Rebbe Shmelke's Matzos
TOLD BY Y. TAMARI
Every year, when the month of Nisan arrived, the tzadik Rebbe Moshe Leib of Sasov would take up his walking stick and wallet and set out for Nikolsburg, so he could celebrate Passover with his own master, Rebbe Shmelke. Rebbe Moshe Lieb would fill a bag with wheat that he had harvested and threshed with his own hands and stored all winter in his attic, far from moisture and anything else that might cause it to become hametz* This was very important because this wheat was going to be ground into flour that could be used to bake the special seder-night matzot shemurot (made from wheat watched over from the moment of harvesting) for his master, Rebbe Shmelke.
Rebbe Moshe Leib imagined his master's pleasure when he gave him this precious gift and how, on the eve of Passover, in the afternoon, the rebbe and his disciples would don their Sabbath finery and work together to bake the matzot shemurot for the seder, reciting the Hallel psalms as they worked, in a state of great joy and intense devotion. And then, when night fell and the holiday began, his master would sit down to the seder and read the Haggadah** with fervor and enthusiasm. Afterward Rebbe Shmelke would eat the matzot shemurot prepared from the wheat in Rebbe Moshe Leib's bag, which he had guarded like the apple of his eye and would never sell for all the money in the world. Thinking of this, Rebbe Moshe Leib was filled with joy and was scarcely aware of the hardships of the journey.
The tzadik Rebbe Moshe Leib traveled on the road to Nikolsburg, going from city to city and village to village. All day he walked; sometimes he got a ride in a passing wagon. At night he would lodge with a farmer or a Jewish innkeeper. In this way, he had almost reached Nikolsburg. When darkness fell and he was looking for a place to spend the night, he passed a hut and heard children crying inside. He entered and
*A11 food and beverages that are forbidden during Passover.
**The book of liturgy, prayers, songs, and rituals used at the Passover seder.