Among the many great tzadikim of yesteryear there are many that, although they were towering figure, they are not as well known as some of their contemporaries. One such great tzadik was R' Yaakov Yitzchok Shapira of Balondov, the brother of R' Elimelech of Grodzensk (father of the Piazeczna Rebbe HY"D). He was the son of the Saraph (fiery angel) of Moglenitza, R' Chaim Meir Yechiel. R' Yaakov Yitzchok's tefilos were also said to be like flames from a Saraph. He was a descendent (ben acher ben) of the Megaleh Amukos, his mother was the daughter of Reb Elazar of Lizensk, and his great-grandfather was the Magid of Koznitz.
R' Yaakov Yitzchok told over how he got to be named after R' Yaakov Yitzchok, the Chozeh of Lublin. His mother had a dream one night. In the dream she was in Heaven and saw someone saying over words of Torah. She saw her grandfather, the Rebbe Reb Elimelech of Lizensk, and asked him who the speaker was. He answered that it was the Rebbe of Lublin, the Chozeh. She told her grandfather that she wants a son like that. He replied: "You should know that you are currently pregnant with a son that has the neshama of the Rebbe of Lublin."
She told over the dream to her husband the Saraph of Moglenitz, and a short time later he went to Mezibuz to see the Ohev Yisroel, R' Avrohom Yehoshua Heschel, and related to him the dream that his wife had. The Ohev Yisroel said: "Emes, Emes. (True, True.) Even though it's not possible to give a present to an embryo, nevertheless, I am giving him a present", and he gave him a spodek for when the boy will become Bar Mitzvah. (A spodik is a tall fur hat, as opposed to a shtreimel which is flatter. In certain Chassidic dynasties, even today, from the Bar Mitzvah on, the sons of the Rebbe wear a special type of spodek, until they get married. Then they wear a regular shtreimel or spodek.) This spodik was always very special in the eyes of R' Yaakov Yitzchok of Balandov.
Sure enough a son was born to the Saraph of Moglinitz and his wife, who they named Yaakov Yitzchok, after the Chozeh of Lublin, whose neshama they now knew he possessed. He grew up to be the great Rebbe of Balandov.
R' Yaakov Yitzchok of Balandov ben R' Chaim Meir Yechiel of Moglenitz was niftar on 23 Sivan 5642.
Zchuso Yogen Aleinu