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The Neshamos of the Sheep
There are those who
remembered events from a previous lifetime. It is known that the Yismach Moshe
(1759-1841) showed the mark on his shoulder that remained from the hit by
Yaakov when he was one of his sheep. The Apta Rav, author of the Sefer Oheiv
Yisrael, (1748-1825) would sing a melody that Yaakov would play on his flute to
gather his sheep.
The sheep that Yaakov rescued
from Lavan, says the Zohar, contained the נשמות, souls of the Jewish
These נשמות needed to be rectified as they were the נשמות from the דור המבול and דור הפלגה. This is also hinted to
in the Midrash
in this week’s Parsha that says Yaakov had 600,000 herds of livestock as this
is the number of נשמות of Klal Yisrael in each generation.
The purpose of Yaakov’s work
by Lavan was to redeem these נשמות from under the domain of
Lavan who wanted to uproot everything—ביקש
לעקור את הכל as we say in the Haggada. Is it any coincidence that we are
called צאן as in צאן מרעיתו, sheep of his pasture.
Rabbi Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’
Mordechai Friedlander Ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from
R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. Rabbi Alt has written on numerous topics for
various websites and publications. He lives with his wife and family in a
suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes and teaches. The author is
passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.
While the Yismach
Moshe spread the light of Chassidus to Hungary, he strongly opposed Chassidus (מתנגד) in his earlier years. When he
was a young boy, he traveled to see the Gra and even ate a Shabbos Seuda with
him. The Yismach Moshe asked him if he could remain in Vilna to become
his student. The Gra advised him to return home because Hungary needed
him. What the Gra meant is subject to interpretation but surely had he
remained in Vilna, the course of Chassidic history would have been altered. How did he become a Chassid? After the Yismach Moshe’s daughter married R’ Aryeh Leib Lipshitz, he
noticed strange behavior by his new son-in-law. When he realized that R’
Aryeh Leib was a Chassid, he admonished him. His son-in-law agreed to
give up Chassidus if the Yismach Moshe would travel with him to visit the
Chozeh of Lublin, his Rebbe. The Yismach Moshe not only left his
son-in-law alone, but he himself became a Chassid of the Chozeh and a Rebbe to
thousands founding the great Sighet-Satmar dynasty.
Emunas Itecha, Mattos, s.v. וידוע.
The Apta Rav said that his Neshama had lived in this world ten times before and
that he knew who he had been each time.
They were reincarnated as animals since they lost
their צלם אלה-ים,
Godly image, through their sins. Incidentally, at times we see people with
traits that resemble that of an animal. This is because, explains the Arizal,
in a previous Gilgul they were an animal.
See R’ Gershom to Eruchin 33a.