Leaving the Kiev airport on the way to Uman for Rosh Hashanah last year, the driver of our van offered to first take us to visit the kevarim of other tzaddikim in Vilednik, Berditchev, and Mezhibuz for a very reasonable additional cost. We immediately agreed and drove through the night on bumpy Ukrainian back roads without sleeping; arriving in Vilednik at midnight, Berditchev at 2:00 a.m., and Mezhibuz at 4:00 a.m.
In Mezhibuz, I spent a lot of time by the kever of the Degel Machaneh Ephraim. I had last visited Mezhibuz 10 years previously and had not expected that I would have time to visit his kever during this visit. I was absolutely amazed how circumstances presented me with this opportunity.
Since the time of my last visit, not a day had gone by in which I hadn’t learned Degel Machaneh Ephraim. I couldn't help but conclude that there was something symbolic about the fact that I had to first go to Mezhibuz before I could go to Uman during this trip. It was as if the Degel himself was saying, "Let me get this right, there is a person who learns my sefer everyday and tries to connect to my derech avodah and he is not going to visit me after he flew thousands of miles across the ocean??? I will simply not permit it!! He must first come to me, and then he can go to Uman to see my nephew."
Today, on the yahrzeit of the Degel Machaneh Ephraim, I am taking it upon myself to learn his sefer just five more minutes a day. I am doing this because I have recently concluded that it is my natural inclination to take on things in a big manner. However, I have found that it is best to do things by starting very small but with consistency every day.