Letter by Rebbe Moshe of Kobryn – Av, 1853 – Regarding Collection of Funds for the Chassidic Settlement in Tiberias and New Year Blessings – Eight Lines in his Handwriting, with his Signature
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Interesting letter regarding collection of funds for the Chassidic settlement in Tiberias, with lines handwritten and signed by Rebbe "Moshe son of our teacher R. Yisrael" of Kobryn. [Kobryn], Av . The letter was written to three managers of the Kollel Reisin, R. David Eliyahu [son of R. Neta of Brody], R. Menachem Eliezer [brother of R. Moshe of Kobryn] and R. Menachem Mendel [son of R. Mordechai of Reisin]. The letter begins with the Rebbe's good wishes for the New Year: "Life and peace and blessing and a blessed good year, ketiva v'chatima tova…". This letter was written about four years before the Rebbe's passing and he writes that due to his old age, he cannot continue collecting funds for supporting the Chassidic yishuv in Eretz Israel. Further in the letter, the Rebbe outlines plans for the management and collection of funds for Eretz Israel from then on. At the end of the letter, the Rebbe made an effort and wrote eight lines in his own handwriting: "My friend… if G-d will give me life… I will not cease from expending efforts for… Although I do not know if I will be able to make the rounds by myself, I will do from my home whatever I can… G-d knows my heart that I want the best for them… and always seek their benefit. Moshe son of our teacher R. Yisrael". The ground of this letter: For many years, R. Moshe of Kobryn would devotedly and tirelessly make rounds throughout Lithuania and Reisin (Belarus) collecting funds to support the Chassidic settlement in Tiberias (descendants of the large Chassidic aliya in 1777). In his lifetime, his teacher the Saba Kaddisha R. Mordechai of Lyakhavichy (Lechovitz) appointed his disciple R. Moshe of Kobryn for this position. The Rebbe delegated the responsibility for collecting tzedaka for Eretz Israel charities to various gaba'im in a number of regions and R. Moshe of Kobryn would travel several times a year to collect these funds from the gaba'im. One of these gaba'im was a close friend of R. Moshe - R. Yechiel Rabbi of Novaya Mysh who died in Tevet 1852. At that time, R. Moshe who was nearing his seventies had aged considerably and could not continue these journeys. In this letter, he tells the managers of Kollel Reisin in Tiberias that his strength has ebbed and that he cannot endure these trips and suggests other ways to support the yishuv from then on. In the summer of 1855, the managers of Kollel Reisin in Tiberias wrote a letter to R. Moshe's eminent disciple R. Avraham Weinberg, author of Yesod HaAvodah requesting that he take this responsibility upon himself, and he acceded to their request. In their letter, they wrote: "Upon receiving the long letter from the Rabbi [of Kobryn, apparently referring to this letter], stating that he cannot travel anymore on his own, and he instructed us to urge and authorize someone who is fitting for this activity… On behalf of Eretz Israel and its settlers, we have unanimously agreed to burden you with this work…" (Yesod HaMa'alah, vol. 1, p. 351). R. Moshe Polier of Kobryn (1784-1858), an illustrious Chassidic leader and prominent Lithuanian tsaddik. Primary disciple of R. Mordechai of Lyakhavichy and teacher of the first Slonim Rebbe, R. Avraham Weinberg, author of Yesod HaAvodah. In 1810, after the passing of his teacher R. Mordechai of Lyakhavichy, R. Moshe joined the court of R. Mordechai's son, R. Noach, and after the latter's passing in 1833, R. Moshe was given the position of Rebbe in Kobryn. Holy lofty tsaddik, wonder-worker with ruach hakodesh, he loved the Jewish People with all his heart. He would pray with fervency until fainting from the exertion. Author of Beit HaLevi, whose father-in-law was a Kobryn Chassid, once said about him "Moshe Emet V'Torato Emet (Moshe is truth and his Torah is truth)" [the book Machshevot Nachum (pp. 239-240) cites that R. Chaim of Brisk was seriously ill in his childhood and the blessing of R. Moshe of Kobryn saved his life. The family of the Kobryn Rebbes was accustomed to saying that R
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