(MEANING: “THE MASTER OF SUFFERING” OR “THE AFFLICTED ONE”)
by Yerachmiel Tilles
Rabbi Leib “Baal Ha’yisurim” — “The Master of Suffering” or “The Afflicted One”– was an outstanding scholar and G-d-fearing man, a major disciple of Rabbi Shneur Zalman, the first Rebbe of Chabad. He was the first Chabad chasid to emigrate to the holy city of Hebron. It is not known how he acquired his title. At the end of his life he settled in Tsfat (a.k.a. Safed), where he passed away, old and accomplished, on the 15th of Mar-Cheshvan 1836.
Knowing his end to be near, he let it be known that anyone who found himself beset by insoluble problems (G-d forbid) should visit his grave. This amounted to a commitment to come to a person’s aid, and to this very day there are many who who visit his grave in Tsfat hoping to benefit from his assistance to their prayers, especially on Fridays. In those years (as in 5772 / Nov.11-13, 2011) when his yahrzeit falls on Friday or Shabbat, there is an enormous pilgrimmage to Tsfat.
You do not reach his site by going through the main entrance to
the Ancient Cemetery, as you would for the holy Ari and Rabbi Yosef Caro. Instead, you just before there you enter into the Military Cemetery and go out through the small gate at the back. Proceed down the path (passing the tombstone of the Lubavitrcher Rebbe’s brother on your left) until you come to the large vertical sculpture for Dov Groner and the other martyrs who were cruelly hanged by the British. Turn right and continue until you arrive at a tomb bearing plenty of evidence of many visitors.