Degel Machaneh Ephraim
Today, the 17th of Iyar, is the yahrzeit of the Degel Machaneh Ephraim.
Today is the yahrzeit of the tzaddik that I consider to be "my Rebbe" even though he passed away 172 years before I was born. This tzaddik was the rebbe in my family's shtetl and his sefer is my conduit to the past and path of my ancestors.
Rabbi Lazer Brody and learned a little bit of this sefer together in January. After learning a small piece on the topic of kedusha and speech, Rabbi Brody suggested we learn something in this sefer relating to the parsha of that week, Parshas Beshalach. At the end of the paragraph Rabbi Brody's eyes lit up, having found the connection between what we were learning and my own personal connection to this sefer. Excitedly, he translated the Degel's words from Hebrew:
"...and I wrote this for perhaps Hashem will provide that one of my sons or my students will come and understand and expound upon this."
Four years ago I visited the kever of the Degel Machaneh Ephraim in Medzhebuz. I left a kvittel there asking for Hashem's assistance in parnossa and also for Hashem's help to be able to understand this tzaddik's sefer. Within four months of my return home I got a new job with a $28,000 pay raise.*
I am still working to receive the second brocha of understanding. Each day, without fail, I continue to learn a bit of the tzaddik's sefer. Today, on his yahrzeit, I completed it for the third time and started back on the first page for the beginning of the fourth cycle. If each time I complete it I understand 1% more, I need to go through it at least another 96 times.
...or perhaps 101 times.
* The Degel Machaneh Ephraim is buried next to his grandfather, the Baal Shem Tov. On the 27th of Tammuz 5761, my wife and I both left a kvittel on kever of the Baal Shem Tov asking that Hashem bless us with our first child. We found out that my wife was pregnant on the third night of Chanuka that year.
The brocha of parnossa that I received provided a salary that continues to enable my wife to stay home to this day, thank G-d.
Note: It is a little known fact that April 30, 1945, the day Adolf Hitler (may his name be blotted out) committed suicide, corresponded to the 17th of Iyar on the Jewish calendar. Perhaps it was the merit of this tzaddik that rid the world of Hitler.