by Rabbi Yair Hoffman for 5TJT.com
This Segulah was sent to me by a friend.
Supposedly, the author of the Yismach Yisroel lived in the time of a mageifah. When asked what to do, he responded, “If anyone just looks at my face he will saved from the epidemic.” The tale continues that everyone that looked at his face was not subject to the illness. Indeed, even gentiles flocked to see his countenance.
This author doubts the authenticity of the story.
First of all, how do we know that some overanxious chasid did not make up this story? The tale even goes beyond Moshe Rabbeinu. Moshe Rabbeinu’s visage did not cut it. In the parsha of the serpents, one had to look at the Nachshon and even then the person had to do Teshuvah. This story does not have Teshuvah with it. Even Yom Kippur is only mechaper with Teshuvah.
Secondly, there is no mention of this story in the Chassidisha Seforim that this author has seen.
Thirdly, the picture does not at all look like the author of the Yismach Yisroel. In fact, it kind of looks like the Vilna Gaon.
And finally, there are spelling errors in this.
Now that we have come to this conclusion, it is more likely that some pranking litvak came up with this entire thing.
Rav Yerachmiel Yisroel Yitzchok Dancyger (1853–1910), was the second Rebbe of Alechsander Chassidim. he was more famous than his father, the original Rebbe. He had a large chassidus and printed the Yismach Yisrael hagaddah (Hebrew: “Israel will Rejoice”) in 1911, which he wrote together with his brother, Reb Shmuel Tzvi (1840–1923), who later became the third Alechsander and authored the Tiferes Shmuel.
Readers confirmed that the story and picture is of the Yismach Moshe. The Sefer Tehilah l’Moshe explains that people that saw his picture – did Teshuvah on account of his hadras panim. In this author’s opinion, one may only believe this version of the story.