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Tuesday
Feb102015

THE HOLY PROTECTRESS OF CHEVRON

Rebbetzin Menucha Rochel, granddaughter of the Alter Rebbe, lived in the holy city of Chevron for over fifty years. She left her stamp on the lives of the Jews of Chevron. In her honor, a beis midrash was founded in the home of her oldest son, R’ Yehuda Leib. She was admired by all and was known for her righteousness, great wisdom and for her blessings which came to fruition in supernatural ways. She used this wondrous power to bring salvation for the good of the Jewish people. This is one of many stories:

One of the Arabs in Chevron had absolute control over the springs of water in Chevron from where the townspeople drew water for their various needs. This Arab used his utter control over the invaluable commodity of water to the detriment of the Jewish residents. The Jews suffered greatly, especially on Erev Shabbos and Erev Yom Tov, but nobody dared to oppose this evil man.

One day, his only daughter became sick and she lay in bed in pain. Her father stood at her head to support her but could do nothing to help her. Even the doctors despaired. 

One of his friends advised him to ask the righteous grandmother who lived in Chevron for a blessing for his daughter’s recovery. “She is a righteous woman,” said the man. “Go to her; you can’t lose out.”

The Arab quickly went to the home of Rebbetzin Menucha Rochel and met her grandson, R’ Zev Dov Slonim. The grandson heard the shouts of the Arab and went to his grandmother’s room and told her what he wanted. She did not need to be told who this wicked Arab was. She asked her grandson to go and tell the Arab in her name that if he promised her that he would no longer harass the Jews of Chevron, then his daughter’s recovery was assured.

The Arab agreed to the condition, put his hand over his heart and swore that he committed to doing whatever the tzadeikes told him and he left the house in a rush. His daughter soon recovered and was back on her two feet again.

The Jews of Chevron would add that since that episode, you could see the Arab himself knocking on the doors of the Jews of Chevron on Friday mornings and offering barrels full of water.

A similar story happened, in that for a period of time Arab gangs ruled Chevron and robbed many Jews and impoverished them. They were daring and did not hesitate even in broad daylight to bother and threaten people and even rob them. The situation deteriorated until a common refrain became, “Ten measures of suffering descended to the world and nine of them are suffered by the Jews of Chevron.”

The wife of the head of one of the gangs was pregnant at the time. When she went into labor, both mother and baby were in danger. The husband was beside himself with anguish.

One of his friends advised him to go to the righteous Jewess to get her blessing. Time was pressing and he rushed to Rebbetzin Menucha Rochel’s house and pleaded for his wife’s life. Once again, the Rebbetzin sent word that if he promised that from now on he would stop his terrible deeds and neither he nor his men would touch a Jew’s property, then she promised that all would be well. The man swore and when he entered his home the midwife told him that his wife had just given birth to a son.

From that day on, the Jews of Chevron could breathe more easily.

Even after her passing, Rebbetzin Menucha Rochel did wonders. Rebbetzin Pesha Hadassah Halperin related a story that happened immediately prior to her wedding when honored guests came from Yerushalayim to Chevron for Shabbos. That Shabbos, it poured. Torrents of flood waters came pouring down from the high mountains surrounding the town and flooded the low-lying area. The Arabs screamed in fear and fled for their lives.

Many Jews rushed for shelter in the shul that had been built for Rebbetzin Menucha Rochel in her lifetime. The oil lamp which was always kept burning in the shul, testified that it was many years already that she wasn’t among the living; only her memory burned in an everlasting fire. The waters rose and swirled and everyone was in danger. They looked at the fire with hope that the merit of the tzadeikes would arouse mercy on those who dwelled in Chevron.

When the water reached the height of the oil lamp, the flooding ceased, the rain stopped.

***

On the night of her passing, 24 Shvat, people witnessed most amazing things. In the middle of the night the Rebbetzin woke up and asked her aide to boil water so she could bathe and change her clothes. Then she had her family called for, her children and descendants. She even sent someone running to Yerushalayim to get her son, R’ Levi Yitzchok Slonim. As she waited for him, her lips murmured chapters of T’hillim and t’filla. She said, “My holy ancestors are here with me.”

As soon as her son, R’ Levi Yitzchok, walked into the room, she gave him her final instructions and passed away.

The Jews of Chevron walked bereaved behind the bier of the tzadeikes. Many of them would visit her grave and pray that she plead on high on behalf of the Jewish people and especially the Jews of Chevron who were so close to her heart.

From L’Saper M’Bereishis, vol. 1 Menachem Ziegelboim

 

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