Counting the Minutes

The great Chassidic Rebbe, Reb Dov Ber of Radoshitz, was traveling across the Polish countryside. Night fell, the roads would soon be unsafe, and so he directed his wagon driver to stop at the first Jewish inn that they could find.

In a short while, they had pulled up in front of a small Jewish tavern. The owner welcomed them in warmly, helped them with their bags, fed and watered their horse, and prepared for Reb Dov Ber a special room reserved for traveling rabbis and noblemen. After praying the evening prayer, Reb Dov Ber retired to his chambers and to bed, tired after the long day's journey.

Soon the house was quiet, the fields outside still. Only the occasional barking of a lone farm dog broke the silence of the night. And yet . . . the clock on the wall -- it was ticking in the most amazing way; it wouldn't let Reb Dov Ber sleep. He tossed and turned in his bed. He got up and started pacing the room. Verses from the Books of the Prophets flooded his mind, songs of deliverance and hope. He tried to lie down again, but the clock kept ticking, until he was forced to rise from bed once more. Thus he spent the night, pacing the room in anxious anticipation.

In the morning, the tired but exhilarated rabbi approached the inn-keeper. "Where did you get that clock in the room?" he asked.

"That clock? Well, several years ago another rabbi stayed in the room, Reb Yosef of Turchin, the son of that tzaddik, the Seer of Lublin. He came for only one night, but the weather turned bad and he was forced to stay for several days. In the end, he found that he did not have enough money to pay the bill, so he covered the difference by giving me that clock. He said that he had inherited it from his father."

"Now I understand why I couldn't sleep," said Reb Dov Ber. "Most clocks in the world only cause depression, for they count the hours that have passed -- another day lost, another opportunity gone by. But the clock of the holy Seer of Lublin counts the time that is coming - - another minute closer to the final redemption, another second nearer the age of universal peace."

(C) Eliezer Shore, Bas Ayin