Weekly Chasidic Story #1036 (s5778-05/ 26 Tishrei 5778)

Three Brokers

The broker listened to Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev's message, but thought it was just a jest.

Connection: Sunday of this week was the 207th yahrzeit of the Berditchever.

Three Brokers

One time a case was brought to judgment before Rabbi Levi-Yitzchak of Berditchev. A young and inexperienced broker who lived in the town had the idea that if a certain business in Berditchev merged with one located in a neighboring town, each would have a much greater profit.

Because he was unfamiliar with the world of business and virtually unknown, he turned for help to a more experienced broker who also lived in Berditchev. The young man proposed that in exchange for the older man's help, the two would divide the profit equally.

The experienced broker agreed. He successfully arranged the deal, and when the transaction was completed, collected the profit.

The trouble began when the experienced broker refused to divide the money as he had promised. There was no choice but to go to rabbinical court. Rabbi Levi Yitzchak heard the case and ordered the man to give the other fellow his fair share of the profits. The case was closed and the two departed.

However, as time passed it became obvious that the older man still refused to abide by the ruling of the rabbi. The young man had no recourse but to return to Rabbi Levi Yitzchak with his complaint.

When Rabbi Levi Yitzchak heard what had transpired he immediately dispatched an emissary to the broker, who repeated to him these words of the rabbi:

"My dear sir, you should be aware that I too am a broker with quite a bit of experience under my belt. I, in fact, act as a broker between the Jewish people and their Father in heaven. In this capacity, I transport the merits of the Jews to G-d, and in return, I receive my sustenance and many blessings from Him.

"As I occupied myself with these matters, I realized that here was an excellent opportunity to make a very good deal. Amongst the Jews I saw three types of products for which they had absolutely no use: intentional sins, unintentional sins, and sins which occurred because they were ignorant that the Torah considered them sinful.

"I saw that in Heaven they also had three kinds of products for which they had no use there: forgiveness, absolution and annulment. And I said to myself, what a good idea it would be if the Jews and Heaven were to exchange products!

"I went and presented my ideas to the Heavenly Court and they were quite pleased to accept my proposition. But before the deal was finalized, they suggested that I first speak to the other partner in the transaction, the Jewish people.

"So, I went to the Jews, but it was more difficult to sell my idea to them. They convinced me to try for a greater commitment from the Heavenly Court. They wanted three additional things - children, health and livelihood - to be added to the package.

"I went back to the Heavenly Court with their request, and the new terms were granted. The deal was signed and sealed.

"I was then asked by the Heavenly Court what I wanted as my reward for completing this transaction. I replied that as far as the Jews were concerned, I didn't want any reward; as for G-d, I trusted completely that He would pay me whatever is my due.

"At that point G-d said to me, 'Levi Yitzchak ben Sasha Sarah, I will give you a special reward: the additional terms the Jews added to the original contract, namely, children, health and livelihood. I Rabbi place these in your hands, to distribute or revoke at will.'

"I therefore tell you that if you fulfill the ruling of my court at once, it will go well with you, but if you continue to refuse, I will act according to the law of the Torah that was put into my hands."

The broker listened to the rabbi's message, but thought the entire episode was just a jest. He went home that night and laughingly repeated the story to his wife.

Imagine Rabbi Levi Yitzchak trying to pressure him to give up such an enormous sum with such a ridiculous story!

He had no sooner finished speaking when he was suddenly afflicted with a high fever. Moaning and groaning in pain he tossed from side to side, unable to find comfort.

The best doctors were called in; no expense was spared, but nothing helped. Finally, the patient was given up for lost.

With his last ounce of strength, the man summoned his wife. "Take a purse of money to Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev and beg him to have mercy on me."

The hysterical woman ran weeping and pleading to the rabbi. She gave him the money, accurate to the last penny. "Please, have mercy on my husband. He's dying," she cried.

Needless to say, as soon as the debt was paid, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak prayed for the man's recovery. The broker's body returned to full health, and as far as his soul was concerned, that too was much healthier for the experience.
Source: Reprinted and supplemented from //LChaimWeekly.org #977

Biographical note:
Rabbi Levi Yitzchak (Deberamdiger) of Berditchev [of blessed memory: 5500 - 25 Tishrei 5571 (1740 - Oct. 1810)] is one of the more popular rebbes in chasidic history. He was a close disciple of the Maggid of Mezritch, successor to the Baal Shem Tov. He is best known for his love for every Jew and his perpetual intercession before Heaven on their behalf. Many of his teachings are contained in the posthumously published Kedushat Levi.

Connection: Sunday of this week was the 207th yahrzeit of the Berditchever.


Yerachmiel Tilles is co-founder and associate director of Ascent-of-Safed, and chief editor of this website (and of KabbalaOnline.org). He has hundreds of published stories to his credit, and many have been translated into other languages. He tells them live at Ascent nearly every Saturday night.

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