"And his name shall be called in Yisroel . . . "
Chassidim and family waited to hear the name that Reb Moshe of Lelov would call his son at his bris. Many had guessed one illustrious grandfather or another, but they were all in for a surprise.
"Elozor Mendel," the avi haben announced. Strange. Everyone knew there had been no such name in the family at all.
When the chassidim pressed to know the reason behind this name, the father replied, "I called him after Reb Elozor, the son of the Rebbe Reb Meilech of Lizhensk, and after Reb Mendele of Riminov.
"The two of them appeared to me in a dream before the bris asking that I name my son after them."
Reb Elozor Mendel took over and led the chassidus at the young age of twenty-four when his father passed away.
However, at the age of thirty, he fell seriously ill. The best doctors were called to his bedside, but each one in turn gave him no chance to live. None had a cure for the ailing young man in the prime of his life.
His mother, the older Rebbetzin, watched as the last of the professors prepared to leave her son to his fate.
"Ribono Shel Olom," she cried, turning her eyes and hands heavenward.
"I hereby donate twenty-five years of my life as a gift to my son, for many are those who need him!"
Miraculously Reb Elozor Mendel began to recover and, before the week was over, his mother passed on to the next world.
Reb Elozor Mendel was particularly drawn to Eretz Yisroel and its sanctity.
"Why is Eretz Yisroel still called Eretz Canaan even after it was conquered from the Canaanim?" he would ask.
"The word `Canaan' denotes that only if one has hachno'oh, if we subdue ourselves — only then can we be zocheh to the Eretz Hakodesh."
Rabbeinu spent many hours in tefilloh every day next to the Kosel Hamaaravi.
His custom was to stand there barefoot, oblivious to the heat of the stones in summer or their numbing cold in the winter.
When asked if the heat or cold doesn't bother him, Rabbeinu replied, "On the other side of the wall is the gate to Gan Eden. A person who stands at the shaar of Gan Eden doesn't feel anything!"
Jerusalem's old-timers used to say in the name of Reb Elozor Mendel that on Friday evening at the time of Kabbolas Shabbos, the holy Ovos, Avrohom, Yitzchok and Yaakov are present at the Kosel Hama'arovi.
Rabbeinu heard of a group of mekubalim who regularly went to daven Kabbolas Shabbos at Me'oras Hamachpela in Chevron.
In answer to Rabbeinu's question as to the reason for this minhag, they replied that they wished to daven Kabbolas Shabbos with the correct kavonos fitting to daven with the Ovos hakedoshim.
"If so," countered Reb Elozor Mendel, "then all the more should you come to the Kosel Hama'arovi, for it is a fact that the Ovos are there on Friday night, and not in Me'oras Hamachpela.
A chassid who had come to Eretz Yisroel from Poland was finding life very difficult in Yerushalayim. He yearned to travel back to his Rebbe in Poland.
"Is it not enough for you to have a Rebbe like the Kosel Hamaaravi?" asked Reb Elozor Mendel.
"I want a Rebbe who answers me, not one who just listens," was the rueful reply.
"Believe me," exclaimed Reb Elozor Mendel, "when I pour out my heart in tefilloh by the Kosel usually, by the time I leave there I feel I have been given an answer from heaven."
The Yerushalayim minhag to go to the Kosel on motzei Tisha B'Av came from Rabbeinu. During Tisha B'Av he would stay away, but as soon as night fell he would be seen rushing towards the Kosel for, as he said, "I want to be among the first of the comforters of Tzion.
One Pesach, the holy Divrei Chaim of Zanz had finished conducting the Seder and began saying Shir Hashirim. Soon he was lost in his lofty thoughts as the room fell silent. Suddenly, the Rebbe sat up straight and spoke to those around him.
"You should know," he exclaimed, "it has been revealed to us from Heaven that the most beautiful Seder was the one conducted by Reb Elozor Mendel in Yerushalayim!"
Actually, Reb Elozor Mendel was in a sense "Pesachdig" all year round. Before closing any sefer he would shake it out, ensuring no crumbs were left between the pages, saying, "A Jew who shakes the crumbs out of his seforim every time he uses them fulfills the commandment of Lema'an tizkor — remember the day you went out of Mitzrayim all the days of your life."
When the son of the Divrei Chaim, the Divrei Yechezkel of Shinova, visited Eretz Yisroel, he traveled together with Rabbeinu to Chevron. Traveling past the rocky hills that make up the Israeli landscape, the Lelover exclaimed to his guest:
"Shinover Rav, do you see the mountains dancing? Do you know why they are dancing? Because the holy Ovos walked over them."
Remarked the Shinover, "One who sees the mountains dancing probably has holy, shining eyes."
Upon bidding farewell before he left to return to Shinova, the Divrei Yechezkel was given a silver snuff box by Rabbeinu.
"I'm giving you this silver box," Rabbeinu declared, "as a segulah to guard you on your journey and to save you from the sin of the meraglim, so you may not, choliloh, transgress the aveiroh of dibas ho'oretz — talking denigratingly about Eretz Yisroel."
One Friday following an Arab festival a frightening rumor spread among the Yidden of Yerushalayim.
The Arabs are readying themselves for a pogrom against the Jews of Yerushalayim.
Fear gripped every Yerushalmi as they closed their shops early and began to hide and barricade themselves in their homes.
The dread grew stronger from one minute to the next and a panicky crowd formed at the door of Reb Elozor Mendel of Lelov, begging him to have mercy and daven on behalf of all Yerushalayim.
Rabbeinu remained calm and continued saying Tehillim. He then went to the window and called out loud, "Let me hear what Hashem will speak" [Tehillim 85:9]. His head cocked to one side, as though listening for an answer. After a few moments, he continued the posuk, "For He says Peace to His people and to His pious ones."
Turning to the anxious crowd, the Rebbe reassured them not to fear for nothing would happen. And so it was. The day passed uneventfully and so did the next, and the one after, until everyone forgot the rumor altogether.
In the middle of the Purim seudah of the Purim Hameshulash in Yerushalayim, suddenly Rabbeinu's neshomoh returned to its source, to the sorrow of all Yerushalayim's inhabitants.
The Rishon LeTzion, Rabbi Meir Shalom zt"l, wept bitterly and cried out before the bier, "Woe is to us people of Yerushalayim, that our Purim had been turned into a Tisha B'Av."
During the shiva, when the family and talmidim were going through the different events in his lifetime, they realized that from the day that Rabbeinu lay sick at death's door and his mother, the Rebbetzin, gave him her gift of life for twenty-five years, there had passed to date with the date of the levaya, exactly twenty-five years!