Nothing is for sure in this world, and we can see that all too vividly.
The ground is shaking, literally. Buildings fell and tens of thousands were killed in a single day. Children waited at the bus stop and then traveled to the Yeshiva Shel Maalah. Mother went for a walk with her children on the riverbank, and the waves didn’t bring her back.
We are getting close to Seder night and we remember all those who drank the Arba Kosos and sang l’shanah haba’ah b’Yerushalayim, but did not merit getting there, and this year they are not with us anymore.
Can anyone promise us that we will merit making a Seder in year 5784?
R’ Shimshon Ostropoli promises!
“It is guaranteed to him” – מובטח לו – those are the exact words that are written in the Iggeres. מובטח לו שהוא ניצול כל אותה שנה – he is protected all year long.
Many years ago, in a dream at night, an angel of G-d came to R’ Shimshon Ostropoli and revealed to him one of the awesome sodos of the Torah.
R’ Shimshon lived in the years of Gezeiros Tach v’Tat, , otherwise known as the Chmielnicki Massacres of 1648–1649 in Poland and Ukraine. Entire Jewish communities were wiped out by the crazed, bloodthirsty mobs.
We feel a little like that today, like generations after generations of Yidden who were persecuted only because they were Jewish. Today as well, myriads of extremist Muslims fix bloodthirsty eyes on us and openly declare their intentions. And often they attempt to carry out their intentions, too.
In those terrible days, R’ Shimshon was taught the secret of the Ge’ulah by an angel sent from Heaven. Within the Ten Plagues, in the combinations of the letters of דצ”ך עד”ש באח”ב, is hidden the wondrous yeshu’a of Yetzias Mitzrayim.
When R’ Shimshon awoke from his sleep he wrote down the sod that was revealed to him. And at the end of the Iggeres, for those who understand it, he added a thrilling promise:
“אַחֲרֵי זֹאת הוֹדִיעַ אוֹתִי, שֶׁכָּל הַמְּעַיֵּן בַּסּוֹד נִפְלָא וְנוֹרָא הַזֶּה עַל מְכוֹנוֹ אֲפִלּוּ פַּעַם אַחַת בַּשָּׁנָה, וּבְיוֹתֵר בְּעַרְבֵי פְּסָחִים, מֻבְטַח שֶׁהוּא נִצּוֹל כָּל אוֹתָהּ הַשָּׁנָה מִכָּל מִכְשׁוֹל, וּמִיתָה מְשֻׁנָּה, וְשׁוּם אֹנֶס.”
Every year anew, this promise elicits total amazement. It is not a blessing. It is not a segulah.
It is a guarantee!
A guarantee made by a supremely holy person, by means of a malach from Heaven!
And we want this guarantee, this promise. We need it. If it was good enough even in the horrendous times of Tach v’Tat, it is surely good enough now.
For more than ten years we merited having Moreinu Sar Hatorah Harav Hagaon Chaim Kanievsky Zatzal read the Iggeres of R’ Shimshon Ostropoli on our behalf.
This year, Moreinu Harav Hagaon Mordechai Gross Shlita will read the Iggeres for us, in the exact same way and according to the same seder that Rav Chaim himself followed.
We need this guarantee, this promise. Too many tragedies have befallen the Jewish people since last Pesach. We need Vaad Harabbanim to activate for us the sod that the malach revealed to R. Shimshon Ostropoli, and set up for us the best life insurance plan in the world.
“We heard stories from people who read the Iggeres at the right time and merited real wonders.” So it is written in the introduction to the Iggeres.
There is a good reason why the Tefilos for Vaad Harabbanim’s donors are accepted so readily in Heaven. Your tzedakah keeps poor Jews alive, grants them life. And, midah k’neged midah, it grants you life and blessing as well.
In your merit, thousands of families receive food and clothing and medications. Your tzedakah works wonders. And, midah k’neged midah, you will be zocheh to wonders and brochos from Heaven!
You almost finished cleaning the house, just a few corners left to tidy up, and maybe part of the kitchen. You will soon take out the Pesach dishes. That’s always exciting. Then the 14th of Nisan will come! Maror and Charoses, shining silver and new clothes…
On this day you will merit receiving a life insurance. Not just for the money. It insures life itself!
Whoever is there, on the list of the Tzaddik, will have a different kind of Erev Pesach. In fact, his whole life is different! Divine protection accompanies him, removing obstacles and mishaps, saving him from any enemy and attacker and unusual death, granting him success wherever he turns.
Pesach will pass quickly. The leftover matzah you saved for Pesach Sheni will be finished, too. But your tzedakah, which you gave to thousands of poor Jews in Eretz Yisrael, will continue to accompany you for an entire year. It will protect you and hover above your head, together with the awesome sod of R’ Shimshon Ostropoli.
And the Tefilah of the Tzaddik on Erev Pesach, when there is no more chametz and the world is clean, will pave the way for you, it will remove stumbling blocks from the path of your children, it will protect you and your family and keep you all healthy and happy
And we will merit, with Hashem’s help, to get next year to the place where we really want to be.
לשנה הבאה בירושלים הבנויה!