Five years ago, R’ Yaakov Chaim Miller escorted a childless couple to a primitive village in the Zhytomir region of Ukraine. There, among the frozen expanses of a Jewish graveyard, the couple’s dearest wish was granted.
A daughter was born to them a year later.
The long-forgotten kever of R’ Moshe of Ludmir zy”a, son of HaRav HaKadosh Shlomo of Karlin zy”a and grandson of the founder of the Karlin chassidus HaRav Aharon of Karlin, was discovered. Before Europe went up in the flames of the Holocaust the kever was known as a site where barren couples would go to pray for a child.
R’ Miller took it upon himself to publicize the yeshuos that childless couples can experience when they make the trek to Olevsk (Оле́вськ), Ukraine to pray at the holy kever. Each year he organizes 3 trips to the kever of R’ Moshe of Ludmir: On Erev Rosh Chodesh Sivan, Erev Rosh Chodesh Elul, and on the yarzheit, 18 Shevat (January 24, 2019). Rav Yaakov Chaim Miller pays for all the expenses out of his own pocket though he is not a rich man.
Tens of barren couples, who have been yearning for children, have had their prayers answered after davening at the holy kever of R’ Moshe of Ludmir. This year, for the yarzheit, over 20 couples will be making the arduous trip in order to pray at a place where tefillos are accepted on high.
Olevsk, a primitive town of 10,000 people, does not have proper hospitality facilities for the many couples coming to pray. Yaakov Chaim Miller has founded a massive hachnosas orchim center at the kever, “Hachnosas Orchim – Olevsk.” The center supplies all the supplicants with warm kosher meals, accommodations and a fully-functional shul. The facilities, although basic by any standards, are the most luxurious in town, equipped with modern technology: indoor plumbing. All, as mentioned, funded privately by Rav Yaakov Chaim Miller.
Plans to expand the center include building a mikvah and a beis medrash, and expanded outreach facilities for the indigent Jews of Olevsk.
Rav Yaakov Chaim Miller has reached out to indigent Jews who returned to Olevsk after World War II. He has started to rekindle the flame of Yiddishkeit in this frozen place; by laying tefillin with the locals and holding belated Bar Mitzvah celebrations with survivors.
There is much untapped potential for Jewish growth in Olevsk, whether among the local Yidden, or with the increasingly large numbers of barren couples who make Olevsk a priority destination.
The yeshuos experienced each year at the kever of HaRav Moshe of Ludmir zy”a continue to bring hope to barren couples around the world. Hachnosas Orchim – Olevsk warms their hearts and feeds, not only their bodies, their souls.