To See The Blossoms of the Spring
--- This is a new book just published, written by Michael Barzel a devout haredi Nanach who merited to service and spend time with Saba Yisroel --
R' Yisroel was born on the 20th of Kislev 657 (November 25, 1896) and was brought into the covenant of our Forefather Abraham (i.e. he was circumcised) on the third candle (-day), the same day that the waters of the Flood desisted, and he departed aloft with good old age on the 18th of Cheshvon 755 (Sun, October 23, 1994) the day adjacent to the first day of the Flood started.
He was named 'Yisroel Ber' after a butcher from his family who was a very great tzaddik, his grandfather was the Chief Judge of the Beit Din (Jewish Court) of Odessa for 40 years, and he was a close follower of the Rav the Tzaddik the Kalisker, and he went up and immigrated to the Land of Israel.
His ways were hidden and almost nothing is known about him (this is what can be discerned from his words), and even his family and acquaintances didn't know from him, as this was hinted to once when President Shazar addressed Saba Yisroel's children on the wedding day of his son Pinchas, and said to them, “You don't know who your father is!” The children were angered by this, and even still Shazar repeated and said, “You don't know who your father is!”
The way of R' Yisroel was to allude to lofty conceptions and important matters from his conversation, and everyone understood according to the depth they fathomed in their hearts.
Also I remember that R' Yisroel's oldest daughter, OB”M, told over about him, and fired up the listeners with her words and endearing stories about him, and when they told him this, he said, “What does she know?” From this you should understand that he was very hidden, a concealed tzaddik, and the world was very mistaken about him, especially in his old age, to think that he had alread aged... Heaven forbid, or there are those that say that they knew him for 40 years, and so forth, but the truth is, it is impossible to know from him, and he hid himself completely from the world.
On the contrary, from this you can understand a little from his greatness, that he was not concerned at all about what people thought of him. On the contrary, he would purposely disgrace himself, and in truth [not like the famous rabbis who would disgrace themselves in order that everyone would declare of them, “see how humble he is...” for such humility is the epitome of haughtiness (see Likutay Moharan 11)] – as is brought down a story of R' Zusha, that once on his way he came across an orphan bride who lost her entire dowry and the groom's side wanted to call off the wedding, and when R' Zusha heard of this he announced that he found the money, and he said the amount that the bride had lost (- and this was really his own money), but he requested a percentage as a finder's fee, so everyone denigrated him very much, and they threw him out of the city with great disgrace, and all this was in order to do the mitzva for it's own sake.
Also see Likutay Moharan 261 that the tzaddikim accept upon themselves disparagement and spilling of blood (-blushing) purposely, in order to save Jews from being killed and other tragedy that was destined G”F to befall them.
So also transpired with R' Yisroel once, at the end of his life, chasidim came to see him and to hear words and encouragement from his holy mouth, and he was asking for food and chastising the master of the house saying that he has dishes but does not give him to eat, and he was shouting, and everyone was astonished, and in the morning R' Yisroel asked one of the friends to ask forgiveness from the to master of the house (and this is what he said to him:) “He needs to rejoice that he merited to host in his house the followers of Rabbainu, I need not have been so particular with him about the food, and in truth there was food, but this is the calamity of being old, yes I am old... sometimes a evil spirit enters me... but tell the master of the house that this was of great benefit to him, this was very favorable for him, for the whole world and for me as well... I am careful not to pain any Jew, but great misfortune was destined to befall the house, and by the pain that I caused, the misfortune won't come...” [from here one sees how R' Yisroel would disgrace himself in everyone's eyes in order not to receive honor, and also to mitigate the hardships from Jews].