managed to hear the rebukes of the warden, who criticized him for asking his family to send such things. Of course, he was not given the calendar. But he did take back something else. He returned to his room, excited and thrilled over the knowledge that Hashem was with him always. Hashem had granted him siyata deShmaya, and had saved him from eating chometz on Pesach!

For him, this was the greatest miracle that had occurred throughout all the difficult years during which he was persecuted. The fact that Hashem does not bring about stumbling blocks to tzadikim, was fulfilled through him. Because he had been prepared to give up his life for the sake of the mitzvos — both the "light" and the "heavy" ones, so to speak — Heaven spared him from eating chometz on Pesach.


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