A certain rabbi in Russia owned a pair of tefilin that had been written by Rabbi Moshe of Peshevarsk. It is known that Rabbi Moshe wrote every word of tefilin in holiness and purity, so every existing pair is considered extremely valuable.

One day, as a sofer [writer of Torah, tefilin and mezuzah scrolls] at the request of the rabbi was inspecting the tefilin, he noticed a letter that seemed to be broken off, as though unfinished. The rabbi asked the scribe to complete the letter so that the tefilin would not be invalid, but the sofer said he could not touch his quill to tefilin scrolls written by the Rebbe of Peshevarsk. The rabbi then brought the tefilin to another scribe with the same request. This sofer, too, declined.

...the owner of the tefilin finally took them to a sofer without telling him who had written them.

In desperation, the owner of the tefilin finally took them to a sofer without telling him who had written them. When the sofer dipped his quill in ink and extended his hand to repair the letter, a book suddenly flopped out of the nearby bookcase, landing on the scroll of tefilin that lay spread out before him and covering it with dust.

Those present were startled. But this was nothing compared to the amazement they felt when they picked up the book. After brushing away all the dust from the tefilin parchment, they saw that the seemingly broken letter was actually complete!

But even that astonishment paled beside the emotion they felt when, about to replace the book that had fallen, they discovered that it was none other than the famous Ohr Penei Moshe, written by Rabbi Moshe of Peshevarsk himself!


[Connection to the Weekly Torah reading (this week and last): tefilin]

Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from "Stories My Grandfather Told Me" (Mesorah) by Zev Greenwald]

Biographical note:
Rebbe Moshe of Peshevorsk (1720 12 Tevet 1806) was the predecessor of the Peshevorsk dynasty (which since 1956 has been based in Antwerp). He was held in high esteem by the brothers R. Elimelech and R. Zusha, and many other chassidic giants. It is said of him that Rabbi Moshe Alshich often appeared to him and taught him Torah. His was famous for the perfection and purity of the Torah, tefilin and mezuzah scrolls that he scribed, which were eagerly sought after and are extremely valuable. He is the author of the acclaimed Ohr Penei Moshe, commentary on the Five Books of Moses and the five Megillot, and a subsequent volume on the Talmud.

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