A chasid of Dinov suffered
from a mortal lung disease and traveled to the capital city of Vienna for medical
advice. The doctors told him that his disease could not be cured, because the
lung was not in its normal position. It was pushed to the side and was filled
with phlegm which could not be drained and would cause decay. They suggested that
he hurry home, lest he die among strangers.
The man started on his journey
homeward with a broken heart. His way passed through Sanz and he thought to himself,
"The Divrei Chaim (Rabbi Chaim Halberstam of Sanz) is
famous as a great scholar and authority on Jewish Law. I shall ask him what I
should do about the eating of maror, the bitter vegetable, in the forthcoming
Seder on Passover night. I am unable to eat the required amount (the volume
of an olive - approximately an ounce). Am I however still required to eat a lesser
portion and should I pronounce a blessing over it?"
The Rebbe listened
to his question. "It is written in the Zohar," he replied, "that
maror is a 'healing food.' You should be able to eat the full prescribed
amount and be healed."
This chasid was an accomplished Torah scholar
in his own right. After he left the Rebbe's presence he remembered that the Zohar
does not say that maror is a healing food, but rather, matza. The
Divrei Chaim had obviously made an error. And, with that thought, he dismissed
the incident from his mind.
On the night of the Seder when the moment for
eating maror arrived, the sick man took the tiniest portion of bitter herbs.
He immediately began to cough strenuously, weakening him greatly.
my end is come," he cried out, "let me at least fulfill the mitzva
properly!" He took a full portion of the strong horseradish and ate it. As
soon as he swallowed the whole mouthful, the cough grew worse and his whole body
His family became frightened and ran to fetch the doctor.
But the doctor was himself conducting a Seder and did not hasten to come.
he did arrive, he found the patient asleep. He was told that the man had become
exhausted from coughing, had fallen onto the bed and dropped off into slumber.
The doctor said that rest was good for him and that he should not be awakened.
slept until a late hour the following day and when the doctor came again to examine
him, he was amazed. The patient was completely cured. The force of the cough and
the shuddering of his body had jarred the lung and it had returned to its normal
position. The phlegm had been able to drain out.
The maror had indeed
been, as the Rebbe of Sanz had said, a "healing food."
by Yerachmiel Tilles from Haggadah of the Chassidic Masters by Rabbi Shalom
Meir Wallach (Mesorah Publications). Based on Divrei Yechezkel Shraga 143.]
Rabbi Chaim Halberstam of Sanz [1793 - 25 Nissan 1876] was
the first Rebbe of the Sanz-Klausenberg dynasty. He is famous for
his extraordinary dedication to the mitzvah of tzedaka
and also as a renowned Torah scholar; his voluminous and wide-ranging
writings were all published under the title Divrei Chaim.
Yrachmiel Tilles is co-founder and
associate director of Ascent-of-Safed, and editor of Ascent Quarterly and the
AscentOfSafed.com and KabbalaOnline.org websites. He has hundreds of published
stories to his credit.