The chassidic community in Poland was in a state of shock. The great chassidic master Rabbi Moshe of Lelov had decided to ascend to the Holy Land and settle there. How could they possibly go on without his leadership?
To his closest disciples the rebbe revealed that when he was a small boy, his father, Rabbi David of Lelov, had said to him: “I did not merit to see the Holy Land, but you must go there. Through your divine service which you will perform there, you will succeed in bringing Moshiach sooner, and hastening the Redemption.”
The rebbe passed through many towns and villages on his way, accompanied by his chassidim. At the town of Sadigur, he stopped to say his farewell to the famed master, Rabbi Israel of Ruzhin. When the Ruzhiner Rebbe heard of Rabbi Moshe’s plans to journey to the Holy Land, he begged him to wait and allow him to go along. But Rabbi Moshe was impatient to continue his journey. “My white beard is unwilling to allow any postponement,” he replied; and so he continued his journey alone.
From time to time, when the retinue stopped, Rabbi Moshe delivered discourses of chassidic teachings. He expressed his intentions to his disciples, telling them that upon his arrival in Jerusalem he would "first go to the Kotel (Western Wall) and sound the shofar, so that all the supernal worlds will tremble. I am also bringing with me the kiddush cup which belonged to my teacher and rebbe, the “Seer” of Lublin. This cup is filled with great holiness, which will enable me to work many wonders. I will refuse to move from that spot until Moshiach comes!”
Rabbi Moshe continued his journey until he reached the seaport. There he bid a final farewell to his disciples and, together with his family, boarded a vessel bound for the Holy Land. After a long voyage, they reached the longed-for shores of the Holy Land. Proceeding to Jerusalem, they reached the gates of the Holy City.
No sooner did they approach the city gates when the precious goblet which had belonged to the “Seer” slipped from Rabbi Moshe’s sack, and shattered on the stones.
They tried to continue their journey, but Rabbi Moshe was suddenly overcome with a severe illness. They had no choice but to break their trip until he recovered. But the chassidic master’s health continued to deteriorate. In a few short days, Rabbi Moshe felt that he would not live much longer. He entreated his family to quickly carry him to the Kotel, and this they did, fearing that his end was indeed approaching.
But as they hurriedly carried the tzaddik toward the Kotel and were about to reach the final turn, they were attacked by Arabs hurling stones down from the surrounding houses, and were lucky to escape with their lives.
Rabbi Moshe of Lelov passed from this world 72 days after his arrival in the Holy Land, without having realized his fondest dream and without having succeeded in bringing the Redemption, for it was ordained by Heaven that the time for Moshiach’s arrival had not yet come.
Rabbi Moshe of Lelov [?–1851] was the son of Rabbi David of Lelov and the son-in-law of “the Holy Yid” of Pshischa. He declined to officially succeed his father as rebbe, considering himself unworthy of the position. He moved to Israel, where he helped to strengthen the chassidic community, although he passed away shortly after his arrival. He is buried on the Mount of Olives, near the prophet Zechariah.