Weekly Chasidic Story #694 (s5771-28 / 8 Adar B 5771)
Purim During Pesach!
Upon finishing the reading of the Scroll of Esther, a soul of a deceased person suddenly appeared to Rebbe Yosef Meir of Spinka.
This amazing story was told annually by Rebbe Yosef Meir of Spinka, after the Seder on the second night of Pesach.
Once, on the second Seder night, after finishing all the haggada and songs, a certain young man was still not tired. The thought entered his mind that as it is written that evil Haman was hanged on the second day of Pesach, it would be appropriate to now read the Megillah (Book of Esther). He decided to do so.
Upon finishing the reading, suddenly a soul of a deceased person appeared to him. “What do you have to do with me and what do you want from me?” he asked it.
The poor soul explained:
There are souls that even after being judged and receiving theirs (i.e., their punishment), they are still unable to enter the Garden of Eden until they have a special merit. However, there is one time in the year when anyone can enter, and that is on Purim at the time of the Megillah reading. Many months before Purim, there is already a line of tens of thousands of souls waiting for the gates to be opened. Still, the duration of the Megillah reading is only two or three hours. Whoever succeeded to enter attains his place, but the rest must wait until the following year. Every year, I also get on line, but because of the great crowding, the time ends and the gates are again closed before I can get in.
This year, I decided not to leave the gate; I would wait there until Purim the next year. But after only a short time, a month, I suddenly heard the Megillah being read, on Pesach night! I knocked on the gate of Gan Eden, until the guardian of the gate came out and asked me why am I knocking. I told him I heard the Megillah, so please let me in. He said, true, someone is reading the Megillah, but now is not the time for Megillah. I said, if the Megillah is being read, you must admit me.
In the midst of this dispute, a member of the Heavenly court came out and asked what we were arguing about. He listened to our explanations and agreed with the guard that now is not the time for Megillah. But he also said that if I were to go down to that young man who is reading Megillah, and he should decide that I can enter, then I will be permitted inside.
The veteran Spinker chasidim like to point out that whenever Rebbe Yosef Meir told a story about one of the tzadikim, he was always careful to include full details, and especially the name of the tzadik involved. Therefore, if he every year left this young man nameless, it could not be otherwise than that it was he himself!
Source: Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from a submission by Reb Ezra Rebhun.
Rabbi Yosef Meir (ben Rabbi Samuel Tzvi) Weiss (18 Adar 1838- 6 Iyar 1909), founder of the Spinker dynasty, attended the Chasidic masters of Belz, Vizhnitz, Zhidichov and Sanz, and studied under several prominent rabbinical sages in his native Hungary. In 1876 he became a Rebbe in his own right, eventually attracting many thousands of followers including prominent Torah scholars. He authored a number of important books, of which the most well-known is Imrei Yosef on the Torah readings and the festivals. He was also famous as a miracle worker. After many decades of being buried abroad, his remains were brought to Israel in 1972 and reinterred in Petach Tikvah; his body was completely intact!
Yerachmiel Tilles is co-founder and associate director of Ascent-of-Safed, and chief editor of this website (and of KabbalaOnline.org). He has hundreds of published stories to his credit, and many have been translated into other languages. He tells them live at Ascent nearly every Saturday night.